4 Things I Learnt As I Turned 29

Stealing this idea from Ryan Holiday Рwho does a yearly blog like this.

I’ve learnt a lot in the void between 28 and 29, here are the 4 things that stick out the most:

1. Selective Approval

When you’re a kid adults tell you to ‘not care what other people think’. I think it’s true… to an extent.

There are times in life where you should care  Рe.g. job interviews, first dates, sales pitches, etc.

But there are other times when you shouldn’t.

I was in the supermarket and I was having a nightmare with the self service machine. There were all sorts of unexpected items in the bagging area and a queue was gradually beginning to form behind me. An impatient one, at that.

(Note: Isn’t it about time they started making psychic self service machines that don’t have a meltdown every time the unexpected happens?)

My card wouldn’t work – so I had to fish around in my wallet for another. Tuts rang out from behind me. Sweat mopped my brow. Then a satsuma fell out of my hand and rolled across the floor.

I could feel dozens of hateful eyes burning down on me.

Luckily I persevered, managed to fit it all in my bag and hurried out.

Do you know how many of those people in that queue I’ve seen since that incident? 0.

And do you know how many times they’ve thought about it since then? 0.

I didn’t need their approval, their opinions didn’t matter. Yet I made myself uncomfortable by seeking it. After this realisation I’ve started to live freely.

Look for the people whose approval does matter. Ignore anyone else. Plus, according to social studies, it’s noted that those who don’t look for approval are often seen as more influential.

2. Fitter body. Fitter mind.

I was never in good shape at school. I was never anywhere near fit until I was in my early 20s and playing football several times a week. A habit that ended due to a snapped ankle.

The weight didn’t pile on right, though. Not until I was 25. It got to a point where I didn’t like my photo being taken and couldn’t bring myself to wear a t-shirt in public. When I look back now it makes me sad as I have very few photos to look back on from that period of my life – my body image was terrible, every mirror told me a different story. I didn’t know what to believe.

But that’s a story for another day, a whole blog in itself.

In November last year a gym opened nearly opposite my flat and I signed up. I trained hard. With the help of my friend I stuck to it and now, nearly a year later, I’m still going. Stronger and happier.

It’s helped with creativity too – positive endorphins from a morning workout set me up for a better day at work. Mind and body in tune.

3. Buy Expensive Jeans

Seriously. If you’re anything like me and you wear jeans a lot, it’s worth paying more for a good brand (if you can).

Very contrary I know, as everyone out there tells you not to be materialistic.

But they fit better, feel better and usually last longer – which helps in the long run, as we know the fast fashion industry isn’t good for the planet.

Also, nice clothes make you feel more confident. There I’ve said it. But, deep down, you know it’s true.

4. Phil Collins is a very good musician

I can’t believe it took me 29 years to realise. Great dry sense of humour, too.