Today I am 20. That’s two decades of life, or 240 months or
7300 days that I have been living, breathing and growing on this planet. Now
being 20 I’m looking back and asking myself, “well what the fuck have you
I’ve done the obvious as most babies do, learning to walk
and talk. I’ve gone to school, both primary and secondary, as fortunate and
lucky I am to have been born in a first world country. But what has stuck with
me? What have these 20 years of life amounted too?
      1.    STICK WITH
one of the most important things I have learnt, not only at 19, but in all of
my life is to stick with what you love. So much so I have the words tattooed
onto my arm, in the crook of my elbow. Maybe one day I’ll tell the story of
when I received this piece of advice, maybe not. But what I will tell you is
sticking with what you love is important for our wellbeing, as terrifying as it
can be to have only ONE thing in this mad world of choice (thanks Social
Media). It doesn’t have to turn into a job, but it’s something you stick with
consistently and constantly work at.
     2.    Never be
with someone who makes you feel hard to love
Relationships are about commitment and support, as well as
love, in equal measures on both sides.
Being with someone who makes you feel uneasy, who you worry over and who makes
you question things often isn’t what a relationship is about. Transparency
is key; communicate clearly and calmly. You shouldn’t be with someone who makes
you feel like hard work, or hard to love.
Fashion is a funny thing. Trends can get confused with
personal style, so even if Vogue is telling you FLORALS FOR SPRING, wear your
black and white if it makes you feel confident. And you don’t have to wait
until you have that office job to
wear linen shirts and smart shoes, you can rock them at 16. In fact, rocking
them at 16 is super cool, so don’t listen to the mean kids at school.
     4.    First loves
are beautiful, messy things
A first love blows your mind; when it’s reciprocated it’s
indescribable. Remembering mine, the fact the cynic in me didn’t win out is
what really boggles my mind. Dating apps and sites can be fun, but there’s
something about having the very first
you love love you back, it
makes life sweeter. Obviously they end as most things do, but there’s so much
you learn from loving for the first time, like the important of communication
and how deep commitment needs to run.
     5.    MIXING
Mixing drinks just shouldn’t be done, period. And tequila
shots are the devil. I feel queasy writing this, NEXT.
     6.    Home isn’t
always a place
You’ll find more comfort being with people who make you feel
comfortable, than a soft bed in a certain house. I have two homes and it’s
weird to consider two places on separate sides of the country one idea of home. Making home a place you keep
inside yourself rather than a street name and number is the way I’ve tried to
figure it out. It’s a feeling more than anything. My friend  Anna
wrote this piece of homesickness, which sums it up better than I have
so take a look http://www.shedidwhatshewanted.com/when-you-dont-feel-at-home-but-moms-isnt-home-either/
     7.    YOU DON’T
If there’s one thing I wish I could rewind and do over, it’s
my teenage self at 16 and her attitude to food. It’s frighteningly common with
girls, wishing to look like some advertised girl in our pages of beloved
magazines. You forget they’re looking that way because of hours of makeup and
hair, exercise and a clean diet, because that’s their JOB. You forget they’re
trying to sell you something, because that’s their JOB. And you start to hate
yourself a little bit and envy the girls in the magazines a lot, but it’s their
JOB just like I a have a job and so do you. It’s something they love, which
pays the bill but you don’ have an obligation to Planet Earth to look like
that. Look like YOU; look like you WANT to look rather than what you think you
HAVE to look like. Emma Gannon wrote
this piece I feel sums it up nicely http://girllostinthecity.com/2016/02/writing-for-that-teenage-girl/.
     8.    Learn about
mental health
Because it’s normal and okay to find out your mental health
might not be in the best place. It doesn’t make you a failure or less of a
person, but it does mean you can try figure yourself out a little more and find
what helps. I wrote this http://predicamentsoflou.com/2016/01/23/how-to-become-confident-powerful-and/
on what helps me.
     9.    YOU WILL
It can feel all too easy like you’ll run out of time to get
everything you want done before your body clock hits a point of ‘no longer
young’ or as I like to think of it, ‘The Age of Getting Your Shit together’.
Happily I can say there’s no point you have to have every little thing ‘done’
so deep breaths, you’re totally okay. It might not be sorted today, whatever it
is you’re worrying about, but it will come together one day. My friend Katie Oldham wrote this fucking
fantastic piece on growing old http://www.scarphelia.com/2016/03/more-than-just-fertility-talking-ageism.html,
I recommend you read this girls.

