Why am I writing this blog post?
I turn 30 in a few days and honestly, the idea of turning 30 has had me in a state of panic.
When I was younger, I had the perception that by the age of 30 that I’d have ‘it all figured out’ by now. At that time (and for most of my life) to me, ‘having it all figured out‘ meant a house, marriage, family and corporate career but now I’m not sure what ‘having it all figured out’ even means.
On one side, I have friends who have done the whole house, a corporate career, marriage and family route and they seem no happier than the friends who are happily divorced or the ones work in a bar.
There’s no right or wrong way, it’s all about living in the present and being kind no matter which route you choose.
So I’m going to hold on to this thought process but also be grateful for my past and what it has taught me. Who knows what the next 10, 20, 50 or 70 years will bring…
So where am I going with this rant?
Over the past few weeks where the 18th November 2017 has drawn closer and closer, I have found myself reflecting on the past 20 years (the years I can remember), what I’ve done, mistakes and decisions I’ve made and what I’d do differently. And so I started to make a list of the things I’d tell my younger self.
I know most people say ‘I wouldn’t change a thing’ and on one side, I agree because genuinely am so thankful for what I’ve achieved and where I am today (in Australia with lots of travel under my belt), but I also wanted to take the time to reflect on the silly/strange and random things I have done and learnt. So here it is (and some old pictures for humour). I’ll be back in 10 years with a new list.
30 things I’d tell my younger self by Anne Walton, aged 29, 11 months and 21 days.
ONE: Leave your eyebrows alone!!!!!
TWO: Enjoy the great outdoors more while you can, because one day that brick-sized mobile phone will develop into something that will change everything.
THREE: It’s okay to go it alone sometimes – sit in a cafe, have dinner in your favourite restaurant, book a flight somewhere new all by yourself. It might seem like a lonely thing to do, but you’re actually going to find it really empowering. You can support yourself.
FOUR: England is really beautiful – jump in a car, National Express or Network Rail and go explore it.
FIVE: Europe is closer than you realise and there are so many countries to explore. You are so lucky to have many of these places within a couple of hours travel time, so back your bag for a month and see how far you get.
SIX: Stop worrying about your appearance so much. Your boobs will grow – be careful what you wish for.
SEVEN: You know that boy you’re madly in love with but all your friends, family and even your teachers are telling you he’s up to no good… They’re probably right.
EIGHT: Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
NINE: Kill with kindness, even if you get rudeness and hostility, take a deep breath and smile.
TEN: Experimenting with your hair can be fun. But don’t just bleach just your fringe or get blonde streaks/foils. Just no. You will damage your hair and you’ll look silly.
ELEVEN: Take group photos as often as you can with the people you love. Your friends may often roll their eyes at you for doing so, but continue to take more and remember to save them. It makes you happy and one day your friends may even thank you for capturing special times they would have otherwise forgotten.
TWELVE: The bullies who keeps calling you names about your appearance or the brands of clothes you wear… Try to not let it phase or shape how you feel about yourself. (One day you might come to realise they’re actually going through a really tough time at home and are learning from what they see, and school is the only place they feel confident. They might even explain and apologise 10 years later when you approach them in a bar dressed as a Christmas elf.)
THIRTEEN: Don’t try to be like the kids you’re afraid of, the right friends will find and accept you for who you are.
FOURTEEN: Always respect your elders, even if you don’t agree with them.
FIFTEEN: Try not to interrupt people when they speak, sometimes you just need to shut up and listen.
SIXTEEN: Eat your vegetables!!! …or at least try to!
SEVENTEEN: You genuinely won’t feel any older than 18 years old. Older people still look for the nearest adult.
EIGHTEEN: Wear what makes you feel good (even if it is a green beret and wings).
NINETEEN: There’s this interesting visa that Australia, Canada and New Zealand offer where you can work in their country for 1-2 years. Not everyone in the world gets this opportunity, but if you do, you can only do it before you turn 30 so take this as soon as you can!!!
TWENTY: You’re not going to like everyone and not everyone is going to like you.
TWENTY-ONE: Sadly, friends come and go no matter how hard you try. Sometimes it’s okay to let go of the ones you don’t relate to or the ones who make you feel sad.
TWENTY-TWO: Enjoy the nights out (while you can) but remember to get enough sleep.
TWENTY-THREE: Stop buying so many anti-acne creams, oils, cleansers, Chinese herbs and face sauna skin devices. Your skin will clear if you just leave it alone.
TWENTY-FOUR: For anyone feeling unsure or lost, ‘Wear Sunscreen’ read by Baz Luhrman is still the best song that you can recommend to anyone to listen.
TWENTY-FIVE: Don’t wait for other people, if you want to do something do it.
TWENTY SIX:If they call you weird when you are a child. Then weird again when you’re a teenager and then a young adult, accept and embrace your “weirdness”. If you’re going to be weird, be confident about it.
TWENTY-SEVEN: Your mum is annoyingly right about most things. Like, don’t touch that hot iron.
TWENTY-EIGHT: Google everything, except medical questions. Go see a pharmacist or your GP.
TWENTY-NINE: Glasses are to make you see better, not an item to cover a face you feel insecure about… So don’t lie to your optician. (A sad, true, strange, story from the age of 12, I’d love to know if I actually needed them or if I just damaged my eyes.)
THIRTY: When you’re having a difficult time and need some advice, think about what you would tell a friend if they were going through the same problem? Try to follow your own advice.