The Mistakes & Lessons I’ve Learnt So Far In My Twenties


I have somehow ended up at the age of 28. When I was a teenager I thought that those who were 28 were fully fledged adults. Like proper grown-ups, who have established careers, are homeowners and probably have a kid or two. Also being a child meant that those were my criteria for being an ‘adult’, which now I can now see are complete tosh. Being such a fangirl of my parents I always thought my life would pan our in a similar way to them. Given that my Mum had me at 27 and my sister at 29 and owned a three-bed property with my Dad from the age of 26, it seems that that isn’t going to be the case.

And you know what? THAT’S OK. My twenties have turned out pretty well so far. My family, friends and I all have our health. My hobby turned into my full-time job which is something that I am forever grateful for. Plus I get to spend my free-time with a cracking lad in a home that feels like a warming hug whenever I walk through the door. You know the ‘b’ word? I want to say it, but I’ll spare you the cheesiness. Of course life ain’t all rainbows and sunshine, but for the most part it’s pretty grand and for that reason I like to soak it up whilst the going is good.

Throughout the years though I’ve fudged up from time to time. I’ve made mistakes, made bad decisions and been a prize bellend often. No one’s perfect, but it’s always good to reflect on these moments and work out how we can nail them next time without being a buffoon. As the years pass by you’re able to analyse them with a bit more street-smart and as you begin to know yourself, your ways and your moral compass better, you just begin to live a little more comfortably in your skin (as eye-rolling inducing it sounds). So today I thought I’d share with you some of f-ups and what I’ve learnt from each one…

MISTAKE: Avoiding confrontation. LESSON: You don’t have to be a complete hard-ass. I’m a pretty agreeable kinda person. I balk at the first sight of confrontation, do the whole ‘Homer Simpson backing into a bush’ move and close my eyes until it blows over. I’ve spoken about it before and I fully understand that as a one woman band, it’s not exactly the best trait to possess. In all aspects of life there are tough conversations to be had from time to time and the very thought of them makes my toes curl and my palms start to sweat. I feel very lucky that over the course of my career so far I’ve been guided by some excellent advice from friends and family members and brilliant bosses and mentors, so confrontation hasn’t been something that I’ve faced often and made too many mistakes with, but it’s definitely still a lesson I’m working on learning.

I blame the movies for this one. Like in the Devil Wears Prada, Meryl Strep is the head honcho and is TERRIFYING. Whilst some people in positions of power might make decisions with little amounts of warmth – perhaps that’s just who they are personality-wise – that isn’t the case for everyone. You can assert your mind and be authoritative in a way that sits well with you as a person. It’s just about listening to all parties, taking in all the information and not being afraid to lay your cards out on the table. It’s not about being bossy, but instead about confidence, compromise and keeping calm. Like I said, it’s still a work in progress. Any tips appreciated!

MISTAKE: Trying to be a chronic over-planner. LESSON: Go with the flow. I LOVE LISTS! I love planning! I love organisation! All the exclamation marks! For the most part this serves me well. As someone who works for themselves, I find that it gives me a routine and adds structure to my day. It keep the wheels in motion and is the main reason why I’m able to keep putting up a video a week, three blog posts and all the other behind the scenes bits and bobs running, that are unseen but always churning away. YAY EXPENSES!

HOWEVER, one tough lesson that I’ve learnt over the past few years are that we all need a gear to drop down to that embraces flexibility to some degree. I started this blog in 2010 and when I took it full time around five years ago, I created all these rules for myself when it came to creating content. I posted 10 times a week on my blog and three videos a week and I stuck to that for YEARS like my life depended on it. Sure it was a great way to build up a hefty archive and an audience, but man did I not have a life. I think when starting out on your own path that’s always the way, but burnout is the inevitable end result of it. So when that kicked in, it was time to dial it back a notch and embrace the whole quality over quantity vibe. These days I shoot multiple pictures per post (instead of just the one I’ve hastily taken), attempt to put a bit more beef into my copy (instead of just 100 words) and more love and thought into my videos (instead of trying to turn one around in two hours flat). I don’t plan that far ahead with my ideas, so to keep them a little more fresh and try to bounce off readers and viewers recommendations as much as I can. Of course my inner Virgo would love to be planning August’s blog post ideas right now, but there’s a happy medium that’s best for the blog and my panic levels.

MISTAKE: Ploughing on. LESSON: Sometimes it’s time for a break. I feel like this ‘ploughing on’ mentality is something that’s been birthed out of this modern, 24/7, always connected life. We’re all busy. We’re surgically attached to our phones and we’re all in need of some rest. SO REST! As a generation we’re bloody awful at knowing when it’s time to press pause and give ourselves a break. You know taking a weekend off without checking your emails every hour doesn’t make you lazy? It feels GLORIOUS. We’re also pretty terrible at giving ourselves a pat on the back when it’s long overdue and celebrating our successes.

Of course I’ve used ‘we’ throughout this paragraph, but all of this applies to me. This week I’ve been beating myself up because I’m not running on 100% because I’m taking antibiotics that make me resemble a zombie. I mean, I’m fighting off an infection! Of course I’m not going to be writing five blog post pieces in a day *shakes head at self*. My to-do list right now seems a little impossible, so for the past three months I’ve done something that constitutes work every single day – weekends included. You know what though? I work from home, control my own schedule for the most part and don’t have kids to juggle in my routine – I have time to take a bloomin’ Sunday off. So this weekend I’ve penciled it in (oh the irony!). It’s our one year wedding anniversary and we’ve planned a day of eating because it’s our favourite thing to do. I’m planning on leaving my phone at home and leaving my laptop untouched for 24 hours. It’s time for a rest. It’s time to celebrate. It’s time to EAT.

Photos by Lauren Shipley

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