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25 Things I've Learned in 25 Years

The cats out the bag guys, despite my gracious youthful looks (ahem) I actually turned 25 on Tuesday the 29th and I'm not the *can sometimes get a child's ticket on the bus* wheeler dealer I parade myself to be. I don't know if I should shudder at the sound of saying that I mean, that's what everyone seems to do each year they get older, don't they? I've got to be honest though, turning 25 isn't making me feel old, it isn't making me feel uneasy, but it does sound awfully grown up and I'm dreading the "What are you doing with your life? When are you getting married? When are you saving up to buy a house? When can we anticipate the pitter patter of tiny feet?" conversations that I assume come along once you've turned such a ripe ol' age.

Despite whatever adult expectations and maturity it brings along with it, I think there's lots of things I've learned and come to terms with by now, so I thought what better time to share such words of (possible but not likely) wisdom with you than in belated celebration of this wee monkey's birth and of course, I made sure there was 25 points I needed to share.

1.) Love Yourself. No, I'm not going to break out into a Justin Bieber karaoke sesh (although if you want me to, I'm totally down with that?). If you don't love yourself, you can't expect someone else to. In all seriousness, I am someone with little to no self confidence and a lot of self loathing, but I would definitely say coming into my 20's I realised that is just not a healthy state of mind. Yeah, I might not love myself just yet, but I've learned to compliment myself sometimes; to give myself a mental high five when I've perfected that makeup look I was going for, to say "well done you" when I've achieved that mountain of uni work that I couldn't see the end of, to say "do you know what, you can draw and your work is bloody good" because I'm not confident to share it with others so someone needs to give me feedback... Every little boost you give yourself is a step in the right direction and is something you deserve.

2.) It's okay to be different. It's also okay to be the same. As a MySpace generation "ugh you totally don't understand me mam, I'm like, so difficult and different" teen, I was just like everyone else - trying to fit in whilst also trying to be unique and *me*. Being a teenager is tough because it feels like there's so many boxes to tick. The light at the end of the tunnel? By time you get into your 20's you can do whatever and be whoever the hell you want. You can like all the same TV shows and bands as the next Tom Dick and Harry and no one will call you boring, you can openly say you really love collecting animal skulls, playing RPGs, but also could easily squeal with joy when you pop into your local Boots store and see that there has been a new lipstick release and no one will try to categorise you and no one will call you weird (unless you're the black sheep of the family then yeah, they still will but it's out of love, okay? Okay). So don't get caught up in labels and where you fit in - just enjoy what you enjoy.

3.) You will have an instant distrust towards those who don't like Marmite but it's okay, give them time for they do not know their sins and you must show them the light.

4.) You will also share that sense of distrust and uneasiness to anyone who says they don't like dogs.

5.) You don't have to dress to your tastes. You totally can but you totally don't have to. The fact that I can wear my 70's flare jeans and flowy dresses is a true blessing 15 year old Amy would have never have seen coming. I know I like hardcore and metal music. I know I would pick a sweaty Slipknot gig over an afternoon tea any day. I know I'd rather sing Letlive. lyrics whilst doing housework than go clothes shopping. I guess its a "nice" surprise for those who get to know me. How secret agent of me! It's also important to not get caught up in "finding your style". I still don't truly feel like I have found mine, but that's okay. Some days I want to wear a really cute flowy effortless dress. Sometimes I want to be tailored and as androgynous as possible. Most days I'll be in jeans, a baggy tee, and a pair of clogs and that's okay too.

6.) Just deal with it. Dying your hair black when you were 14 was simultaneously the best and worst thing you ever did and now no colour looks right except black so just accept it as your "natural" colour. Stupid.

7.) Plenty of people will expect too much of you. Do what makes you happy because it's only you who has to deal with any consequences and outcomes for the rest of your life; others will eventually move on.

8.) You won't have your shit together like, ever. 16 year old me thought 25 was old. Probably married with a house and kids by 25? Yeah sure because that's old. It's horseshit. I still don't know what I'm doing with my life but dwelling on it would be soul sucking so just roll with it!

9.) Introverts can and do have fun! University made me truly realise that I am not all about partying, getting drunk, and seeing my friends 24/7 without any breaks. I tried to do it all during my first year and it just burnt me out. I like seeing my friends occasionally so you're always catching up. I'd much rather have a pizza and movies in my pyjamas kind of evening than go to out to a bar. I'd much rather run the risk of being called boring and knowing who my friends are than be a social butterfly and be amongst strangers I'd loosely refer to as friends in a crowded pub. Being a homely introverted person isn't for everybody, but I'm living proof that if you are one of those people, you can totally do your thing and it will be fine.

10.) No matter how hard you try to make it work, every shade of pink lipstick will never look *right* on you, to you, Amy.

11.) Some people will say there's only so many times you can play through Mass Effect 2, the Dragon Age games, and Final Fantasy VII, VIII, IX, and X, but *turns into the Fat Controller meme* those people are wrong.

12.) Blogging is good for you. Since the age of 16, I've tried to keep a steady blog going with varying success up until the present day. It's always something I wanted to do and something that appealed to me and I think I've finally *cracked it* in terms of truly enjoying my blog and the content that goes into it. Although it has become such a huge saturated thing these days, it is such a boost for my motivation and confidence that I just can't imagine stopping now. It helps me be creative when I'm feeling lazy. It helps me document what I like and love so I can look back on it in years to come. And it also opens up so many opportunities to be part of a fantastic community. Remember me saying I'm the introverted, socially inept girl? Yeah well I still am, but chatting to other bloggers has made me realise what a lovely positive place the blogging community is and I'm pleased to be part of it.

