Tuesday, 8 August 2017

19 Things I Learnt Whilst Being 19

Today is my 20th birthday! If you're a long time reader of Charlotte's Web you'll know that pretty much since the start of my blog I've shared an annual post around the time of my birthday looking back at the past year and any lessons I've learnt during that period my life. I'm super glad I've kept up the tradition for so long because it's lovely to look back on the things I've overcome and learnt as I've grown up, and this year seems extra special because as of today I'm no longer a teenager. HOW TERRIFYING. This post is going to be  a super long and chatty one (as seems to be a common theme with all my content actually) so without further ado, here are 19 things I learnt whilst being 19:

- 1 -
One of the biggest lessons I've learnt during my time being 19 is the importance of being sure of myself, my morals and in general ~who I am~. Being a teenager can be difficult enough, and especially in the late teen years I've found myself with lots of responsibility and adult 'stuff' I wasn't expecting or totally sure how to deal with. The last year has definitely had it's ups and downs, but I think dealing with the downs has been 10x easier having found an inner confidence that I know myself and my limits, and it's such a reassuring thing to know I now understand me!

 - 2 -
This has been a lesson from the past two or so years really but has been truly emphasised whilst being 19, and that is the importance of my friends, family and boyfriend in my life. Despite my second year at university definitely not being as rocky as my first, there were still low points and times in which I relied on my family more than ever for support and I honestly don't know where I would have been without that. Starting my year of interning back in May has also provided it's fair share of anxiety provoking moments and has been mentally challenging to say the least, so the support of those I'm close to has been a constant and welcome source of positivity and reassurance when I've been feeling down. During my 19th year I really learnt the importance of having a strong support system and it's not something I will be taking for granted in the future!

- 3 -
The year of being 19 is one in which, for the first time in 4 years, I've been able to fully challenge my eating disorder and reach a point in which my life isn't constantly absorbed with thoughts of restriction or calories. I have by no means recovered and still have a lot of issues with eating which I'm not sure will ever fully go away, but on the whole I'm in a healthier and happier place with food and my general body image which is something I didn't perceive would potentially ever be possible. I've learnt to allow the joy that comes with food back into my life and now can go out for dinner and enjoy spontaneous ice creams in the summer and apple crumbles whilst curled up on the sofa without so much as a second thought. GO ME! 

- 4 - 
My efforts towards helping animals and mission to move towards a more compassionate diet has well and truly begun during the past year and I now feel super happy to have a long term vegetarian diet. During the past year I've also attempted various ~vegan weeks~ to push myself with my cooking, try new recipes and help the environment and animals in the process! I've found veganism to be quite challenging but this is primarily because of my eating disorder and complicated relationship with food, however have found so much joy in experimenting with vegan cheeses and new recipes in general and it's something I still try to strive towards. As well as my positive experiences with channeling a compassionate outlook into my food choices, whilst being 19 I've also learnt the importance of not putting pressure on myself to instantly transform my diet and that any effort is better than none! I am a huge perfectionist so when I set my mind to something I always want to achieve it 100%, but when it comes to food I've tried to be patient with myself and accept that diet is a journey and cannot be transformed overnight. 

- 5 - 
Despite earlier mentioning the importance of friends in my life this year, I've also come to accept that with growing older also comes the reality of knowing when to let go of friendships that have had their time. I've put a lot of effort into various friendships this year and I think sometimes it's important to remember it's OKAY to stop when you're getting nothing in return. Maintaining friendships can be tiring and I've come to accept only truly continuing with those who I know put in the time and effort for me as well. I think a huge part of growing up means losing friends along the way, but I hope that those I have in my life now will continue to be there for a long time more! 

- 6 -
As mentioned in a previous post of mine from July, I've overcome my anxiety in a number of capacities this year and in doing so have acquired a real sense of wanderlust. I've always loved holidays, aside from the anxieties they brought me but this year I have found myself endlessly scrolling the Instagram explore page and pining after an excuse to pack up my life and travel ze world??? I know this is partly down to the fact I began interning two weeks after finishing my second year at university and so have bypassed my summer break, but I also feel so much more confident in myself and my abilities to challenge my anxiety that I'm ready for the adventures I've always longed for. Hopefully next year will be the time I can truly make the most of my last summer break as a student and I plan to fit in as many holidays and adventures as possible. Copenhagen, Berlin, Santorini, Paris, Positano and LA, you're all on my list FYI.

- 7 - 
Since starting placement I've really learnt how much I'm going to miss uni once I leave, which is a statement I never thought I would make. It's not secret that my university experience has been a rocky one, but it's undoubtedly been an amazing way for me to challenge my creativity and express my ideas in so many mediums which I've absolutely adored. Starting my career interning has brought led me to harsh but no doubt normal realisation that university is the time I'm going to have the most freedom with my work in comparison to in a real life environment when working for someone else, and I'm already itching to start third year and begin working on my magazine brief, dissertation and final major project. Of course once I'm back I know I'll miss the 9-5 hours of interning with no weekend stresses and never ending to do lists, but for now I'm longing for the routine of student lift. 

- 8 - 
As a bit of a late developer alcohol wise (and tbf in most aspects of my life I seem to be the last one to the party, oops) my 19th year was the one I learnt to take it really easy when it comes to vodka. I'm able to confidently share this lesson after a 2 day hangover well and truly killed me off earlier in the year and I ended up in the kebab shop toilets NEXT to the club without actually making it on a night out. RIP past me. 

