It pains me to say this next sentence out loud never mind write it down for people to actually read, I have to be strong though and just hold my hands up and say I Lauren Reilly am turning 30 in 4 days. The inevitable has happened and after years of skipping through my 20s the dreaded day is almost upon me.
With such a momentous birthday approaching it’s got me thinking long and hard about my 20s, for me everything pre 20 is pretty much a blur. Awkward teenage years of knowing nothing about anything and spending most of my time in my bedroom in a fantasy dream land. Post 20 feels like yesterday, so much crammed in to 10 years. So many mistakes, so many shoulda woulda coulda moments. I decided I’d write down exactly what I wish I’d know then, almost a letter to my 20 year old self. Who knows if you’re 20 an reading this maybe you’ll learn a little.
IT’S OK TO SAY NO
I’m biologically a yes person, it’s in my nature to say yes. I spent my 20s saying YES to everything, YES to every single night out, YES to anyone asking a favour, YES to committing to plans I was unsure of, YES to hairstyles that most definitely should have been a NO! I spent so much time saying YES to absolutely everything I literally had no idea how to say no, I had no idea of my own opinion or what I actually liked. I was always scared of letting people down and hurting their feelings that YES became the easiest option. It’s taken me a long time but gradually the word NO became part of my vocabulary. Anything I’m unsure of now I try and say no to, however I will admit to making plans saying YES then saying NO at the last minute (sorry to my friends I know this is a terrible habit)
I guess what I’m trying to say is throughout your 20s be picky with your time, be assertive in your decisions . Say NO to the night out you aren’t feeling, say NO to the boy who’s asked you out a million times, say NO to the dress everyone else is saying YES to.
TIME REALLY IS A HEALER
One day something might happen to you that will shatter your world. Something that will make you lose faith in all that you know. You won’t be able to see it right away but in time you’ll recover. Whether it’s a heartbreak, a massive life changing event, a friends betrayal there will always be someone saying “give it time you’ll get over this” you will want to instantly punch that person in the face. What do they know about time? Then the strangest thing happens without you ever really realising time slips by and everyday you feel a bit more like yourself again.
All through my 20s I craved immediate gratification, I wanted answers instantly, I didn’t have time to waste I was always in such a hurry. I’ve learned with age that it’s ok to take your time. It’s ok to give someone else the time they may need. In a nutshell I’ve learned to trust in the timing of my life.
THE PEOPLE AROUND YOU MATTER (A LOT)
Whether your family is the one you were born into or the friends you pick as family, they will be your backbone, they will be your strength. Through most peoples 20s they find they have more disposable friends. Maybe you had a best friend from school who’s interests are now so different to yours you find yourself losing touch. It’s easy to make friends in your 20s i had the best time I had so many party friends and literally had the time of my life (but less said of my party days the better). As time goes on and the nights out become less frequent, people move away, people find love, people basically mature. What’s left or more importantly who’s left after all of that….they’re your forever friends. I was so busy saying YES to everything in my 20s I lost my way with the people who mattered the most.
Your forever friends will always be there, they’re the girls who’ve seen your heart break and helped you fix it. They’re the ones who’ve seen you at your very worst yet refuse to leave. The girls you know you can call at 3pm or 3am and they’re guaranteed to answer. Throughout your life you’ll sometimes hurt these girls and they’ll hurt you in return but you’ll always find your way back to each other.
SELF LOVE IS THE BEST LOVE
You know what it’s like you’re 21 and in love, this is it you’ve found the one. Fast forward a few months and Mr right has turned into Mr wrong. You dust yourself off and get back out there looking for the next love of your life, I feel like us girls are built to love its our motherly instinct to shower love so easily. You spend so much time looking for love and giving away so much of your love you forget to love yourself. I know this all sounds a bit Ru Paul (sorry if you don’t get that reference) but I wish I spent more time loving myself and focusing on me rather than my relationships.
Don’ sit around looking for the one, don’t waste your time it’s so precious. You’ll have a few wrongs before you stumble across your Mr right, also as bloody sickening as it is it’ll happen when you least expect it….
And that basically is a few things I wish I knew at 20. Here’s to the next 10 years and everything I’ll learn,
Big love Lauren