Life Lessons I've Learnt About Careers, Friendships, Self-Doubt, And Loving Myself

Sunday 11 June 2017

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I have been living on this earth for 9759 days.

During those 9759 days I have been breathing, sleeping, eating, crying tears of joy and sadness. I've broken hearts and had mine broken too. I've made friends and lost loads more. I learnt how to walk, talk, read, drive a car, use a sewing machine, and turn a hobby into a career. I got accepted to university, moved away from home, and then I came back.

Maybe it's because I'm getting older, (I said older, not old) but I've become more observant of my surroundings. I've taken a step back and started to really pay attention to the people and the world around me. I've noticed more and more people having a lot of self-doubts recently, and feeling like they should be at a certain place in life, but are nowhere near it. I'm not saying I'm the wisest person, but I have had my fair shares of ups and downs and I would like to let you into a little secret; you don't always have to have your shit together. It's ok to feel overemotional about things in life which don't seem that big to others. It's ok to have a huge burst of motivation, to then lose it within the hour. We are allowed to feel things, and be completely over dramatic about it without anyone judging us.

I was sitting alone one day and all these thoughts kept coming to my head. Thoughts about moving forward, keeping friends, dealing with rejection... just a whole lot of life in the past, present and future. I found this post slightly hard to write because I didn't want it to be a motivational post, which is meant to make you suddenly feel uplifted. I want it to be a post where I let you into my life and share how I've been feeling, and hopefully, my story can be something you can relate to and know whatever you're feeling at the moment is "normal".

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My demographic is 18-24, but just in case there are any younger readers, I thought I'd throw this point out there. I was quite lucky that my school experience (with the exception of a few idiots, but we won't go into that), was pretty good. I had a great set of friends, and I loved all most of my classes, but there are life skills you start to learn that you won't even realise until later on. If you start off at a young age having a strong work ethic, it will carry on with you for the rest of your life. You start to learn how to juggle your school work and social life early on. One thing I really wish I did at school was to take advantage of all the extra clubs and activities they had available. I'm not sure if I wasn't open to joining these groups because at the time it wasn't something I was interested in, or I was scared I would be rubbish at it, but I'm craving so many new experiences now.

If you've finished college or university and you didn't get the grades you wanted, it can be so heartbreaking, but you soon start to realise that getting into college or university is an amazing achievement in itself, and being able to pass no matter what grade you get is something you should be proud of. I never got the grade I wanted, but it never became the reason I doubted myself, it became the reason I pushed myself more because I know that the grade doesn't define me.


I am pretty lucky in the fact that since I was young, I've always known I wanted to be a fashion designer. It is something I enjoy, love, and can see myself doing for the rest of my life, but knowing what I want to do does have its downsides. You become so focused on the journey you want to take, you see no space for taking a different route. I remember when I was in 6th form and I was looking at university courses, and they all mentioned doing a foundation year, and this really bugged me. I didn't want to waste a year doing something I had no desire to take on, but all I can say now is, I'm so glad I went for it. I had a year to get so creative and find out the type of designer I wanted to be. After that, I never turned down an opportunity just because it meant taking time away from where I wanted to be, and it's helped me gain new experiences, but has also made me sure that design is for me.


This is so prominent right now, and it makes me feel so warm and gooey inside. I have recently seen so many bloggers turn their blog into a business, or use a hobby to start something on the side. It doesn't have to be full-time or something that involves taking out a loan. You can sell handmade products on Etsy, (my favourite shops are Dorkface and LlamaTalks), sell a service, or bake things for a market stall. It doesn't matter what it is, there is someone in the world who will need or want what you have to offer. You don't have to turn into a business mogul, you just need time, patience and something to sell. I've already turned my blog into a business, but something I am working towards by the end of the year it to start selling products. It's a scary leap, but it's so exciting.