- 9 - 
Back in January of this year I managed to overcome one of my biggest anxieties and something I worked SO hard towards and that was passing my driving test first time! I had put off learning to drive for the longest time, however finally took the plunge last summer and it paid off just after Christmas when I was able to push myself completely out of my comfort zone and prove myself wrong. There's so many lessons I've learnt from this, but the main one is that moving outside of the realms of what feels comfortable is sometimes completely necessary for a fulfilling and accomplished life. After all, great things can rarely be achieved without pushing yourself into the unknown. 

- 10 - 
With so much going on in the past 12 months, the lessons I've learnt have not just come from personal experience, but rather a bigger picture in which I have seen political turbulence cause a wave of uncertainty in so many aspects of the world. I've therefore learnt the importance of looking out for one another and recognising my privilege in certain situations. I try to stay educated on world events as much as possible and in doing so have become more and more aware of the many injustices and tragedies that take place so often. I've therefore tried to be extra kind, extra compassionate and extra respectful <3 

- 11 - 
Whilst being 19 I feel like my love for relaxing in the evening with my favourite TV shows or YouTuber has really been cemented, and I've fully learnt the importance of self care in the form of taking time out for these everyday things that can really positively impact my mood. TV wise I've ADORED The Walking Dead (as per usual), Line of Duty (Steve I luv U), Stranger Things (so pumped for season 2) and Riverdale which has probably been my ultimate love (Archie be mine???). In terms of YouTube I'm utterly obsessed with Rhiannon Ashlee, Lizzie Hadfield, Megan Ellaby, Helen Anderson, Lily Melrose and Liv Purvis. My subscription list is endless and these days I don't always have time to watch as much content as I once did, but I have really been learning the importance of making time for the things I love more and more! 

- 12 -
This year I've fully accepted the importance of clothes in my life to help me feel confident and 'me'. Until now I've always thought it a little frivolous to allow myself to place so much emphasis on fashion to be confident, but I've slowly but surely learnt that it's perfectly okay to buy a new top or dress when I'm feeling down about myself or not confident in my body, because 9 times out of 10 when I find a piece that I truly love it can 100% transform my mood. Metallic footwear, pom pom earrings and fluffy coats, I'm looking at you <3
- 13 - 
Something that was a part of my life whilst I was 18 but has been fully cemented for me this year is my true passion when it comes to Love Island. I watched the show last year but I feel like they really upped their game this year when it came to the production of the programme this year and I, amongst many others, have LOVED it. Camilla, Chris, Kem and Montana; you guys are the bomb.com. *Re-watches entire series after finishing this post*

- 14 -
I've slowly but surely come to accept that I can be intelligent and educated at times, whilst also lack a whole lot of common sense and geographical knowledge alongside it. I am the expert in being a contradiction of myself but I kinda like that I'm a mix of maturity and innocence at the same time. 

- 15 - 
A very valuable and worthwhile lesson I have learnt whilst being 19 is the art of training my hair into lasting longer between washes (a menial but life changing advancement in my day to day routine). I can now go up to 3, or sometimes 4 days if I have an extra large bottle of dry shampoo handy in between washes and I am LOVING this new revelation! This probably seems extremely trivial but let's be real, not everything I learnt whilst being 19 can be life changing revelations! 

- 16 - 
I'm slowly (like really slowly) learning to say yes to things. This has been something I've been trying to achieve for years to no avail, and it's probably only been in the past few months in which I've had the 'Help! I'm not going be a teenager anymore!' realisations in which I've finally been able to achieve it. Accomplishments like this for me come in baby steps, but it's been so rewarding to finally see a difference in my mindset in terms of meeting with friends, going on day trips and adventures and just life in general! I really hope when I write next years post I can look back and say it transformed the way I live my life!

- 17 - 
Dancing around my room when I'm feeling down or even just putting on my favourite Spotify playlists full volume is THE best mood booster. I had a pretty hard time whilst being 19 handling the endless placement rejections I was getting when I first began applying, and there were a couple of positions in particular I was really hung up about not being offered. Music and dragging myself out of bed to dance along to it actually really helped me through, and sometimes singing along to the top of your voice to a Beyonce ballad is honestly the best medicine. Despite this, I also learnt it's totally okay to wallow a little bit when you're sad. At certain points I expected myself to be able to move on straight away but I've learnt that sometimes when things really matter to you, it's not always possible to simply move on without processing and getting over it. Being sad is not a weakness!

- 18 - 
Speaking of weakness, I've come to the realisation that I'm an extremely sensitive person, but y'know what, that is OKAY. I feel things extremely deeply and for long periods of time and I'm often affected by what's going on in the world on a different level to the average person. For the longest time I've hated how sensitive I am, and in some respects it is frustrating to overthink and get upset by things that others might consider totally insignificant, but on the whole I've come to learn that I can't change my personality and my sensitivity actually makes me a really great person in other respects. I'm considerate of others feelings, I try to be as kind as possible and on the whole look out for my pals always. I'm trying to turn my weaknesses into strengths in my quest for self love!

- 19 - 
And finally, number 19. Whilst being 19 I've really got to know myself, what I like, what I hate, what makes me anxious and what brings me the most joy. I've learnt that life goes by so quickly and that I want to make my 20s the happiest and most fulfilling part of my life yet! I spend so much time fretting about the 'what if's' that I feel like I wasted so many of my teenage years and I'm determined not to let that happen again. My mindset has somehow switched and I feel SO ready to tackle all the adventures and fun that life has to offer. I feel terrified at the prospect of no longer being a teenager, but also so excited for the future. 

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