As I turned 23 on Wednesday, and besides drinking far too much bubbles and devouring birthday cake, I reflected on everything I had learnt and how much I continue to learn on this crazy roller coaster called life. I discovered Fanta zero tastes just as good (if not better, controversial?) as regular Fanta, I have far too many embarrassing drunken stories and hangovers do get worse the older you get. I have gained and lost friends in the same year, trusted the wrong people and stayed in relationships I really didn’t want to be in; and I’ve come to realise that it’s not selfish to make time for yourself. So, here are some of the 23 things I have learnt in my 23 years.
“Do one thing every day that scares you”.
We all have our comfort zones, for some they extend wider than others and for some they are smaller, but we all have that psychological state of familiarity, where we feel in control and even a small shift outside the familiarity may cause low levels of stress or anxiety. There is nothing wrong with familiarity, it is safe and we take comfort in knowing; knowing that we have security and stability in our lives. There are many people who seek more, who spend their lives excelling out of their comfort zone on a day-to-day basis. Most of us fear change, whether we like to admit it or not, change makes us feel uneasy; it’s a shake up in our routine. Attempting to step out of your comfort zone will involve changes in habits and routine, and getting used to it will not happen overnight. A lot of people believe that if they have been doing something for a long time, then it obviously is working, so why change it?
This is a subject I have wanted to write about for a while but I was waiting for the right words — We are living in a time in history where we have over 8 billion people, around the world, at our finger tips; people we can interact with. But can this level of international connection and ease cause issues when it comes to dating and relationships?
If we look back at dating through history, a lot has changed. No longer do we need to give people our home phone numbers or provide them with any real details other than a means of contact and proof you aren’t a catfish! Taking a step back, we can see how far courtship and relationships have altered throughout time. Nowadays, by some people, monogamy is seen as insignificant and more of a “status symbol” and represents a privileged position within society, rather than a symbolism of love. Even in the last decade, there has been a vast change in how we meet and date people, and how we communicate with each other in general. Our eyes are glued to our phones, necks bent over and there are many who have forgotten how to have a real conversation (this has led to an increase in anxiety, but I will save that for a later post).
It was very common for people to meet their partner at a young age, marry young and spend the rest of your life with that one person. Thus, nowadays, the process of dating, falling in love and getting married has somewhat turned on its head, and finding that “special someone” can be a lot more challenging than it once was. It seems we are a society of commitment-phobes, we are afraid to commit to one person and, as they say on Love Island, afraid to “put all our eggs in one basket”. It seems that people require a back-up, if one person doesn’t work-out there is someone laying in wait for them to date next, but how is this attitude affecting relationships?
Recently, I have found myself sitting and thinking about my teenage years, specifically that time between 15 to 17-years-old. I was thinking about how much has changed since then, how much I have changed since then. I feel as though if my 16-year-old self could see myself now, at 21, she wouldn’t even believe what she was seeing. Last year, I watched a video from TeenVogue where Emilia Clarke is giving advice to her younger self, and I recently rediscovered the video/letter and it inspired me to write a letter of my own. I have also seen other posts similar that I have also taken inspiration from, so credit goes to those people as well for the idea.
At the beginning of this year, I set myself a challenge to read 20 books – I know that doesn’t seem a lot but with uni, work and social life, it’s sometimes difficult to find the extra time – before the end of 2018. I also did this last year and ended up failing miserably due to events in my personal life, but this year I am more determined than ever to meet this goal.
Every month, I create a reading list of books I wish to complete within that month, and below are the books I have chosen for March – if anyone has read, or is currently reading any of these books, let me know in the comments and I would love to discuss your thoughts and opinions on them.
*ALERT: POSSIBLE SPOILERS*
American fantasy drama, ‘The Shape of Water’, directed by Guillermo del Toro, follows a mute cleaner called Elisa, portrayed by English actress Sally Hawkins, who also starred in Submarine (alongside Craig Roberts), Happy-Go-Lucky and Made in Dagenham, who falls in love with a mysterious amphibious creature, portrayed by Doug Jones. Set in Baltimore in 1962, Elisa works as a cleaner for a high-security government lab, along with her friend Zelda (portrayed by Octavia Spencer). One day, while at work, scientists reveal a creature they have found in the swamps – their plan being to experiment and learn about this amphibious specimen. Elisa takes an interest in the amphibian creature and they begin communicating through sign language. Their bond blossoms and the two quickly fall in love.
“A bad day is like a bad hair day. Tomorrow, it will be better.”
Life takes its toll on all of us, the pressures found at every corner can have a major impact on us from time-to-time, and having to keep up with the day-to-day can be difficult. Reminder: it’s okay to have a bad day once in a while. When you have been working hard day-after-day, soon your energy will decrease and you find yourself burning a candle at both ends – we have all been there.
So, after what feels like a long absence, I am finally managing to post again, and I’m going straight in with a deep subject. I had some unpleasant experiences at the end of last year and I felt that it was time to stop giving a shit about the small things and focus on myself, focus on my future and aspirations, but most importantly, focus on the now, my happiness now, and living in the moment. It’s genuinely so important to stop caring about the little things, that in the long run don’t matter. It’s important to focus on what truly brings happiness and positivity into your life.
Pressure is projected onto us all our lives, no matter the circumstances, in one way or another, we all feel a sense of pressure. Whether this is a pressure from work, university, school, to look a certain way, dress a certain way, act a certain way – we all feel it in some form. People are pressured to hide who they are, hide any sign of vulnerability with the fear of coming across as weak or dependent on others. This is simply not the case, there is really nothing wrong with showing vulnerability. If someone shows their vulnerable side, it shows they have courage, it shows they are strong – not weak.
Taking people for granted – we are all guilty of it. Whether it be loved ones, work colleagues, or even strangers, we are all guilty of taking people for granted in some way or another.
We go about our daily lives, in our own bubbles and own thoughts, thinking about work, school, what we are going to make for tea? There are so many things that race through our minds while we are going about our day. It is rare for us to stop and think about what we are doing or what is going on around us – I guess, as human beings, we are all selfish, even the most selfless of people have their moments – whether conscientiously or sub-conscientiously.
As most of you know, Tuesday was World Mental Health Day, so I decided that it was important for to write my post this week focused on mental health. It is a subject that needs to be discussed, within our society, without the cloud of stigma hanging over it. We should never have to fear opening up and talking about the importance of our mental well-being.