I spent the whole year I was 21 in a state of panic. I worried that I wasn’t doing enough in life, or that I was trying to do too much. I had such a fear of getting older and not being one of those people who had accomplished an incredible amount by their twenties. I spent so much time obsessing about trying to achieve perfection that I didn’t seem to have any time to just relax and make small changes that might actually improve my life a little bit, as perfection continues to elude us all.
Even though I have only been 22 for a week and a half, I feel like this total non-milestone was a really big deal for me, not that I realised this at the time. I think now I’ve gotten over the fact that I’m an actual adult but am not famous for doing something incredible, or a billionaire, but just sort of just a standard human being, it’s taken the load off a bit and I’ve made some small changes to my life that I hadn’t even really realised I was doing. It’s been nice to realise that when you stop obsessing and worrying about not being perfect, life tends to improve drastically and you can just sort of get on with it.
Here are some things I’ve started doing since I turned 22 that I wish I had been doing all along.
1. I make my bed every day
I never used to make my bed at all, and I didn’t care about it either. I had the “but I’m just going to get back in it anyway” mentality and tended to just throw things onto it and leave the sheets in a heap. Because my bed is quite big, if it’s messy it makes my whole room look messy even if it isn’t. Now I’ve got into the habit of making it, which I don’t really know when that happened, I can’t take a step away from it in the morning without doing it properly. It’s so much nicer and more relaxing to get into at night as well, and it just makes everything seem a lot less cluttered.
2. I wear clothes my own size
I did put on a lot of weight at university, and since then I have either been trying to hide my body in clothes two sizes too big for me or else trying desperately to squeeze into things I know will ride up or fall down because they’re just too small now. However this week I’ve actually bought some clothes that are the right size for me, and while I felt self conscious at first it’s done so much to improve my mood and self confidence and I think I actually look a lot better now things aren’t always hanging off me or bulging over my fat rolls.
3. I drink more coffee (but also more water)
It took me years and years to realise that drinking more water was the solution to all my problems, and lately I can’t get enough of the stuff. Something that has changed more drastically though is the amount of coffee I drink. While I was in therapy for health anxiety, caffeine was a big thing for me. I wouldn’t drink it because I was scared it would make me anxious and so it was sort of a vicious circle. Now I’m weirdly proud of myself that I’ve moved on from that, because coffee in moderation is really good for you, it’s delicious and it makes me giggle because my tolerance is so low. So that’s a nice thing. Tea will always have a special place in my heart though.
4. I do things as I think of them rather than writing them down
For a good few years now I have lived religiously with a to do list – ranging from everything from “take out the bins” to “get a job” or “learn to drive.” I used to think that by making the list I could free up my mind and be less stressed. Lately however I have found that just getting on and doing things is a lot easier than having that constant list in the back of my mind. I booked my driving theory test spontaneously and now if I see a full bin I just empty it instead of walking past it and adding it to a list. A lot less stressful.
5. I listen to music without lyrics
As a writer, with a degree largely based around poetry, I have always held the strong opinion that lyrics were the sort of carb element of a song – it’s not really a satisfying song without them. Now though I’ve got really into simple piano music, especially when I want to sleep. It’s nice to just listen to the sounds without having to decipher the words and it can be a great way of emptying the mind. Songs without lyrics can be about anything you want them to be, which is something I’ve never really considered.
If you have any little things you do like this I would love to hear them so I can start doing them too! x