Twenty Thoughts from A Twenty Swanna (i.e. it’s my Birthday.)

Hi everyone!
It will be my twentieth birthday as this post rolls out. I can’t quite believe that I’ve survived two decades of life so I’m kind of chuffed.
Did I do anything particularly special? Er… no. My regular outing with Tray has had to be moved due to uni things and on top of that, we both have university lectures on our actual birthdays! The official celebration isn’t happening for another two months as a result.
I wasn’t actually feeling a big celebration though and didn’t plan anything in the meantime. Well, I attempted to plan things but also had uni events and deadlines to keep up with. In the end, I ended up with very impromptu plans to go out for food with friends… three times this week!

 

THANKS FOR THE CAKE, RK. I celebrated really early with her as she flew home over a week ago. I love her chocolate handiwork.

 

I thought that ‘twenty things I learned in the last twenty years’ would be a good thing to do. After all, what is this blog without some sort of reflection?
But then I ran out of things after ten, so now it’s just ‘twenty thoughts‘.
Even then, I struggled with thinking of stuff.

One.
Care a little less.

This is my mantra for everything, these days.
I care less about people’s opinions of me when I talk. This does result in me sounding a little passive-aggressive, sometimes, but also being less willing to take other people’s crap. I also seem to have a knack for flirting when I am into it.
I care less so I don’t stress too much about my work, too.
In the words of my brother, things just are not that deep.

Two.
Make the best decision you can, and then put your all into what you decide to do.

This way, I end up with fewer regrets. It’s easy to just say ‘don’t do things you’ll regret’ but that’s the best advice I can give on actually preventing them!

Three.
Get that sleep in.

I know for sure now that I function best on at least 9 hours of sleep and I have been better at getting to bed early when I need to. Luckily, my uni schedule has been nice for this, too. I’ve definitely noticed that over a longer period of time running on sub-par nights, my mood also suffers in ways I can’t help. I’m pretty sure there are now scientific studies that found the same thing. I will have to find them sometime.

Four.
How to dress for my body type.

As my body changed in my teens, I didn’t know what to do with it. My style went from tracksuits all day, every day, to A-line tops, leggings and canvas shoes, to discovering skater skirts that flatter my waist, paired with nice ankle boots. Your teenage fashion is always going to be cringe-worthy but take what you like most about yourself and accentuate it, always try things in store and don’t buy on a whim.
Yeah, with my body type online shopping is mostly a no-go.

Five.
Keep the curtains open in the winter.

I struggle to get up in the mornings when it’s dark. So sometimes, I leave my curtains open and it does help me get up when my room is [fractionally] brighter. As for the summer… I’ll figure that out later.

Six.
Cafes.

I hugely underestimated the power of a nice coffee shop.
Even if I usually order a pot of tea at one.

Seven.
Adults can be idiots too.

I was taught to respect my elders and I still do, but I was also taught that they are never wrong, and that’s not right. Respect their opinion, by all means, but they can be wrong… And hypocritical. Especially now I’m an adult myself, this has never been more apparent. That’s right… This has been an open declaration that I’m an idiot.

Eight.
Food costs a lot.

SOB.

Nine.
Sharing is [Self] Caring

Okay, I know I have self-confessed tendencies to gossip which I blame on my mother’s side of the family. But that’s not what this is about.

When I am struggling with something, usually my emotions or other decisions or general stress, just being able to vent out to someone is a real help. Most times organising my thoughts for them helps me to find the answer myself, and when I’m being extra irrational my friends are the best voices of reason, too.

Ten.
Don’t wait for free time. Make it.

I think I picked up this piece of advice during a year of NaNoWriMo and honestly, I’ve never let go of it since it clicked. Sometimes, instead of waiting for a free day to draw or knit or read, you have to take matters into your own hands.
Find that spare half hour.
Push around the minutes.
Make time.

20180201181658_IMG_7586-02.jpeg
A note about my name – you could spell it Su-Wa-N, Su-Wo-N, Su-A-N or Su-O-N in Katakana. It doesn’t matter since it follows the pronunciation, and on top of that, there are sounds that can’t be written in Japanese.