10.Travel is
the best education
The winter before I turned 19 I packed a quick bag and ran
off to London, because life wasn’t going the way I planned. I felt stuck,
desperate to get out a rut so I ran away. I complied a list of things I learnt
once I had came back, which is a pretty nice read, if I do say so myself – http://predicamentsoflou.com/2015/01/24/8-things-i-realised-in-london/.
I’m going to Amsterdam next month *screams with excitement* so I can’t wait to
come back with lots of fresh ideas and life moments. My darling best friend
Kris is currently in Australia right now; hearing her talk about the things
she’s done and seeing the change in her is incredible, it makes my wanderlust
grow. Sometimes you forget how little things can be satisfying.

Just because something bad happens to you doesn’t mean
you’re a bad person. You don’t need to punish yourself for the rest of your
days over something, because in life you’ve got to learn about forgiveness.
Forgive yourself for every single thing that’s made you feel like a failure;
it’s a learning curve more than anything else. It’s brave to forgive, not
cowardly. Selflove is important, because small things go a long way. I’ve had
to learn to make peace with my past; it gets dragged around with you if you
don’t say goodbye.

12. You’re still
a girl with short hair
Growing up in a Disney Princess mad age can mean your
perceptions of what makes you a woman can become tangled in what’s being
presented to you. Long hair doesn’t make you better than girls with short hair;
it just means you can have longer dino braids. I’ve recommended this piece once
and I’m going to again, because Katie
just GETS IT http://www.scarphelia.com/2015/09/a-little-bit-more-than-just-new-do.html.
Find empowerment in short hair and fuck Disney for telling you princesses have
got to have flowing locks. Have you SEEN when Mulan cuts her hair off? Badass
as fuck.

Commitment is something so many talk about fearing; I reckon
it’s all about finding the right person and deciding ‘yeah you’re a good egg,
I’ll keep you’.  Relationships aren’t
just for the romantics; the relationships you have with your friend and family
need constant work to keep them strong. It’s amazing how one small text message
can perk someone’s day up, so don’t overlook it. It sounds so bloody simple,
but it’s the action which is important. 
Plus it’s nice to be nice isn’t it? Just remember people have their
lives going on too, it doesn’t just start and stop when you talk. Make sure you
both have an understanding and life will go swimmingly.

14. Sleep is
There is nothing fun about living on energy juice or coffee,
even if you get a bit of glee managing to live on tiny amounts of sleep. I know
this all too well being a student and I’m envious of high school Lou for
getting as much sleep as she did, with as little stress as she had. Exams but
barely any coursework? *shrieks* FREE PERIODS? I’ll take them back. One of my favourite writers Beth Norton
posted this the other day and I’m taking her advice to herself, for myself. http://bethnorton.co.uk/keep-going-forward/

Girl hate. It never seems to end does it? Be it the bitchy
tweets on Twitter or the Facebook posts of “I’d just like to say…’, girl hate
seems to be everywhere. I forget the world isn’t my carefully cultivated
Twitter following, where girls are celebrated frequently and happily. I love
how many strong women I follow, who are proudly supporting each other. But girl
hate can be internalised if you don’t notice it. Are you hating on the girl on
the street? I sometimes do, so does that make me a bad feminist? Read this for
the reveal http://predicamentsoflou.com/2016/01/30/am-i-bad-feminis/.

16. Be patient
with yourself (and other people)
It can feel like a race to get everything done, because
everyone else on social media seems to have the Best Life Ever all the time.
Suffering from FOMO? Probably likely, but there’s no point trying to be like
the girl on your phone screen or work towards getting the things you you DON’T
want, Instagram just makes you think you do. Like detox teas or those shoes which always manage to make
their rounds every once in a while. You know the shoes, because everyone and
their mother has them. I liked this piece by Gemma Styles all about that Fear of Fomo http://www.thedebrief.co.uk/news/opinion/gemma-styles-nothing-makes-my-instagram-fomo-worse-than-summer-20150645068.

