Turning 25 | What I Learned in My Early 20’s
September 11, 2017
I thought, as I turned twenty-five this week, a post reflecting on how it feels to hit halfway through my twenties and what I’ve learned during this time would be a fun one to write. I’ve seen these kind of posts floating around and always find them interesting to read so, here’s my own take on what I’d tell my younger self. Even if it’s just something to look back on in a years time and laugh at.
You’re allowed to make mistakes.
I think one of my favourite quotes is by David Nicholl’s in One Day, which reads: “You feel a little bit lost right now about what to do with your life, a bit rudderless and oarless and aimless but that’s okay… That’s alright because we’re all meant to be like that at twenty-four.”
I’ve lost count how many times I’ve read that book, but it serves as a reminder that it’s okay to not know. It’s okay to try. It’s okay to get things completely, utterly wrong. Just so long as you learn a thing or two about what not to do next time. Whether that’s a job, a hair cut or just a lipstick shade that you know really isn’t your colour.
You’re stronger than you think.
Yes, you can do it. How do I know? Because you overcame a damn lot more in a shorter space of time. Overcoming an eating disorder that stuck around for nine years, only to battle through anxiety that still hangs around now, is a testament to this.
I’ll always remember my nurse asking me how it feels to know no one other than me will comprehend what it’s like to fight off my illness, and me replying that I didn’t mind because I’d know. I’d carry it with me and hold onto that strength. I can fly down a zip-wire from above the trees, I can learn to drive and eat my dinner with enjoyment because these experiences are what I’ve earned.
… But that doesn’t mean you always have to be.
I know. You’re a Virgo. The thought of not being seen as anything other than strong is sometimes a problem. Anything other than succeeding and not getting it right first time hits a nerve. But that’s going to wear you down. You have people around you that will catch you if you trip. Literally speaking. There is no shame in being a human being who gets hurt, who needs a cry and has to sometimes say “I’m sorry, I can’t do that today.”
You have a voice. Use it.
Eventually you’re going to get a little fed up of people not taking mental health seriously enough. You’re going to want to use your skills to speak up for animals who don’t have their own voice. You’re going to get a bit annoyed that people don’t treat their surroundings quite right. So shout about it. You’re allowed to be passionate. If people laugh at you for speaking about your eating disorder and animal cruelty again, you’ll know why you’re talking about it in the first place.