10 things I’ve learnt during my early twenties
Get the violins out lads, I’m twenty-six years old and no longer eligible for the 16-25 railcard. There’s something really weird about twenty-six, suddenly I’m hurtling towards my late twenties with an overdraft and an obsession with trainers, which doesn’t feel… enough.
I’m not sure if it was changing jobs, starting to have a conversation about buying a house or the fact that my railcard is no longer valid (I’m not over it), but, the past few months have been a rather steep learning curve.
With that in mind, I thought I’d share some (quite possibly useless) advice with you. Because, in complete honesty, I’m not sure any of us know what we’re doing.
1) Straight off the bat, I’ll reiterate. None of us really know what we’re doing. In the same way that you decide what you’ll eat in years’ time through a wedding invitation, I think it’s hard to plan in your early twenties. You might be vegan in a years’ time, you might no longer be vegan and the chicken looks really good. Look, you can see where I’m going. It’s fine.
2) Fuck clubbing. Your early twenties is the perfect time to start doing more things you like, simply because you like them. I hate clubbing. It has been well documented that I loathe everything from the music to the dazzling array of shit and overpriced drinks, (give me a gig any day) but I used to go them because I felt guilty saying that it wasn’t my scene. Now, you’ll mostly find me in the pub on a Saturday night, because life is too short for foam parties.
3) Life’s too short for the job that you hate. No job is perfect. But, if it’s got less pro’s than con’s, might be time to move on. I’m not saying quit your job right now, because responsibilities etc. But I had a job that I hated. Like really hated. A job that made me reevaluate my entire career to avoid ever doing said job again. After two months of complaining, (so sorry to all of my friends) I actually got my arse in gear and found a better job.
4) You have to actively break bad habits. When I smoked, I used to have this firm (read irrational) idea that one day, I would awaken to find that I was no longer addicted to nicotine, and no longer wanted to smoke. Sadly, this never happened and it became apparent that I had to work to build better habits.
5) Same with the gym. I dream of being one of those people that LOVES exercising. It has become apparent that I am not one of those people. Yet.
6) Fewer, but better friends. Pretty self-explanatory, The Pool does a much better explanation of this. If you have a ‘friend’ that you don’t want to be friends with, then move on.
7) Topshop sizing is really weird. Everything is too small. You’ll have to go up two sizes and feel huge. This is a thing, everyone knows it, and it’s fine.
8) Reading is really good for the soul. There’s something about reading that tunes you out of everything. It’s also been proven to help with anxiety, stress and depression. It also does not matter what you read. Books are books, whether you’re really into Orwell or Marian Keyes.
9) You’re not too old, too young, or too stupid to learn new stuff. This year, I started learning the violin and to my boyfriend’s horror, I committed, hard. I practised for half an hour every day for six months and now I can play a few songs. Forcing yourself to do stuff is pretty useless, but if you want to learn something, it’s kind of the only skill that humans have – our ability to retain and learn new information. And there’s something really joyful about learning.
10) Crying in your car/ bed/ shower/ Topshop is also a-ok. I feel like once every two months, normally on a Sunday, I have some sort of existential crisis. Something akin to that scene in Chicken Little where he starts shrieking that the “sky is falling in” and everyone else is like, no, you’re fine. I am Chicken Little, feeling like an irrational idiot as I sob down the phone to my friends and explain that I cut my own fringe and now it looks like a moustache on my forehead (true story).
Whilst in the grand scheme of things, this is a very small problem, it’s also a problem. And comparing your issues to other peoples (like every form of comparison) is a complete waste of time.
RE: Topshop, please see number seven.