Last weekend I turned 28, not milestone birthday but one that does mark 10 years of me being a fully fledged GROWN UP.

I had a think about some of the most valuable life lessons I feel that I’ve learned/been taught

Love is fluid
I have said ‘I love you’ to four different men, yet it’s meant and felt different each time. It’s the same words, the same sentence, but the ‘I love you’ I said at 19 to the abusive controlling partner I had is nothing like the ‘I love you’ to my partner now, but that’s okay. Just because they sound the same doesn’t mean they mean the same. My expectations of what love should be at 19 were far lower than they are now and indeed my self confidence and self love was much lower, so I accepted less, by having these higher expectations you weed out people who aren’t right for you, that you say ‘I love you’ to for a variety of reasons, until you say it and you don’t just say it you feel it, with every atom, you don’t just say it, you show it.

Friendships are hardwork
And so they should be, there’s a reason there’s a cliche that nothing worth having comes easy. You have to be there for other people, put others needs before your own, sometimes maybe listen to not that interesting stories, or listen to their hurt whilst you’re hurting yourself, but the pay off is worth it. A good friendship is invaluable, the kind where every part of you smiles and radiates in their company, where you can tell them to do one if they’ve annoyed you, where you can confess your fears and they don’t judge you. I’ve also learnt that you shouldn’t have to guess if a friend cares about you (thanks woodsy) so in turn don’t make your friends wonder if you care about them…they’re worth it. I know to trim the fat, if a friend shafts you, oust them. I’ve had too many people in my life I’ve considered friends treat me rotten and now I just cut them out, if they’re willing to make me feel that way then I don’t really feel I owe them an explanation

Mental wellbeing is important
…is so goddamn important. Even if that means you need to be alone, if it means you need to be surrounded by people, if you need to go out dancing or drink hot chocolate, wear PJs and binge on Netflix. Don’t push it to the side because it will help in the times when you will want to scream and cry and hate the world.

Bullies will always exist
I thought after I left school that the bullies would be a thing of the past, but they really aren’t, some of the worst bullies I’ve met have been people far older than me, but the trick is not letting them get away with it, call them out – don’t let their bullying make you hide like it did when you were a kid

You don’t really get worms from eating too much sugar
Just that really

It’s okay to give up
Whether it’s a book that is just boring you or a big decision you made that you think was wrong, you can shrug your shoulders and change your mind, even if you look or feel silly.

It’s okay to change
I am not the same person I am when I was 18, I’m smarter and no where near as naive, I’m also more assertive but with that comes not as nice. I am not as gullible but I’m also not as optimistic. I’m more open minded and think that comes from living in a cosmopolitan city. I used to hate certain types of music or books or films and now I like them and vice versa. It’s okay to change as a person, to not be consistent, parts of our body physically change completely, so why can’t our personalities? Our likes and dislikes etc… people will judge us regardless, so we might as well be as true to ourselves as we can.

School doesn’t prepare you enough
I don’t think it should be entirely the schools responsibility but I truly think the odd subject or class could be scrapped in turn for a life class, where you’re taught about council tax, tax, renting and mortgages, when you need insurance etc.. etc.. it’s a minefield and not enough is done to prepare you for the REAL WORLD

The world is a bit shit
From small scale to big – people will stab you in the back (small) and there’s rapists and murderers out there, entire countries are being bombed and more people are in poverty in the modern UK than ever before. It doesn’t matter how much you wish it were different, it isn’t you just have to try and do your bit

The world is a bit amazing
If I died tomorrow I’d be gutted, I have big plans for my 30th birthday as well as holidays booked (priorities, clearly :P) but I also wouldn’t feel like I hadn’t been making the most of life – the people in it it, the opportunities I’ve had. The way the seasons change and people will help a stranger in their time of need, from the big to the little it’s all there and it’s been pretty amazing to witness.