Saturday, 5 May 2012

On What my Twenties have Taught Me

Have you read the blog Fairytales are true? No? Well head on over there my friends. The lovely Sarah Tucker is inviting readers to contribute ideas about what they've learned in their twenties and I thought: hurrah! that's me! I'm in my (*cough* late) twenties! And I'm STILL learning! 
Then I did a little dance and sat down to write my list.
The List. I love lists.
Trickier than it first seems, actually, and extremely hard not to be trite and cliched. 
So here we go: 

Take a yoga class. 

Listen to others' advice... but do what you think feels right.
I'm so lucky to have concerned friends and family who have a wealth of interesting experiences from which I can learn and I'm eternally grateful for their advice, especially given my current predicaments (er, you know, no 'real' job, no house, no money... but three degrees, two horses and a cat, which must count for something? Non?). The thing is, though, this is my life and I have to live it my way. That's what the last 8 years have taught me - to listen, to learn, and to act in a way that is right for me (because, after all, it's all about me, me, me... ahem.)

Write letters and keep the ones you receive in return.

WORRYING never got anyone anywhere.
That's a tricky one, because I'm the Queen Bee when it comes to worrying - but it's an amazing experience just to let it go.

Treat yourself.

Write with a fountain pen (and Sharpies)
My late-great aunt's gold fountain pen. It's AWESOME.
Don't apologise for who you are.
Ok, that really is a cliche, but I've noticed that I've spent a large amount of my 20s apologising for things that make me me oops, another cliche. I never, ever expected that I would end up as an academic (or at least wanting to be an academic) and I found myself apologising for being smart - I even got to the point that I was almost embarrassed for doing well and getting my Ph.D. I'm always the first to point out my flaws and mistakes, just in case other people think I might not see them and I've suddenly realised how silly this is. I've also realised that if you do this other people who do not know you go away with a negative image of you. This Is Not A Good Thing. This should perhaps be on my list of 'things I'm still learning in my twenties'.

Say please and thank you. Well, I've always done this, but I now truly appreciate the importance of those little words.

Remember to tip. (I know this might be a given for many people, but I'm British and we don't really do tipping).

Remember the JOY in things.
Last week I taught Wordsworth's poetry in my class and we were looking at his poem (commonly known as) 'Tintern Abbey'. One of my students commented that she thought the hope and optimism expressed at the end (hard-won though it may have been) was a bit schmaltzy. But then what is wrong with being hopeful and joyful? Lord knows how many times I forget this, but when I do I catch myself and remember another of Wordsworth's poems that starts 'My heart leaps up when I behold/ A rainbow in the sky'. Yes, that's how it should be.

Take photos of everything but remember to be in some of them.
 Obviously I am not in this picture, but I thought you might like to see my pride and joy.

Write things down. Your brain is not as good as it used to be. (This also gives you the excuse to buy some ridiculously lovely stationery). 

A hot bubble bath, a cup of tea/ G&T/ glass of wine, & a good book will solve many, many problems.
A wise saying.

Don't be scared. You'll be ok.

When you take the duvet cover off your duvet, do up the buttons/ poppers before you put it in the washing machine. Just sayin'.

If you're lucky enough to still have them, phone your grandparents regularly.

Be gentle on yourself - there are plenty of people out there who can give you a hard time.

Nothing says 'I love you' like an out-of-the-blue picture message that says simply 'saw this and thought of you...'
It's not quite how my name is spelt, but boy did it make me smile.


angie said...

I love the way you write .Keep on writing and certainly don't point your flaws!

Life in Transition said...

Thank you Angie, what a lovely thing to say!