20 Truths I’ve Learnt in 20-ish Days of Being 20

Firstly, man I love alliteration. Secondly, I turned 20. It was a while ago but it was truly one of the best birthdays I have experienced in two decades (oh by the way, thats a thing I try to insert into conversations organically now). This year started off quite terribly if I am being completely honest with all of you. I just wanted to curl up into a ball and watch Brooklyn Nine-Nine and never leave my bed. But that doesn’t fix anything. So I got my shit together and attempted to kick everyday in the butt (only after approx 3 coffees though). Here are is some revelations I have had since turning twenty.

20 Life Lessons I Have Been Taught so Far:

1. Hangovers are worse in your twenties. (I swear to everything holy in the Vatican that I am STILL recovering from my alcoholic celebrations.)

2. Pot plants, whilst good in theory are actually very hard to take care of. Also don’t name them, you’ll get attached and then get very upset when they die. (Hang in there Boris the Basil, I promise I’ll water you someday soon)

3. Putting together furniture is hard. Doing it by yourself? Impossible. Ask your exasperated roommate for help. After she finishes making fun of you, it will become a fun bonding moment. (It took 14 hours for me to put my bed-frame together. It was 12 hours of complaining and then 2 hours of actual work.)

4. If you haven’t practiced good study habits by now, a third year university student, then quite honestly, you never will. Accept it and move on.

5. Moving out of student accommodation will do wonders for your mental health and  overall outlook on life.

6. Run. Get the hell out of bed and go. You will already feel stronger and happier for it. Plus, buying activewear is fun.

7.  Surround yourself with friends who encourage you to be a better person. The people who you hang out with are a reflection of where you are now. If you don’t like being swept up in drama and bullshit, don’t be friends with those kinds of people. Simple.

8.  No matter how often you think about what happened back in January, there is nothing you can do to change it. When it becomes overwhelming remember: this too will pass. Lean on those around you for support. They love you.

9. Waking up early in the morning makes you feel like a better person. It encourages mindfulness and makes you reflect on a lot of things. (Like how you should have gone to bed earlier.)

10. Vodka makes you cry. (While we are at it here, stay away from absinthe.)

11. Salmon will become your go to dish because its freaking delicious and so easy to make!! (Method: on an oven tray, layer baking paper down. Place salmon onto tray and drizzle with olive oil, and add sliced lemons, garlic, parsley and asparagus. Season with salt and pepper. Put into an oven preheated to 190 degrees for approx 20 minutes. Serve with mashed potatoes. Delicious!)

12. Stick to your gluten free diet. You are a Coeliac. It doesn’t matter how much you love Tim Tams, they are gonna make you feel ill. (BUT DAMN HOW GOOD ARE DOUBLE COATED TIM TAMS YOU GUYS?!)

13. Read Rupi Kaur. It’s gonna heal you. (Thank you Connie and Alley for sending poems for strength and power.)

14. When in doubt, call your mum. She will always know how to fix it. (But brace yourself for the incoming lecture about how you did everything wrong. Yes, the slides will be available on blackboard.)

15. It’s 2018, if you want to practice your faith, do it. (Psalm 46:5)

16. Put less sugar in your coffee so that you don’t have to look your barista in the eye and ask for 4 sugars in your 8oz latte. (I can no longer afford to get caramel shots so I guess this is just my life now.)

17. If they really loved you, they wouldn’t treat you that way. (Only a coward leaves when the going gets tough. You always deserved better than that.)

18.  Aggressive female empowerment is incredible. So are your friends. (Lentil Pals, I love you gorls. You guys are my cheer squad.)

19. No more instant coffee. The stuff tastes like sadness and deadlines.

20. You are stronger than you think you are.

So here I am, 20 years old and I can open most salsa jars without assistance. I am an official adult. I wash my clothes every week instead of buying more. I put lemon slices in my water bottles. I don’t have time for bullshit. I am on track with my degree and know exactly where I want to be. I am caffeinated and damn, I am motivated. 

