Things you realise by the time you turn 21.

So in two months I will have (hopefully) completed my degree and after completing the marathon known as finalists week I shall be left to face the big bad world. I literally have no idea what I’m going to do after my degree, I currently have a copy writing job which I do from my laptop and I have a couple of job interviews lined up but other than that the future is looking very uncertain. This has led to me thinking a lot about life and the future and how different things are now I’m 21 and just about to leave university to how they were when I was 18 and just beginning my degree:

1) Having an opinion is healthy

I spent the majority of my teen years following the crowd because I was too scared to rock the boat; then I started writing and it allowed me to have a platform to express my thoughts. Some people vehemently disagree with my opinions, and that’s cool. I have learnt that not everyone is going to agree with my point of view, and even if people are rude about it I’ve learnt to try and take it on board and see where they are coming from. After all, opinions are healthy and are what make things interesting; just because you entertain someone’s idea doesn’t mean you have to agree with it.

2) People will inevitably hurt you.

A sad fact of life, at some point you will become a casualty in someone else’s personal struggle. I often find forgiveness is the greatest healer of wounds, because as the great Jonathan Lockwod Hui once said ‘’Forgive others, not because they deserve forgiveness, but because you deserve peace.’’. Harbouring a grudge against those who have hurt is only going to cause the most unhappiness and unrest in your life, not theirs. That being said, forgiveness does not mean you have to keep those people in your life, and you should know when it is time to cut someone loose and walk away, it just means being able to move on from that experience free from anger, resentment and upset.

3) Most people are also emotionally damaged in one way, or another.

I think it is exceptionally rare to find a 21 year old who is not, for want of a better word, emotionally damaged in some way. Some may say those that aren’t are incredibly lucky, but experiencing emotional pain is about a life and it offers an opportunity to grow. Regardless, it is worth bearing in mind that most people you encounter in life have their own emotional scars and the stories to go with them; just because their life looks perfect from the outside doesn’t mean their life is as wonderful in reality.

4) Coming to terms with how you look will free a lot of your time.

There’s an episode in Sex and the City where Carrie talks about coming to terms with her looks at the grand old age of thirty. However, I think 21 is a much better age to stop stressing about how you look, because you have finally left your teens which are pretty much a crisis the whole way through and by twenty one you, hopefully, feel more confident about yourself as a person and realise whilst it’d be great to be mistaken for a model who has just stepped of a catwalk in London Fashion Week, it’s not the end all be all. At the end of the day, you could lose your looks in a second so it’s always worth having something else you can bring to the table.

5) 21 isn’t that old

I remember when I was eighteen and I called 21 my ”scary age” which is basically the age I would deem myself old; even though there are moments when I feel ancient, like discovering that those born in 1995 are now eighteen, and Mean Girls was released ten years ago, overall I still feel youthful. In fact, I feel so youthful I’m debating taking a year out before considering going back to uni to do a Masters, because this may be the last chance I get to up and leave and spend months visiting different countries and being introduced to different cultures.


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