Lifestyle · Writing

23 things I learnt before turning 23

Now that we’re FINALLY nearing the end of January, my 23rd birthday is just a few weeks away and I’ve been thinking about my life so far, and the things I’ve learnt before the ripe old age of 23. 23 is a pretty insignificant birthday compared to the last three… 20 is always a big one because you are leaving your teens and entering the years of your 20’s, 21 is huge in the US because it’s the legal drinking age for some states (but in the UK I think it just means I can get a license to drive a big truck), and obviously 22 is important because Taylor Swift sings about it as sort of the epitome of youth, and as our last chance to be wild and free.

So I’m not particularly excited for this birthday, as it feels like I’m slowly creeping through my 20’s and I’ll turn around soon and realise I’m 30. I can still remember my 13th birthday party so vividly, so it’s hard to accept that was a whole decade ago. But the last 23 years have definitely been a learning curve, so here are 23 important things I’ve figured out so far.

  1. Despite studying a Creative Writing degree, I still don’t know how to correctly use a number in a sentence. For example, I don’t know if ’23 things I learnt before turning 23’ is a grammatically correct sentence, but I’ll let the grammar police have a laugh and not worry too much about it.
  2. Tin openers are really hard to get the hang of and I’ve never quite mastered it, so canned goods with rings are definitely the way forward for me.
  3. Day drinking isn’t as fun when you aren’t a student anymore actually have to consider adult outgoings like bills, rent, food and petrol.
  4. Karma doesn’t exist. Every decision you make in life is on you, and it’s up to you how you react. Instead of waiting for bad things to happen to bad people, create the good things that happen to yourself.
  5. Fruit has quite a lot of calories and sugars, so isn’t actually as healthy as the conspiring government and our parents would have us believe. That said, I still love apples.
  6. Consistency is key. For example, if you can run ten miles once but then stop running as far, it will take you longer to rebuild that stamina to ever run as far again.
  7. All of our lives are in danger of becoming Groundhog Day, so as much as I adore Bill Murray, you have to be the one to make changes in your daily life to work towards changing it.
  8. As a teenager, I completely underappreciated how amazing my parents were.
  9. There is a pretty big difference between llamas and alpacas.
  10. Lions and tigers can mate, but it’s only been done in captivity, and ligers don’t live very long, and I’m unsure how I feel about this hybrid species.
  11. It’s very unlikely that you will meet the love of your life when you’re 17.
  12. Make sure you get to know your roommates as people before you agree to live with them for two years. You don’t really know someone until they steal your food and your toilet roll and then store their dirty dishes in a cupboard under the sink.
  13. Just because one person tells you that you can’t do something doesn’t actually mean you shouldn’t do it. It means that you should do it, with twice as much effort and passion.
  14. Unsubscribe to the emails you don’t want to receive there and then, otherwise you will spend half of your life deleting spam emails from shops and organisations you no longer care about.
  15. Overthinking situations will slowly destroy your soul, so try to let the past be.
  16. You’ll know who your true friends are by the time you’re 22. This doesn’t mean you won’t make more friends, but you’ll have filtered through the bunch and be left with only the best.
  17. If you’d looked after your hair when you were 15, your hair would be the length and colour you want it to be now.
  18. Travelling solo is important. You don’t truly understand patience until you’ve got on a plane by yourself, been stuck in the middle of two strangers on the flight, and had to walk behind slow people in an airport while hoping your baggage isn’t missing.
  19. Your passions and interests will change all the time, and you should encourage that to some extent, but don’t become completely directionless.
  20. Life was simpler and probably better in the 80’s, and if you were born then you could have bought your own house.
  21. New duvet covers from Asda will become one of your biggest outgoings and interests. It’s a niche interest and that’s fine.
  22. Not everyone will like your cat, and it’s okay not to like those people.
  23. The next few years will be the most important in shaping who you are, but remember to enjoy them too!

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