May 23, 2016

10 Things I Didn’t Learn Until My Late Twenties

I’m 28 and although I’m terrified about reaching the big 3-0 next year, I’ve actually enjoyed my late twenties far more than my earlier ones. I think it’s because the older we get, the more comfortable with ourselves we become. Heck, maybe we all just chill out?! I know I have.

I’ve also found that in my late twenties I’ve learned far more than I did when I was in my younger ones, and maybe that’s because I’ve just accepted more about myself, my life and my surroundings. This life stage has taught me far more than any other and if that’s a sign of things to come then I genuinely look forward to what 30, 40 and beyond brings. However there are some lessons that didn’t take root until my late twenties, things that feel particularly poignant to this age. Things like…

1. There’s no magic pills for a quick fix perfect body
Life doesn’t have a secret to the ultimate quick fix and perfect body. Dammit. I spent years thinking that bigger boobs, straighter teeth and thicker hair would be a fast track to having more confidence. I was wrong. It would have been a fast track to a better body, don’t get me wrong, I’m not denying that! And if someone was to give me £15k right now, I’d probably still be asking for DD’s and veneers, however the pro’s of a better physical body aren’t a quick fix for confidence. That stuff comes from within (I’m aware I sound like a hippy – stay with me!) I learned in my late twenties that my body can look better and it can look worse – and I accepted that it would frequently yo-yo between the two depending on multiple factors. The lesson was that it was down to me how much importance I placed on my body as being the source of my confidence. I’ve got cellulite everywhere – literally everywhere. It’s a family trait – cheers Mum. I’ve got teeth that I hate (you’ll rarely catch me with my teeth showing in a photo) and my ass has literally quadrupled in size in the last year. But you know what? This is me. I could spend a fortune and improve these things, but I’d still find stuff to be unhappy about and ultimately I’m not a millionaire. To get a body I’m happier with I need to work my butt off (literally) in the gym. I need to forgoe the doughnuts and the midnight snacks and eat salads more. I need to drink less wine (thank God G&T is low calorie!) and more water. There’s no quick fix for the majority of us. We can change one thing, we can’t change it all unless we’re Kim and Kanye loaded, so if we want that perfect body we have to work for it – physically. Although if anyone wants to help me buy bigger boobs, I wouldn’t refuse!

2. Love Doesn’t always work out

When I was younger I clearly watched too many Nicholas Sparks films and had a really unrealistic opinion of relationships and love. I lived in a Fairytale bubble believing that my Prince Charming would ride down the road, scoop me up, marry me and give me a gazillion babies. I realised (far too late) that Prince Charming is actually just a twat in tinfoil. I also learnt, and painfully may I add, that love doesn’t conquer all. I had this opinion that love – that dream, fairytale love that you see in films and read about in books, that it overcomes everything and anything in its path. And while I still think that it can overcome anything (potentially) I’ve learned that in reality love doesn’t always win. You can love someone passionately and completely but that doesn’t mean you’ll end up together because sadly life can and does get in the way. Circumstances sadly can prevent love from prevailing. But that’s okay, because the older we get the more content we are with life anyway. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it Sparks.

3. I can do this
On a more positive note (you can put the violins away now) my late twenties has been a time when I’ve realised I can do this. And by “this” I mean life. Don’t get me wrong, I might not be able to boil an egg (no really, I can’t) but I can do adult life – whatever adult life actually involves. I’ve got a house, a car, a career – I’ve got a child! I can do this, I am doing this! My house might not always be spotless and you’re likely to find Lego underfoot frequently, but I’ve got a home to call my own.  My car might not be a brand new, top of the range snazzy number but I’ve got one and it’s mine and it gets me from A-B. I’m holding down single parenthood, a career, a house, a blog, a social life (occassionally) and all of my other responsibilities. I spent years thinking “I’ll get this whole adult thing later” when in reality I was already doing it. And yes as the meme says: “a lot of adulting is just googling how to do stuff” …but still. I can do life! *blows party popper*