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Tinder’s Time is Over: I’m Swiping Left

You think with 1 in 10 Australians using the dating app that I would have some luck in finding love again. Buckle up kiddo, you’re in for a bumpy ride.

So in between watching re-runs of Friends and ugly crying into my Ben & Jerry’s Triple Caramel Chunk pint, I decided it was time to download Tinder and begin my search for love again. Getting dumped is the worst but trying to navigate through the minefield of hook-ups, ‘f*ck-bois’, those who aren’t actually single and weirdos is enough to make you want to curl back into your bed to die alone with your 12 cats. Trust me, Tinder your time is over.

Firstly, let’s just unpack the fact that when using Tinder, we are completely ignoring one of the core values you learnt as a child, to ‘never judge a book by it’s cover.’ That’s what Tinder is, judging a person by 6 grainy, often heavily edited and filtered photos paired with a shitty caption that is either meant to be an attempt at sarcasm or was copied off a Tumblr post from 2014.  So a decision is made based off a series of blue-steel imitations, awkwardly tensed bodies, sneaky pictures of dogs to elicit feelings of ‘aww’ and vague staring off into sunsets. Oh yeah Tinder, I’m closer to finding love already. I actually think my soul mate is the guy who is dabbing in his profile pic.

You swipe right. It’s a match. You feel a spark of something that makes you think for a moment that maybe this break-up hasn’t rendered you dead inside. But you now have to make a decision to either keep swiping or to send a message to your potential Romeo. Here begins the most awkward stand-off in the history of my dating life. Do I drop a pickup line? Should I include a pun? Does he message first? The struggle is only just beginning. ‘Hey, how you doin’ seems to be a safe bet. You press send and then brace yourself for whatever will be thrown your way. He sees it and doesn’t reply. This painful process of throwing yourself out there to be rejected will be repeated several times until you receive a reply that doesn’t make you gag.

A meeting place is eventually established after an awkward exchange of pleasantries and emojis. You go to a bar that you didn’t even know previously existed with a face full of make-up that you hope will mask your disappointment if he turns out to have lied about his height. Conversation starts out slowly and eventually you stop talking about how much you hate your ex and get to the nitty-gritty of, ‘what are you looking for here?’ He pauses, caught in the high beams like a startled kangaroo. He looks at you for a few moments, trying to evaluate what it is that you are looking for in order to know what not to say. A true Casanova. Is it too late to swipe left?

How can a true connection with another person be made if it is based off a few images that fill your phone? Although Tinder provides a meeting place for single people, it is not the dating device that should be used to find love. In my experience, I have only come across ‘I’m not ready for anything serious right now’ and my favourite comment, ‘You do understand what Tinder is for, right?’ How am I supposed to find love through a series of emotionless text messages and edited photos?

Maybe I should text my ex and see if he wants to get back together…

New Year New Bee

Hey there, it’s been a while. A lot has happened. I think I grew 3 centimetres. I also somehow managed to smash out my second year of university. And now it’s 2018. My New Years have always been characterised by an endless list of resolutions that are almost always unattainable and impossible to fulfil. Think along the lines of ‘get fit’ and ‘stop blowing your weekly budget on cheese and coffee alone.’ But this year is different. I’m pretty determined to make it different. 

I learnt a lot of things in 2017. I learnt some hard lessons about love, the human heart and that listening to Sam Smith will NOT help you in any situation unless that situation is crying on your train to work. But I also learnt some important lessons about resilience, inner-strength, how putting quince paste on cheese is life-changing and that no matter what, you can always get through whatever is thrown your way. I know this sounds like the sequel to ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ but this is cathartic for me (also it’s my new years resolution to write more).

So this year is a follow up on those lessons.

The resolution that sits at the very the top of my long list of things to work on is self-love. I originally thought self-love was yelling “treat-yo-self!” in a changing room even though the weekly budget was already blown out of proportion two days after getting paid. But that’s not loving myself, that’s just adding to an Afterpay debt that quite honestly, my grandchildren will be paying off.

