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25 things at 25

I didn't come up with this concept, I copied @myddelton, but I really like the sentiment and I really like reflecting. I just turned 25 and here are 25 things I've come to realise/ believe. Lets see if I still feel this way in another 25 years.

#1 I had to do a lot of work to undo most of the things I learnt at school and university. Life doesn’t happen in set periods of time like semesters and terms. I’m not always measured by my results or grades. And ruthless competition is seriously unhealthy and does not serve the community at all.

#2 Failure and rejection are integral to growth and development, these are things I know now I have to embrace. I used to be very very very scared of failing.

#3 I only really have a decent sleeping pattern when I have a strict routine plus some time on the weekend to catch up. But at the same time I find routine so mundane.

#4 Drinking water first thing in the morning has my health a LOT.

#5 I struggle with authority for authorities sake. To succeed in the workplace I know I need a boss who won’t micro manage. The balance between been given responsibility but being supported is really important to me.

#6 It’s actually okay to have regrets and to feel guilty about things. Ignoring these emotions or pretending they don’t exist will keep me awake at night. Instead, I try to figure out why I feel regret or guilt and thus what’s truly important to me and then come up with a game plan to tackle the emotion or change my behaviour.

#7 Not everything that happens to me needs to be some fucking profound opportunity to learn. Some terrible, traumatic things have happened and it’s okay to leave them as such. Trying to turn every negative into a positive is really detrimental to my mental health.

#8 Money is very very very important. To argue otherwise would be ignorant. We live in a gross capitalist world and we need money to meet so many of our basic needs. However, I now know money isn’t the main component for feeling fulfilled and money in its own right doesn’t necessarily make me happy.

#9 I am most content when I am problem solving. I need debate and argument in my life. I love having friends and family who I can disagree with but still have a good time with. Simultaneously, I know I need to get better at identifying which battles are worth fighting and not expending too much of my energy on disagreeing with people or taking things personally.

#10 Not everything is as scary or bad as it seems. I used to be afraid of so many things, now I embrace and challenge my fears. This comes from a position of privilege, as I have a lot of support and access to professional help. Some things really are bad and scary, but if bad and scary things happen in my life, I feel I am now more equipped to deal with them.

# 11 Things have only really started to improve in my life since I started to take accountability and responsibility for myself and the way I respond to things beyond my control. Again, I wouldn’t have been able to do this if I didn’t have the people I do around me, and access to professional help.

#12 Good people do bad things. And good people lie. I’m still figuring out why but I think it’s probably got something to do with perception, subjectivity, some kind of ‘every man for himself’ type thing. Some people find it hard to accept or acknowledge they’ve done a bad thing, but I've come to realise it’s not my duty to make them realise.

#13 Families are weird. Because people are weird. It took me a long time to realise that there is no such thing as a normal family. It also took me a long time to realise my parents are just people, like me. They don’t have all the answers, they’re often wrong and they have their own issues independent of me and my sisters. And that’s okay. Once I accepted I am not the centre of their universe (but being pretty close to it), my approach to managing this relationship got a whole lot better. I love my parents and I love my sisters, but I now know that love isn’t dependent on us always getting along. The same goes for my friendships and relationship with my boyfriend.

#14 Helping others, being charitable and philtrantic is what I want to do with my life. However, I’ve realised this isn’t super fucking noble. It’s because seeing others happy or in a better position because of something I’ve done makes me feel better about myself. It helps me define and position who I am, and I think I’m okay with that. Furthermore, I can’t help others if my cup is empty. I’m the go to person for a lot of my close friends, which I love, but it can also be very very tiring and draining. Looking after myself first is the key. So is stepping back and being honest with my friends and saying I can’t cope with this right now, but I love you anyway, is often more beneficial than trying to deal when I’m stressed. I’m not very good at this yet, but at least I’ve been able to identify it as something to work on.

#15 Being unhealthy, breaking the law and not following the rules doesn’t make you a bad person. Obviously there are exceptions to this. I try not to judge others based on them doing these things. Health is sooooo subjective, the law usually protects the privileged and rules are often redundant. If I judged people on these things alone I’d have no friends or family left to respect.

#16 People only ever do things because they want to, they may have a variety of motivations that include ‘because Ella told me to’ but that’ll be because what I’ve told them coincidentally coincides with what they now want to do. I can’t change things for others, I can support them and offer advice. I just can’t be too attached to that support and advice actually making a difference. I can be aware of my privilege and try to not contribute to disparity and marginalisation of others with my actions. This obviously doesn't apply to abuse survivors.

#17 Racism, homophobia, ableism, transphobia and sexism are rife. To deny otherwise is absolutely ludicrous. However, the internet isn’t always the best place for me to have debates about these subjects. People views (including my own) are polarised a lot quicker online than they would be otherwise, comments are misconstrued and a lot of social nuances are lost which results in really trashy arguments. Once something is said online it’s impossible to truly take it back, so I try very hard (maybe not hard enough) to control myself when posting online. While things aren’t often personal, someone, somewhere will take it as such.

#18 People do and can change.

#19 Knowledge is power. People use jargon as a way of having an in group and out group, intentionally or not. There is nothing I can’t learn if I’m given enough space and time to do so. I want to learn about everything. Law, the stock market, medicine, economics, languages as well as all the things I’m naturally drawn to such as art, philosophy and music. Being ignorant only hurts myself. However, I am a human and I have limited capacity. Unfortunately, I can’t do everything at once, therefore, I have to practice patience. This is something I need to get better at.

#20 The only thing I can be explicitly certain of, is that I am going to die. Everything else is biased, every theory, every action and every thought. This is both liberating and terrifying. It means experts don’t always have the answers. But it also means there are things I can do that I previously thought of as impossible.

#21 It’s so important to set personal and professional boundaries, but I am crap at it. I really want to get better at doing this and not feeling guilty about doing so.

#22 A lot of concurrent discourse is based on lies. Some people know this and don’t care and some people know this and try to right the wrongs. I used to think it was my duty to right the wrongs, but what I now think is more important is empowering the voices of the marginalised and letting them tell their stories.

#23 University, governments and so on are inherently problematic, but I now think there’s value in engaging with and trying to make these things better. I used to have a “no point” attitude but that made me feel really really bad and that attitude spread to most aspects of my being. I can’t change the world, but I can make my immediate surroundings better and use my privilege to give voice to others.

#24 Exercise is good for mental health, which is subsequently good for some people’s mental illness. Exercise, eating well and being mindful in their own right do not fix mental illness.

#25 And last but not least, I can plan, but I can only make sense of things when I reflect. Sometimes things happen and they don't make sense, or I don't know where I'm going or if I'm meeting my goals, but I can't stress too much about this. One day I'll look back and have that ah-ha moment.

p.s. how cute is this cake from my best friend?

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