Eleven.
Friends aren’t made in a day.

This one I keep having to remind myself of since starting at university. Of course, I’m not going to be besties with everyone. It takes years of hanging out until we have too much dirt on each other to let each other go in order for that to happen.

Twelve.

Skills aren’t mastered in a day either… and they take practice!

On one hand, my standards are really low. I’m happy to be alive, and I’m happy to be happy. But on the other hand, it’s difficult not to keep comparing myself to others my age with bigger achievements no matter how small it may seem.
Also, I know I still have a long way to go to reach the place I want to be with my writing and other skills, but I need to remind myself that I’m not really getting anywhere by not dedicating time to them. I haven’t worked on my novel in a while.

Thirteen.

Everyone should spend at least a summer working in retail.

You’d appreciate shopping a lot more, believe me. It doesn’t even have to be a summer – it could be the really busy Christmas period. Experience handling fussy customers and in the end you’ll wish you never have to be That Customer for someone else.

Fourteen.

You can’t look after other people
if you’re not looking after yourself.

I began to think about this since last year, but I was discussing life priorities with someone the other day and was reminded of this. On my own list of priorities, my mental health and wellbeing are at the top whereas for someone else it might be that they put everyone else before themselves.
Either is fine and doesn’t make you all the worse for it.

It’s just that when I’m under the weather, I’m of practically no use to anyone else.
But also, I have to look after myself so that my friends don’t have to stress about me since I know they worry about me sometimes.

Fifteen.

Honestly? Honesty.

I don’t know about you, but lying never got me anywhere.
If it’s important, the sooner it’s discussed the better.
In most cases.

Sixteen.

Be reasonable. Be rational.

This one mostly applies to my shopping habits, but it also applies to interacting with people, sometimes. It’s why I always go to my friends when I feel like my thoughts and opinion don’t make sense and needs objective input. It involves making an effort to understand someone else’s point of view before I go about judging them.

Seventeen.

There is always tomorrow.

No matter how terrible that day is, there is always the opportunity to go to bed and wake up feeling a little better and I’m grateful for that.

Eighteen.

Starting something is the first step towards finishing something.

This is especially true for writing as I find starting the hardest thing to do… even if I haven’t finished a novel yet.
It is less true for trying to exercise.

This brought to mind that quote from Adventure Time:
‘Sucking at something is the first step towards being sorta good at something.’
-which I think ties into point twelve as well.

Nineteen.

Don’t start things last minute.

This might sound hypocritical of me since I can be guilty of this myself. But honestly, once I get started, as mentioned in point eighteen, the rest comes a bit easier. Start from the middle of something if you have to. But basically, if the thing is started early, such as the essay draft, that’s a little less to do later when you’ve suddenly been bogged down with work and other deadlines.

Twenty.

Blood is NOT thicker than water.

This one probably sounds a bit harsh but when it comes to my family, I am equal parts attached and apathetic. I am lucky to have really close friends in my siblings but beyond that… I have less sympathy. My family get no free passes because we have blood relations. That’s never quite made sense to me. However, I do also want to make an effort to be closer to my wider family in Vietnam, who always make me feel welcome when I am there, because recently I was wondering what I would do if my parents were not around to bridge the gap between us.


Okay, that was surprisingly hard! I didn’t realise that twenty things was so many. I don’t think I’ll be able to do thirty when I’m thirty…

Dad mentioned something about being grateful for being born and stuff, and I am – that’s a given. But I’m also grateful to myself for still being here, despite my horrid mental health. For making it through and letting me experience a lot of cool, fun stuff as of late. Parents get their own days to celebrate in mothers’ and fathers’ days but birthdays are for the individual to celebrate themselves and making it on their own strengths.