Self-love is about making decisions that often dosen’t come easy. Putting yourself first doesn’t make you selfish, it means you value yourself. Putting yourself first might mean ending relationships with negative or emotionally draining people. It might mean to you, going for a run in the afternoon when the walls are closing in, instead of pressing next episode on ‘Netflix.’ It means turning your phone off and having a moment of quiet after a day of being constantly connected.

This year, I need to figure out how to love myself for who I am.

Everyone has flaws. Mine include an unhealthy spending habit concerning books, caramel lattes and brie cheese, avoiding pressing priorities and being too hard on myself. I need to stop setting these insane expectations whether it be about university, friendships, my appearance or how quickly I can ‘deal’ with issues. Moving forward means acknowledging that sometimes I am gonna stuff up. I’m going to buy coffees instead of budgeting like I promised my mum I was going to do. I’m going to hit snooze on my alarm. I’m going to cry. And I gotta realise that’s okay. Because, ultimately, its okay to not be okay.

Recognising that mental health is important is a vital aspect of moving forward. Sometimes, you might feel anxious, upset or sad. That doesn’t mean you should create a Tumblr account and start reposting black and white photos of people crying.  It means that you’re human. It’s normal. So, so normal. Don’t beat yourself up.

New Year New Bee is in full effect now. Day 5, and I’m mostly killing it.

So, with 19 resolutions written (and only two of them misspelled) I think I can make 2018 my year. I’m reading my favourite books again. I started a ‘vegetable of the week’ segment on snapchat to promote healthy eating and puns about food. I am patting dogs that don’t belong to me. I can do this. I mean, anything is possible when you’re caffeinated and motivated. 

Dear Bee,

A letter to myself that I wish I had read before I moved out and went to off to university. To be completely honest, I wouldn’t have listened anyway because I’m stubborn but it’s the thought that counts. 

Right now you are probably putting off packing because you don’t want to have to argument with your mum again about how many books you can take down to your new apartment, (I’m going to go ahead and spoil the ending of said fight, it’s 3 books but you won’t make time to read them anyway). Right now you are probably scared, but instead of admitting your fear you are masking it behind confidence that is mostly bluff from all the coffee you have been drinking that day (you need to cut back on that addiction now or else it’s going to mess with your sleeping patterns).

Nobody is going to tell you how scary it is to move out. They will talk about the freedom, the midnight snacking because you are an adult and can eat whatever you want damnit. They will talk about the goon sacks and the parties and the hot exchange students. They will talk about the great times and the fantastic times, because no one wants to talk about the hard times. Nobody is going to tell you about the nights where you are crying because need your mum to make you lentil soup because your sick. Nobody is going to tell you about the isolation that comes with moving to a new place where you don’t really know anyone. Nobody is going to tell you that you can’t eat pasta and cheese every night either so learn to cook something new. Nobody is going to tell you that adjusting to life without your parents to help and guide you, (no matter how much you insist you don’t need them) is harder than you think.

Moving out is hard. Harder than deciding what clothes to bring down for you to wear to university. Harder than listening to your mum try to teach you the basics of cooking in a 24 hour crash course because you are 17 and still don’t know how to cook sausages. Harder than saving up for the move because all you want to do is buy books and caramel lattes. Harder than trying to figure out how to catch a bus for the first time. Harder than trying to explain to your dog that you are not going to be home for a while.

Adjusting to life without your family and friends is terrifying. You have to make new connections, decide on the person who you want to be. University is the do-over you don’t get in a small town. You can be the cool kid who gets to go to parties, you can be studious and buckle down and study harder than ever or you can do your own thing, be your own person. You can experience new things and make new relationships and then stuff them up. But just know, that it’s okay to fail and that you will have people around you who care about you and will take care of you.

Making new friends is actually not that hard, so stop worrying about it Bee. The best advice that anyone ever gave me was this, “Ask a stranger for something. Whether it be for directions, a pencil or the time, ask them a question. By choosing to answer they are choosing to invest in you, and then you have already done half the work.” Don’t be choosy in o-week. Make as many new friends as you can and then nurture them. You can never have too many friends. And if they don’t work out, that’s okay.

