Happy Monday! (If there is such a thing)
Today marks a week until I leave my teenage years behind and reach the ripe old age of 20. I’ve mentioned previously that I seem to get rather nostalgic or emotional around birthdays, but I think this is the most I’ve been just that to date. My 19th year was a bit of a whirlwind, I feel a completely different person to the one I was when I had just turned 19, and it somewhat feels like I blinked and a whole year passed. I’m rather determined to better myself as the years pass, as I think it’s important to aim to be the best you, no matter how many years that may take. I feel as if I’m slowly but surely getting there, it’s for sure a work in progress…
One evening while I was doing the ‘think-too-much-before-bed’ ritual, I decided to jot down 20 things I’ve learnt in 20 years. At first I thought, have I really learnt that many things? But as I got going, it was hard to prioritise which ones should make the list, as I found myself discovering more than I initially thought.
The last thing I wanted was this blog entry to be super cheesy or generic, but I suppose that’s hard to avoid with this sort of thing. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with reflecting – if anything, it helps you better yourself by a mile. There’s a difference between reflecting and dwelling, something I’ve come to learn, and need to master the art of…
Long story short, I seem to have learnt a lot of things throughout the funny thing called life. Here are just a few…
1. School Friendships Don’t Last Forever
‘Wow… what a negative first point’, is what I’m sure you’re thinking. But, this concept doesn’t always have to be negative – it’s a part of life. You soon learn when you leave school, which seemed such a big part of your life, that over time some friendships may fade and maybe even die out all together. But hopefully what you’re left with are lovely memories of you and that person to have with you while you both go about your lives. It’s a tricky age to be figuring out what you’re doing, and paths may lead off different ways… but you never know, they may cross again in the future and you can pick off where you left off (given that you haven’t left things on bad terms…)
The harsh reality of it is that some people really were just your friend because you saw them every single day. The beauty of it, though, is this teaches you who is in it for the long run – not because they’ve been assigned a seat beside you for the next year.
2. Your Parents Do Know Best
When you’re a teenager, it pretty much comes with the territory that you may go through a phase where you think you know better than your parents, and are terribly misunderstood. There’s nothing wrong with that – growing up is all about discovering your beliefs and voicing what you believe in – no one should shy away from that. But the important thing that I’ve learnt is, is that my parents probably knew better than a young, naive teenager me…
3. And They’re Literally Your Biggest Fans…
When you’re growing up, you’re sort of fixated with your social circle and people your age, which is obviously understandable. Your interactions are often limited to this category, and while it’s important to value your friends, it’s even more important to value your biggest fans… your parents.
It took a hard battle with mental health to fully realise this. Your parents are the ones that would do anything for your well-being, and obviously the feeling is mutual… along with eternal gratitude and admiration for them.
4. Comparing Yourself to Others is a Waste of Time
Now, this is definitely a work in progress. I don’t think the advancement of social media helps in this case, given that it’s so damn easy to compare yourself to what you see. But, I feel it’s important to give yourself a break from it – obviously, there is nothing wrong with indulging in it, but coming back down to Earth and realising that you are yourself for a reason is a healthy thing to do every once in a while…
5. Being Shy Isn’t a Bad Thing
I have always been a shy soul when it comes to meeting people for the first time. I deem myself as an observer – I like to get to know people and their personality before fully exposing them to mine. Weird, I know – I suppose it’s a comfort thing. But when you’re shy, you learn that petty comments often come with the territory when meeting arrogant people.
“Wow you’re so quiet”
“Don’t you talk?”
… but the truth is, there’s nothing wrong with being shy, what is wrong is people making you feel guilty for it. Once the walls are down, I doubt you could shut me up. It’s all about finding the patient ones who stick around long enough to see that wall break away…
6. Don’t Let The Media Distort Your Vision of Beauty
As the saying goes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Self explanatory, really.
7. Dear 14-year-old Me…
Your eyebrows are terrible. You don’t need to pencil them in that dark.
Does anyone else remember the time, around 2011/2012, where pencilled in, dark eyebrows seemed to take every teenage girls face by storm? I think I’m still traumatised from it…
8. And That Two-Toned Hair… Stop That
Also, the dip-dye/ombre phase? My hair quickly became a victim to dyeing the ends blonde. My naturally brunette locks soon suffered and became a display of split ends and dead hair. I was basically a walking example of how not to have your hair.