4. Life can be fun
I’m late to the party on this one. Being diagnosed with clinical depression at 16 meant that I finally understood why I worried, overthought about everything and fun seemed to be a rarity in my life because of this. Don’t get me wrong, I had fun. But I was always so sensible, so mature and probably a little bit too driven in my teens, to fully take advantage of the opportunities to have carefree fun. I never got properly drunk and let my hair down or went on a girls holiday until after the age of 25. I had lots of friends and I enjoyed nights out and day trips with the girls, but I was always a bit too controlling of myself to fully let my hair down. I made memories, but not carefree ones. When I hit 25 and found myself a single mum, my whole life and perspective changed. And although I still battle with my depression demons regularly, life and age has taught me that life can still be fun. I’ve had some amazing nights out (remember to drink responsibly folks) and been on girls holidays, I’m doing the things that I’ve always wanted to do – but previously always found excuses to avoid. Life can be fun when you take the opportunities – what a revelation that one was for this control freak!

5. Boys Suck
They burp, they fart, they leave dirty clothes on the floor and they are far from perfect creatures. I know this because I’m raising one and he’s only five years old and displaying these behaviours already. It’s genuinely amazed me that all of their creature behaviours – including finding their farts hilarious – is inbuilt within them. It actually does come as part of their DNA. This one floored me, literally. They are a whole different species and so my late twenties has taught me not to hold it against them too much. Or at least, to try not to anyway.

6. There is no such thing as perfect fake
I swear by mine, but I’ve accepted there is no perfect fake tan. Dammit. The one I use right now is brilliant, better than all the others I’ve ever tried before. But I still get build up, I still get claw shaped streaks on my wrists and hands – and for the love of God I still can’t get it to fade equally. I spend my life chasing the perfect bronze body and in reality the only way I’m getting a tan – is the old fashioned way: by laying in the sun. I just so happen to live in a country where summertime is classed as one good weekend in May and that’s it. And where the constant sky colour resembles a tabloid newspaper shade of off white and grey. I will continue to strive for a good fake tan, but alas, with time I’ve learnt there is no such thing as the perfect fake tan. Likewise there is no such thing as a perfect fake anything. Stack to the originals in everything – you won’t go far wrong.

7. Friends are the family we choose for ourselves
I love my family, I really do. But I’ve also learned the value of true friendship. Not that I hadn’t before, but now after sufficiently huge dramas (more than I’d class as normal) my friends have become the people I feel just as connected to as my family. The people who are there for us, who support us and put up with our constant man-moans and slightly neurotic whittles about random things…well, when they’ve proven that they love you regardless, you realise the true value of friendship – and it’s heartfelt. I couldn’t live without my friends.

8. Good Health is invaluable
I take medication for various health issues but nothing I’d class as major. Health was always something I took for granted, until you reach an older age when you start to lose people more frequently. I’d never been to a funeral until I was 23. And since then I’ve been to several. I’ve lost acquaintances, friends and family due to poor health conditions, some cruelly unfair. But it’s this that has taught me to value my health and that of my son, my friends and family. Listening to your body is vital, living a healthy lifestyle is so important. I never want to take good health for granted again.

9. You have to hustle for the pretty things
I love pretty things. I like shoes, I love make up and I’m a sucker for cute house bits to decorate my home. I love clothes and jewellery and I’m basically just a walking wish list of things I want to buy. My late twenties has shown me more than ever (because I did already know this to an extent obviously) that I have to hustle for the things I want. That Mulberry handbag, or those Valentino shoes – I’m going to have to work my butt off for them. All the make-up I see reviewed on blogs that I want to buy immediately – I have to work for them. Work hard. Good things don’t come to those who wait, they come to those who hustle! “Everyday I’m hustling” *does crazy dance *

10. The time is now
I used to think I’d reach my goals later, I’d work for that promotion next month, I’d do this or that later. But how much longer can I keep waiting to achieve the things I want? I’m thirty next year and there’s things I want to see and do before them. There’s experiences I want to have and memories I want to make. Something inside me clicked recently and I just woke up and wondered what I was actually waiting for. A man to make memories with? A better job and then I’d start working harder? What’s the point in waiting really? All you’re doing is wasting more time. Reach for the stars now, there’s nothing to lose. The time is now.

Thank you late-twenties for being so informative and helpful! Do any of these points sound true for you too?

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