On Wednesday, I made it across the final stepping stone into adulthood, turning 21. In Britain, the age isn’t celebrated the same way an 18th is, but there’s still recognition that at 21, you’re there. You may not know how to get tax back and you might still accidentally put dishwasher powder in the washing machine. But no matter where you go, throughout the whole world, you are recognised as an adult.
And that, is pretty bloody terrifying.
So I thought I would rack up a list, as I sit here 21 years and 4 days under my belt, and discuss the life lessons I’ve learnt in my time walking around on this planet. Some are lessons, some are tips and some I wish I’d known just that little bit earlier.
1) Having more than one best friend is a thing. You can have as many best friends as you like. Be your own best friend. But never disregard the power of having people outside of yourself to talk to and share things with.
2) Don’t be ashamed to stay in instead of going out. I’m saying this to partially convince myself, as right now I’m sat alone in France whilst all of my friends have gone on a night out. I just wanted a warm shower and a good night sleep, and this gal ain’t afraid to say it.
3) Ginger tea can cure everything (basically). Period pains, check. Sickness, check. Stomach ache, check. Drink ginger tea. It’s tasty and is basically a natural relief for everything ever. If all else fails, eat a ginger nut biscuit.
4) People can be mean. Adults are better at hiding it, but it’s not just a child/teen thing. The sooner you realise this is the sooner you realise you can’t please everyones, and so begins the life epiphany of becoming your own person.
5) The sooner you find a shot you like, the better. People like buying other people shots. It’s a thing. Not as expensive as a drink but still saying ‘look how nice I am’. When they ask you what you want, have an answer ready, you don’t want to be on the bathroom floor smelling of sambuca more than once in your life.
6) Take a breath and count to 10. If you’re angry, if you’re sad, if you’re in an exam. Take a split second to shut everything out and see where your brain is in 10 seconds time.
7) Cutting a bagel in half equally and accurately is an unparalleled talent. It's likely you've peaked.
8) Parents are individuals, not just Mum and Dad. This is something I’ve recently been coming to terms with as my sister and I get older. I’ve been starting to see them less as Mum and Dad and more as (their names) Carol and Derek. They had lives before us, before each other and it’s so easy to forget, when being shouted at for missing the washing basket. But the sooner you realise it the better.
9) Experiences > Stuff. I’ve said this time and time again, and yet here I am still up to my eyes in my overdraft. But seriously, put down the new phone and buy yourself a week away in a place you’ve never been before.
10) Duck tape is actually called Duct Tape.
11) Your instincts are almost always right. That niggling feeling in your stomach or the little voice at the back of your head, they’re almost always right. Go with your gut whenever possible.
12) Learn to understand what makes you happy, does not make everyone happy. It’s easy when you’ve left school to boggle at everyone else’s life choices through the lens of social media. Questioning why he got marries, and she had a baby. Just let them be happy. Not everyone wants to explore the world, understand it and let it go.
13) Similarly, never judge your own life progress through other people. Different things happen at different times for everybody. Stop freaking out.
14) Drink water. Sometimes it’s even better than ginger tea.
15) Despite what you might think, school matters. Obviously this list is slightly subjective to me, as somebody who chose to study a degree, academia has always been important. But everyday I experience a new reason for using what I learnt in school. Whether it’s writing my GCSE results in job applications (yes, that is a thing), using that minimal bit of French, ‘ou est la gare?’ or making sure you haven’t been short changed when you’re already poor enough as it is (hey, student life).
16) Everyone has time to read. Those 30 minutes you spend scrolling down Kayla Itsines instagram could easily be spent immersed in a book, we both know it.
17) Writing a diary was the best life choice ever (even before Alice’s Antics). Next April, I will have been writing a diary for 10 years. Not only is it reflective and therapeutic and all the deep jazz, it’s also hilarious to read back. I will never not laugh at 13 year old Alice’s words ‘Me and Emma went fitty hunting today. We hung around JJB Sport.’ Reallyyyyy cool Alice.
18) There are few things Google Imaging Leonardo DiCaprio can’t help. If you’ve done so and aren’t any better, seek medical attention. (This also goes for ice cream).
19) Listening to an audio book helps to clear your mind. I haven’t written much about this on Alice’s Antics as it’s not something I discuss online or much in real life, but at nighttime I’m rather prone to panic attacks. And I’m convinced they occur less frequently on nights when I listen to my audio book before I go to sleep. I don’t know if it’s the power of knowing I’ve listened to an audiobook, and associating it with being more peaceful, but I’ve noticed a real difference.
20) Never trust a human who does any of the following:
- Squirts toothpaste onto the toothbrush without wetting it
- Applies soap directly onto dry hands
- Wraps their mouth around the whole water bottle top when drinking
- Wears socks in bed
21) Dogs are better than cats. Dog people are (generally) better than cat people.
So that's it, 21 years of wisdom narrowed down to 21 bullets.
I hope you all have wonderful weeks and had cracking weekends! I have successfully made it to France, enjoyed a cracking 21st and am embarking on the next 3 months of my life on the West Coast.
Ciao for Now!