26 pieces of life advice from a 26 year old

Drinking wine at Aquashard London

This is a lengthier post than usual, but I promise you it’s a good ‘un. I have condensed all of my learnings from the past 26 years of being a real-life human into one post.

There’s some deep stuff, there’s some light-hearted stuff. I cover mental health, social media, sex, travel, relationships, pizza, and more. What are you waiting for, let’s goooo…


1. You can say no

There’s this really irritating trend going round at the moment about being a ‘YES’ person. I appreciate the attempt at trying to empower people to seize every opportunity, but I also think this mentality can be damaging. Exhibit A over here – me, hi!

I’ve always been an overworker but in the last six months I decided to take on every opportunity that came my way. A full-time job as Head of SEO, attempting to run a blog as a side hustle, building a freelance empire in my spare time and trying to date and be sociable at the same time. And you know what happened? I got sick. I got glandular fever and it wiped me out for two months.

My point is, you can take on the world but you’ve also got to look after yourself. Push your mind and your body too much and it will break. We’re not invincible, sadly, and it’s good to remember that. So, say yes as much as you can, but also learn to say no.


2. Get outside more

I can’t stress this enough. Fresh air will always make everything just a tiny bit better. Recently I’ve been making a very conscious effort to get outside more. I’ve been going to the beach, having picnics in the park, going for evening walks, reading my book outside.

I feel so much better, happier and healthier. When I look in the mirror now, I don’t think holy CRAP you should be in a morgue. No, I just… well, I look glowier!

Actually that could be the fake tan.


3. Go skinny dipping

There is no better feeling than stripping off your clothes and running into the ocean, tits out, ass out. Ideally do this in a warm country so you don’t get hypothermia. 


4. Read more

Stop mindlessly scrolling through social media and pick up a book. There is so much to gain from reading. New knowledge, different perspectives, ideas, creative inspiration, a temporary escape, conversation points – the list goes on.


5. How to improve your hangover

Disclaimer: I didn’t say cure. But this should help.

When you have one of those dirty rotten hangovers that makes you want to vomit every time you make the smallest of moves, follow these steps:

  • Take motion sick tablets. Not sure why more people haven’t thought of doing this to be honest.
  • Consume ginger. Whether it’s a supplement, a ginger shot, a packet of ginger biscuits, or just nibbling on some actual ginger. Ginger settles your stomach and helps prevent sickness. Side note: ginger biscuits probably don’t have enough ginger to help but they tasty.
  • Take a rehydration tablet and / or drink a shit tonne of water.
  • Have a cold shower. It’s so horrible it makes you forget that you’re hungover for about 30 seconds, or however long you last.
  • Nap. More naps. If you have to go to work then you’re an idiot and why did you drink on a school night? I’d never do that. AHEM.

6. Life is too short for bad sex

A friend was recently telling me how she found herself rolling her eyes during sex (he didn’t see the eye roll, he was too busy bonking away). I think this is something that most women can relate to on some level. Can’t speak for men on this one.

If it’s not making you orgasm regularly, if it’s making you think ‘bloody HELL I wish he’d finish already’, or if it’s making you roll your eyes… do something about it. Bit harsh to say dump them, especially if they’re your husband. But don’t just put up with it. Sometimes a little communication is all that’s needed. Or a vibrator.


7. Everyone should see a therapist

If someone told me a couple of years ago that I should see a therapist, I’d have given them one of those looks. You know the ones – ‘um okay but I’m really okay, thanks’.

There are all kinds of reasons to seek counselling: grief, trauma, relationships, career, anxiety, the list goes on and on. But you also don’t need an ‘obvious’ reason to see a therapist. Everybody has their own personal problems, however big or small they may seem. And it is undeniably useful to chat these through with a completely non-judgemental third party who isn’t part of your day-to-day life.

Gaining another perspective on the rollercoaster of emotions that most humans experience in their life is fantastically helpful. And you probably won’t know how much until you try it.


8. Sleep under the stars at least once a year

I’m not a romantic person but there is something inherently romantic about sleeping under the stars. That doesn’t mean you have to do it with a boyfriend / girlfriend / husband / wife / etc. Take a friend, a family member, your dog, or just have some alone time.

Pick a clear night, obviously. And get that fancy stargazing app.