Lean on people. Ask for help when you need help. Call your Aunty when you need to be fed. Ask your mum for some financial aid. Call your Nonna when you feel homesick. Ask your friends to buy you milk when you are sick and hangover and can’t get out of bed to go to Woollies. There is no need to suffer or to live on $1.85 for three weeks. Don’t do that. I mean it. It’s awful and no matter what anyone says do not mix rice and cheese for a poor man’s meal. It does not taste good. At all.

Budgeting is essential and I know that you are going to skip this paragraph but before you do, just know this, you can’t eat clothes or books. You need to have a plan. Sit down and work out how much money you need for food, entertainment and transport. And get a job. Don’t turn your nose up at Maccas for the dodgy place down the road that won’t pay you properly. Also don’t blow all your money on coffee. Seriously, don’t do that. It’s a bad idea Bee.

Pretending to be an adult when you are still 17 and about three months ago you still had to ask permission to go to the toilet is a crazy transition. You get to make your own decisions, which can be as liberating as it is terrifying. You get to choose what you are having for dinner. You get to decide whether or not to study. You get to decide how long you can possibly go without washing up. You get to decide whether you are going to pay your phone bill this month or if you are going to ask mum to spot you. You will take time to adjust into this new position. You will make mistakes, be immature, say the wrong thing or do the wrong thing because you are still learning. You are still a kid at the end of the day, but now you just got to pay your rent.

But it’s not all bad, you are going to do so well! You are going to learn so many new things, you are going to blossom into the person you are and you are going to achieve so much at University. You are going to make awesome friends who will let you into their apartment at 3 am because you are stressing. You are going to go to concerts. You are going to drink copious amounts of lattes. You are going to fall in love with Brisbane and the people in it. You are going to have hard times and you are going to have great times, but just know Bee, that it’s okay to be homesick. It’s okay to treat yourself sometimes when TopShop has a sale. It’s okay to get your fruit content only through mango sorbet, (well, according to you it is). It’s okay to be scared about catching public transport in the dark. It’s okay to pat random people’s dogs but just ask permission first. It’s kind of okay to drink your morning coffee out of a measuring jug because you didn’t wash up. It’s okay to be who you are. But don’t let anyone or anything hold you back. Don’t listen to the people who want to watch you fall. Don’t be afraid of trying new things of meeting new people. Don’t try to impress anyone but yourself. Learn to trust people and have faith. Learn to cook things other than pasta. Learn how to catch public transport and learn how to manage your time. Just know that at the end of the day, at the end of the year, at the end of your course, your happiness comes first.

Love who you are Bee and don’t afraid to be the crazy, loud, dog-loving person you are.

Regards,

Bee.

p.s Things happen for a reason. (For those of you who checked for my original post script, things change, and people do too.) It is, what it is Bee.

 

 

 

Stressed, Struggling and Super Tired: 4 Signs You Aren’t Doing That Great

It is week 11. By some miracle I have managed to make it this far. Coffee consumption is through the roof, (average of 5 per day. No, I am not joking). I have 6 assessment items due in 3 weeks.  I recently found 4 more grey hairs on my scalp. This is not okay, I am barely 18 and I am beginning to look like a Nonna, (I have already started wearing all black). So here is a list of signs of stress/you’re on struggle street/super flipping tired. 

1. Bags Under Your Eyes: They really aren’t that designer anymore.

You wake up after a not very restful 5 hours sleep, and look in the mirror: bags under your eyes so bad that you don’t even bother with concealer. You are officially an extra from Michael Jackson’s Thriller video now. You stayed up all night trying to smash out that assignment that you told yourself you were going to start last week but didn’t, (good planning ahead, you procrastinating idiot). The other nights began with researching the effects digitisation has had upon music journalism and ended in watching adorable puppy videos on Youtube, (God, I miss my dog).

2.Caffeine: A love/hate/ I’m-actually-addicted-help relationship. 