My mother hates tattoos, I adore them. Can you see the clash
already? It’s quietly there, the elephant in the room but I won’t ever stop
liking tattoos. Sorry, loving tattoos. Just make sure you
get them done well, because a crappy tattoo is with you for life. I screamed at
the standing price of most tattoo parlours, but it’s with you for like, so it’s
better to invest innit? (Please little brother read this and don’t get someone
to tattoo you in a garage).

18. There won’t
be a day everything is just stops
I admit it. I thought, as dumb as I am (though I prefer
naïve), one day everything would just settle down and be it. Nothing dramatic, nothing mad or important. There would just be
this moment everything would stop and I would be left to simply be. Life isn’t like that, oh man oh man
life isn’t like that. I will never have a moment at 45 and think ‘okay life is
down and dusted, everything is as it should be’. Life is constantly reinventing
you, even if you don’t clue yourself in. So I guess I’m making peace with the
fact working, simply being, is something that’s never going to judder down to a
slow stop like the old trains do, or your grandparents car. It just keeps on
going. Duh Lou.
Do I even need to explain this one? It’s probably the best
moment 2016 will see. If you treat your passions and work like Leo treats his
you’ll get the recognition you deserve one day. Hey you might even have most of
the Internet behind you when it happens? Self belief is important http://predicamentsoflou.com/2015/04/15/self-belief-and-why-its-importan/
[Edit] As I wrote this, not sat at my laptop Monday morning,
but in my head as I walked to the train station in the warm sun, I was struck
by one terrifying thought. My whole
life is in my hands.
It’s true, of course it’s true and I want to bellow it
from the rooftops. Your 20’s are your ‘selfish years’ – the years you do the
stuff you want without thinking about the concequences. They are the years you
form into a Proper Adult. My 20’s might be my ‘selfish years’ but I’ve got 20
years behind me already, grown and moulded to be the person I am right this
second. I think I started those
selfish years the morning I turned 18, I just never cottoned
on to it. I was finishing high school and my life, both future and past, were
sitting in the palm of my hands quivering with anticipation, wondering “what
will she do next?”
10 years have amounted to having my heart broken, breaking
the boundaries in my head of ‘things I can’ and ‘things I can’t, relearning my
perception of the world time and time again, especially since moving away from
my seaside home town. It’s been two years since I’ve left school and it’s flown
by. To think 10 years ago I was dancing around claiming to be an adult by 10,
when I’m 20 with no clue what ‘adult’ means to me. 20 felt like something that
wouldn’t happen to me, in the naïve way Joey Tribbiani thinks he’ll never turn

I test the word twenty in my mouth, trying to get a feel for
it, tossing it like a piece of chewing gum as I think. 20. It sounds weird, not
wrong, just weird. 20. It sounds
right, It sounds like a lot of fun. It sounds like I’m settling down into the
person I’m meant to be.
If you’ve read this far, God I love you a lot. Thank you. I
feel like I have so much to more to say, but it’s too much and not enough at
the same time. I’m in mourning of the age I’ve loved the most, the decade
that’s past me so bloody quick.
But here’s to the next decade. I can’t wait to see how it
All my love, as always,

Lou xxx

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4 Responses to 19 THINGS I’VE LEARNT IN 19 YEARS

  1. Just turned 19 myself, and made a post about what I have learned! I very much agree with you on the travel is the best education point 😉


  2. Welcome to the 20's club 😉 I agree with everything you said (especially about stopping girl on girl hate and that travel is the best education!) and appreciate the accurate use of gifs 😀 will be checking out the links you posted!

    Happy belated birthday and may you use your 20's wisely (aka foolishly and carefree) but also don't forget that the world doesn't end when you turn 30 😘 Best wishes xxx
    Anissa Marie

    • louramsay says:

      Thank you so much Anissa! Please do check the links, they're all wonderful writers 🙂

      I'm hoping my 20's are full of fun foolishness before settling into Real Adult World 🙂 haha I'll be sure to remember! 😉 xx

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