All of a sudden it has reached that point where the current year is drawing a close, and everyone you speak to says "...seriously, where did the time go?!". Normally when I reflect back on a year, I can't think of any major things that jump out. However this year has actually been a bit of an exception for me, hitting the other side of 25 has definitely metaphorically marked something - and it just so happens that I have had a lot of life changes this year as well.
It's interesting turning 26, because you do start to notice that suddenly your life has become more, dare I say it...adult. Don't get me wrong, mortgages and tax still confuse the hell out of me, and I will eat baked beans for dinner on the odd occasion - but I guess your outlook changes, along with the people around you. I've also noticed this year that the strong friendships you have, are almost stronger than ever.
So to round it up - here are 5 things that I learned in 2017:
Life is too short not to travel
Of course going on holiday comes hand in hand with spending a lot of money. Sure, you can do some things on a budget and cut corners as much as possible - but you can't really avoid the fact that going away isn't going to be cheap. I went to Canada this year, and I haven't even added up the full cost of how much the trip was because I know ignorance is probably bliss with that one! However it was the most incredible trip, I will remember that holiday for years and years to come - it really was a trip of a lifetime. So in my opinion the money I spent was 100% worth it for what I got out of it.
Also thinking ahead, one day, I would like to have children. I'm fully aware that once you have children, although it's amazing it really does limit what you can do in some ways in terms of cost and practicality. So to be honest, now is the time to make the most of it and explore.
Just do what makes you happy
It sounds so simple and cheesy doesn't it? But I learned this year that it was SO true. I'd spent all my time zoning in on a goal that was incredibly difficult to achieve. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with having a goal and ambition - but you shouldn't let it dictate your life to the point where you are miserable. You have to allow yourself to enjoy spending time with friends, other halves, colleagues and family - people who aren't going to be measuring you on your success and where you are, but just want to spend time with you and have some fun. Allowing yourself to not have that weight on your shoulders 24/7 will make a huge difference. I mean for goodness sake, I'm in my 20s - I want to look back on all the fun I had during this time whilst I still could.
Stop comparing yourself to everyone
Seriously, no good comes out of it, so just stop. It's so easy to do though isn't it? Especially now that social media is such a large part of our lives - all you see is other people's glamorous moments and you can't help but compare them to your reality. That's just it though, it isn't their reality either. You have no idea what their struggles and frustrations are, on the surface they are only going to have positive things to say. However to anyone close to them - or maybe not to anyone at all - they will be speaking about the downside of things. Just remember that you don't know what that is, but it is guaranteed to exist on some level with everyone.
Stop worrying what people think, and just do what you enjoy
You know what? I bloody love Harry Potter. So much so that I went to a Harry Potter quiz and dressed up as The Golden Snitch. There are plenty of people out there that would snort and laugh at that - they are entitled to that opinion, but in all honesty I just don't care. I had an amazing night with my friends and raved about how fun it was for days! I'm not going to shy away from what I like or enjoy for the sake of pleasing other people or trying to look cool. I'm no longer at school or university, so I'm going to just go ahead and play out my interests as I want to.
It's important to maintain your relationships
Whether it's your other half, your friends, your family - it's so important to maintain your relationships with these people. I think that as you get older people get busier and therefore free time is more precious. You can no longer rely on the fact that spending time with people will fall into your lap, you have to actively make it happen. So it's important to make the effort with those you care about, when times get tough those are the people you are going to want to turn to. Sometimes relationships fall by the wayside, for various reasons, unfortunately that's just a part of life I think. However the ones that are strong will be there for the long run.
I hope you enjoyed reading this, and it was somewhat useful to you! Either way, I hope you have a fabulous 2018 and enjoy the last few days of 2017. I'm off to choose my NYE outfit!