24 things, learned in 24 years.

So, I'm 24 now. Or at least I will be, when this post goes live. I'm writing this the week before my birthday, as it has required a lot of thinking and prepping. I decided back in March that I was going to do something like this, after reading my excellent friend Lauren James' post with 24 useful life tips she'd learned by the age of 24. Well, I am hardly equipped to give practical and super-handy hacks like the brilliant ones she gave out to her readers, but I am definitely in a position to advise on all things emotional and...aspirational? At least, I think so...let's see.

A short brisk walk is just as good as a long, tiring run.

You must say what you want. Aloud. 
Whether it's in an office, at home deciding what to have for dinner, in bed with a gorgeous partner or just to yourself, in the middle of the night, sitting staring at your laptop debating sending that enquiry email...don't be afraid. Make noise, tap shoulders, and be honest. What do you want?

Smoking is exceptionally stupid.

Marriage and kids aren't the only goal you can have in life.
Plus, they're not a happy ending.

Your vote will always matter.
And not voting is the worst thing you can do.

When you're ill, tell someone
Seriously Grace, you used to be so reluctant to admit you were feeling poorly or seek help with anything. I'm not sure why; were you afraid of upsetting others, or putting them out for the sake of your health? Silly girl.

Good coffee is essential. 

Pursue what makes you happiest.
Simple as. I once felt I had to go down a 'more academic' route when it came to university, and when I finally voiced my deepest yearning to study Drama and Creative Writing, I did so very nervously. I needn't have worried so much. I had nothing but support in applying for and studying that course, and I did bloody well at it because I was doing something I loved as well as something I excelled at.

For every alcoholic beverage you drink, have at least a half pint of water.
And I'd say if you're on a big night out, make that a full pint for every boozy beverage. Also, always prep some form of food for when you get home – at uni, I used to leave crumpets and scotch pancakes on the counter beside the toaster before going to pre-drinks. It not only absorbs a bit of the alcohol before you go to bed, but also having snacks ready like that means you might be able to avoid the chippy or kebab shop en route home...

Be a positive voice on Twitter. Use it for good. Don't subtweet, moan or rant.

In job interviews, they are selling the job to you, as well as you selling yourself to them.
So ask them stuff, and work out if it's right for you as well as if you'd be right for them.

Don't make time for toxic friends.
They will suck the life out of you. Always ask yourself: what do I get out of this friendship? Am I just jumping through hoops, giving endless lifts and letting tears soak my shoulder? Do they respect me, boost my confidence, let me confide in them and offer me solace of some kind? Would they help me out in a crisis? No? Then they can sashay away. 

Keep a step by your loo.
Honestly, guys. It's life-changing.
Get a small one, like a colourful kids' plastic step from the supermarket, to keep beside the toilet and pull out to put your feet on when you sit down to poop. Trust me. I'm not even embarrassed to be advising y'all on this – it's too good a tip.

Celebrate others. It doesn't cost you anything.

Be kind to those serving you.
I will preach this until the end of time. Working in customer service has taught me to be kinder, generally in life, but especially to those on checkouts and stacking shelves and pouring drinks. Everyone should work in customer service, if only to learn how horrible people can be and how to be more considerate.

Dress for your shape, and your skin tone.
My mama is a colour consultant, so I've been lucky enough to learn all about skin tones and their most complimentary colours. I have also realised that I'm not a normal shape – that no-one is. And so I have almost perfected dressing for my figure – my little waist needs sticky-outy skater skirts, my excellent decouletage likes a good scoop neck, etc. etc. It may seem limiting when it comes to the horrible trials of clothes shopping but NO! Quite the opposite. Knowing what colours and shapes suit me massively reduces time spent picking up and trying on (thank f*ck). 

Heartbreak sucks, but it can make you.

Your body is fucking awesome.
Not just in the way it looks but also in the way it supports you, works hard for you, and heals itself time and time again.

A woman can come.
What's more, she should. And the men who actually know this? They're the best.

Try clothes on in the shops to work out what size fits best, and if they look good on you – then wait for the online sales to happen a month or so later, and get ordering.

Gin and whisky are your friends. Vodka is not.

There's nothing wrong with taking yourself out to dinner, for drinks, to the cinema or the theatre.
In fact, your own company can sometimes be better than others'.

One doesn't have to have a close-knit cluster of friends. You can have many individual friends, scattered around the country and the world.

Accept compliments.
It's not selfish to do so, and it is super polite to the one doing the complimenting.

That's not everything I've learned in 24 years, of course. Like at some point I'm sure I learned all about Pythagoras' theorem, and there was also some stuff about road signs and operating a vehicle at some point... but these things listed above are the lessons I have valued most in life.
I cannot wait to learn more, in my 24th year on this ridiculous planet. Happy birthday to me! 

Some other recent (& excellent) birthday-centred posts: 

- The delightful Beth Eve on turning 29
- The babe Whimsicella named 24 Bad Ass Women 
- The brilliant Hannah Witton still learning things at 25


  1. I relate a lot to some points of the list. Especially the marriage and kids one. Few days ago I was talking with a friend and expressing that I don't feel the need of having a relationship or getting married, and so having kids. And she was all like: but if you met the right guys, if you fall in love...
    Just no. I know what I want.
    I don't know why people and other ladies of my same age cannot accept that, always acting like the hold the major truth of the universe.

    1. Thank you for reading - I'm so happy you can relate!
      I know so many women my age who are still dead set on getting married and making babies ASAP - which is fine for them, but the second they start pressuring me with those ideas, I shoot it down! ;)


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