10 Thoughts On Turning 21

On Monday I celebrated my 21st Birthday, which still feels absolutely crazy to write or say I still feel very much stuck in my teens. But despite the denial I waved goodbye to another year and embraced 21 with open arms…well kind of. In the running up to my birthday and for a few days after I felt incredibly meh, I certainly hoped to have achieved slightly more by my 21st. Anyway, I was lucky enough to spend my birthday sitting on a beach in sunny Tenerife the holiday gave me a great opportunity to reflect on the year, the positives, negatives and even aspects I'd like to improve on. I feel incredibly refreshed and positive on my return from my holiday, so today I thought I'd share ten random thoughts on 21. Some of you out there may have had similar thoughts at 21 or may even have tips for the aspects I'd like to work on -

1. Feeling loved - Let's get the cheesiest out of the way first. On my birthday I was actually reduced to tears, which is a little unlike me as I'm not an overly emotional person. I felt incredibly overwhelmed with the text messages I received, old friends, new friends and family. I'm not a materialistic person but the fact that so many people had gone out of their way to even wish me a happy birthday made me feel like the luckiest person in the world. I feel lucky to have such a wonderful family, friends and partner who all went out of their ways to make sure I had a wonderful birthday.

2. Achievements - I feel like at times I dwell on the negatives, in general blowing your own trumpet can be seen as big headed or self centred but I think it's so important that we recognise and celebrate achievements that we have made, it spreads positivity and can really lift your spirits when you are feeling a bit meh about everything. Over the years I've managed way more than I ever thought possible of myself. My biggest achievement of 2014 was two promotions at work, that now see me in a more senior level job (something I had to literally fight for!) And my second achievement was passing my driving test and purchasing a car.

3. Coming out of my shell - If I said to anyone in my life (who knows me well) that I was shy they'd probably laugh in my face at the sheer prospect. Although I often come across as the bubbly person, the loud one or the most outgoing I'm actually incredibly shy when meeting new people. Networking/meeting new people in general is something that I used to dread. As my role broadened at work, and as my confidence levels grew (a little) I'm better than I used to be around new people. I'm now able to say yes to situations that are a little out of my comfort zone.

4. Finance - From speaking to other 20 something year olds it seems like I'm not the only one who isn't at the stage they thought they would be, financially by 21. Things aren't entirely grim, however in terms of savings I'm nowhere near where I wanted to be by 21. Surprisingly I was  far better at saving when I was younger, but this is something I am going to work hard on through 2015. Looks like I'll have to have a reread of the post I wrote here.

5. Career- Despite being fortunate enough to have a job that I don't mind so much, I did feel by the age of 21 I'd be able to sit down and say I want to do [insert job title.] Unfortunately I'm still as clueless as 16 year old me. I have endless qualifications from Photography, to Music Technology, even Business Admin yet I'm still not entirely sure what career path to go down. Over the years and at 21 I've finally learnt that it's okay to not know, the more pressure I put on myself the more miserable I feel. So I've learnt to not worry so much, as no matter what age it's never too late to change your career plans.

6. Learn to love myself- I'm the type of person who constantly pulls myself down, I've never been one to take compliments well. Learning to love myself has been one hell of a journey and one that still continues. During school I did often feel like an ugly duckling, I'm not the most thick skinned of people and lets be honest kids can be cruel. I used to pick up on the smallest of things, my teeth stick out a little, my skins terrible, I have a massive forehead, but looking in the mirror everyday and repeating the same negative phrases completely destroys what little self esteem you have left. The saying you need to learn to love yourself before anyone can truly love you is something I'm a big believer in. In order to have a healthy mind, and a positive body image I've stopped being so harsh on myself!

7. Living arrangements - When I reached my twenties the pressure to move out and have my own place was immense.   I did originally think I'd have a burning urge to own my own place by the time I reached 21 but in all honesty I'm still pretty happy living at home. I'm entirely independent, I cook my own food, clean my own clothes and have my own space. At this moment in time I don't feel the need to move on which did surprise me as I thought I would feel differently.

8. Stop comparing - Since hitting my twenties I feel like I've spent far more time comparing than I ever did in my teens! Many of my friends of a similar age are settled down, engaged, pregnant or have their dream careers and it does make me wonder how I'm doing…just bobbing along over here haha. While learning from others is important, if we use it to reinforce an unrealistic or negative self-image it can be an unhealthy habit to get into. Comparing is something that I'm trying to stop, but it does prove difficult at times after all I guess it's human nature. 

9. Lifestyle and fitness - It pains me to write this, but I am no where near where I wanted to be in terms of fitness or even lifestyle at 21. I thought I'd have a better exercise routine and diet, but I'm actually just as bad (if not worse) than my teenage self. Definitely something I want to work on through 2015.

10. Don't care what others think - Yup, I'm one of those people the kind that says 'I really don't care what others think' when in all honesty I still do, it's one of the main reasons I won't ever consider YouTube as I feel you have to be incredibly thick skinned I admire anyone that puts their lives out there. This is something I want to get better at, there's no denying I'm far better than I used to be, but I'm still not 100% there.

So there's my goals and thoughts on 21. I'm not sure if this post will be of interest to anyone but it certainly felt rather satisfying to write. What's important to remember is, you don't need a birthday, new year or milestone (or in my case holiday) to reevaluate, look at what you have achieved, what you would like to achieve or any goals you want to work on. It surprisingly feels rather refreshing and has certainly left me with a clearer mind.

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