20 December 2016

Everything I Learnt Before I Turned 18

I think I have already mentioned that this year is the year of my 18th birthday, so two days ago, I turned 18. Wow. I have to say that I can't believe I have now been around for a whole 18 years, but it's true. I started the day with a slow morning, opening presents and cards with my family. I got some lovely presents including some gorgeous jewellery, a set of 18 polaroids (one of me for each year of my life), a fancy watch, and a copy of Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur.

On the day of my birthday, 14 of us, me and my family and boyfriend all went to a restaurant in the city to celebrate. Then we came home to drink tea and eat cake (my grandparents made a very impressive cake), which was delicious. In the evening when everyone has gone home, me and my dad went to a gig to see Martha Reeves and the Vandellas and I bought us an alcoholic drink, because I can now: it was a different but great gig and the cider wasn't bad either.

I thought a good way to celebrate my birthday with you lot would be to share everything that I have learnt so far in my life. I've been through lots of things like every 18 year old: different schools, different friendships, a boyfriend, exams, up and down mental health, and figuring out who I am.

I didn't think I'd have very many points to share with you for this post, but when I sat down to start writing this I suddenly realised that I have actually learnt quite a lot and it has definitely all made me into a better person. Going through struggles and high points in life is a great way to gain life experience, learn about yourself and improve yourself.

Get rid of toxic people in your life.

I was able to see this in action when I transitioned from high school to sixth form. Most of my friends went to a different sixth form to me which meant that it was a really easy way not to stay friends with them. This may sound horrible, but I am glad that I didn't stay friends with them.

I have now been able to make lots of new different friends from all different backgrounds and all wanting to go on to different things. It has helped to teach me how to make friends and how to selectively choose who I get along with best and which kinds of people annoy me just a little bit. My old friends were completely different to me, so getting away meant I could make my own friends and become more myself without any restrictions.

Volunteering feels really worthwhile.

At the start of my long summer holiday after GCSE's, I volunteered with my mum at the childminders she works at and I started volunteering with my local Rainbows group this year. Both of these have helped to show me how good it feels to help other people for free and how you can really see the change you are making in someone else's life.

In rainbows, I have seen little girls start to grow up, become more confident, and understand about themselves and the world around them. It has also given me another source of friendship: I have made friends with all the other volunteers and the girls all feel like friends. One of the reasons I started volunteering at all was to show that I could do it, that I could get the confidence needed to be good at it. It has given me a really good opportunity to grow myself and become a lot more confident and I think this will definitely when I do my Guiding Leadership Qualification next year.

You are always capable of more than you think you are.

As humans, we are always encountering self doubt and insecurities about what we are capable of and what we want to achieve in our lives. I have learnt that we are actually capable of a lot more than we think we are if we just take the risk and do what we really want to do. If we want it enough and are determined enough to work for it, we'll get there and we'll show that self doubt was wrong.

Creation over consumption.

Whenever I have read articles about being more creative or imaginative, it states that you need to create more than you consume and you will get better and gain your own unique style in whatever creative venture you're taking on. This is something which I have learnt but that I have yet to put into practise as well as I would like because of running out of time for my own creativity but never for social media or magazines or reading. This is annoying but definitely a new year's resolution.

Having the right mindset is worth a lot.

Learning this has been amazingly beneficial in improving my relationships with everyone and the way I view my life. If I could give advice to anyone, I would probably tell them that the way to make their life better would be to get the right mindset. For example, believing you can achieve something or that you are capable of something, helps for you to stay positive and determined and finish what you started in the way you wanted. You will probably achieve exactly what you set out to do with the right mindset. It is a way of leaving any judgement of your future behind and embracing the present so you can live the way you want to.

Talking to people is beneficial to both of you.

Just talking and letting yourself out of your own head once in a while releases the pressure of any thoughts and feelings that may have built up inside. This helps to reduce overwhelm and stress because there is less floating around in your mind to filter through.

Also, it can just be nice for you to share yourself with someone and for them to then feel like they can share themselves with you. This builds up a connection between you both and helps to show that everyone is human and we are all different and unique, bringing our own little thing to the world.

Embracing fear is exciting.

Through blogging, I have found out about embracing fear as a creative and that it doesn't have to be nerve-wracking and worrying, it can be exciting and a fun kind of risky. Obviously, fear isn't always going to be pretty, but something if you can break through the fear, the other side can be beautiful. And that is definitely what you have to remember when taking a leap with your creativity or life, because otherwise, you won't ever even find out if it would have been beautiful.

Thanks to Elin Loow.

Growing up isn't meant to be easy.

Growing up is difficult and it is supposed to be. This is the time in ours lives when we have to figure it all out and start to make big decisions about our future. None of that sounds easy, and trust me, even thinking about it is complicated. Hopefully, I will just be able to accept the fact this is all supposed to be impossible and make myself just take a risk and go with whatever I think I want.

Not being okay is okay.

We can't all be completely happy all of the time. As humans, it is literally impossible. Accept it or you'll always pretend or fake your feelings and that is not good for you or anyone else.

Taking opportunities is scary, but makes you proud.

