I don’t write personal blogs about my life. Maybe I should, I don’t know. I’ve found people take an interest more in the journey that I’m on now, rather than hearing my story and, personally, I don’t blame them. However, the other day I hit a milestone, 25, and I felt a need to write something about it.

I wanted to write this blog because as an author of YA I tend to attract young readers (and my lovely young-at-heart readers!) who are often having a hard time; leaving school, working, studying, family, death, life… When did life go from being princesses and super powers to bills, stress and uniforms? I didn’t daydream about that!

Fear not, for I have survived the breech from teen to twenty and lived to tell the tale. Today I want to share with you some wisdom I’ve gained from turning 25. And yes, I am well aware 25 is nothing to some people, but to me, it’s a serious breakthrough.

One day my kids will be 15 and ask me about their 20s and what to expect. I will tell them this.

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Miss MJ leaving High School! 

1) Not everyone is going to like you.
For that matter, you’re not going to like everyone either! As a people pleaser by personality, it used to kill me – seriously kill me – if I thought someone didn’t like me or even hated me. Time was the only thing that changed that as I developed better self-esteem enough to think ‘Well, who are you to judge me? Exactly.’ Just move on and let the haters take their eye-rolls elsewhere!

2) Having frequent things to look forward to helps you ADULT.
Oh my gosh, bills, stress, jobs, more bills, cooking working out, working on yourself, running a business, more and more bills – FTS, right? Well, sadly we can’t hide from it all forever. What we can do though is breathe! And by breathe I mean having things, set dates, that are for enjoyable things. I felt as soon as I hit 20 that people expected me to get my adult on, and it was very distressing. Having something as small as Taco Wednesday is vital for sanity.

3) Buying clothes that fit you and make you feel beautiful is more important than fashion
People have been telling me this my whole life, but I didn’t get it until I was about 23. I spent my teens caving to peer pressure and wearing uncomfortable sh*t because the people surrounding me at that time made me feel worthless unless I was stumbling around in uncomfortable shoes. (More on this in number 4). A woman’s tastes change, and we may move on from styles, haircuts and more. However, it’s important that while we are wearing whatever it may be, that we’re happy and wearing it because we want to. Plus, you’ll save like $1000s on pointless crap you’ll never wear again once it’s “out of fashion”.

4) “Dem toxic friends gtg!”
Like clothes, friendships also get worn out. You’ll find that 90% of the time that’s because those friendships weren’t built to last. For me, I knew I had friends that had to go, but I was petrified. I was too scared to walk away because those friends made up my entire friend group. I managed to break free, and yeah it wasn’t a clean break, but it was worth it. For a while, I was desperately lonely and feeling like I’d made a mistake. However, after some great advice from one of my idols (Lady Gaga, don’t judge me) who said in an interview a few years back “I learned to cherish my loneliness and fill the void with my music” I understood something. You don’t need people in your life who diminish your self-worth or use you as a last-minute mate because the better people are busy. And you CERTAINLY DO NOT need individuals who keep you around so they can go out and look hotter in comparison. Cut. Them. Off. Follow your passion and find friendships that way. They will last the distance because what you’re truly passionate about never dies.

5) My career is my life – and that thought alone scared the absolute sh*t out of me!!
As an artist, and free spirit, I never thought a career would be the centre of my world. But it is, and not in the way I expected. Writing is my real job. Sure, I have a standard 9/5 in a box, doing office stuff, sipping green tea to stay alive, but it provides me with the money I need to keep going.

Yeah, every day, sometimes every hour, I want to cry, and that sucks. Then I remember “hey, this isn’t your real passion.” Thankfully I sit comfortably on a personal trait I’m proud of, ambition. I may not be an in-your-face hustler, but I never stray from things I want. I just gnaw, gnaw, gnaw away at it until I get through. Yes, like a rat. I think of the people as well who support my books and turn out to events (*air kisses* I love you guys, I do!), and it helps me stay on track towards my goals.

So there, just a few things that I’ve discovered up to 25. I feel I have matured as a person enough to embrace challenges, loneliness, financial bounds and torment… and yet I still find boobies and farts funny. It’s a good line I think.

Thoughts and feelings are truth, and if yours are dark, it’s ok. Recognise that it’s how you feel and move forward, because you DO have the power to change no matter what anyone says or TELLS YOU you’re capable of.

If 2015 wasn’t the best year, then make 2016 better by feeling not just good, but deserving of better. Let go of the past and cut yourself some slack, because you ‘re unbelievable.

M.J.

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