Just so I don’t get a myriad of complaints from any of you, be warned that you will almost definitely get bitten to death by mosquitoes, so cover up. Also if you take a duvet outside, it will end up cold and soggy because of nighttime condensation. Okay so maybe I should change this one to: ‘do some stargazing but then return home to a nice warm bed’.


9. Looking after your body should be a priority

One of my biggest life lessons is: never take your health for granted. Being in good health is one of those things none of us really take much notice of. It’s only when something goes wrong that we realise how bloody fantastic being healthy is.

If something doesn’t feel right – if you have a lump or a rash or whatever it might be, just go get it checked. Don’t wait, don’t ponder, see your doctor, and get it done.


10. Dogs are better than humans

My reasons for this are as follows:

  • Dogs are friendlier and more cheerful than humans.
  • I don’t know any humans who would wiggle their bottom and jump up and down in excitement at the sight of me.
  • Dogs having a calming effect, similar to a cup of tea or a glass of wine. Humans are stressful.
  • Dogs give better cuddles than humans because most humans aren’t furry.
  • You can chat so much shit to a dog and they’ll still love you.
  • They cute.

11. Most people don’t actually look like they do on Instagram IRL

We all know that Instagram is highly curated and generally only represents the highlights of a person’s life, but it’s easy to forget that sometimes. Instagram is filtered, it’s edited, and it’s dangerous not to acknowledge that.


12. It’s okay to not be okay

You know what, life can be really fucking hard sometimes. It can feel as if your little world is falling apart, that you’ve got no control over anything, and that everyone else seems to be doing just fine. But they’re not, trust me.

We all struggle from time to time. Some more than others. And the most important thing to do is acknowledge that it’s okay to not be okay. Putting on a show and pretending to be okay is exhausting. It’s utterly draining. Take a break, have a step back, talk to someone.

I wish everybody would open up a bit more – I think everyone would feel a little less lost.


13. Take a trip to reset, even just for one or two days

Sometimes you just need to get away for a few days to pause, refresh, and reset. Explore another part of the UK or hop across to Europe.

Amsterdam bicycles

Don’t forget about the Eurostar – two hours to Paris, two hours to Brussels, three and a half hours to Amsterdam. You can be in Belgium faster than you can drive through London in rush hour. I know what I’d choose.


14. Stop comparing yourself to other people

This is the single most damaging thing you can do to your mental health. Social media is a bitch for this and I am the number one culprit for it.

I had a social media detox and simultaneously stopped watching Love Island. As a result, I stopped googling whether I should get a boob job. I realised I was just fine as I am and that it was the toxic habit of comparing myself to others that was poisoning my perception of myself.

It doesn’t matter if someone who is younger than you is further in their career. It doesn’t matter if all your friends are settled with partners and you’re not. It doesn’t matter if someone is skinnier than you, curvier than you, taller than you. They’re not you. And it’s your life. Embrace your flaws and imperfections, and do life at your own pace in the way you want. It’s boring to be like other people, so stop trying.

If anyone tries to tell you any different, remove them from your life – nice segue into my next piece of advice…


15. Cull people from your life who make you miserable

Don’t go all Villanelle on me and actually kill anyone please. (If you haven’t watched Killing Eve yet, what are you doing – do it, right now).

Life is too short to put up with people who don’t make you feel great. If someone is a drain on your happiness, just phase them out of your life.

Try doing what I did and delete Whatsapp without telling anyone – maybe other than your mum and your besties. Anyone who actually cares enough to talk to you will pick up the phone, the good old fashioned way.


16. High street skirts and dresses are usually see-through

Almost all skirts and dresses that you buy on the high street for under £35 will be see-through. Do not trust the lighting in your bedroom. The second you step outside, helloooo panties.

The other day I was strutting through Chinatown wearing a red floaty skirt feeling uber sassy. I caught my reflection in a window and I could see my knickers through my skirt IN A REFLECTION. Imagine how bad it was in real life. The entire street could see the intricate details of my thong and the outline of my butt.

This may not bother you, so by all means carry on strutting your stuff in your see-through outfit. But if you’re not keen on everyone seeing your private parts when the afternoon sun pops out, it’s worth bearing in mind.


