Another year, another birthday. Happy birthday to me! With every birthday approaching fast, there’s Shelby freaking the f**k out about life. 21 was a big learning curve for me with life, family and friends that I thought it was only right to round up everything I’ve learnt leading up to my 22nd (shoutout to Aoife for helping me with the title of this post).
I’ve learnt a lot over the past year and thanks to the 22 lessons below, I’ve become a bigger and better person for it. I don’t post many personal posts at the moment and I think this is only my second one, but I am aiming to do a lot more of these, as I think it’s really important to share with everybody all the lessons you’ve learnt from experiences so we can all learn together.
Here are 22 lessons I’ve learnt up until my 22nd:
Although being kind has been turned in to a negative recently, the best thing to do is push through the snarky “you’re too kind” comments and be the best person you can possibly be. Just also know your limits regarding who deserves your kindness and who doesn’t.
People are selfish.
One thing that’s terrified me over the past year is that people really are selfish. A lot of people now only care about themselves and will never put in the same effort with you, as you would with them. I have had certain friends where I’ve had to sit for endless hours listening to them talk about themselves and their lives, none of them ever just saying a simple “How have you been?” to me. If you have any friends like that in your life right now, please re-analyse the friendship.
Confront situations, don’t run.
I have always been a person who doesn’t do well with confrontation and would much rather disappear. However, I have learnt that you never get closure if you just run away from things you’re afraid of or don’t want to face. Although I find it extremely difficult to this day to confidently and openly confront my situations, no matter the guilt I feel afterwards and during – you’ll always feel that extra bit better in the end because you got that closure.
Appreciate your family and don’t be afraid to move away from toxic family members.
During the year between 21 and 22, I have definitely grown closer to my parents and my brothers, which I have really started to appreciate because at the end of the day, they are the people who are always going to have your back no matter what. I wouldn’t say I’m close to many other family members outside of my parents and brothers for many reasons, but as long as you’ve got the OG’s around you, it’s okay to step away from others who are toxic and don’t bring anything but negativity to your life.
Have an open mind.
Having an open mind is probably one of THE most important things to have during today’s society and over the last year, I have really taken that on board. I’m definitely not down for being offended at every little thing, but I am most certainly down for understanding a person’s way of living, their sexuality, their opinions on subjects I may not agree with, people making mistakes and growing from them, etc. Times have changed and the best thing to do is roll with it and learn.
Always listen to your instincts.
Honestly, I’ve stuck by this rule my whole life and it still is one I will preach every single day. If you know in your heart that something is wrong, you don’t want to do something or you have a bad vibe from a person… there’s an 100% chance you’re absolutely right. People may not like the decisions you make because of your instincts, but your instincts never lie. Trust yourself, listen to your heart and you will be saving yourself from a whole lot of negativity that you don’t need in your life.
Books are always the best solution.
I have always been a book-worm through and through, because books are the only things that keep me sane when I’m having an off day. Books have the power to transport you to a whole new world, meet new characters and follow said characters on their journeys to happiness (unless you’re in to Nicholas Sparks books, then you’re just in for a rollercoaster of heartbreak). Not only that, but as a writer, it allows me to explore new words and new methods of writing that I may never have known if I hadn’t have picked up a book. Reading is the best way to learn as a writer and I know my writing is definitely not top-notch, but I have improved over the years so much because of it.
Being alone isn’t that bad.
It really isn’t, okay? And if your family members and friends are telling you otherwise, then that’s a problem they need to deal with themselves. I have been alone the majority of my 22 years, with a couple of dates here and there, partners that didn’t work out, etc. but I’m not unhappy with that. If anything, I’m grateful that I didn’t jump in to anything for the sake of it and have allowed myself to grow alone, because if I hadn’t have done that, I wouldn’t be the independent woman I am today. Do I want a partner? Of course, I do. That will come in it’s own time though and whilst I’m waiting for that moment, I will keep doing me and be happy with it.
Quality, not quantity.
We grow up believing that if we don’t have a massive support system around us; we’re loners, we don’t have any friends, there’s something wrong with us, we’re not popular, etc. and that is just so disgustingly wrong and I hate that I had to grow up with that mind set because the people I surrounded myself with were toxic. I would much rather have a small close-knit group of friends who genuinely care about me and want to spend time with me, over having a massive group of ‘friends’ who are more like strangers to me and never have my back. It’s not about worrying how many people you have in your life, it’s about cherishing the amount you do have – big or small – who appreciate and love you, whilst making the most of your life with them.
I am the absolute worst for freaking out and believing that I don’t have enough time to do everything in my life, time’s running out, you’re never going to achieve everything, etc. and not to be negative, but all of that can be true. Yes, we don’t have enough time to everything in our lives. Yes, time is running out. Yes, we ‘may not’ achieve everything we want to. But the important thing is to focus on the now and not look so far in to the future. Do the best you can with the time you’ve got and everything you want will soon happen, just as long as your work hard for it. It’s only been this past year that I’ve taken a step back to analyse just how much time I have and that I need to work with it. I keep believing that because I’m 22 and don’t have a partner or a baby, I’m already so behind everyone else and it’s just not true. I laugh at myself now because I have so many more years to worry about that – for now, I just need to focus on reaching those goals of my own and a family will come when I least expect it.
Turn off the electronics.