.@helloaycan is sharing all her thoughts on life as she sees it


It's all about quality, not quantity. While you're at school, you tend to want to feel "popular", and have to be friends with everyone, and for them to like you. You see these people everyday so it's inevitable, but as you move on and leave school, even those friends you thought you'd end up inviting to your wedding are no longer people you associate yourself with. It's not always something you or they have done, adult life changes pretty rapidly and you drift away from people. I have friends who I speak to multiple times a day, and I have ones who I speak to once a month, but it doesn't take away from the friendship at all. One thing I have started doing is not putting effort into people who aren't willing to give anything back. I'm happy to have a handful of friends who I know are there for me, than have people who are untrustworthy.


I'm definitely going to start sounding like a parent right now, but money doesn't grow on trees. I wish I was a little more careful with my money when it came to certain things. Even if it's a small amount each month, save it. It could fund a holiday, a home, or something really special.


We live in a crazy time where appearance seems to be everything, and it sucks. When I was a teenager, I had the same insecurities as most people, but I never let it get in the way of me doing anything. Honestly, I was one of the most confident people I knew. I don't know whether it's because I'm using social media more, or I'm just seeing myself in a different way, but that confidence seems to be dwindling. I've been learning sometimes it's all about feeling good on the inside and eating right, but also feeling good on the outside and wearing clothes that make you feel good about yourself. My confidence is constantly going up and down, but I'm working hard to bring it to a place I'm happy with.


Words can make someone feel good and special, but it can also be something that can really damage a persons confidence and self-esteem. I have never been one to say anything horrible to people, but I was never one to say something nice either. I now try and go out of my way to let someone know their hair looks nice, or their outfit really suits them. I remember sitting on the tube like I always did, and this little girl was looking at me and then whispered to her Mum that my hair was like a princess, which with her Mum's permission, she came over and told me. This happened so long ago, but it's something that will always stay with me. There's a saying that always sticks in my mind which is never mention something about someone's appearance they can't change in 10 seconds.

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It is very rare that something worth fighting for is just going to end up in your inbox. I always used to see really successful people and feel jealous that they've made it to where they want to be, and then look back at my life and have nothing to show for it. One quote I like to keep in the back of my mind is "don't compare your beginning to someone else's middle." The real thing here is don't compare your anything to anyone. Your life can change in a matter of days, but it takes effort from you to really push yourself, especially in the times we live in now. You have to go that extra mile. Make connections. Make phone calls. There are so many people who want the same job or opportunity as you, and it's not all about what's on paper. Sometimes you do need to be that person that stands out. Passion and motivation will always come across. People like to work with passion.


Rejection is something that can take time to get your head around. You start to wonder what is so wrong with you. You have the grades, the experience and they still don't want you. It took me a bit of time to learn how to deal with it. It got to the point where I didn't want to apply for jobs or send in my portfolio because I was more concerned about how I would take the rejection. Every now and again I would get this sudden burst of self-confidence and I'll email my application, then the weirdest thing would happen. How I thought I'd feel about getting rejected was the complete opposite. I felt more motivated to apply for new things, and these are the opportunities I would get. Rejection can be heartbreaking, but it can help you to improve and build on what you have.


I think this is the most important point of this entire post, and if there is one thing you're going to remember from reading this post, make sure it's this one. I know I am so guilty of putting so much pressure on myself to succeed, that all the excitement I had just turns into misery and torment. I'm learning to step back and let myself know that everything I do doesn't have to become the biggest thing in my life, and there doesn't always have to be so much pressure. It's taking its time with me, but I'm getting there and it feels so good.


Slightly inspired by what's been going on in the blogging community recently, but not everything you has to be a competition. We live in a world where people have different tastes, styles and interests, and just because somebody is doing something similar to you, doesn't mean you are going to lose everything you've worked for. We all should be helping to grow the industries we are in and welcome new people. We will always be stronger together by creating a bigger force. If you see someone doing something good, let them know. It's these little boosts of confidence that can help people turn corners and grow.

The world can seem like a scary place, but we don't have to let it be. This is a very lengthy post, and if you managed to get through it all, thank you so much. I hope it helps at least one person. Let me know in the comments below a piece of advice you would like to share about life, and how you overcome that issue.