As of 11.50 pm on March 26th, 2020, I am 25 years old. I spent my 25th birthday social distancing and eating a Peppa Pig birthday cake (it was the only cake in Tesco with an expiry date far enough away when my mum panic bought it in anticipation of quarantining). It wasn’t the day I expected, that’s for sure. But, my distress over the fact I wouldn’t be spending the day celebrating with my closest friends was the perfect distraction from the terrifying fact that I’M BLOODY 25!
I don’t quite know how it’s happened if I’m being honest but I definitely think I’m having a bit of a quarter-life crisis. I’m 25 and nowhere near where I thought I’d be by this milestone age. When I was younger, I genuinely – though a bit naively – thought I’d be married with a house and kids by now. Instead, I’ve never been in a long-term relationship, I’m yet to graduate from university and I can barely cook a balanced meal. I see girls I went to school with achieving everything I thought I’d have and I can’t help but wonder if I’ve fallen behind.
Regardless, in the quarter of a century I’ve been on this planet, I’d like to think I’ve learnt a thing or two about life, style and everything else…
- Surround yourself with good people. I spent far too much of my adolescent life thinking that being popular would make me happy. I was wrong. I used to be part of the largest and most notorious sports club at my university and was absolutely miserable. Because, while I deemed to people in this society to be “cool”, they treated me awfully. A small group of great friends are infinitely better than a big group of terrible ones, and the friends I’ve made since are incredible.
- Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle. I spent my whole life saying I wanted to be a writer but, until a few years ago, did absolutely nothing about it. Then, one day, I remembered the above quote which was written on the wall of my secondary school girls’ changing room and decided to make a change. Now, I blog regularly on Blonde Sartorial (which I absolutely adore), have written for a number of local, national and international publications, and have even been nominated for a Student Publication Association Award.
- Know your worth. And, never settle for less. This applies to your career, friendships, love life, everything. I spent two whole years of my early twenties fixated on a guy who knew I had feelings for him. Despite not feeling the same way, and having no intentions whatsoever of that changing, he strung me along regardless. Never be afraid to demand what you deserve and never be afraid to walk away from projects or people that don’t respect your time or efforts.
- Wear what you love. Seriously. Do it. There’s a somewhat magical quality about how incredible the right clothes can make you feel. Never wear something just because it’s on-trend. Never wear something just because your friends do. And, never wear something because someone else tells you to. Figure out the things that make you happy and fill your wardrobe with them.
- Never try a new skincare product the day before a big event. Storytime! I was due to attend a ball a few years ago and, the day before had been to town to pick up some eye cream. The store had an offer that meant I received a free facemask and exfoliator with my purchase and, given they were from a brand whose other products I used regularly, I decided to try them out. Big mistake! I had an allergic reaction to one of the ingredients in the exfoliator and woke up the next day with a burning, peeling rash all over my face. Never again!
And, looking towards the future, I’m focussing on self-improvement: setting goals and working hard to achieve them. I’ve spent the past few weeks social distancing and being productive as hell. As well as continuing to study, I’ve been optimising my CV and LinkedIn profile, applying for graduate jobs and digitally networking with my contacts within the media industry. I’ve always been slightly fearful of entering the world of work, but I’m trying to best to embrace my future, and doing everything I can to be prepared for it.