I’m pretty sure that if you ask anyone, I am sure they will agree with me in saying that there are things about life that they wish they knew when they were younger. Growing up is never easy, you make mistakes, get upset and maybe do things that you will regret but without making such mistakes, you wouldn’t be where you are today. When I think back, there are definitely some things I wish I knew before, especially around my teenage years.
At the age of 22, I’d like to think that I have definitely learnt a few life lessons along the way, I mean I am over half-way to 40 now so you’d kind of hope that I have learnt something by now.
I am a firm believer in the idea that you learn something new every day and in everything that you do. Whether its a job, an experience, a friendship or relationship – you will always learn something and know what to do differently next time. I’d love to say I live life ‘regret free’ but that isn’t really realistic, because let’s be honest – we all regret the time we thought that foundation lips and streaky blonde highlights were acceptable (well I know I definitely do).
I think it is so important to step back every so often and realise how far you have come before realising where you want to go next.
Always make time
Growing up and through school, sixth form and university I often found myself struggling to balance the workload. As I have gone into full-time work I have realised just how important making time to have fun is. During my first year in teaching, I spent so much time focusing on doing things for school that I often cancelled plans with my friends and family. I’ve learnt to put my life first and focus on work second.
Stay loyal to yourself
One thing I particularly remember from my school years was the constant ‘need’ to be someone I wasn’t. I don’t know if anyone else can relate to this but I found school quite competitive and it was all about who had the most Jane Norman bags and the perfectly moussed curled hair. I definitely went through the geeky stage at secondary school and always aspired to be something that is that absolute opposite to who I am now. If I knew this when I was younger, I definitely wouldn’t have been so focused on changing who I was.
People will be mean
This is a big life lesson that I am sure everyone will have experienced at some point whilst growing up. You will meet so many different people throughout every stage of childhood and adulthood and I have finally come to terms with the fact that some people just get a thrill out of being mean and you just have to rise above it and learn to ignore it. As long as you are kind and treat others how you wish to be treated then you will have no problems.
It’s okay to say no
I have always grown up with the constant need to please other people, I don’t like to disappoint people and I often find it hard to say no when someone asks if I will do something. As I have grown up, I have learned that it is more than acceptable to say no to things. Taking on too much is where problems start and where you can get overwhelmed and overworked. If you think you have time to do something to the best of your ability, say yes; if not – don’t be afraid to say no.
You’re perfect just the way you are
Social media can often place a lot of pressure on young people to aim to be something that is very unrealistic and unachievable. There are the supposed ‘desired’ body shapes, and the ‘perfect’ make up trends that everyone tries to follow when in reality; everyone is perfect just the way they are.
Smile every day, it’s healthy
It has been scientifically proven that smiling every day is healthy. It releases endorphins into your body that help reduce stress, lower your heart rate and increase your productivity. Working as a teacher, this is something that I found really helped. Even on the days where I felt like everything was fallen apart and I was so tired, I could barely keep my eyes open – by welcoming my class with a big smile helps to show that you are okay and you can achieve some of life’s biggest hurdles.
You will get your heart broken
This is a fact. There is no nice way of putting it. I’d like to think that I am not the only person to go through a heartbreak and I know there are some very lucky people out there to never have experienced it (I’m very jealous) but it doesn’t half make you a stronger person and make you realise what you deserve!
Always keep your head up
As Ben Howard would say, keep your head up and your heart strong. This is one of my all-time favourite quotes and it is so accurate for so many different situations. Believing in yourself can be difficult but if you always keep your head up and keep smiling, what is the worst that can happen, right?
If you want something, work for it. There is no other way of achieving it. When you’re at school and you get picked on for being the nerd, for always doing your homework on time – who cares? In fact, I can guarantee those who teased you back then, will now be wishing they’d worked just as hard as you when they were at school. However, there are so many opportunities in the world and you can do anything you want if you put your mind to it.
Take the pictures, save the memories
This is one of my biggest regrets (I know, I shouldn’t say that word), but I so so so regret not making the most of my teenage years and taking more pictures. I used to be so camera shy and hated the thought of them but now I would love to have those memories to look through. In fact, looking back through old photographs from the last few years (when I finally became comfortable with pictures) is one of my favourite things to do.
I think that as long as you are kind to others and true to yourself, then everything else will naturally fall into place.
Everyone has experienced and learnt different things but I think the biggest thing that most people will agree on is that life is far too short. Make the most of every day as you only get one chance.
What are the biggest/most important life lessons you have learnt?