As I get older, and edge ever closer to the woman that I would like to be, I am collecting lessons and observations as though they were precious coins. My collection is so large that it proves the saying: ‘You learn a new thing every day.’ It never fails to amaze me how little I know about the world, how little I know myself and how often I ignore the lessons that I have learnt. I can’t help it. I know that every coin in my collection is real, that every coin is precious and valuable, yet I continue to test them, chip them and throw them aside.
I am constantly looking at my reflection with a look of ‘I told you so.’ How long, I wonder, does a lesson have to sit inside my mind before it is learnt? Is this rebellion purposeful or do I forget? I suppose it depends. I know, for example, that chocolate and sugar in general, gives me spots, yet I over indulge regularly. I also know that exercise makes me feel good, yet I struggle to get out of bed when my alarm sounds and my trainers await by my bedside.
I expect that I am fully aware of the life lesson and the correct answer to a problem, but think that the consequence is worth the risk. I’ve decided to list all of the things that I have learnt and would like to put into practice in order to aid my life, alongside all of the things I do to ignore them.
- If you don’t wear a condom, you will probably get an STI. I learnt this lesson pretty early on, it’s very simple. Avid readers may be thinking of the cave analogy here. Protect yourself against unknown infections by wearing a condom until the person you are shagging, and you, have had a full screening. I continue to ‘forget’. Shame on me.
- Instagram is a place where reality is not reflected. Yet I still manage to spend hours of my life scrolling, gawking at bodies, people and lives that are not my own. I also hate that I conform to the beauty standards of Instagram and only post on the good days. The woman of my dreams posts not because of how she looks but because of the message she wants to deliver.
- Smoking is bad for you. We all know this as fact. My Dad had throat cancer from years of smoking 40 a day. But, I still manage to pick up a cigarette after a few too many bottles of wine and think I look cool, like Bridget Jones not Audrey Hepburn.
- A plant based diet will help the planet. Unless I’m hungover. Or someone offers me homecooked, creamy deliciousness. Or I’m feeling lazy. Or it includes prosecco. As many of you know, I am a terrible vegan.
- If they treat you badly once, the chances are that this behaviour will repeat itself. I really have to take a long hard look at myself when I ignore this golden nugget. Fine, once is a mistake but, the second time it just has to be ‘over and out.’ Plain and simple, they don’t like you enough if they can’t respect you. No matter how many times you say that they’ll change, you don’t reward a dogs bad behaviour with a treat, so don’t do the same to the waste man telling you that he’s sorry for the 50th time,
- Happiness is not defined by the way you look or how successful society deems you to be. Perception is not always reality, if your working toward someone else’s expectations of success i.e marriage, a high paying job, thinness, you will not be happy. Fine, if those things are your idea of happiness and they fulfil you deeply. If not, the only way that you will find true happiness is to discover the things that fulfil you. You, within your own realm. Regardless of what is expected of you. There are times however, that I slip back into thinking that I will be happy when I am thinner, when someone of the opposite sex loves me and when I have a successful career, for me this is not the case. I am happy when my friendships are flourishing, I am passionate about any work that I’m doing and I forget about the desire to look ‘good.’
- Things that seem difficult, taxing and overwhelming, will not become easier the longer you ignore them. When adulting, there are so many things that seem daunting. What is a tax return? How do I set up gas and electricity? Do I really have to pay my congestion charge? How long can I last without an M.O.T. Often, when any of these things crop up, I put them to the bottom of the pile and say ‘mañana.’ Despite the fact that I know the longer I leave it, the more difficult, taxing and overwhelming it will become.
- I have PMS, the decisions I make on my period are fuelled by this. It’s so difficult to remind yourself every month that certain feelings, anxieties and mood changes are purely hormonal. This month, I decided that I didn’t want to go away this summer and I just wanted to stay, curled up in my bed. Not true. I 100% want to go on the trip that I booked three months ago. Just hormones. I didn’t tell myself this at the time, I indulged my anxieties and thought about how I could escape the privilege of this holiday. Pure PMS.
Of course, there are plenty of lessons that I have learnt that I abide by. Some of them personal to me, and others more generic. Here are some things that I practice everyday…
- Meditation and reflection is beneficial to my day to day attitude and mindset. Some days I only have time or energy for five minutes. Other days I spend an hour (I’m not quite a Tibetan Monk in the practice of five hours a day.) Not only do I recognise and address the thoughts in my head but I am able to manifest for the day ahead. On a day in which I feel may be stressful, I ask for patience and resilience. I know it sounds wanky. I know that it sounds a little preachy and look how amazing I am for practicing self awareness and gratitude etc etc. BUT, it does work. The world is so loud and if you can just have a few minutes with your mind, without the noise, clarity is pretty inevitable.
- Black clothes are always sexy.
- Behaviour breeds behaviour. It really does, that’s why so many clichés allure to this. Treat others as you’d like to be treated. This is also a great assessment of how fundamental a single person is to your life. If they aren’t reciprocating the level of love, attention, care or effort then perhaps you don’t need them in your tribe.
- Body hair is a personal choice, not to be determined by a trend.
- Instagram is bad. I know that I just said I ignore the knowledge that Instagram is not reality. But I also slap myself on the wrist every time I get too deep. If I don’t actively tell myself this every hour, my thumb will subconsciously open that app and just keep scrolling. Not good. Limit Instagram usage and use it only as a platform for good.
- Plants improve any living space and any mood.
- Mates really do come before dates. I’ve always known this lesson. I’ve always understood that the shelf life of most platonic relationships is far longer than affairs of the heart. It’s like friendships can be stored ambient, whereas a relationship must be kept in the fridge. Both deserve as much time and attention as the other, but friendships should not be pushed aside and blindsided when falling in love.
- Naked will always be sexier than any underwear, don’t spend the money.
- You have to love yourself before anybody else can love you. It’s not about aesthetics, it’s about knowing your worth.
- Hangovers get worse with age.
- Nobody cares. In the sense that nobody is looking at you. No one else sees your insecurities like you do. No one is watching you dance. No one is looking at your body in a bikini. No one cares about the stain on your top or the way you sing out loud and out of tune. Literally no one cares. In wondering about yourself, you miss everything. We’re all busy wondering about ourselves.
- Music is essential in every situation.
- Life will not go as you thought it would. Things will happen, paths will change. People will die. People will surprise you. You will surprise you. Opportunities will arise and prioritise will change. Happy and healthy is all you can really hope for, the rest is in the stars.
- Dancing is the best medicine, before laughter.
Well there you have it, thank you very much for coming to life lessons with G. Any questions, please don’t ask them, as I have absolutely no authority to help anyone with anything serious. I’m just here figuring it all out, one bad decision and STI at a time.
That’s another thing I’ve learnt, nobody knows what the fuck is going on. Even the people who look like they do. I’m sure that the ones who seem to have it all figured out, are probably the people that know the least. Donald Trump, arguably the most powerful man in the world, clearly has no fucking clue.
When you look at it like that, it’s quite exciting, Life. Life is a game in which nobody knows the rules or how you win. I’m sure the secret is that in playing you’re winning. It’s not about the end goal, because lets face it we all have an identical fate, it’s how you choose to play.
Fucking hell, maybe I should be a Guru or at least a motivational speaker?