9. Relationships In School
… Do Not qualify as proper relationships. This is a perfect of example of the naivety I was referring to a few points back…
When you’re that young, it all seems like a ‘be all, end all’ situation… but I can assure you it isn’t. Sure, I know some examples of relationships formed in school that have lasted, but the likelihood is… it’s a waste of time. In the long run, anyway!
10. What Is and Isn’t Okay To Be Said To You
Within the recent years, I have most definitely come to realise the respect that I desire, and would hope that I deserve. In hindsight, there have been so many things said to me by boys/men that definitely deserved them a kick in a place where the sun doesn’t shine, to say the least. In the past, relating again back to the naivety, I would laugh and shrug it off, almost with a ‘that’s boys for you!’ attitude. But now, despite the fact that I hate confrontation, I believe I have the guts to speak up when I’m not comfortable with what somebody is saying to me.
11. There Is No Proper Measure of Success
Now, this is one that is also still a work in progress. I believe I have made strong progression regarding this, however. I used to constantly compare myself to people I know in regards to what they’re doing with their lives, and the little I’m doing with mine. But the reality is, as long as what you’re doing is fulfilling for you, and you’re happy, that really is all that matters.
12. What You Think People May Think of You, Chances Are They Don’t
An incredibly annoying aspect of anxiety is being paranoid about what people think of you. If only I had a pound for each time I’ve been overcome with paranoia about this… but you have to ask yourself, so what if they do think that? Which leads me on to my next point…
13. And If They Do… Rise Above It
Simple as that, really. We never know what one another is truly thinking, so stick your middle finger up to the paranoia and carry on as you were.
14. Embrace Your Creativity
I often used to be reluctant to express my creative side, in case my creative vision was different to others and therefore unaccepted. But a different creative vision is a brilliant starting point, in my opinion. And even if it doesn’t go to plan, at least you tried…
15. Idolising the Wrong People… Everyone is in the Same Boat After All
I mentioned before that I’m an observer, and being this when I was growing up meant I observed and then idolised people who I thought were ‘cool’, or seemed to have it all figured out. But, no one has it figured out at that age, and if they claim to, it’s most likely a front.
16. Freckles and Other Features Make You Who You Are
It really does sadden me to know that from such a young age I hated my freckles for so long. My estimate regarding age would be around 6 years old – I often got teased by boys in school about my nose and cheeks being scattered with freckles.
Ever since I can remember, my dad used to tap my nose and call it a black birds egg. He always sounded so happy when he did it, and my boyfriend often says how much he likes them. Over the years, I have been less bothered about them, and come to realise that I can’t make them go away so I may as well embrace them. Plus, the make up world has the trend of ‘faux freckles’ – it’s weird how things can become a trend…
17. Don’t Feel Guilty For Not Feeling the Same
I was reluctant to write about this one, because I don’t want to imply that I’ve had boys falling at my feet, which is definitely not the case!
But, I’m sure plenty of women can also relate to this situation – when a male friend or acquaintance expresses that he may feel more for you than friendship, and when you don’t feel the same, they get angry, distant, or accuse you of ‘friend zoning’ them (which is my least favourite phrase on the planet, FYI). And then you may be bombarded with suggestions to ‘just give him a chance’ – it’s almost like your feelings are invalid. If you felt the same, sure, you would. Forcing it isn’t going to do anyone any favours.
Then you’re left with a potential loss of a good friend, and feeling as if you were entitled to provide more. It’s such a shitty concept – no one is obligated to feel the same, especially out of guilt.
18. Value Your Time With Grandparents
One of my biggest fears is losing my grandparents, and I am so very lucky to not have learnt this point the hard way – I am just simply realising that they won’t be around forever, therefore time is ever so valued.
19. Don’t Take It Too Seriously
I recently wrote about how me and my Grandad recently got a little book of short stories he’s written published, and one of my favourites from the book is titled the same as this point, and I feel it’s very appropriate for this time in my life. It can literally apply to anything – that’s the significant beauty of it.
20. Do What Makes You Happy
The original title for this point was ‘It’s Okay To Be Selfish’, which I feel can also apply here. Happiness is the most important thing – without sounding too cheesy – and I intend to spend my 20th year aiming for the ultimate meaning of the word.
So that’s a wrap…
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this soppy little post! Until next time…
Thanks for Reading | Lucy Violet x