21 lessons at 21

Your girl is officially an adult. I can legally supervise a learner driver. I can drink in the US. I can drive lorries over 7.5 tonnes with a trailer as long as I have the appropriate licence. Now, if that ain’t freedom, I don’t know what is! 

I can’t believe that 21 has come around so quickly. Before I know it I’ll be graduating and heading into the big wide world to take on proper adult responsibilities. It’s all a bit overwhelming. However, I’m also beyond excited to start on this next chapter of my life. Who knows where I’m going to be in a year or two? I’m just grateful to have spent the last 21 surrounded by the love and support of the people closest to me. But before I turn this post into a puddle of emotions, I’ll jump in to reminiscing about everything I’ve learnt. Since this is a landmark birthday, I don’t just mean things I’ve learnt this year, I mean things I’ve learnt over my entire life (cutting out the boring ‘how to digest solids’ and ‘how to say “where is the cinema?” in French” parts). Strap yourselves in, it’s gonna be a meaty one! 

21 Birthday Mug

If you’re creative enough, you can communicate with pretty much anyone

Over the past few years I’ve been to stay with parts of my boyfriend’s family in both Greece and in Albania. I have a GCSE in French, but my linguistic skills don’t stretch all that far. Still, hand gestures and hugs have allowed me to build relationships with people that I don’t share a language with. It’s been a beautiful experience. 

Nobody knows what they’re doing

If you think that anyone has their life sorted, go into a Year 3 lecture at uni and ask all of the students what their plans are after graduating. It will make you feel much better.

The power of asking

Most of the work that I’ve done recently has come about because I have asked for it. I know there’s been a lot of hoo-haa about bloggers pitching themselves to brands and being “outed”, but I don’t see anything wrong with advertising a service and offering it for money.

Not to surround myself with people that say “no offence, but…”

They’re either trying to be nasty, or they’re genuinely so socially unaware that they don’t realise they are. Personally, I’ve decided that I have no space in my life for both of those types of people.

Meditation is good for me (and I should do it more)

My days are at least 50% better after I’ve spent just 10 minutes meditating. Of course, that doesn’t mean I actually do it every day… 

The importance of finding your comfort and being unapologetic in it

An amethyst crystal. Patchouli and lavender oil. Keeping a constant eye on the stages of the moon. These are the things that I have found comfort in over the past few years. I’ve had a couple of people completely write off their legitimacy as tools for coping based on the fact that it’s all just a bit too granola and not scientific enough. That’s alright. I don’t need to know whether crystals, essential oils or the moon  have the capacity to physically change things, because they change my mood. That’s enough for me.

That you don’t have to read every book

I’ve read a hell of a lot of books whilst doing my English Literature degree, but I certainly haven’t read all of the books. The lecturers will tell you that you have to know and understand every text from cover to cover in order to thrive. Nah – just read most of them and look up the plots of the rest on Wikipedia.

That every choice I make as a consumer is important

One of my most-used phrases on this blog is: “Your voice as a consumer is in your money”. Maybe that sounds hideously bleak, but it’s true. If you feel angry about animal testing, one of the best ways to show that is by refusing to buy any products tested on animals. If you don’t like the fact that people of colour are being mistreated in garment production, reduce how much you buy on the high street.

Emotional intelligence is way more important that book smarts 

Being empathetic. Reading a room. Knowing when someone is projecting their insecurities onto you. Now those are the life skills that we actually need. 

Big hoops save any outfit

Seriously. I could be half-dead, having not showered for 5 days and with spinach in my teeth and I’d still feel like a goddess as soon as I put on a pair of hoops.

Soy milk is the only plant-based milk suitable for use in tea

I haven’t bought milk since starting uni, but I always felt like my cups of tea didn’t cut it. I tried almond, hemp, coconut (yes, really) and hazelnut and they ranged from drinkable to absolutely vile. I’m not sure how I left out the humble soy milk in my experiments, but it is the queen of cuppas.

Menstrual cups are a product sent from heaven to bless us

Better for the environment, for my purse and for my body? This silicone cup is just fucking incredible. But I won’t harp on about it too much, since I’ve already dedicated several blog posts to it.

UTIs suck, but water is the ultimate medicine

Ah, my 20th year of this earth. A year of self-growth, personal achievements and UTIs. My bladder has been ravaged by E.coli more times than I can count. Turns out, I’m just naturally more prone to UTIs which kind of sucks. However, drinking ridiculous amounts of water certainly helps. I’ve forgotten cranberry capsules, apple cider vinegar, D-Mannose and tea tree oil baths: Water is the best medicine.

That I was wearing the wrong bra for my whole adult life

I recently got fitted for a bra and found out that I’m two whole sizes bigger than I thought I was. As someone with a very modest chest, I was pretty bloody surprise. Turns out, there are a whole host of reasons that contribute to your cup size, not just how far out your boobs comes.

Get ya self measured, ladies.

How to live on my own

This girl has been living in London on her own for nearly 3 years now. That’s quite the achievement, isn’t it?

That distance is difficult, but not all bad

Being away from my boyfriend intermittently whilst I study has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. However, it also taught me how to survive on my own and actually thrive whilst doing so. As I said in this posts, I think it turned out to be a hugely beneficial thing for our relationship.

We attract what we are

I used to think that manifestation was bullshit and just a little too granola for me. I now truly believe that we have the power to control our realities.

Self-help is the BEST

Yep, reading self-help books on the tube is mildly embarrassing but it’s totally worth it. I’ve learnt so much from the likes of Liz Gilbert, Gabrielle Bernstein and Jen Sincero. I might even go as far as saying that I’ve learnt more from them than the vast majority of the books I’ve studied on my degree course.

Sue me.

That weight training is so much more fun than cardio

Like, fun enough to make me actually want to go to the gym.

How to talk on the phone without having a near-breakdown

I used to dread phone calls. However, I kind of had to jump into the deep end when I started getting paid for blogging, meaning that I needed to communicate with the brands hiring me but that it was often impossible to meet them face-to-face. The truth is that with practice I just got used to it.

Just how important it is for me to be near my family

When I started uni I was very much in the mind-set of being an #independent woman and living my own life here in London. Don’t get me wrong, it has been fab. I’ve grown in ways I didn’t know were possible. However, it’s also made me realise that, even if I don’t need to be, I really want to be near to my family again. I’m definitely a home bird.

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5 Comments

  1. marblmoon
    February 21, 2018 / 12:00 pm

    Awww happy birthday Bethany!This is wonderful and your life lessons are so inspiring! I myself find that I am too granola for people sometimes,especially whilst doing a predominantly science course at uni, but I loved it, GRANOLA 4 LYF!!!

    • BethanyAustin
      February 25, 2018 / 6:03 pm

      Thank you, lovely! Yeeees to being unapologetically granola! x

  2. Kynia
    February 22, 2018 / 2:56 am

    Happy birthday Bethany! I've no doubt that this coming year will teach you even more wonderful things xX

    • BethanyAustin
      February 25, 2018 / 6:03 pm

      Thank you, Kynia! xxx

  3. Hannah
    March 2, 2018 / 9:17 am

    Happy belated birthday to you! <3 All your points here are amazing but as an extra birthday present, myself and various colleagues at work have all discussed being SUPER prone to cystitis when we were at uni/early 20s (all despite doing All Of The Right Things) and over time we have all grown out of it. Maybe it's a weird rite of passage we all have to go through but I wanted to pass it on as light that there may be light at the end of the tunnel! :') xxblog.doodleheart.co.uk

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