• Alexa Dione Francis

Twenty Things I Learned at Twenty

Will I upload this in a timely fashion before my birthday? Probably not. Shall we all forgive me anyway because I'm just so fab and funny? Absolutely! .....Why is no one agre- was that tumbleweed?! Wow okay, let's move on.

So, hi, how are we? Good? Good. I am also good. I am also about to pretend I am very clever and bestow upon you all the incredible wisdom I have gained in the run up to turning 21 and becoming the woman I know I can be (I don't think age has anything to do with it to be honest but I've set the dramatic tone now so we are just going to roll with it if that's okay with you).

1. You will most likely feel (and look) 16 until you are into your thirties and that's okay

Basically, life can be scary as hell with people telling you that you're "officially" an adult now as you "aren't a teenager anymore". I am here to tell you all that this means absolutely NOTHING. Ignore them. Just because you get a year older does not mean there are sudden added expectations of you, do things at your own pace. You are doing okay!

2. Not going to uni hasn't ruined your life (so calm down mate)

Out of many of the people I was friends with in sixth form, I was one of the few that didn't go. Unsurprisingly, the world didn't end. It's very much something that is portrayed as a measure of success but you can be successful with and without it. Had I gone to uni at 18, I genuinely don't think I'd be here today. I definitely needed time to grow into myself.

3. Starting a 'proper job' is scary as hell but you did it!

2019 kicked off with me starting - and I hate this phrase - a "proper" job which was terrifying. Leaving the cosy comfort of retail to a job where I could actually progress and find an unexpected career path in was daunting. But I did it! And I'm still there! And I am actually doing quite a good job (if I do say so myself xoxo)!

4. Make more time for the things you enjoy

It's so easy to fall into that Netflix hole, wrapped securely in my duvet like a burrito every evening. The Not-So-New-Anymore job can sometimes be draining, physically and often emotionally too. I've decided to burrito it up to my hearts content a few nights a week. But I need to remember to go out and see my friends. If they're busy, FINISH ALL THE BLOG POSTS YOU STARTED AGES AGO. Ahem. Writing is what I love, so why the hell don't I do more? No excuses (but also I won't be putting unnecessary pressure on myself)!

5. To continue to be open

Oh, my. Phew. We have been hurt this year. I have almost come to expect to be hurt instantly which is not fair on genuinely lovely people. I get the familiar feeling inside of wariness, anticipation that it will all just happen again. This subheading was almost 'To be more open' but actually, I am open, trusting, and kind if you are kind to me; so I want to continue to be all of that in the face of the hurt. I'm not stupid so if you waste my time, more fool you.

(.......Blimey, are we only at number five? And I thought twenty of these was going to be fine? Easy, even? Someone was optimistic weren't they...wow)

6. You absolutely CAN be a vegetarian

For someone who has been a bit of a picky eater all her life, I'm glad I got a grip and started changing it up. Granted my main reason was the pure fear and stress I feel about climate change and global warming; I also wanted a better diet rather than eating mini rolls and chicken (not together). I don't miss meat; a lot of the Quorn stuff doesn't taste that different to me (hellooooo Southern Fried burgers) so it hasn't impacted me at all really. It's like I just assumed I'd be eating raw beetroot straight from the ground or something. I most definitely won't be by the way. Just to clarify. Dirt in my face isn't really appealing.

7. You are more organised than you ever thought

If only my GCSE teachers brought this side out of me when I was in school. I love lists, setting goals, working hard, coming up with new ideas and challenges for myself, both in my home life and at work.

8. Keep up your money management!

Incredibly, my money management has been going relatively well and I'm being quite responsible as well as having fun or being able to treat myself if I want. My secret is multiple current accounts of 'pots' for different things such as rent, bills, travel/fuel for my car, fun shiny things to treat myself to like clothes etc. Martin Lewis, where you at hun??

9. People come and go

There are so many people that have come and gone in my (now) 21 years of living who I was convinced would be in my life until the end. But they aren't anymore. And that's okay, often there's a reason. People grow and change and through these changes, you become different people with different ideas of what that friendship or relationship should be. But who knows? There may be time to reconnect in later life. These people were friends for a reason once upon a time and there's no harm in exploring those friendships again with all that we have learnt and experienced.

10. You do work hard

And don't forget it. The only person telling myself that I'm not doing enough or being enough is literally just me.

11. It takes time to fall in love with yourself

But I have started. It's going to be a long journey but I'm on the road now so I am going to keep going.

12. Embrace your independence

I often worry I love my own company and independence so much that I won't find someone that I can be with. I've had many experiences where I feel time has been wasted to the point where I'd just like to be left alone if it's not able to become serious. I'm happy minding my own business. But that is not a cause for worry, one day someone will love me for these characteristics and more. There is no rush.

13. Trust yourself

I know when things aren't right, trust myself and what I feel inside.

14. Stay brave with your driving

There have been a couple of incidents that have scared me a bit and as a separate issue driving to a new place alone for the first time scares the shit out of me too but I have driven to Nottingham on my own so I think I can do anything now.

15. Wear what you want

Life is too short to worry if my arms look too big or lumpy. If you like it, wear it. People don't care!

16. A small circle of friends is good

I have a few really good friends and I'm so lucky to have them.

17. Remind yourself of your love for literature - often

Old skool escapism. This is where I discovered my love for words and language. My passion for writing stems from this, watching my mum's tired eyes after she bought the midnight release of the latest Harry Potter book and stayed up all night until the very last page had been read (if you've always found reading a chore, check out audible) (sponsor me amazon xx).

18. Accepting others for who they are

This can be a challenge if you have a preconceived idea or expectation of someone. The trick I have found is look at what is there rather than look for what isn't

19. Finding alternate words to replace swear words

Please see the following examples me and my *creative* family have come up with over the years:

Carrier bag


Monkey's Uncle

Son of a Sea Biscuit

And so on. I'll leave you to decide what swear words these replaced in my household...

20. See as MUCH live music as you can

Push through the social anxiety of being hot and crowded. Live music is good for my soul and anxiety is not.

(21. Yeah, this is THAT late I'm actually 21 now lol)

(In the spirit of my earlier point of my apparent organisational skills - being timely. LIKE WITH THIS BLOODY BLOG POST!!!!!!!!!)

(This continues to be a work in progress. As you can see)

Happy 21st Birthday to me. In this photo, all my dreams came true and I took Dominic the Llama for a walk! Massive thank you to my little sister for this, best gift ever.

Blimey, this took more months than it should have to write. I nearly scrapped it in all honesty but I wanted to share it so here it is! I hope you enjoyed my oversharing or maybe related to what I have shared? I hope so. See you much sooner than two months for the next one!

All my love,