You have moved on from those sugary sachets that really, really weren’t economical and are now drinking this horrible cheap instant coffee that tastes like dirt and sadness and caffeine dependency. Coffee consumption is at an all time high. As in an actual high. Because apparently caffeine has a drug-like addictiveness to it. As exam week approaches closer and closer, you find you are putting less and less milk in your cup, (my warm milk and sugar with coffee flavour has now become as black as my winter wardrobe) and more and more tablespoons of the coffee granules.

3.The Budget: Wellll. 

Honestly you haven’t left the house except to go to uni and even then you aren’t really making it to your lectures. Being housebound makes it hard to go to Woollies and blow your budget on cheese and avocados. But, winter is coming and along with it online shopping. So it turns out you don’t have to leave your room to blow your budget… And don’t even think about going out, (you shouldn’t be anyway because you have neither the time or money for that). $8.50 for a Vodka and lemonade??? Are there unicorn tears in there also??? Because that’s the only logical reason for a basic to cost that much…. But hey, $6 wine exists and it tastes mostly better than goon, (fruity flavours with an undertone of poor uni student in denial about her drinking habits).

4.Assessment: “Look, if I even hand it in I’ll be proud of myself”. 

Let’s be real. It’s week 11. The only inspiration/motivation you have now is the due date. Time management is becoming crucial but is still not being implemented. All-nighters are becoming a regular occurrence. You can’t even remember the last time you went to a Uni lecture, (all those public holidays have thrown you off). You hand in an assignment and the same day receive a new one and you haven’t even finished the one that was due three days ago.   Even though motivation is at critical low you still expect to get high marks which is a confusing paradox for anyone. The struggle is real kids.

At the end of the day, university is hard but I am getting my assignments done mostly on time and still managing to maintain a social life. Balance is important and doing what makes you happy is essential for making to end of semester (happiness for me is patting every dog that I lay eyes upon).    Currently extremely caffeinated and somewhat motivated, I’m bracing for a hectic week. 

 

Things that I have learnt…

I have been living away from home for 83 days, (damn is that all???) and I have learnt some pretty important life lessons, basic skills and generally easy things that I should have known how to do but didn’t until it came down to it. This post is a shout out to the naive 17 year old I used to be and you should maybe take notes if you are in grade 12 and are about to move out…

Okay, so let’s start with the essentials. Budgeting. The b-word. The hardest part of moving out is now you are in charge of your finances and therefore have to learn self-control if it wasn’t  a trait you didn’t already possess. Grocery shopping is a nightmare because there are so many foods that you are itching to place into your basket, like Connoisseur ice cream or those caramel latte sachets that aren’t actually that economical now that you really think about it. After spending my first weekend out on the town – trust me you are going to want to save your money now, (going out is so expensive wtf). Write a grocery list and stick to it!  And don’t go shopping when you are hungry because you will get home and realise all you have bought are chips, dips and nothing that you can actually cook a meal with.

Another thing: you are going to try so damn hard to fit in. Whether it is at your uni accommodation or your course, you are going to try to blend in in a desperate attempt to not be the ‘unique’ weirdo.  I tried to become the person I wanted to be in high school and it backfired. Not that dramatically, but it still backfired. I think I have finally found the balance now. People are going to tell you when you leave high school that now you can start fresh and ‘be yourself’. You will roll your eyes and ignore it. But the reality is, now is your chance to branch out and be yourself. Stop trying to place yourself in a triangle shaped box if you are a square. Uni is the place to be strange – because there are often people who are just as strange and want to be strange with you.

Top tip number 3, learn to cook more than five meals. Because it will be week 10 of living away from home and trust me, you will be sick of pasta and cheese by then. Take-out is too expensive and therefore not an option. You think you can cook because it looks easy when your parents do it? You are so wrong. Coming up with an idea of something healthy-ish to cook is so much harder than you anticipated. You will gain a new respect for whoever’s turn it was to cook back home. Taste.com (and calling your dad at 7am to figure out how the heck you can tell if bacon is cooked) will become your go-to. Also, don’t knock those Woollies recipe books, they are so good for meal ideas. Buy one of those ready-made jars of curry/frozen vegetable packets. They are idiot-proof (kind of) and are handy to keep in your cupboard/freezer.

