THE LESSONS

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I’m 26.

And, after discounting the days where I was busy working out how to walk, talk and eat and tactfully side stepping the years where my main concern was whether I was a saddo for using pads instead of tampons, I’ve got roughly around ten years’ worth of semi-useful, sort of adult experience under my belt that I’d like to share with you. You know, just in case you thought you were alone in this epic tragedy that they call our twenties, or in case you are 16 and curious about how to deal with the impending car crash of emotions, celebrations and failures that are to follow as you enter your adult life.

Here goes:

  1. You have freckles. SPF is literally saving your life. Slather it on like butter to a crumpet.
  2. You will spend quite a few days in bed, alone, watching TV on demand. Ignore anyone who says these days are wasted. They are but precious moments with the most important person in your life. And the residents of Litchfield penitentiary.
  3. You will really unexpectedly fail or really irrationally quit something. Only worry about the latter. Failing is fine; quitting is not.
  4. You will cut your hair short, trying to prove a point. The only point you will make is that you were wrong.
  5. You will lose friends. You will make new ones. Both are a good thing.
  6. You will be forced into taking an interest in politics due to a really shit PM being elected. It’ll be worth it. You will vote and actually understand your choices.
  7. It’s fine to wear jeans every time you go out. The same goes for wearing black. Accessories are your best friend.
  8. Men will rarely love an outfit you do. Wear it anyway.
  9. Your heart will get broken.
  10. You will get over it.
  11. It might take a while.
  12. Take advice from your mum. She had a life before you, you know.
  13. Yoga isn’t for skinny, chai drinking, twats. Stretching will sort your life-long back issues out. Put on a pair of leggings and suck it up.
  14. Spend less time worrying about irrational things. Gravity will not all of a sudden cease to exist and you will not disappear into a black hole. Also, stop watching programmes about space.
  15. Keep some opinions to yourself. Even if you feel like you should be honest all the time, take the time to taste your words before you spit them out. Not everyone needs your thoughts on everything.
  16. Never give an opinion on someone else’s relationship. Only listen.
  17. Tell people if you think they are hot/talented/interesting. Unless they’re Taylor Swift. She already knows.
  18. Hard work always pays off. As does asking for something you know you won’t be offered.
  19. Never arrange something for 9 o’clock on a Sunday morning. You will be hungover and your mate will, no doubt, be hungover too. It will inevitably lead to overeating, self-loathing and no future friend plans.
  20. Don’t be afraid to go into McDonald’s alone and order a large meal after a night out. That, dear friend, is practical independence.
  21. Learn to love your freckles. They aren’t going anywhere- and they’re actually not that bad.
  22. Make your frikkin’ bed in the morning.
  23. Don’t forgive your guy mates for being dicks to girls. Don’t ignore it when your girl mates treat men like shit. There’s no explanation for where your moral compass disappears to at times like these but be sure to give your friends a kick to the shins when they deserve it too.
  24. If you get turned down for a job, it’s not that you weren’t good enough. You just weren’t a good enough fit.
  25. You wear fake tan. Don’t buy white bed sheets.
  26. Men, although it might not seem it sometimes, have hearts too. Be careful with them.
  27. You will go on some really, really bad dates. That’s okay. They’re there to make sure you notice the good ones.
  28. Don’t not go in the pool because people will see you in a bikini. Literally no one is looking. They’re too busy worrying about which filter to use on their ‘Good Monday at the office?’ shot.
  29. You will look back on your zero-responsibility retail jobs with fond memories. Don’t. It was hell.
  30. Be a writer. Stop making excuses and take the risk. You’re just wasting time and money pretending you want to be, or do, anything else.
  31. You’re allergic to cats. Stop touching them.
  32. Don’t do shots. You know why.
  33. You will think you have been in love and then you will fall in love and realise you hadn’t been in love until then.
  34. Continue to forget to take photos on fun nights out and day trips away. It means you’re having too much of an interesting time and that is only a good thing.
  35. Realise that you actually don’t know anything and that you’ve got at least another 34 years’ worth of lessons to learn. Brace yourself. The next chapter is a big one.

