So it’s coming up to my 24th birthday and it got me thinking. What have I learnt in these 24 years? What advice do I wish someone had given me when I was younger? As a woman in my mid-twenties, I thought I would have it all figured out by now. The career, the friends, the house – but I don’t. I’m still growing and learning from my mistakes as I make my way through life. It’s hard, I’m not gonna lie – making my way through the trials and tribulations of adult life with no one to hold my hand. But I thought I’d share with you some of the things I have learned – ultimately – advice I wish I’d be given.
Be the best version of yourself. But first, take some time to define who that really is. Stop looking to other people for validation and work out what makes you happy. I was always a shy child, but still had wit and self-confidence about me – until somewhere along the way it was taken from me. I would look to teachers, friends and loved ones for validation all because I wanted people to recognise me. Then it just spiralled. I lost touch with who I was and have continued to do so ever since. Only now, am I embarking on a journey to really find out who I am, again. Don’t allow yourself to get lost trying to fit in. You can only be truly happy when you know and love yourself.
Friends will come and go, it’s inevitable. You’ve got to understand you can’t force people to be your friend, and it’s important to learn when to stop fighting for a friendship that isn’t reciprocated. From a young age, we’re taught one of the joys of being human is that we don’t have to be perfect to be a good person. At some point in life, we all make stupid decisions, push too hard and say things we don’t mean. That doesn’t make us bad people, it just makes us human. But when someone doesn’t learn from their mistakes and continues to hurt people along the way, that is toxic. You shouldn’t give someone who is supposed to care for you the ability to hurt you, that’s not what a friendship is about. Nobody should have to change you, control you, manipulate you or even talk down to you in order for you to fit in – and if they don’t agree with who you are, then you’re better off without those friends.
Most of the people I know earn enough to cover all their living costs and still have money left over each month. Going out for fancy dinners, having drinks after work and splurging on a number of online orders without having to worry when the next pay cheque is coming in. I’d love to say that’s me, but it’s not. I wish someone had sat me down from an early age to have that money conversation. And it’s not just about saving. It is vital to learn how to manage your finances at an early age, so you don’t spiral out of control in the future. Managing your career, projects and general life admin is all well and good, but not if you don’t know how to manage finances just as effectively. When it comes to money, self-control will give you the freedom to live your life without worry further along the line.
Be proud of who you are and everything you have achieved. Don’t follow the crowd and stop trying to fit in. Remember, you are you for a reason – so trust in that. Understand that being “cool and popular” means nothing when you enter the real world, so don’t follow someone else who is going to steer you from your own path. You might think you know it all but there’s still so much more to continue learning, so never, ever stop. I’m still learning new life lessons every day. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but I wish I’d had someone to give me this advice earlier on in life. What advice would you give to your younger self?
Love, Aysh x