Everything I Know About Growing Up

Words by: Atara Thenabadu
  1. As you have learned in your first 20 years of life, there is no manual on how to be a functioning adult. So instead of constantly being unfairly harsh on yourself when you make a mistake, take it as an opportunity to learn and evolve, not just self-criticise. 
  2.  Rejection is never a nice feeling, let alone when you’re in Year Three and think no one is ever going to be as perfect for you as the boy in 3W. It doesn’t mean that you are an unlovable, broken human being — instead, it just means you may not be the one for them, and that’s okay. 
  3. Even though you question your younger sister’s existence every other day, as well as wonder what life would be like as an only child, you know deep down that she has made you a better person. Even if you will never admit it to her face. 
  4. Letting a bunch of 20-year-olds who kick a piece of leather around a patch of grass for a profession dictate your weekly mood is not the way you should be living. Instead of feeling all levels of rage, take a moment to acknowledge that no one ever goes out there to fail and proceed to get on with the rest of your day. 
  5. A benefit of getting older is that you will learn to acknowledge that it was, in fact, Sharpay Evans who was the real hero of the High School Musical franchise. After all, she was the one that set up meetings and brunch to help further Troy’s basketball career, while Gabriella was either swimming, crying, or running away. She deserves our utmost respect. 
  6. Taking care of your mental health does not make you a selfish, ungrateful human being. Don’t let anyone make you feel like you need to justify your emotions. It truly is a courageous decision to acknowledge when you are struggling and need help, and you should feel great pride in taking those first steps. 
  7. There is nothing wrong with being a female who makes the first move. Instead of waiting for them, take your destiny into your own hands and let it be known you are interested. It may just be the start of something new. 
  8. If you want to wear that green shirt or those striped pants, just do it. Don’t give a single fuck what people might think, just go out there and be your true self. Nothing else will ever be more beautiful than that. 
  9. Even though you get an immediate thrill when you order Uber Eats or Menulog, it’s probably best that you make it a once every two to three week occasion rather than a once every three to four day occasion. Your bank account will thank you. 
  10.  As much as you hold every guy to the standard of Austin Ames (whose own flaws you happen to turn a blind eye to every time you watch Cinderella Story),  Austin’s clear inability to recognise Sam — even though the only difference in her appearance at the Homecoming ball was that she was wearing a mask—is a prime example that everyone has flaws, even the people you deem to be perfect. So, instead of being self-critical when one of your own flaws arises, take it as an opportunity to learn and improve. 
  11.  Even though there are not a lot of films, television shows or books that really depict the true reality of platonic relationship breakdowns, it is completely normal to feel like your heart has been stabbed multiple times and cry while eating ice cream. Friendships ending can be equal or more painful than romantic relationships ending, and they should be treated with the same respect. 
  12.  Don’t be overly critical of yourself if you are not at the same life stage as your friends. Just because they all have romantic partners, it doesn’t mean you need to run through every Melbourne bar to find one of your own. And if they are all purchasing houses, it doesn’t mean you need to change your saving goals. Everyone’s ‘journey’, as cliché as it sounds, is different, and that should be embraced not compared. 
  13.  Don’t feel pressured to keep up with the latest trends, which we all know will change in a matter of weeks (shoutout to your ripped denim jeans). Invest in the items that you truly love, not the items you feel that you are meant to love. 
  14.  As much fun as it is to map out your future, it is important to recognise that dreams require effort and sacrifice. If you are not willing to do what needs to be done, you won’t be able to reap the rewards. 
  15.  Growing up is something you will always be doing. Whether you are 30 or 68, you will forever be learning and evolving. So if you make a couple of mistakes along the way, take it as a sign from the universe confirming you are in fact a human being, and not some perfect alien. 

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