This is a really difficult one to do because for the majority of us, our phones are an extra limb. I do spend a lot of time on my phone throughout the day, unless I’m at work and by the end of the day, my eyes just hurt and sting so much – is it really worth it? Taking time away from electronics is still quite difficult regarding my laptop and TV, as I’m always writing up some sort of blog post and there’s always a TV show to catch up on, but when it’s come to my phone, I have learnt to put it down on an evening when I’m with my family watching one of our shows. I do have to say though, that one is still a bit of work in progress, as my dad always tells me off for missing a vital part of a show that I’ll question later on because I was too busy looking at my phone haha!
Embrace the outside world more.
I am very much only in my comfort zone when I’m locked away in the house, but I have recently been pushing myself to appreciate the outside world more. I’ll definitely appreciate it more in the Summer because that’s when I shine the most, however, I have been getting myself out of the house at every opportunity possible and have also had a couple of city breaks for a change of scenery.
Smiling is important.
At every given chance, I will smile, because it is the best medicine to keep your spirits high and who knows, you may even make someone’s day by smiling at them. You may get some that don’t appreciate a smile from you, but the majority of the time, those people you smile at didn’t realise they needed it until they got it. So, keep smiling you gorgeous lot!
It’s okay to let people go.
I’ve always had trouble with this and I never knew why, but I think it’s because I’ve recently learnt that I can’t deal with change very well, and letting go of someone who’s been such a big part of your life is change that my heart can’t deal with. The quote “if you love someone, let them go” has been a quote that I’ve had trouble understanding. I’ve always believed up until now that if you love someone, shouldn’t you fight to keep them in your life? Oh Shelby… no, no, no. Keeping somebody in your life that isn’t doing you any good is the worst thing you can ever do to yourself. It’s going to be hard without them and it’s going to hurt, but letting go is going to make you the best person you can possibly be.
Take care of your body.
This one I’m still learning… But I have learnt not to take my body for granted because if I don’t give it the care it needs, everything is just going to go downhill! I need to drink more water, not snack too much between meals, portion out food wisely and most important, HAVE A SKIN CARE ROUTINE!!!
Money doesn’t last forever.
I wish we could go back to the good old days of being a child who got money just for the sake of it because I HATE money now! As soon as you start earning money for yourself that’s it, you’ve got so much responsibility on you and it’s just not fun anymore. Money doesn’t last forever, so while it is fun buying everything you couldn’t treat yourself to before you got a job, it’s also a matter of remembering to be responsible with it because the older you get, there’s so much you have to put your money towards instead, e.g. driving lessons, a car, a house, rent, mortgages, a family, etc. Saving accounts are your best friend now!
Never compare yourself to anybody.
We are who we are and we can’t change that – so we might as well accept it, right? Work on being YOU and you’ll never need to compare yourself to anybody else because you’ll love yourself the way you are. Plus, most of the things you see on social media today are not even half of someone’s life, it’s like a quarter of it, so you never know what insecurities and life situations they’re dealing with themselves behind the scenes. Nobody’s perfect.
You don’t owe anyone anything.
I’ve recently learnt that people really believe you owe them something and sweetie, no we don’t. Whether it be your life choices, who you talk to, or an explanation for something, it seems that everybody feels like they should have an opinion on it, but no, you don’t owe them anything and they should never expect you to. Another thing – if you’re not sorry about something, don’t apologise. Say it with me: I DON’T OWE ANYONE ANYTHING.
Don’t force relationships.
I have some family members who strongly believe that you can’t really make a life for yourself without a ‘husband’. Blahhhh, eye roll. I have learnt that actually, yes you can and I would much rather make a life for myself before finding a partner because then at least I can be proud of myself for doing it alone. However, that doesn’t stop the pressure of finding somebody just to make you’re family happy and I have forced myself to talk to guys and attempt relationships before when my heart just wasn’t in it. I’m only hurting the person and myself, so it isn’t worth it. I believe the right person will come along when I least expect it and that’s what I’m going to stick with.
You’re stronger thank you think.
Dealing with anxiety really can make you feel weaker than you actually are, to the point where you start believing it. I have definitely learnt over the past year that I am a heck of a lot stronger than I’ve allowed myself to believe and it’s been a massive eye opener. If there’s ever a moment where someone has done something to make me angry, I’ve had an argument with a family member or I’ve had a bad day, I would usually just go to my room and cry my little heart out, but I’ve seen a whole new side of me recently that I’m so proud of. 1. I cry all my tears out now by watching my TV shows because I’m always an emotional wreck with them and 2. Whenever I’m in a position where I’m angry and someone is picking a fight for no reason, I will walk away to allow us both time to calm down and then move on. Sometimes it’s just not worth the tears and the real solution is to be the bigger person and walk away instead of carrying it on.
It’s never too late to achieve your goals.
My goals have always circled around my blog and although I have been doing this since the age of 17, I never took it as seriously as I should have until now. If I had taken it more seriously back then, I may be a lot further along with my goals than I am now, but everything happens for a reason and I couldn’t be more proud of ‘BreakfastWithShelbys’. It’s taken me a while to get here and realise what I want, but now I’m here, it’s everything I need and want.
Always love yourself.
This one really has been the hardest lesson for me to learn and I think it always will be. I am very doubtful of myself and my mum tells me off for it all the time. There’s always going to be something I don’t like about myself, but I have to accept that there’s nothing I can do to change myself and I was made this way for a reason. I’m only going to be me once in this lifetime, so I need to appreciate and love myself as hard as I can.