Birthday Recap | What 24 Years Has Taught Me

As you're reading this, I'll be on my way back from a little birthday trip to Budapest. I'm just gonna predict I had a great time. On Monday 25th, I turned 24 - an age you never really think about when you're 16 and wishing away your youth. 24 is an age that feels pretty significant - 6 years since your 18th where you think you've figured out the world and 6 years until the big 3-0. A few of you may roll your eyes at my impending fear and quarter life crisis, but it's only because I get it. I understand how life simply flies by and you really can't get it back.

In all honesty, I thought I would have accomplished more by now, and I think that's what is really getting me down about the whole thing. I always thought I would have seen more of the world, be settled in my career job and maybe even have a pooch or two. I'm one of those who always wanted the most out of life, but it's hit me like a pie in the face that life doesn't always allow you to follow the plan.

I thought I would share with you a few things I've learnt: 

1. Life ain't easy
Independence comes at a price, that's for sure. I worked in hospitality for a year straight out of uni and apart from the beautiful humans I worked with, I hated it. I often found myself on the top floor of the hotel at night, staring across Newcastle and thinking 'I'm doing it for you'. I never ever wanted to return back home after my degree - why would I give up wonderful city living for living in the sticks again? It made no sense. Freedom isn't cheap and you have to work hard for it and sometimes you have to reflect for a moment to reiterate to yourself what you're doing it for. That is something that helped me a lot and gave me the motivation to keep going. Unfortunately, unless you are one of those lucky ones that landed their dream job straight after education, you have to work hard doing something you're not fond of to support yourself on your journey. This leads me to:

2. Bills come first
Oh man, the money I would have if I still lived at home. I just know it would have cost me my sanity. I've luckily always been pretty good with money and an instinctive saver - never having touched an overdraft. (Not bragging simply stating it can be done).

Would I like to go for a meal out three times a week or treat myself to a cocktail that's not on a Happy Hour menu? Of course. Unfortunately, that's not realistic. Priorities and all that. So many people I know are still living with their family and even in their late 20s, paying minimal rent and they're still left with £3 to their name at the end of the month. I would love to have that freedom, but unfortunately that damn council tax bill isn't going to pay itself. Upon reflection, a couple months travelling would have been nice, but I've been unemployed for about 10 months now and I'm thankful that I didn't do the splurging. I'm not saying live like a nun - I still enjoy cocktails at the weekend, getting my hair done and the odd ASOS splurge, but be mindful; you never know what's around the corner. 

3. Your parents were right
As much as it annoys me and I hate to admit to it, but I found that more often than not, you'll be repeating many a wise word your parents had to say. What you used to find yourself rolling your eyes to, you'll be applying in your everyday life. Yes, food wastage is a real thing, the little things do add up and the cleaning definitely doesn't do itself. Mum, Dad: I'm sorry for not believing you.

4. Say 'Yes' more
I think what growing up taught me the most is take those life changing opportunities as and when you can. I regret turning down work placements, stop-starting blogging and trips abroad. I was a bit stubborn and thought I knew better, but let me tell you now - those opportunities don't usually come around again. I feel like some were a test and I failed. Grasp life and stop procrastinating! Investing in your future is more important than you think it is. Acknowledge what you love and what you're good at, and go for it! 

5. Appreciate the good things in life
It's so easy for someone to get so wrapped up in what's going wrong that you forget to acknowledge the positives. I always find myself comparing myself to others, particularly those younger and more successful and it gets me down. I believe that some of the shit that's happened to me has kept me grounded and realistic, but sometimes I have to just sit back and be thankful.

I am eternally appreciative to have a strong support network around me. If it wasn't for my boyfriend, I don't think I'd be the person I am today. He supports me in a number of ways. No, I don't have an extensive friendship list, but I learnt that that's OK. I'm not one for the superficial 'Mean Girls' friendship circles, they're far too stressful and meaningless. Invest in quality people who will be there for you. I love mine and a big thank you. 

What I want you to take from this is to enjoy your youth! Be sensible financially, but also remember that you're here once - say yes to those opportunities that will enrich your experiences. Be safe and be healthy. I'm going to take that forward with me. 


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