Twenty two things I learnt at 22

On Sunday, I turned 23. Like lightning speed, another birthday came around, during a pandemic no less! Like most things, we made the best of it – with a meal in one of our favourite restaurants, then a little trip to Chester (and a well deserved rest from working from home ) – and I learned that, even during the worst of times, you can still have a good birthday.

That’s not the only thing I’ve learnt, which is why I thought I’d write this post (a follow up to this one).

Here’s 22 things I learnt at 22!

1. Your health is very important

Just to clarify I knew this before 22 but, with the madness that 2020 has been – what with the U.K. and the rest of the world getting to grips with Coronavirus (my family and I being some of the people who’ve caught it) and grappling with a health issue I haven’t yet had resolved completely- I’ve realised more than ever that your health is very important.

It’s a scary thing, taking the steps like going to doctors, the constant blood tests, the not knowing what will be next in my journey to get a health issue resolved but it’s made me realise that I do need to take care of myself more.

2. A big glass of Orange juice, a bacon sandwich and a good sleep work wonders for a hangover

I’ve loved (and even gloated about) the fact that I don’t get hangovers for years – maybe down to the fact that I don’t tend to drink massive amounts or the fact that I apparently sober up very quickly – much to the annoyance of my friends – but it seems at the tender age of 22 (and definitely more to come in my 23rd year) hangovers have become a thing for me.

Every person that’s ever said how horrific the brain fog, dry mouth and extreme tiredness (plus whatever else a hangover entails) is was completely correct. Hangovers are a nightmare but – mark my words (substitutions are available, of course) – a glass of orange juice, a bacon sandwich and a good sleep work wonders.

3. Post uni life is a whirlwind

I finished uni a year ago, bagging myself several grands worth of debt and a piece of paper that says I can officially read and write to a pretty decent level, and post uni life has been a weird one.

Post uni life is a whirlwind, a mess of job applications, rejections and interviews and finding your feet. It’s been a weird time navigating who I am and what I want out of life now but I’m getting there.

4. I’m grateful for the writing opportunities I’ve been given

Considering I don’t have the sought out journalism qualification that newspapers want, the opportunity to write big things for big people hasn’t happened. Saying that, though, I’ve been able to connect with local businesses and through these things I have reviewed some great music, comedy and more.

I’m grateful for the writing opportunities I’ve been given and it makes me feel even prouder that I got these opportunities by reaching out to people myself – something I never would’ve done if you’d ask me years ago!

5. I might as well start loving my body – it’s the only one I’ve got!

Admittedly, I’ve spent a lot of time and energy on hating who I look. I’ve picked bits of me apart and hated photos of myself, and I’ve let body hang ups and insecurities ruin what otherwise had been a wonderful time.

It’s an ongoing process, but I’m learning to love the skin I’m in. After all, I might as well start loving my body – it’s the only one I’ve got!

6. Losing people hurts

This isn’t new information but losing my Grandad earlier this year reminded me just how much losing people hurts. This birthday was the first one without him popping in to our house with presents, spending the day with us and being as lovely as he was on any other day.

Some days it feels really hard without him, but I’m trying my best to focus on the good memories I have and remembering those times instead.

7. I still prefer showers over baths

Even though I did have a bath on my birthday at the hotel we stayed at, and there was alcohol involved, my opinion remains: I still prefer showers over baths.

I just can’t relax in them and, no matter how many times I scrub or clean, I just don’t think I feel as clean after a bath as I do after a shower.

8. I love gin

Not very original but I love gin. There, I said it. Gin in cocktails, gin with tonic, gin with lemonade. I’ve tried to like other stuff (I will always drink cocktails, vodka or wine if I have to!) but there’s just something nice about a gin.

Basic, I know.

9. Trashy TV is the best kind of TV

As much as I do love the big budget shows and the dramas across three nights, I’ve come to realise that trashy TV is the best kind of TV.

Give me a show about Americans marrying people that just want citizenship, or about Australians marrying people they’ve never met, I’m all over it. I just like the fact that you don’t have to engage your brain whatsoever and can forget about whatever’s going on in the “real world”.

