26 THINGS I’VE LEARNT AT 26

As I turn 27 next month (someone help me please), I figured I’d look back on my 26 years of youth and share the wisdom that I’ve gained along the way…

  1. Spend time with people that make you happy and have a positive impact on your life. Don’t stay friends with toxic people (I know that’s easier said than done at school when you’re forced to see each other every day but as an adult, get that negativity out of your life).
  2. Don’t stay in a relationship where you’re staying out of guilt (your own happiness isn’t secondary to someone else’s). This is probably the hardest and biggest lesson that I’ve learnt.
  3. If you’re not happy in a situation, either change the way that you think about it or do something to change it. Simply complaining about a situation will not make it any better.
  4. Make lists for things that you need to do each day/week – it feels so great to tick them off. I find it helps to have something tangible to show for your thoughts and achievements.
  5. If you’re feeling sad or unmotivated, make a list of 5 things that have made you happy that day, however small they may be (it could be something as small as ‘messaged a friend that I haven’t spoken to in a long time’). Sometimes you’ll find way more than 5 things and hopefully that can help to boost your mood.
  6. I don’t know how good this piece of advice is but it worked out ok for me so let’s roll with it. Do a subject that you love at university, not one that you think may be more useful (unless you have a very specific career in mind). I didn’t have a specific career in mind when I studied Sociology but I figured that it was important to be studying a subject that I really enjoyed for 3 years. Also, most of my friends aren’t currently in careers that relate to their specific degree. For many jobs, just having a degree is enough.
  7. If you live with awesome people at uni, have lots of flat parties, especially in your first year. They’re more convenient, cheaper and better than having to brave the cold to get to a club. Let’s face it; it’s cold in England 80% of the time. Also, you’ll actually be able to chat to lots more people than you would in a noisy club. I wrote a post on all of my uni wisdom so go check it out.

8. Make time to see your friends and make concrete plans, not just ‘yeah, let’s do something soon,’ because that ‘soon’ could turn into something weeks or months away. Post uni, your friends will be most likely dotted all over the country or even the world and everyone is so busy doing their own thing. However, make time for them because as great as a night in alone with Netflix after a hectic day at work is, having a proper catch up with your friends is so much better than chatting through a screen. Plus it could be a great excuse to try out a new restaurant or bar – WIN WIN.

9. In a similar theme, make time to do the things that you enjoy. Working in Hong Kong, I found it very hard to find the time and motivation to do things like reading or blogging because I was always exhausted after work and most of the weekend was spent sleeping. However, set aside some concrete time to do whatever it is that you love, every week (unless it’s murder. In which case,  try to channel your energy into something more socially acceptable, like badminton). It’ll make a big difference to your well-being and you won’t feel like all you do is work, eat and sleep.

10. Kindles are great for travelling. Although I do prefer to read books, Kindles are much more convenient and lighter. It also cuts down on the amount of clutter in your room.

11. Borrow books from the library. It will save you lots of money and you get to read so many books that you otherwise may not have considered buying.

Also, buy books from charity shops as it’s way cheaper than bookshops and when you’re done, you can always donate it back. What could be better than donating to charity and getting a good book to read? It’s an all round winning situation.

12. Take lots of photos but don’t be so concerned with getting the perfect shot that you forget to appreciate the moment.

13. Always have snacks on you for long journeys (or just day to day life) to avoid feeling hangry (nuts and dried fruit are a good shout).

14. Portable phone chargers are a thing so make an effort to keep it fully charged and bring the correct cable with you.

15. It took me a long time to find the perfect perfume but Brown Sugar by Fresh is THE ONE. I’m a huge fan of Fresh perfumes but this one is perfect because it’s equal parts fresh and sweet and I’ve had so many compliments on it.

16. Make the most of where you are. Go on day-trips, explore your local areas, cafes, restaurants and bars.

17. Live abroad at some point in your life. I know that this is quite a biggie but it’ll really open you up to new experiences and cultures and you’ll hopefully meet some really interesting people that you otherwise wouldn’t have had the chance to.

18. Travel to as many places as you can. As the wise Saint Augustine of Hippo (let’s just take a moment to appreciate how great his name is) once said:

“The World Is a Book and Those Who Do Not Travel Read Only One Page.”

19. The Whitsundays was the top thing on my bucket list and it’s just as insanely beautiful as it looks online.

20. Despite only being hot from December to February, Melbourne is one of the best cities in the world with its incredible range of food, amazing buskers, street art and cafes which they are very proud of.

21. The most beautiful places on the East Coast of Australia: Whitsundays, the Lighthouse Walk in Byron Bay, Noosa Everglades and Lake McKenzie on Fraser Island.

22. Highlights of New Zealand: Franz Josef Glacier, Lake Tekapo, Tongariro Crossing and Queenstown (grab yourself a pie from Fergbaker and empanadas from the Empanada Kitchen – it’ll change your life).

23. Invest in hiking boots for long hikes. I’d previously just worn trainers but hiking boots really made a huge difference to my level of comfort.

24. Lan Ha Bay on Cat Ba Island in Vietnam is incredibly beautiful and far less touristy than the world-famous Ha Long Bay.

25. My favourite places to visit in Hong Kong are the Chi Lin Nunnery and Nan Lian Gardens and watching the sunset at the West District Public Cargo Depot, also now infamously known as Instagram Pier.

26. Buy second-hand items from charity shops and car boot sales because it’ll be cheaper, one of a kind and much more environmentally friendly.

Unfortunately, Hong Kong doesn’t have either of these so I grab my vintage shirts at Mee and Gee for $5 (that’s 50p for my British readers). They have branches in Prince Edward, Mong Kok (the best ones), Tsim Sha Tsui and Central.

xxx

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