As a final point, I’m doing so many things as an adult that I never imagined I would be doing when I was a teenager or even younger. I didn’t think I would be a concert-goer or that I would ever go to a nightclub (I’ve only been once, but still). I’m actually relatively surprised at the amount of independence and freedom I have now even if I do still complain sometimes.
I mentioned that it’s difficult to make friends, but leaving primary school I had pretty much none, and leaving secondary school I have a handful of close friends and a bucket load of names I want to meet up over a pot of tea sometime. (If you went to my secondary school, that’s you. I’m serious, hit me up.) I’ve said this before, but honestly, if my eleven-year-old self could see me now, she’d cry in amazement.
My friends are the reason I’m still here – the reason I still choose to be here. If you’re a friend reading this, THANK YOU. I’m really bloody grateful for all of you. Heck, I’m crying happy tears.
Happy Birthday to Me.

Until next time,

X

16 thoughts on “Twenty Thoughts from A Twenty Swanna (i.e. it’s my Birthday.)

  1. beauty0bellini February 20, 2018 / 8:32 am

    ♥️♥️♥️ I love this! You have amazing insight for someone so young and are an inspiration to this 32 year old x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Swanna February 21, 2018 / 1:11 pm

      Thank you so much. I imagine I’ll learn much more on the way to thirty! X

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Sincerely, Alice February 22, 2018 / 11:20 pm

    Happy birthday and welcome to the 20 year old club! I wanna ask: why was your poster written in Japanese? lol You look real cute!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Swanna February 23, 2018 / 12:17 am

      Ah, because my friend is a Japanese exchange student, and we met in the class at my uni as she was helping out! Haha, thank you for the well wishes, Alice!
      X

      Like

  3. CherishingFLo February 22, 2018 / 11:35 pm

    I used to always say the retail thing about fast food. AFTer having worked at McDonald’s and dealing with how ridiculous and disrespectful people are to the workers, it changes your perspective! Love this post! And I am in full agreement about having to MAKE free time! It’s so key! And a lesson I ha had learn! Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Swanna February 24, 2018 / 10:40 pm

      Yes definitely, it’s those kinds of people who I wish would have taken up a job like this to get some perspective. I’m so surprised when I hear there are people who still treat others that way after working in that position themselves!!
      X

      Liked by 1 person

      • CherishingFLo February 24, 2018 / 10:46 pm

        Yeah it’s very shocking when you come across those people

        Liked by 1 person

  4. evelyne February 23, 2018 / 3:48 am

    I love your list! And especially that last point is one that is rare, but so interesting! I love my family and miss them terribly, but I’ve also long-since accepted that we all don’t have that much in common interest-wise haha…
    And yes, adults can be idiots! I’ve also found it interesting to see how fluent adulthood is. I’m now 28 and while I’ve grown a lot in the last few years, I still feel like an idiot a lot 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Swanna February 23, 2018 / 11:21 am

      Yeah, it’s interesting, isn’t it? I’m a huge believer that friends are family you choose, as well. Living adulthood has really shattered my illusions of it that I had growing up. X

      Like

  5. Yeah Lifestyle February 23, 2018 / 1:17 pm

    Firstly a huge Happy Birthday to you, looks like you had such an amazing time!! Loving your long list as well, this brings me back to when I was 20 x

    Liked by 1 person

  6. livelovetravelx February 24, 2018 / 6:26 am

    Oh my gosh your cake!
    Happy belated birthday!
    I too need to learn to keep my curtains open in winter. It’s 3.20pm on a Saturday and my curtains are shut and I’m sat in the dark….feeling very depressed!

    Kelly

    Liked by 1 person

    • Swanna February 24, 2018 / 10:34 pm

      Yeah it definitely helps although now the days are getting longer, I’m getting up earlier too so keep them closed if you want a lie in!!
      X

      Like

  7. kirakiratsu February 25, 2018 / 2:46 pm

    Happy (super late) 20 Birthday! I loved reading this post and you look adorable in the photo! I know how difficult it becomes to come up with things after 10 (18 were almost impossible for me, not speaking of 20), great job!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Swanna February 26, 2018 / 5:44 pm

      Thank you very much! It really was quite hard, haha!
      X

      Like

  8. Life With Fernie February 26, 2018 / 9:15 am

    I love the concept of this and love all your thoughts! Well done for surviving 2 decades haha! Keep up the good work love reading your posts! 💗

    Liked by 1 person

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