Twenty bloody four. Sorry, but how is that even possible? It only feels like yesterday that I was chugging a bottle of Frosty Jack’s on a Grimsby field with Basshunter on repeat.
(This isn’t a recent thing. I was 15 – although I am a bit partial to Basshunter every now and then.)
I actually turned 24 at the end of July, but I’ve been so busy trotting across the globe that it hasn’t really sunk in until now. Being jet-lagged and drinking countless cocktails doesn’t really gel well, which is why I don’t have a very clear memory of this year’s birthday. That probably has something to do with it too.
But the reality would sink in eventually, just like it always does. The reality being that I am approaching my mid-twenties, which is just downright terrifying.
Here’s 24 things you learn by the age of 24.
- You will never, ever, ever, have it “all figured out”. There is no such thing as having your shit together completely. And that’s okay. In fact, I think the constant learning, growing and adapting to stuff in life is what keeps it all so exciting.
- It’s better to have a small group of loyal friends who you can trust with the world, than have a massive social circle full of people who aren’t genuine.
- Travelling is by far the best way to learn and open up your mind. Chat to and spend time with the locals of a country – eat what they eat, live how they live, even if it’s just for a day. You’ll grow so much as a person from it.
- No matter how bad you may feel now, it does get better. No matter how hopeless, unworthy, unloved or sad you might feel at one given moment, it will not last forever.
- Helping other people less fortunate than yourself is so good for the soul. It’s one of the best therapies out there.
- Yes, there ARE plenty more fish in the sea.
- It’s okay to be different and not follow the crowd. You do you. Wouldn’t you rather be happy in the knowledge that you’re being true to yourself, than being a sheep and being miserable for it?
- You can never go wrong with a nude lip. Popping to Aldi? Nude lip. Night out with the girls? Nude lip. Swimming the English Channel? Nude lip, obvs.
- It’s okay to give yourself little compliments and love yourself. After years of wanting to be someone different, it’s nice to finally accept who I truly am and be comfortable in my own skin.
- There is nothing more important in any kind of relationship than honesty and mutual respect.
- You shouldn’t ever feel ashamed for seeking help for mental health issues. You should feel empowered for it.
- The whole “my family is unbearable” thing? Yeah, that won’t last forever. Before you know it, you’ll be choosing a night in with Gogglebox and your folks over that massive house party across town. Because obvs.
- You should never underestimate the power of a TK Maxx splurge. Guess tote bags, for like, half the price? Er, yeah. Lulu Guinness sunglasses for twenty quid? In the basket. Weird-looking Korean face mask with broken English instructions? Get on my face.
- Save your bloody coppers. By the end of the year you could get a Sub of the Day with it!
- MSN Messenger was way better than Facebook, Instagram and Twitter put together. Like, why the hell did they get rid of it?
- You will feel fuckin’ old, especially when you’re surrounded by 18-year-olds or people even a little bit younger than you.
- There is absolutely nothing wrong with taking some valuable time out for self care. Go and get your nails done, lather on that face mask and lay in that bath until you shrivel up. Because you are so bloody worth it.
- It’s still perfectly acceptable to make the occasional terrible life decision. Because you’re 24, not 64, and you don’t have it all figured out yet.
- Adulting is hard. And boring. And sometimes a little bit soul-destroying. Hence the importance of self-care, and making occasional reckless decisions.
- You’ll stay in gorgeous hotels and spend a fortune on a decent quilt, but there is nowhere in the world more comfy than your childhood home bed.
- It is so, so, so hard to settle down in this day and age. Barely anyone wants to commit, and for those who do, the whole thing just might not be right. So when you find true love at the right time with someone who thinks the world of you, hold the hell on to it.
- You will attempt to save money, but then your car will break down, or a massive tax bill will come through, or you’ll lose your phone and need to buy a new one. Get used to it.
- You’ll start actually appreciating different varieties of things like cheese and wine, and won’t mind paying a bit more for better quality stuff. ‘Cause you’re extra, and you can.
- And finally, you’ll learn that your twenties are the most messy, up-and-down, thrilling, liberating, and beautiful years of your life.