In The Country Magazine
In The Country

24 things I’ve learnt in 24 years

As each year comes to a close, we find ourselves reflecting on the months passed. For me, each New Year’s celebration marks not only the start of a fresh new year of opportunities but also, me being another year older. Yes, for those of you who don’t know, my birthday is on the 1st January.

And this year, with just hours to go until I turn 24 and we enter a new decade, I’m feeling extra reflective. So, I’ve put together a list of things I’ve learnt over the past 24 years.

1. Horses are not just a phase. Much to my parent’s displeasure, that pony mad little girl didn’t ’grow out of it’ – in fact, the horses got bigger and the hobby got more expensive. With no signs of slowing, this girl loves horses through and through.

2. Dogs are better than people. I don’t think I need to elaborate upon that one much.

3. You can’t please everyone and not everyone will like you. This is relevant in all walks of life, friendships, relationships, work place relationships and even family. You’ll never be everyone’s cup of tea, I’ve learnt as I’ve got older not to waste my time trying or worrying about wanting everyone to like me. I am who I am.

4. There is always something to learn. You’ll never know everything about any one thing. Always be willing to listen and learn from others.

5. Be kind. I mean this one speaks for itself but so much can be said for kindness. No matter how ‘big’ you get, never forget to be kind. Even when you’re busy or stressed, always be kind. Those who are kind to you, you won’t forget and you’ll likely want to help or return the kindness. Good things come to those who are kind.

6. Live life for you. Life is so short in the grand scheme of things and to spend it trying to please others or conform to what others wish you to be is a great big bloody waste of yours. You are who you are and no one can change that (but you!). If you’re in a job you hate or a relationship you know is failing, maybe you have toxic friends, get out. Stand up for yourself and do it for you.

7. Know your weaknesses. I have identified mine, stress and maths. I do not handle stress well, I take after my mother here. I am also hopeless at maths… knowing your weaknesses is not an excuse in my opinion but an identification of your weak points. Luckily we live in a world where being rubbish at maths is easily overcome by calculators etc and we also live in an era where self-care and mindfulness is such a hot topic that taking time for yourself is understood and accepted (as it should be!).

8. Apologise when it’s warranted. This is something that growing up, I was rubbish at. I am extremely stubborn by nature (taking after dad this time!) and so, saying sorry wasn’t in my vocabulary. However, as I’ve got older, I’ve learnt that when you’ve upset someone unintentionally or otherwise, or you’ve made a mistake, apologising to those affected isn’t going to take anything away from you. When I say apologise, I don’t mean a ‘I’m sorry, but…’ followed by an excuse, I mean a sincere apology.

9. Don’t judge a person by their appearances. Don’t ever assume before you get to know a person. My father has a condition which has rendered him in a wheelchair for the last 10 or so years, however he has the most incredible mind, the best I know and is one of the most interesting people I have ever met. He is my source of knowledge, guidance and often my sounding board for thoughts, ideas or dilemmas. However, what infuriates me more than anything is that, people who haven’t met him and pass him on the street or meet him for the first time to say hello to, automatically assume he is mentally affected and thus, treat him as if he were dumb.

10. I love a list. Lists are my thing. I have notebooks full of lists, documents on my computer and notes on my phone made up of lists and that is ok. Until, I forget about them until months later…

11. Eat your greens! I love love love vegetables, in fact I love almost all food. But, as you get older, it is easy to fall into the trap of, ‘I don’t like it and so, I’m not going to do it,’ however veggies and greens are just so good for you. I think this goes out to a lot of men I know, who refuse to eat ‘rabbit food’ but, do not underestimate the benefits of vegetables nor how delicious they can be! Throughout my childhood, I was referred to as the Vegetable Queen, nothing has changed, I literally crave veg!

12. Stay humble. Never let success go to your head. In a world where ‘followers’ are a way of gauging success or importance, one of the pieces of advice my parents gave me was that, no matter how ‘big’ you get, do not let the success go to your head. Stay humble. No one likes the person who walks around as if they’re the most important person in the room and everyone is beneath them – I sure as hell don’t.

13. Embrace what makes you unique. I have gappy teeth… whilst I have been quite likely, there was a point in school when I was picked on, I was quite resilient and didn’t let it bother me too much, but they’ve always been a running joke with friends. Friends who know that it will be taken as a joke and I’ll often throw something back in response. However, as I’ve gotten older, and entered the world of business, where I meet new people or share photos of myself (including my teeth) on social media, I’ve often contemplated about getting braces or having them straightened… however, those close to me have assured me that ‘I wouldn’t be me without my teeth,’ and I’ve learned and am still learning to love and embrace this part of me – plus I am terrified of the dentist!