13.) You will always have a reserved place in your heart for the off-chance that Ryan Gosling meets you and falls in love with you. It will probably happen one day, probably.

14.) You will also have absolutely no logical reasoning behind why you fancy Little Finger from Game of Thrones, but someone made a whole article about it on Buzzfeed one time and it blew up the internet, so take comfort in the fact that you're not the only one to fall under his creepy spell.

15.) You will be wrong and do the wrong thing an awful lot. I'm trying my best to not make this post a huge downer and I'm trying to keep it up-beat, but you will totally mess up from time to time. Whether its being really mean to a friend and inevitably falling out with them as a result or doing something that goes against your moral compass, it will happen time and time again. The important thing is to not beat yourself up about it. I'm a firm believer in things happening for a reason and at the end of the day, everything moves on eventually and people can get over a great deal of things. It's just vital that you keep yourself together, grounded, well-rounded, and just do your best by you. Errors in your judgement and execution of things will always come along, but just try to learn from them and most importantly, develop yourself as a person so you can comfortably say "sorry, I fucked up" when you need to.

16.) No film will ever simultaneously please you and fuck you up quite like Blue Valentine does every single damn time.

17.) Broccoli is actually a really tasty vegetable and not the miniature devil tree you believed it to be when you were a child.

18.) Education isn't everything. I never really struggled at school. I was always bright and I quite enjoyed learning. However when I hit my teen years, my motivation began to lag and I realised I could just enter "cruise mode" and still come out of it with some okay GCSE grades and still get into college. Surprise surprise, this attitude carried on throughout my A Levels and even reared its ugly head momentarily during university. Although I loved going to college and university and I certainly don't regret any of it, it's not the be all and end all. People have so much pressure on them sometimes to go to university or to burn themselves out trying to strive academically and whilst it is important, if you have other plans, it doesn't mean you've failed. There's such a rich variety of opportunities out there now for career paths that university has definitely taken a back seat. Take time to have clear goals and expectations of yourself and know exactly what it is you need to do to get to where you want to be. You'll thank yourself later in life for just doing what you enjoy. Life doesn't need to be a chore.

19.) You can never own too many pairs of shoes, too much denim in your wardrobe or too much makeup in your collection... despite what your boyfriend might think.

20.) The Sims can and will take over your life... at various stages of your life. You can either fight it or become Amyleigh Sim who is working her way up the Astronaut career ladder who sells windows and doors from her lot to pay the pizza delivery guy. You know which attitude you should take.

21.) Fables will forever be the best book series/story you will ever read and nothing will ever top it.

22.) You can consider a healthier lifestyle, but... Pizza. Okay so this point is tough one for me. I go through stints like I imagine most people do, of wanting to be healthy and happy in their skin, but then it doesn't last and you go back to eating bad and there seems to be no middle ground. I think you really need to find a balance - whether it sways more towards one way or the other is your business - but you need balance. I really enjoy exercise and get lazy and actually quite depressive when I don't do any. But on the other hand, I really love every carb out there, especially those that come in the form of pepperoni pizza and pasta. All those pesky P's. So I guess what I'm trying to say is it's okay to not be hard on yourself - have a greasy takeaway if you feel like it. Go for a run when the weather outside is lovely. We might only live once so who wants to count calories every meal and worry? Not me.

23.) Learning to drive is a gift. Do not put it off because you will hit the age of 25 and realise you really wish you had a car and a license. Failing that, don't let the opportunity to travel to different and new places slip you by. I feel like this is something I've let happen in the last 7 years in particular and its high-time I stop it from going on any longer. We have such a gorgeous fascinating world and to truly see all 4 corners of it in 1 lifetime is probably impossible, but I want to give it a damn good shot before I'm too old to do it.

24.) Regardless of how out of your reach it is, you will still dream of the day of being an astronaut. A trip to space would do though. *hint hint world, make it possible in my lifetime please*.

25.) You will continuously have "what if" moments and the trick is learning what to do with them. Truth is, I still don't know. There have been plenty of moments when the "what if" questions have rose and they have been about the big stuff: university, moving away from the North East of England, moving in with my boyfriend etc etc. But I honestly can't give any advice on how to deal with these things. I could just say go with your gut; go with what your heart is saying, but I'd be a hypocrite and a liar to say that I have and will continue to take that road myself. Sometimes the head overrules and there's no way of knowing which one is right or which is wrong until you've taken the leap and usually then its too late to turn back. I'm a Flaky Fiona and tend to wait until the very last minute or back out of making a decision all-together and just go along with the flow and ebb of the tide. So whilst I can't say for certain what you should do about these "what if" critical moments, I have at least identified that I am rubbish as making a split decision and therefore really need to work on that. At my ripe *quarter life crisis* age, I'd like to think this is something I'll get better at with time and age.

Well, that was a bit of a lengthy read wasn't it? I hope it wasn't a bore but I feel like at my age, especially over the last 5 years, I've really started to value growing up and growing into me. Being a person who I'm comfortable being and can now just try to improve. What is some of the things you've learned in life so far?

- A.
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