I have taken lots of opportunities as I have grown up, got more confident, and made myself take risks. When I actually manage to achieve something through taking a scary opportunity, it definitely makes me feel proud, I have managed to prove to myself that I could do it. And normally it goes even better than I could have hoped and I gain experiences, memories, friends, and new skills. All from taking one tiny risk.

You are allowed to give yourself time and space.

If you ever just simply run out of energy, you can just give yourself some time and space to recuperate. This could be in any small or big way, that just helps you to stop and think, and reevaluate what you are doing and why you had to stop. I find this especially useful as an introvert and a very self reflexive kind of person.

Whenever I know I have gone overboard, run out of energy, or just given myself more than I could handle, knowing I can stop and rest for a while is amazingly useful. Sometimes this time and space can even generate ideas, motivation, or determination for any of your passions or goals. This means I definitely find this useful for A levels, because they are hard, and a long slog, so resting allows me to realise my goal and get renewed motivation to work hard and get there.

Listen to others and then do it your way anyway.

I like this advice. I once read a quote about how you should learn the rules like an expert and break them like an artist. It reminds me that following the rules isn't the most important thing in life and that sometimes to be able to go the extra mile and do that amazing thing, breaking the rules can be necessary. I think we should always take into account what others say because other people can help give us different perspectives or insights into a situation which can be useful, but we should therefore listen to everyone and take it all into account, before sitting down by ourselves with all the information and thinking about what we want or the way we want to do it.

Don't get attached to the internet.

Using the internet and social media is automatic for our generation. We were born in the rise of the internet and so have never known any different. While the internet is a wonderful invention and has so many advantages and good things about it, we should be mindful that we don't overuse it or become reliant on it. It is so easy for the fear of missing out online to become an obsession and that is really unhealthy. All of us should be able to take a step back from the internet and connect to the real world whenever we want.

Creativity and intelligence come in all different forms.

I find myself constantly thinking about how intelligence and creativity really do come in a multitude of amazing and useful forms, but this always seems to clash with the mentality that you have to pass exams or you aren't going to succeed. It is a hard thing to embrace but I am starting to understand how true it is. I only wish that the government would recognise this because so many people leave school believing they aren't any good at anything when really it is only that school didn't show them what they can succeed at. I find it really sad that school never seems to do this and that it can make us feel like we aren't going to achieve even when we are talented or passionate or determined.

Thanks to Ken Robinson.

Never forget your inner child.

I read two brilliant posts this year on embracing your inner child and using them to figure out what you want now in life. We should never forget about this part of us because it holds so much honesty about the people we wanted to be and the things we wanted to do because society took over and conditioned us differently.

Thanks to Made Vibrant and Elin Loow.

Mental and physical health have ups and downs.

We can't all be at our peak all of the time. We need to start accepting that because so many of us wear ourselves down until we have to stop and take a break because we simply can't go on. Learning to understand our bodies and the signals it gives us to show when it is doing well or when it could be doing better can be useful to figure our if we need to take a break. Life is a rollercoaster, if we were always flying high we wouldn't appreciate it enough and would take it all for granted. Being hurtled to the ground once in a while reminds us what we have and what we should be grateful for.

Going to events like festivals and gigs is when I feel best.

I have been to so so many amazing gigs, and latitude, and radio one's big weekend. They have all be completely amazing. For me, live music is a way of forgetting about everyday life and being about to focus on something I really enjoy and that makes me happy. I can be myself, dance around like an idiot, and get to hear 'that album' or 'that song' live. It gives me lots of memories of being happy and not having to worry about everything else going on in everyday life because you simply don't have any opportunity to focus on something else.

Thanks to a dad who has a job which can get me to lots of gigs.

Live in the moment.

I love to live in the moment and know how important it is because we only get one life. We may as well make the most of our one life and stay present and in the moment throughout so that we can be aware of it all and enjoy it to the best of our ability. I feel like it is the most we can do because we are all mortal and so must life our one life the best we can.

Thanks to Satsuki Shibuya.

Having a voice is important to me.

I want people to know what I stand for and how important it is for me. In every school report I can remember I've been told I am too quiet. Now I am going to show them all that I can be quiet but I also can have a voice and stand up for myself and my planet. Because being loud isn't everything. I can have a voice and be silent.

Thanks to Susan Cain.

Your most honest work is normally your best.

Something I am ready to embrace as an 18 year old wanting to connect with people and help them.

Perfection isn't human.

Done is better than perfect. Draft it first. You can always try again. Our lives are a rollercoaster. We are all human. None of us are more or less than human, so we need to start realising that. We need to know that as humans we will have flaws and make mistakes and not be perfect. But it literally doesn't matter.

Always be informed before you try and argue an opinion.

I tend to try and avoid most discussions about big world topics but some it can be good to make sure other people fully get where I stand on a certain topic or to just educate people on the facts so that they can make their own informed judgement about what they think. Using education effectively like this can help to prevent people from interpreting views in the wrong way or immediately believing a headline on social media when it may not be true. Being informed means that everyone can choose their own opinion and be able to know exactly why they think that, which I find really useful whenever I am questioned about why I believe in something or what it means.

Thanks to my parents and boyfriend.

What are some important lessons you've learnt?



Merry Christmas everyone.
And happy new year.