One of my holiday reads this year was How to be a grown up, by Daisy Buchanan. It had been recommended to me on Instagram by a follower, and I’m still not entirely sure if it was a dig at the fact I can’t use a washing machine, iron, or cooker without potentially setting the house on fire. Either way, I popped it in my amazon basket and clicked ‘Buy Now’.
My Instagram focuses a lot on navigating your twenties – a decade of identity crisis, imposter syndrome and finding your feet in the adult world. I’m only 21, so I’m definitely still stumbling through and by no means the expert of the topic, but my followers are on this journey of mistakes with me.
Daisy Buchanan, however, is in her thirties. She too fumbled through her twenties and has lived to tell the tale – which is reassuring to know that I probably won’t die trying to navigate the difficult decade.
In How To Be A Grown Up, Daisy bears all, from breakups and mental health to rape and eating disorders. She’s open, honest, and tells you everything you need to hear (even if you didn’t necessarily *want* to hear it – but hey that’s what grown-ups do.) What she says may shock some of you, but her stories are relatable and remind us that we are all only human.
Here are seven things I learned from How To Be A Grown up.
You can achieve your goals at your own pace
And it doesn’t make them any less spectacular if you achieve them late. As a kid, I had envisioned myself married at 25 with 2 children called Lennon and Hendrix – now, I don’t want any kids. It’s okay for your goals to change as your grow, and it’s okay to change them again and again. You don’t have to finish uni at 21 and get a job (although that’s what I did – but it’s not for everyone), you don’t have to move out of your parents’ house by 26 (I certainly won’t be). Growing up isn’t linear and no-one’s life travels at the same speed.
Stop comparing yourself to others
As above, there is no set timeline to achieve things, so stop comparing your goals, life and achievements to those around you or online. Stop comparing your life to Jessica from High School who just got engaged in Paris – and don’t hate like the photo either.
Stop comparing your IG feed to that of influencers airbrushing their photos within an inch of their lives and not declaring their ads properly. Your time will come, should you want it to, and you don’t have to envy the people it happens to first. Equally, you don’t have to envy the falsified realities of social media.
Impostor syndrome is real (and we all feel it sometimes)
When I landed my dream graduate job as a journalist for my local paper, before I’d even finished university, I kept telling everyone how lucky I had been. I had bagged the job up against 80 other applicants and whenever anyone asked about the job I would tell them ‘I’m so lucky, I can’t believe I got the job!’
I thought my boss had mistakenly given me the job, or had read someone else’s CV. For weeks I felt under qualified, despite my new shiny degree in journalism. I would get up for work and think to myself ‘I’m going to go and play journalist’ as I put on my big girl clothes and headed out of the door. My first few months in the job very much felt like work experience that would come to an end soon – or perhaps I would wake up from the dream and I’d be sat in a media law lecture.
Impostor syndrome makes you feel like you’re where you are by some stroke of luck. Not that you worked your ass off at uni for three years, whilst building a portfolio of blogs and feature writing. It makes you feel like, someday, one of your colleagues will out you as a fraud that’s been disguising as someone who knows what they’re doing.
I was relieved to discover that Daisy writes about impostor syndrome in How To Be A Grown Up. It reinforces that you’re not crazy and it is real. Once you’ve identified impostor syndrome for what it is, then you can tackle it by remembering you’re where you are through hard work and bossing it.
You will grow apart from school friends (and you don’t have to feel guilty about it)
I started growing apart from my school friends in sixth form, despite being in their classes and hanging out still. However, I had entirely different interests and was more focused on going to support local bands and photographing gigs to build a portfolio than going out drinking all the time.
Around the same time, I met Jake. I was juggling a new relationship, a new passion for media and writing and photography – realising that I could put all of my skills into blogging – and friends who couldn’t quite understand why I turned down plans.
I had started to grow apart from friendships that turned negative because I learned to say no, stopped bending over backwards and started putting myself and my happieness first. I’d finally decided I wanted to spend my time and money on people and things I wanted to spend it on – and whilst it was hard and awkward at the time – I feel a million times better for it now.
You learn to make new friends in new situations, and because those friendships are chosen more carefully, and usually born out of a mutual love for something – they’re higher quality friendships. You aren’t just their mates because you spend six hours a day with them, five days a week.
Ignore clothing labels in shops
This is the one I desperately try to project on to other people, too. The first time I had a melt down over clothing labels was when I forgot to pack my black skinny jeans for a trip to Florence. My friend Mel and I headed to H&M to grab a pair, and I couldn’t get the size 8 past my thighs. I had always been a size 6-8, and I knew I’d put on some university comfort weight, but surely I wasn’t a size 10?
However, as I’ve gotten a little older, I’ve realised that there is no standardised sizing in retail. I can be a size 6 in one shop, 8 in another and 10 in a third and that’s okay. As long as it fits and it’s flattering, I’m happy.
I went shopping with my mum a few weeks ago – she’s a size 12-14, so was horrified to discover a size 14 jumpsuit didn’t fit in Primark. I told her to try a size 16 and she outright refused. The thought of the number on the label filled her with terror and she refused to try it on, let alone buy it, even though she loved the jumpsuit. We need to stop looking at labels and buy what fits and makes us feel good.
Pinterest your style crushes
Similarly to ‘stop comparing’, use your jealousy for good. Daisy suggests pinning pictures you love from Instagram so that you can work out why you love them. Is it the cut of the dress? Maybe it’s the tones? Is it the angle? Work out what you love and use it to fuel your own content. Use it to better yourself and admire the work of others, instead of envying it.
BRB… just going to go and pin all of Francesca Perks’ IG feed.
You don’t have to earn relaxation
How many times have you said ‘I’m going to draw myself a bubble bath and pour a gin and tonic – I’ve earned it’ after a stressful day at work? Well, here’s something for ya – you know you can stick a facemask on and paint your nails whenever you blooming want? You don’t have to have a long, stressful or anxiety-fuelled day to ‘treat yourself’ to relaxation. It should be a part of your daily routine anyway – it doesn’t have to be earned.
Go on – take 15 minutes out of whatever you’re doing, light a candle and make a cup of tea. Listen to Japanese Zen garden music or colour in a mandala colouring book. Whatever calms and relaxes you, do it whenever you blooming fancy. It’s the perks of being an adult – much like buying a birthday cake just because you fancy one.