FREEDOM – A GUEST POST

large (1)When I was young I was free.

Of course, we all were. We didn’t have jobs, rental agreements or hangovers, we were just existing in a wonderful state of sometimes-euphoric mostly-moody teen angst, where the only thing greater than our lack of responsibility was our cereal intake.

Then, one day, something happened, and our longing to be adults who were taken seriously smashed us in the face harder than the floor did that time we tried skateboarding in the Tesco car park, and we realised that all along we’d been tricked into following a false dream.

We were rewarded with responsibility when we worked hard and proved we were deserving; finally being left alone in the house when our mum went to play squash of an evening at age 13 (and inviting our much older and frankly creepy boyfriend over to watch South Park and make out), being given complete control of our own computer priviliges at 14 (and looking at weird sex forums on the AOL chatroom), even being gifted the holy grail of deciding our own bedtime at 15 (and wrecking our sleeping pattern by forcing ourselves to stay up until 1am just so we could say we did).

At the time, we were oblivious to the fact that we were being slowly integrated into the adult community. We were under the illusion that these fun perks were the main components of adulthood, that choosing our own dinners (spaghetti with hot dogs cut up in it) and having free reign of the TV on weeknights (Hollyoaks > The Simpsons > Dream Team > Bad Girls) were the biggest decisions we were ever going to have to make.

Inevitably the fun slows down as we realise that when they start to give us actual cold hard cash in college our mum will tell us we have to use it to pay for our own clothes and junk food, rather than Colin Farrell wall calendars and hair extensions like we were planning to. They’ll start trusting us with being able to get ourselves to class on time but won’t tell us that we’ll actually feel obliged to be there, and that bunking off in the park in the sunshine will make us feel anxious and sweaty, not warm and relaxed.

When you escape to university you start to think that maybe you were right all along – adulthood is brilliant! You can pass your semesters without going to a single lecture thanks to the miracle that is the Internet, you get money for nothing – literally nothing – and can spend it on whatever you want, and people practically force you to spend your time having fun rather than focusing on your responsibilities.

Eventually, though, your university years pass you by and the fun suddenly stops. Everybody tells you that your “real life” is about to start but in reality it feels like everything is coming to a grinding halt.

We resign ourselves to getting a job and go through emotional turmoil from our very first day of the nine-to-five existence, wondering how we’re ever going to survive fifty years of getting up every day and going to work without being discovered and becoming a worldwide star or bagging ourselves a billionaire husband before the age of 22.

We flirt with the idea of becoming exotic travellers like the girls we see on Instagram who spend their time modelling bikinis and getting high, but very quickly realise that we are neither cute enough nor rich enough to kick start that venture. Bizarre job choices become more romanticised than ever and one day you’ll find yourself thinking “I probably could be a professional wrestler” in a bid to settle yourself in any profession that doesn’t involve ever stepping foot in an office and spending the third day in a row helping Neil fix the printer.

We wonder if freedom will ever come again, if we’ll ever be blessed with the familiar but distant feeling that anything is possible, and then one morning we find ourselves curled up in bed at 5am after a really shitty 24 hours, so we call our best friend from the comfort of our flat that we decorated all by ourselves and are actually pretty proud of, and we venture into the city to climb a skyscraper in our pyjamas, buy a hot chocolate with money that we earned through our own hard work, and watch the sunrise over the tops of the sparkly buildings that once inspired us to think we could rule the world.

It’s on those mornings, above the clouds, whilst the city sleeps and you and your best friend eat croissants and slag off boys for a full fifty minutes, that you realise that this freedom is a better freedom than any you ever could have imagined when your mind was frantic and your thoughts were wild.

This freedom is real.

Written by Emmy Christmas.

A girl who wrote something perfect for this moment in my life, without even realising it. An angel.

Follow her on Twitter here, she’s hilarious.