Ruth-MacGilp-Urbanity-BlogI turned 21 this week, wahey! As this is a rather big birthday, I thought I’d do a quick roundup post of the 21 things I’ve learned as I’ve reached this day that I want to take forward as my life goes on. I hope this post is helpful for other confused, anxious and stressed twenty-somethings out there!


  1. There’s no such thing as ‘normal’ in relationships
    I’ve often felt ‘abnormal’ for being in a long-term, serious relationship (living with my other half) at this age, rather than sleeping around and going on endless dates and flirting at parties like many of my friends. But you know what, I’m the happiest I’ve ever been and I wouldn’t change it for the world. I’ve learnt not to pass judgement on others or feel bad about myself, we’re all different, and life is too short not to do what feels right in the moment, whether that’s hitting up hot rugby players every weekend or settling down with your soulmate.
  2. You don’t have to be a party animal
    This is always my downfall. I love a good night out with my closest friends, I’m no stranger to tequila shots at 3am or bottles of wine on the beach. But as a student, I feel like I don’t live up to the stereotype, as most nights, I’d rather just stay in and cosy up with a movie and snacks, or go for a nice dinner and drinks, than struggle through Hive til Five. I’m no party animal, and sometimes I leave the club early and grab a taxi and a chippy, and you know what, that’s ok, I get into a lot less trouble because of it!
  3. When it comes to friendship, quality beats quantity
    The older I get, the more I lose touch with old friends, either because of distance, circumstance or mostly being just so damn busy, which can be really sad, but I also realise more and more how much I value the friends I have, and the closer we get. During school, I thought the more people at my party, the better, but now I cherish my close friends so much and am more than happy to shake off those who aren’t willing to put in the effort.
  4. You can’t master everything
    I definitely have anxieties about not being good at things, which makes me stressed to the point of feeling overwhelmed by my responsibilities, and often prevents me from trying new things too. If you feel this way too, I definitely recommend you take a step back and prioritise; realise what your strengths are, and your weaknesses, and accept that it is normal to have those weaknesses.
  5. Comparison is the thief of joy
    It’s never a good idea to compare your square one to someone else’s square 100. In blogging and other online careers, in particular, it can be easy to focus on how much more successful others seem, even when you’re just starting out. But remember, social media is a highlights reel, it never shows someone’s real life.
  6. There really is no rush
    Every time I get scared that I’ve not achieved as much as others, or I need to progress in what I’m doing more quickly (eg. “I took a year out of university, I’m so behind everyone else!”), I remember my date of birth and realise I AM SO FUCKING YOUNG and there is no rush in the world to get where I want to be. I have my whole life ahead of me- cheesy but true!
  7. This too shall pass
    Whatever struggles that you’re going through right now, remember that it won’t last forever, or even for that long at all. Life is all about peaks and troughs, and if you’re facing a trough at the moment, trust me, you’re due a pretty big peak. My teenage years were a literal pile of shit, and the past couple of years have been magical; honestly, I was happy with that trade-off.
  8. Money problems suck, but that’s ok
    Dealing with money is one of my least favourite things. I’ve realised that I’m fairly good at making money, but really good at spending it, which leaves me with very stressful times, but when I talk to friends about this and read blogs and listen to podcasts, I realise that no matter their financial circumstances, everybody has a lot of the same worries surrounding money, and it’s totally normal, you’re not alone!
  9. Grades and qualifications don’t really matter
    Literally, any opportunity I’ve come across has never been about what I got on my last marketing exam, or how many GCSEs I have. As long as you have serious drive, employability, experience and you have something unique to offer, you can get nearly any job you set your sights on!Ruth-MacGilp-Urbanity-Blog
  10. It’s cool to be a quitter
    Quit jobs, quit university courses, quit relationships, quit anything that doesn’t feel right. I don’t mean just give up on everything and crawl back into bed (as appealing as that sounds sometimes), I mean that if something isn’t benefitting you in the short-term or long-term, and is, in fact, detrimental to your life, it’s not worth your time, and you’ll find something new and sooooooo much better.
  11. Mums usually know best
    99.9% of the time, my mum is right. Too bad I usually only realise this with hindsight. Listen to your mother guys, sometimes she talks sense, especially when it comes to the really important stuff.
  12. Don’t write things off before you try them
    As teens, I think we are often so obsessed with fitting in and being ‘cool’ that we don’t get to discover what we truly enjoy. For example, I used to think only mega-nerds went to poetry nights, and they do; but now those mega-nerds are some of my most wonderful friends!
  13. It’s not them, it’s you
    I’m all for giving yourself slack, but it gets to the point sometimes when you need to stop passing on the blame to others and face the (wo)man in the mirror.
  14. FOMO is bullshit
    Social media makes us think that we’re missing out on the coolest things, and feel guilty for working or relaxing, especially living in a city where there’s something happening every night of the week. But if you analyse it, half the events, social or otherwise, you go to are pretty disappointing and you wish you were back in bed or getting on with your to-do list.
  15. Never stop learning
    Lately, I’ve been really enjoying getting outside the bubble of fashion that I and many other often float within. Listening to podcasts, watching documentaries, going to talks, reading articles- consume as widely as you can, from politics to biology.
  16. Question everything, especially those in power
    Whether it’s your lecturer or your prime minister, your therapist or your royal family, don’t take everything as it comes especially from authoritative figures. It’s good to be argumentative sometimes.Ruth-MacGilp-Urbanity-Blog
  17. Check your privilege
    Growing up as a middle class (ish) white straight person, its easy to forget how much of an advantage you hold in life, and it is so important to think carefully before you speak and act on on that. This way of thinking also helps you ‘check the priveledges’ of others, and notice when, for example, men are are being outrageously sexist- something I take great pleasure in pointing out regularly.
  18. Mental health is just as important as physical health
    Mental health days are totally acceptable and often completely necessary, just as much as taking time off with the flu.
  19. Don’t be afraid to argue for what you believe in
    You’ll always regret it when you don’t. If people think you’re an asshole for being an outspoken young woman, so be it.
  20. Be a better friend
    True friendships are the one thing in life that can really stand the distance throughout the different stages of your life, and its so important to keep working on them because they often fade so quickly. Β You want people to be there for you when you’re in need, so you need to be there for them, even when you’re in a good patch. My new year’s resolution this year is definitely to be a better friend, simple but effective.
  21. Get outside of your comfort zone as often as possible
    Enough said.

Ruth @ Urbanity xxx

// Comments Off on 21 Things I’ve Learned on my 21st Birthday