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21 lessons I've learned in 21 years

Katie
Ellingham
Business Admin Apprentice

I turned 21 on 18th October 2019 and I truly can’t believe it. As a kid, I always wondered what I would be doing around this age and now it’s a reality. 


In my just-over-two-decades on this earth, I’ve learned a few things about life and about myself. So I thought I’d reflect on everything that’s happened up to this point in the hope it might be useful to others out there. Here are the 21 lessons I’ve learnt in 21 years...


  1. Loss will teach you value - 

Losing my Mum at an early age shaped me more than I could ever imagine. I began looking at the world and realising everything around me held value in my life. For that reason, loss will teach us the greatest lesson about life; appreciate what you have. 


  1. When in doubt, listen to Lizzo - 

Lizzo is great. She is funny, goofy and is the queeeen of body-positivity. Life lesson: When you’re having a down day, just throw on Lizzo for an instant confidence boost. 


  1. Understand that some days, it’s okay to not get out of bed - 

You don’t have to bring your A game every day. Some days, you need that little time to gather your thoughts, get over your cold or just catch up on your Netflix episodes. 


  1. Just because you’re not in a relationship doesn’t mean you aren’t loved - 

Nor does it mean that you can’t be loved. Or are doomed to be single forever. It just means you are not in a relationship. Don’t force something if the timing - or the person - isn’t right. 


  1. Parents know best - 

They’re on your team, know you inside out, and, as much as it may seem unfathomable, they are humans who probably lived through something similar. Their advice - as much as you don’t want to take it - is probably worth listening to. 


  1. The Internet is not real life - 

Don’t get entangled in what to post, or who sees it. Don’t tweet out every petty thought. Don’t let your entire life be online. Be a human. Ride a bike, read a book, learn something new. Instagram is NOT as important as you think, I promise. 





  1. Self-care is so important - 

I think this is self-explanatory, but here’s a reminder: take time to care for yourself and make yourself feel confident. 


  1. And it means different things to different people - 

I am learning that not everyone sees or experiences things the same way I do. For me, self-care is watching Jake Gyllenhaal movies with a cocktail in hand. For others, though, it might include treating themselves to a nice long bath or having a game of football. Don’t let articles or other people make you feel like you’re doing self-care wrong. Remember the emphasis on SELF. 


  1. Some friends aren’t forever

That’s ok. We all grow, we all change. If we didn’t, we’d still be who we were in Year 7… and no one wants that. 


  1. Fake it ‘til you make it - 

If you feel insecure or out-of place, remember that everyone has to start somewhere. Just hold your head high, hype yourself up, and pretend to be confident. Eventually, you won’t be pretending anymore. 


  1. Step out of your comfort zone

The world can be daunting at times. People can be scary. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. Get yourself out there. Follow your gut. You’ll realise how much you’re missing out on. It’ll amaze you how much you can achieve. 


  1. Never be afraid to ask questions. 

Asking questions isn’t a sign of weakness or mental insufficiency - it shows you’re interested to seek truth and better information.


  1. Do not watch The Boy In the Striped Pyjamas at 10 years old. 

Trust me, I learnt the hard way. That film made me cry for 45 minutes straight. 


  1. Ask what you want and say what you mean. 

Dancing around the subject is counterproductive for all. Be direct and realise that the response is seldom in your control. 


  1. Actually put in the time to prepare. 

If you want a great result, you have to put in the work. 


  1. Ask for help. 

Whether it’s on an assignment or when you are having a bad day, don’t let stubborness to be self-sufficient be the reason you struggle. 


  1. It is ok to fail.

I used to get panic attacks, so terrified of failure that I wouldn’t even try. I’d isolate myself, a tendency to back out last minute because I couldn’t leave my sphere of control. But then I failed. And I failed again. And I failed again, and again, and again. And I’m still here. If you fall down, you have it in you to bounce right back up. 


  1. 90s music is the best music.

Nelly. T-Pain. Mario. Ciara.. need I say more. 


  1.  Your opinion is not the only right opinion

Opinions are tricky. Everyone has one, and while I might not necessarily agree with others’ opinions, it doesn’t make their opinions any less valid than mine. Just because you may disagree doesn’t give anyone the right to be rude. That’s the beauty of it, we all think differently. Respect each other’s opinions and we’ll get along much better.


  1. Save Money 

This is something that I’m still learning. I have the urge to splurge more than I should, and it is very difficult for me to save money. But I know that if I save I’ll be able to do all the things that I want to, but this is definitely a work in progress for me.


  1. Chill the f out - 

This final one is easier said than done. But hey - you’re only young. You have decades left. You can’t do it all at once. Take it step by step, day by day. It’ll be ok - just breathe.


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