14. Banish drama. Gone are the days of playground politics, life is hectic and short, we only have so much space and energy to give to those in our lives. To anyone who is causing you unnecessary stress, anxiety or draining you, banish them. Blocking them from social media, blocking their number and just choosing not to see them again is a choice only you can make. Do it for you.

15. Choose not to take part in bitchiness or gossip. Similar to the above, for those who love a gossip and try to get your thoughts on a person, event or subject which you know in your heart is cruel, choose to step away from the conversation. You don’t have to take part. Don’t succumb to gossip and bitching, it isn’t nice.

16. You aren’t in competition with anyone. You’re running your own marathon. Whilst in business, there may be those who are in the same industry as you, with a similar product or target market as you, your products and brand and values are different. They are unique to you. In your work life, if you’re ‘competing’ for a promotion or for a project, show them why you’re different, why you should get it. With friendships or love life, don’t compete. Just be you, those who value you for you will shine through. Those who can’t see you, never will and nor should they.

17. New Zealand is a bit of me. I love it. More than any country I’ve ever visited for so many reasons. I hope to be able to visit regularly and maybe even buy a place out there one day. However, it seems a little too far for me to move too permanently. I’d love to take ITC to NZ somewhere down the road.

18. I am extremely nostalgic. I love memories, they are the photographs never taken and the stories never written down. I am like a hoarder when it comes to not letting go of memories. I dispel the negative memories through choice, but the positive ones, I never want to let go of. It’s like a mental photo album. I hate the thought of letting people go, unless it is having a negative impact on our lives. To those you shared good times with, you were once best friends and in some cases more, why should you become strangers? Because society says so, I think not.

19. I am my father’s daughter. Most certainly and I am proud to be. He is my inspiration and I look up to him for so much, he’s my one true Valentine as he tells me (and my sisters each year). We share so many of the same interests and passions from cars to shooting, animals to food. In so many ways, I am my father’s daughter.

20. People aren’t thinking or looking at you, half as much as you think they are. Meaning, we are so caught up in worrying about what people might think of us or how they may perceive us that often we miss out on opportunities, conversations etc. I used to be a nervous wreck when turning up at press events, meeting new people and things like that, I’d be so worried about how they would judge me, what would they conclude? I’ve learnt over that, it doesn’t matter. You can’t change how a person judges you or the conclusion they make of you, that is out of your hands. All you can do, is be you.

21. The number of followers you have can change how people treat you. It shouldn’t, but it does. So many people out there are desperate for ‘fame’ and so when someone sees that another person has a decent amount of followers they can, in some cases, try to take advantage of this for their own personal gain. Whether that be old friends coming out of the wood work who want a slice of the cake, or new ‘friends’ who want to boost their own following and recognition off the back of yours. People are selfish, always be on guard. Don’t let your platform become a pedestal for others.

22. Surround yourself with positive people. There is an age old saying that goes something like, you become like the people you spend time with the most. This is so true, I have experienced this first hand through a negative and somewhat toxic environment, I had to remove myself as I found myself becoming miserable and angry all the time. Now, I am away from that environment, I feel refreshed, positive and motivated again. Choose to surround yourself with happy people, go getters, and those who are kind and polite. Not those who moan, are quick to anger, rude and the like.

23. Use your ‘influence’ for good. This is something I am hugely passionate about, everyone has the ability to influence at some level. I have built a platform with perhaps the ability to influence a slightly larger number of people, however you can choose to use your influence in many ways. Influence means ‘the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behaviour of someone or something, or the effect itself’ and so using this for a positive effect is a must. I would love to be able to use my influence to highlight, help and raise awareness for neglected animals, animals that have been mistreated and need homes as well as animals that are perhaps misunderstood or misrepresented. One of my new favourite accounts for inspiration of this is – Dean Schneider founder of Hakuna Mipaka in Africa, who is on a mission to ‘bring animals into people’s hearts.’

24. Everything happens for a reason. I am quite philosophical sometimes and I do firmly believe that things happen for a reason. I believe that what is meant to be will be.

I hope you all have a wonderful time celebrating the New Year tomorrow night and I wish each and every one of you reading this, all the very best for 2020. I hope it is everything you want it to be and more.

Until next time…

Lots of love,

Hollie-Ella Xxx

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