As I approach chapter 32 of my life soon, I have been looking back and reflecting a lot on the last 32 years and the journey so far. What I now know in my 30’s, I wish I knew when I was in my 20’s and everything that I understand now and every life experience prepared me for certain events in my life. If I could go back and put everything I learnt into practise, then I think so many things would have been different in my life.

Firstly I would tell my 20 year old self that every friend that I thought would stay in my life forever ended up leaving so fast and so I learnt that nothing is permanent and no one is permanent. When I was in my 20’s I was under this mind spell that I had to have lots of friends and lots of followers on instagram in order to be happy and fit into the circle that I thought I should be in. I ended up trusting everyone and being that open book that I thought everyone wanted to see and foolishly being so naive I kept going back to the friends that actually weren’t my friends at all. I got hurt by friends and in the process of growing up I also ended up hurting friends too. Now in my 30’s, I understand and value friendship very differently. I wish I knew then that it is ok to have one friend, if it meant that the one friend I had was loyal and respectful. I have now learnt that I no longer need to force friendships with anyone and by being myself I attract the friends who genuinely want to stay in my life. I would tell my younger self that you can’t take responsibility for other peoples actions and if a friend lets you down, then that’s not on you and people should take accountability for their actions. I wish I knew then not everyone is my friend and sometimes, some friends no longer deserve a place in your life. As you grow older you want to be able to have friends who are both trustworthy and reliable and if someone is no longer able to offer that to you then it is ok to wish them well and say goodbye. Not every friend deserves to be in your life permanently.

Relationships. WOW! I don’t even know where to begin with this. My 20 year old self was a reckless mess if Im honest and I don’t think it got any better in my 30’s but I have definitely learnt a lot and become much wiser. I feel like in my 20’s I was living in this cultural bubble which made me believe that I had to live up to this traditional wifey expectation and I did. I was doing everything I was told and behaved the way I was told, and basically did everything to make my boyfriend happy. I was seeking permission and needed to be validated for every decision that I was making in my life and needed approval from my boyfriend, and not my parents or family (stupid me!). In every relationship I was in, I thought I needed the guy to know that I was willing to do everything in this relationship to make him happy and what I wanted did not matter. I ended many friendships and stopped talking to friends that he did not like, I stopped talking to male friends as I came from an era where sperms were flying around and by even looking at another guy, I could possibly get pregnant. Yup, I did everything in order for him to take me home to his mum and marry me by week 2. Where did it get me? No where! Just divorced in my 30’s! Now currently in my 30’s, things have changed significantly. My relationship game changed severely. I finally started respecting myself. I now don’t tolerate shit. I now understand that a relationship is not a life sentence with your other half and your partner does not own you! Whether you are married or not, you are your own person with your own needs and wants and more importantly your own life and just because you are in a relationship with someone, it does not mean that he/she owns you. I am not saying you should go wild and do whatever you want, but as long as you are being respectful of your other half and not hurting them in any way then you should be able to have your own life whilst being in a relationship. I learnt that you cannot force anything in a relationship. If something is mean to be in your life then it will and if someone is meant to stay then they will. You can’t keep someone in your life just because YOU love them and YOU want this to work, it has to work both ways. I would tell my younger self to first “find your self” and I know that sounds so cliche, but I had to know myself first and love myself before I could give any love to anyone else and that’s what I would tell my younger self.

I don’t want to sit here and drag this one and make it longer that it should be, because let’s face it, I would tell my 20 year old self so many things. Personally for me friendships and relationships were the biggest life lessons so far but there are other minor things that I would want to go back and tell my 20 year old self. What I know now are all experiences that I went through in my 20’s which led them to become lessons for me in my 30’s. I wish I could go back and tell my younger self so many things but I know I can’t as some of the things that broke me then made me who I am now. I wish I cared less about boys and travelled more and had fun more. I wish I cared less about what people had to say and their opinions on my life and just lived guilt free for myself. You may be someones story today but next week they will find something else to talk about and you soon become history. I learnt that people only knew my name and not my story and by caring about what they say I was allowing them to have an input in my life and was giving them an opportunity to give me their opinions when I quite frankly didn’t need it. I would tell my younger self that it is ok to let go of things or people that no longer need a space in your life.

Overall in a nutshell, I would tell my 20 year old self that, you need to surround yourself with good energy. You need to eliminate a lot of people in your life who aren’t offering that anymore, and if you ever feel drained hanging out with certain people whether it be on a friendship level, or relationship or even a family member then, you just LET IT GO over time. Time is way to precious to be spending it with people that don’t make you feel your best, It is okay to be selfish with your life and it is okay to walk away from things that no longer bring you peace.

Cathy x

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