10. Everyone is at completely different stages in their lives

You only have to have more time to spend searching social media (cheers lockdown) to realise that there is someone – or multiple someones- out there living a completely different life to you. Some people are having kids now, getting married, buying properties. Some people, like me for example, are still living with parents. Everyone is at completely different stages in their lives and trying to compare yourself to these people or think of your life in terms of theirs is just not the thing to do.

11. Family are so important

Like Number 1, I’ve always know this but – losing my Grandad this year and gaining my lovely nephews has only reinforced how important these people are. Family are so important.

I’ve always been close to my family but I think lockdown has brought us much closer and I’ll be forever grateful for everything I have done and will do with them.

12. I love watermelon flavoured sweets

I’m not a sweet person (both in manner and in food preferences) but – apparently- if you ask me what my favourite sweet is now I’ll tell you I love watermelon flavoured sweets. The weird fizzy watermelon sweets that the corner shop sells for like 50p? Give me several bags and I’ll be happy for life…probably!

13. My sister is my best friend

Again I’ve always known this. We’re twins, the bond between us is already pretty strong but – I think, after all those years – one thing has remained constant. My sister is my best friend, even if we know how to get on each other’s nerves and even if we have things going on in our lives, we’ll always have the time for each other and I love that.

14. Leggings and joggers are the best invention

I’ve been working from home for a while now, which means I’ve shunned jeans for leggings and joggers. No regrets!

Until I have to wear jeans, anyway…

15. I completely understand adults complaining about work and needing holidays

I’ve never thought as a child that being a “grown up” would be fun but it’s only taken me to “grow up” to realise that I completely understand adults complaining about work and needing holidays.

I like having a job, and I’m so grateful for the fact I have a job and have managed to keep it during the tricky climate we’re living in, but I completely get people complaining about work and wanting a holiday – what we do outside of work is usually a lot more fun.

16. It’s ok to not finish a book

Being a (former) English literature student, books kind of feel like my children. I used to feel majorly guilty for not finishing books and – even worse – I would continue reading books I knew were bad just so I didn’t feel guilty.

I’m realising now that it’s ok to not finish a book. Though we’ve got more time to read, it’s not worth spending time on books that you’re not liking – spend that time doing something fun, you’ll remember that more!

17. I love quiz shows– but I’m not sure I’d go on one

Spending more time indoors has meant – like most people – I’ve found solace in the square box in my living room. The news (and even Loose Women at the minute!) feels a bit doom and gloom so I’ve had to find new, fun alternatives to watch. Of course I’m loving the latest series of The Great British Bake Off and the endless shows and movies available on Disney+, but I’m also really liking quiz shows like Richard Osman’s House of Games and Pointless.

Lockdown has made me realise I love quiz shows – but I’m not sure I’d go on one!

18. I still love writing

Although I still haven’t completed my masterpiece, I still love writing. Admittedly, I haven’t done much writing at all this year but I know that I will one day…once I’ve found the motivation!

19. Appreciate the little things

I’m one of those people (probably because of all the cheesy books I can’t resist reading) that wants something big (and good, preferably!) to happen to me. Of course, any big plans I had this year have been put on hold but lockdown has made me realise that I should appreciate the little things.

20. Don’t be afraid to ask

I never used to bother with reaching out to people if I wanted something (I.e a writing opportunity) because I was always worried that they’d think I was over eager. This year, I decided to start emailing and getting in touch with people I wanted to write for first hand. Sometimes I get answers, sometimes I don’t. Just don’t be afraid to ask: you never know!

21. Laughter is the best medicine

Times are hard but you’ve just got to laugh. Laughter is the best medicine, after all!

22. I have no clue what I’m doing

I thought by now I’d have more of an idea what I wanted or what I was doing with my life but – honestly? – I have no clue what I’m doing.

You know what, though? That’s alright.

For more things books, baking and everything in between, you can find me on:

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9 thoughts on “Twenty two things I learnt at 22

  1. Happy belated birthday, Jen! This is a great list, although I’ll take your word for it about hangovers and gin. I’ve certainly started to appreciate the little things more, and I love quiz shows. The Chase and University Challenge are my favourite ones 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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