*Soppy opening few sentences alert* this year has been one of my best, one of my favourites, and one of the most memorable. I have had some experiences I’ll never forget, in places I never thought I’d ever get the chance to see, and with people who added something extra special to these moments. I turned 21 in October (less than a month after I returned from three months in the States. Urghh), and it was both a strange feeling and a very underwhelming day (especially because I’ve wanted to be 21 since, well, forever). I also gained a new found confidence this year, both in my abilities and in who I am as a person. All-in-all, 2015 has been a life changing year which I will always have a special place for in my heart, mainly because of all the life lessons it’s given me along the way. Here are the 6 main lessons I’ve learned:
- Travel helps you to see your life from a distance and to figure out which direction you want to take it in: Taking a long, hard look at my life was something that was long overdue for me; I had been stuck in the same place, in a rut for so long that travelling half way across the world gave me the clarity that I so needed. This allowed me to see what was important and what wasn’t, what I wanted out of life and what I didn’t. It’s easier to just pack up and fly off to another country whilst you’re young and have minimal responsibilities, but there should never be barriers, and I recommend travelling for anyone of any age who needs to make a change in their life or who needs to figure some stuff out. I was twenty when I first travelled properly and by myself but I know of people who’ve done it when they’re 18 and I’ve read about people travelling the world at 70! I used to think the whole ‘travel changes you’ was one big, overused cliché but it really isn’t. It changed me by making me a more confident, more interesting, and more determined person.
- It’s okay to still not know what you want to do with your life (especially at my age): One thing I realised this year is that the way schools practically force you into choosing a career from a young age is an awful way to do things (seriously, at 15 I barely even knew what colours of clothes went together let alone what career I wanted for the rest of my life!). As I’ve been going on down the same educational route for so many years I always thought that I was too old to change that now, but you know what? I’m not. It’s never too late to follow your dreams (sorry for the terrible amount of clichés in this post). And you know what else? Life is too short to be stuck in a dead end job that, at 15, you thought you might like but are now just doing because you’ve got into a comfy routine of working to pay bills or to fund a materialistic habit. Try a few things out, do some research, apply for other jobs, buy a plane ticket, get a job abroad. Do what you have to in order to figure out what your passion is and what career will make you happy and then start working towards it.
- Money isn’t everything: I mean, obviously it’s nice to have to pay for things like travel and nice clothes, but it isn’t everything. I used to think I wanted to be rich with a nice house, a nice car, and maybe a holiday home somewhere. I think this was mainly because my school told us about different types of degrees based on how much money you’d make in jobs related to them, which made me feel like money is the only thing that matters in life. But now I look at what I wanted and think about how boring that sounds. As long as I can live comfortably and still be able to write and see the world then I don’t care if I’m rich or not.
- People aren’t that interested in you: I mean this in the nicest possible way but people just aren’t that interested in what strangers are up to (unless it’s super weird like walking through town in your underwear with a boa constrictor around your shoulders, obviously). In all seriousness though, if you’re sitting alone in a coffee shop writing, or you’re walking down a street and realise you’re going the wrong way so turn around without looking at your phone first *gasp*, people do not care. They don’t know you, and you will probably never see them again; they have probably not even noticed what you look like. This was actually a huge realisation for me because I’ve always been so self-conscious and I’m glad I’ve finally been able to (mostly) shake this off.
- Saying ‘yes’ to more things and socialising more is actually good for you: Yes really. It makes you feel so much better when you’re out enjoying yourself with people instead of lying in bed all day wondering if you did the right thing by staying in and if you could actually be having an amazing time right now, but then convincing yourself you would in no way enjoy it. Say ‘yes’ to that invite that ordinarily you’d say anything to get out of, you might have the night of your life! And if not, at least you know you were right all along. It’s win, win really!
- The occasional night in front of the telly is also good for you: I know I’ve just said that socialising more is good for you but every now and again it can be nice to recharge by staying indoors in front of the TV wrapped in a fluffy dressing gown and a duvet, with take-away and lots of chocolate. Alone, or with a housemate, either is fun.
All-in-all, 2015 has been very good to me and I can only hope 2016 is even better! What life lessons has this year given you? Feel free to leave a comment!
I hope everyone reading this has a wonderful Christmas!