Happy birthday to me! I’m 21 today! I thought in honour of the occasion, I’d compile a list of 21 life lessons I’ve learned.

In no particular order, here we go.

  1. Take up space. Not in a dick way (like the two seat hoggers on a busy peak train service). Don’t apologise for your existence, and take up whatever space you need.
  2. You don’t always need to have the last word. I’m still working on this one, but I’ve learned that some things just don’t need a response.
  3. People will leave your life. Sometimes it’s your fault that they leave, sometimes it’s not, sometimes you’ll never know why. Let them leave. Welcome them back if they deserve it, but think it through.
  4. Don’t judge people by what you’ve heard. You can usually see the side of anyone’s story after just one conversation.
  5. Stop apologising.
  6. Be grateful for any support you have, and don’t forget to show them that gratitude. If you love them, support them back – unconditionally.
  7. A handwritten letter always makes someone smile. (Unless it contains hate mail, don’t send hate mail, kids.)
  8. Even if you’re a boss bitch, you need people in your life who know your vulnerabilities. Don’t be afraid to show your vulnerabilities sometimes.
  9. Thank you cards are important.
  10. Your first thought is often your worst and it isn’t the real you. Fight that first thought.
  11. If your body or mind is telling you something, don’t ignore it. Don’t let the people around you call you a hypochondriac – or do, but smile politely and see a GP anyway.
  12. Mental health is infinitely important. Encourage those close to you to take time for their own self-care and never neglect your own.
  13. Try not to lie about why you don’t want to do something; ‘I can’t come today because I’m feeling anxious and just need a day to myself’ is a valid reason.
  14. BUT, make a conscious effort not to cancel plans – everything is usually better once you actually get to the event/meeting etc. It’s usually the buildup which is nerve-wracking.
  15. Don’t let people suck the excitement out of your world. If someone shits on you for finding joy in something, shit on their car. No, I joke. Just fuck that negative attitude and have fun. It’s not cool to be negative, it’s not cool not to care.
  16. I like being ‘extra’ and it’s fun. Don’t give in and stop caring because someone says you should be chill or you shouldn’t try so hard.
  17. School is shit. University can be shit. Don’t give up on learning just because establishments let you down. Find other ways to learn which don’t anger and upset you.
  18. Some people will always have opinions which seem wrong to you. Remember that they think their ideas are just as valid as yours. Even if it angers you, listen, and try not to write them off. Try to understand that many factors contribute to a person’s beliefs and values.
  19. A cup of tea really can solve everything. No, really. Stop screaming, stop crying, and focus on putting water in the kettle. Think of nothing else but the process of making a cuppa until a full mug is steaming in your hand. I promise, you’ll see clearer. Tea also binds friendships and lubes difficult questions. Trust in tea.
  20. It’s never too early to start saving. Talk directly to your bank about different options (help to buy ISA, high interest savings accounts, etc.)
  21. Don’t get hung up on what you’re missing out on. You don’t always need to decide what to do, sometimes the decision is when. You’ve got a long life, pick something now and focus on that. Then, in a few months/years try something else. Never stop looking for new opportunities. Why can’t I be an author, the owner of a shoe shop, an ice-cream van gal, a zookeeper, a counsellor, and a witch? I’ve got time, I can do it all if I want – and so can you.


Those are my main lessons so far. I know this post is kinda cheesy, but I think if I’d read some of these things when I was a bit younger maybe I would’ve thought about them and started to work on them sooner.

Feel free to leave me some of your own life lessons – I’ll never be done learning.

MJ x


Don’t forget you can follow me on twitter or instagram if you’re missing me between blog posts.

Posted by:MJ

20, studying at UEA in Norwich

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