23 Things I Learnt Before Turning 23

Life is one big rollercoaster and half the battle for each of us is learning how to manage that rollercoaster when it dips, malfunctions and races off. Gwen Jones explores…

As the countdown to my birthday approaches each year, I love exploring and reflecting on my life – may be a little deep for a 23 year old but please trust that I am an old soul in a young person’s body! My experiences so far have been amazing and also the absolute worst. I dealt with an unexpected bereavement at the age of 16 and have continued to try my best to ride this crazy wave that is life. And generically speaking, I think the same goes for most of us. Life is not without its downfalls and dark holes that we think we will never climb out of.

So from one overthinking 23 year old to you, here are the 23 things I’ve learnt before turning 23…

1. You have to put yourself out there. Stop waiting for the miracles to happen. MAKE the miracles happen.

2. Prioritising your physical wellbeing will better your mental wellbeing, trust me (coming from someone who made that decision 8 months ago).

3. Find your form of escapism, whether it’s reading, gaming, exercising, watching a series or going to the seaside – you will need it!

4. You can’t please everyone. It’s simply impossible. Plus, it’s a big energy drainer that you could be channelling elsewhere.

5. Everyone says it but you HAVE to prioritise you. We all have to, otherwise who will?

6. Life is all about the mistakes. You may occasionally make a t*t of yourself in front of people you’d rather not but who cares? We are literally on a floating rock (I hope you understand my TikTok reference…)

7. Make a habit of making playlists for everything. Because when you’re feeling a bit “mmmm could do with a little boost right now to rid this foul mood”, there’s no better remedy than THAT playlist you created when you were dancing around the kitchen.

8. Drink water before coffee to save yourself questioning why you are feeling MORE tired after that espresso (it’s the dehydration FYI).

9. Tell those you hold close to your heart how much you love and appreciate them regularly. Sadly, tomorrow isn’t guaranteed for any of us. Always share that heart that is full of love, even when it’s hard.

10. You deserve to take up space. Cliché? Perhaps. But this is something we all forget. Whether you’re at the weights section in the gym or trying to navigate through deserted trolleys to get your pint of milk.

11. Quality over quantity – apply this to everything in your life.

12. Maybe you’re not stuck. Maybe you have been planted in order to bloom. Again, apply this to pretty much any situation in life.

13. You don’t have to be productive twenty four seven. I don’t care if we have all got the same 24 hours in a day, sometimes what you need in those 24 hours is lots of rest and recuperation. There’s no shame in that.

14. You’ve got this whole life ahead of you and guess who you’ll be spending a large percentage of that time with? Yourself. So spend time getting to know who you are, what you like, what you dislike. And never put up with anything that doesn’t align with that.

15. Anything that makes you feel like s**t is not worth having in your life. Period.

16. Celebrate ALL of your wins, how big or small they are is the most irrelevant part. You have enough time to be humble. Don’t miss out on your opportunities to celebrate and be proud of yourself.

17. Don’t get caught out by an unexpectedly early check-out time. Yes, some places have 9am as their check-out. This lesson was learnt as I type this out…

18. Clothing sizes are an absolute mess. They are literally just a tag on a piece of material. Don’t you dare let that define you.

19. There is nothing wrong with who you are. You don’t need to try and be anybody else but the beautiful soul that you are.

20. Dogs are pretty much a cure for anything. I guess the same goes for cats if you’re a cat person. And maybe even a tarantula if they happen to be your thing.

21. Monday’s are typically the busiest day of the week at the gym (so-say), so if you go in on a Monday feeling overwhelmed by the booms of weights being dramatically dropped and the music thumping, just know that tomorrow should be quieter (so-say, again).

22. Anxious tummy? Chew gum. It sends a signal to that brain of yours that you are eating and are therefore safe.

23. If you have a goal, dream or bucket list, just go for it. There is no better time than the present and there’s certainly no right time or age to start working towards what you want so start now.

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