17. If they don’t treat you like the queen (or king) you are, let them go

Very out of character for me but I’m going to get deep for a few seconds. Never forget the way they broke your heart, or made you cry, or you made you feel like you weren’t good enough. Forgive and move on, but never let them return. You have to know your worth and don’t settle for anything less than what you deserve. Unless you’re a total dick, you deserve to be treated like a fucking queen.


18. Wine will always be my one true love

Sorry boys.


19. You have to work your butt off to get to where you want

Sorry if I sound like your mother, but nothing worth having comes easily or gets handed to you on a plate. Unless you’re born into the royal family. If so, congrats Your Majesty.

You have to work your butt off. Even if you don’t know what you want to do or where you want to be, just get grafting. Don’t work yourself into the ground and overdo it. But do try really hard, learn as much as you can, and don’t be lazy. 

I’ve hired a fair amount of people over the last couple of years, and I will always choose the people who demonstrate enthusiasm, commitment and a willingness to learn. Even if they don’t have the skillset that someone else has, or the best qualifications. Work hard and it will pay off. But it takes time, so be patient.


20. Travel as much as you can

I wouldn’t be a very good travel blogger if I didn’t mention travel. The world is super accessible now, so stop making excuses. Plus, you can do a lot on a small budget, you’d be surprised.

Lost in Paradise Hat

21. Be kind to people

Everyone is fighting a personal battle. If someone is having a hard time, buy them some flowers, or take them out for dinner. If you don’t know them well, just smile kindly.

I don’t care who you are, I have no time for people who can’t be nice to everyone. Whether that’s the waiter serving you in a restaurant or a cleaner scrubbing the toilet in the bar you’re at. Ask for their name, ask them how they are and wish them a good day. If it’s someone serving you in a restaurant, continue to use their name while you’re there. Treat people like people. I’m lovingly known amongst friends and family for being cold-hearted (they love me really), but even I can manage this one, so you can too.

Also, you never know who’s going to be who in a few years time. Everybody has to start somewhere and people will always remember those who are nice to them.


22. Franco Manca do the best pizza ever

Don’t even try to argue with me on this one. And if someone from Franco Manca is reading this, please open one near me so I can get it deliveroo-ed to me on a daily basis.


23. Putting time aside for yourself is essential to a healthy mind

We’re so busy all of the time. Whizzing around from A to B, doing 250429 things at once, all while trying to survive this thing called life and look pretty on Instagram. It’s chaotic. Putting time aside each week for yourself is absolutely essential to not losing your mind.

When I say time for yourself, I mean relaxation time. Not Netflix bingeing, not social media stalking, not getting pissed. Relax in a sauna, go for a walk, do some yoga, treat yourself to a massage, download the Headspace app and practise some mindfulness. Simple activities that give you a chance to stop, and breathe.


24. Men really are on a different planet

This one is a bit of a stereotype and something that everybody sort of knows. But men and women really do exist on different planets. Our brains are wired completely differently. And once you fully accept that and acknowledge it, everything starts making a lot more sense and life becomes considerably easier. 


25. Crisps are a great fire-starting material

If you’re ever out camping / stranded in the woods / survived a plane crash, and you’re struggling to start a fire: crisps. The fat and oil in them make them a handy fire-starting material. And who doesn’t always have a bag of crisps on them?


26. It usually takes years to get your dream job

If you managed to land your dream job straight out of school or university then you must be some kind of god. The vast majority of the time, it takes years to get your dream job. So stop stressing that you’re not quite there yet, sit back, enjoy the ride, and never stop learning.

The first job I got after graduating nearly killed me. But I met some amazing people, worked with some awesome clients, and learnt a helluva lot. Take the pressure off yourself and realise that it’s okay if it takes you 5, 10, 20, 50 years to get there. Make sure you’re doing what you love in your spare time – and if you can make a living out of it then that’s just the icing on the cake.


If you have any other nuggets of wisdom, please do share them in the comments below. We could all do with a little life advice sometimes.

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1 Comment

  1. 20th August 2019 / 2:14 pm

    Hey Jessie!

    Thinking over your list as a side-note I will add possibly this:
    …Be creative…
    Find something that express your self other than your work that creates something for you or others. It might clear your mind like a meditation would.

    That’s it!
    Getting ready to learn the other 3 lessons towards 26 😅😋
    Cheers!

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