Sunday, 5 July 2015

20 lessons for (almost) 20 years

I'm coming up to 20, which is horrific and means I won't be a teenager anymore - it's not necessarily scary, it's just that I remember being four years old celebrating the Millenium, and doing handstands on the couch before dinner when I was seven, and now I'm reaching the end of my teenage years and I don't really know what I want to do in life. I know it will probably involve writing, or at least I hope it does - mainly I want a comfortable life, and to be happy with a pet goat and my wonderful girlfriend.

I've seen people do posts like these in the past, and also posts with letters to their younger selves - the beautiful Laura did one of these a while back and I cried my eyes out at one in the morning. I started writing this post ages ago in the notes section of my phone and now it's my 20th birthday, what better day to share it?

1. Don't pretend to like something to impress another person, even if that person if your significant other and that thing means the world to them. Being passionate about things is utterly special: don't try and force it or fake it, because why waste positive energy on something that isn't real? Appreciate other peoples' passions and by all means, grow to love them orgnically.

2. Let your loved ones know that you love them. As hard as it is to think about, one day they won't be there anymore. Never go to bed on an argument, and always appreciate the little things people do for one another.

3. Write and don't ever stop. Write wherever and whenever you can: write on napkins while you're waiting for dessert, write in the middle of the night when you can't sleep. Write when you should be doing your maths homework and when your bath has run cold.

4. Never take for granted those random acts of kindess. The teacher who asks if you're okay because you seemed distant in biology today, the old man who gives you his bus ticket because he's going home, the boy who rushes ahead to hold the door open for you.

5. It's okay to stand out. You wanna go to that rock concert but all of your friends are sneering because it isn't Beyonce? Who cares. Wear odd socks and wing your eyeliner as far out as you can, dye your hair neon blue and get your eyebrow pierced. You do you, boo.

6. Don't shit on other peoples' happiness and celebrations. Maybe you do think the latest trend is stupid and unnecessary but if it's making somebody happy, or if it's raising awareness for a cause, then leave people be. You're the stupid one, if you're making this a negative thing.

7. Make a conscious effort to look at the stars whenever you can. The world is infinite and when you remember that, your troubles seem a little bit smaller. They're still there, but so is the universe and you're made of the same stuff as the stars.

8. Self love is vastly important. Bubble baths, eating pasta at midnight to satisfy your cravings, reading your favourite book for the 10th time even though you know the ending makes you cry.

9. Learn to drive when you get the chance. It's expensive and terrifying but three years down the line when you're drowning in student loans and can barely afford Smart Price bread and it's 3am and you should be with your girlfriend when she's having a bad night, you'll wish you'd done it back then.

10. Your parents nag you but they do it for all the right reasons; practising your saxophone WILL make you better, taking your medication will do wonders for you skin and going to bed early will make you hate yourself a little less in the morning.

11. Don't be afraid to ask for help, regardless of the situation. There's a 99.9% chance that you won't be the first and you won't be the last. Your health and well-being are exponentially important.

12. Notice when you're being manipulated; open your eyes for people who are using you solely for their own gain. You don't owe anybody anything, remember that. You don't have to give excuses for ending any type of relationship that is toxic to you.

13. You can't help people who don't want to be helped. You can offer them all the love and support in the world but if they're dead set on ignoring it, you voice will be hoarse for no reason. You can't fix people with love alone.

14. Respect yourself and your surroundings - leave everyone you meet and everywhere you visit, better for it. Earth does not belong to us; look after it. Do everything with kindness.

15. Learn from your mistakes, even if you have to make them a few times. Everybody gets things wrong sometimes; take a deep breath, a step back, blink and apologise. Endeavour to do better next time. You've got this.

16. Nothing will fuck you up more than believing you should have your life together at the end of your teenage years, even though that's what has been drilled into you by an education that prioritises Pythagorus theorem over taxes and how to work a washing machine. Even though that's what the rom-coms tell you.

17. You're allowed to change your mind - you're the not the same person as you were 5 years or even 5 minutes ago. We are constantly learning and developing, we are constantly forming new opinions and gathering new information. It's okay.

18. Take care of yourself; you need to be healthy in order to heal, both physically and mentally.

19. It's a cliché, one of life's biggest, but you regret the stuff you didn't do. Try to grasp every opportunity that will be fun or exciting or educational. Stay safe and don't put yourself in harms way, but say yes as much as you can.

20. Learn to let go; when it's over, it's over. "Don't continue to water a dead flower" is the best advice I've ever heard. Use your time and energy wisely.

It's been a rollercoaster, these past 20 years - but here's to many more, with my girlfriend and my family and my friends by my side. Here's to late nights under the moon, writing poetry, dancing on the beach, laughing myself to sleep. Here's to happiness and a worthwhile future.


  1. Great advice. I didn't find 20 too scary but maybe it was because I was still a student and so in the middle of a little bubble where I could still live like a toddler. Happy Birthday for when it comes!

    Lisa | Not Quite Enough

  2. Happy birthday to you, you beautiful lady. I absolutely love all of your life lessons and some of them truly hit home. I really need to live for the moment more and not to worry about the future. I hope you've had the most amazing day!! xxxxx

    Jessie | allthingsbeautiful-x

  3. Katy, this is such a wonderful post and so very important. I was horrified when I turned 20 and this post has a lot of things I kept telling myself. Hearing it from someone else is 10000x more comforting! Hope you've had a fabulous birthday - you deserve it!
    Kiah -

  4. Happy birthday Katy :) I hope I'm as wise when I turn 20 next year! x

  5. Probably one of the best advice posts I have read in a long time! I am definitely going to take on board the "don't continue to water a dead flower" phrase, I feel like it suits my life rather perfectly at the moment :) xx