Another thing you need to be able to do is take care of yourself. Eat vegetables. Buy sorbet that contains 42% fruit instead of 15%. Listen to your mum when she says “pack vapour rub and strepsils because you will get sick” and that kind of stuff is So. Very. Expensive. Exercise to combat all those terrible eating habits you have adopted now. Be able to look after yourself mentally as well. University is so damn stressful. You need to be able to have a day where you sleep and regenerate, (just don’t do it when you have assessment due the next day). Splurge and buy a book/coffee/that cute top from Topshop. Plan a day of study but then plan a day of fun as well. Go and lie down and stare at the stars, (admittedly you may need a car for this if you live in the city). Call your family and tell them you miss them (and your pet).

Ultimately you have to take care of you. And that’s essentially what being an adult is. Looking after yourself physically, spiritually and mentally, (that was so ‘Eat, Pray, Love’). Laughing at your mistakes, (i.e no, you can’t microwave melamine). Being responsible. Buying your own coffee and making your own doctor’s appointments. Learning that being drunk is not an excuse. Resisting the urge to buy olives because they are too expensive. But you got this. And I believe in you. You just gotta get motivated (and maybe even caffeinated).

5 Things You Didn’t Realise You Took for Granted Until You Moved Out

After coming home for mid-semester break, (which definitely wasn’t long enough) I had the opportunity to not only remember what it is like to not have to watch how much internet data you are going through, but to be able to appreciate the finer things in life. Almost immediately after coming back to my stale smelling apartment however, I contracted an awful flu which I am still suffering from, (excuse me body, but I fed you a piece of fruit last week – how DARE you). But this has given me the opportunity to reflect upon what I took for granted when I was still at home…

1. Home cooking 

You honestly had forgotten what it was like to be able to eat a meal with more than one item accompanying it, (GOD, are you sick of pasta and cheese/2 minute noodles). Home cooked meals are not coveted enough if you ask me. The main ingredient: nagging about your poor eating habits with a side dish of “If you applied yourself and weren’t so lazy you could make this.” And the best part: not having to wash up.

2. Your Pet 

Do you remember all of those times when your pup was whining outside your door at 3 am, (because they want you to rub their belly just the right way) and you grumbled? Well now you long for the sloppy, wet kisses and that tail that always seems to be wagging. You didn’t realise how much you missed finding pet hair everywhere either. Your parents can call you anytime but unfortunately your pet hasn’t yet mastered the telephone…

3. Favourite Coffee Place

No matter where you are, you always have a favourite coffee place. That place that does your caramel latte just right. Where they know your name and life story because you went there everyday for nearly two months. That place where you can just walk in and they know your order. For me, this place is Frankie in Innisfail’s main street (the featured image for this post). Best. Damn. Coffee.  I am still trying to find a caramel latte that is up to the same calibre here in the big city.

4. Your Parents Doing Things for You

Okay so now that you are an ‘adult’ you have to do things like wash up, (without being told), do your laundry, book your own appointments, cook your own meals, set your alarms, make your own tea, buy your own food and proof-read your own damn assignments. But if we are being serious here, the hardest part about moving out of home is being able to balance all of this and be able to stay on top of your uni work. Sometimes at the end of the day you just want your mum to give you one of those amazing hugs and offer to pay for your food.

5. Full Pantries/ Not Having to Buy Groceries 

Speaking of food, the NUMBER ONE thing you take for granted when you live at home is food. You go home and there will always be something edible in the fridge or pantry, (even if it is just baked beans, slimy lettuce or last night’s Shepherd’s pie). Honestly the highlight of being back at home was not having to buy any food. Going grocery shopping with your parents is almost equivalent to going to a theme park – its exhilarating.  You want ice cream? Sure thing, chuck it in with the haloumi, olives and fresh vegetables, (Not those awful frozen homebrand mix bags). Oh man, budget, what budget?

So here I am, struck down with the flu once again, kind of on top of my assessment (not really) and with a sink full of dishes – haven’t been able to have any caffeine because of my flu but incredibly motivated to get better and survive the rest of semester one!