20 Things I Learnt in 20 Years

clare glen bridge ft sophie

It’s my birthday!!!

Yes I’m finally 20, after dreading it all year it’s actually here. Ok maybe not completely dreading it, I am just not ready to be a fully functioning adult- still feels like I should be getting my school uniform ready and buying my stationary for school yet here I am chilling as a twenty year old. But to add to the pressure of being 20 I’m off to university to live and fend for myself, with my recent disaster of flooding the kitchen this is going to be a great adventure for me and my new roommates, good luck to them haha. Don’t get me wrong I am excited for it all, it’s a whole new experience for me so along with the dread I’m full of excitement. Here are the 20 most important things I’ve learnt in my 20 years on this earth.

  1. You don’t have to fit in with the crowd

I was guilty of this throughout my early high school years; going through phases from wearing makeup 3-4 times darker than my skin tone looking like an Oompa Lumpa just to fit in with a group of girls to listening to clubland and trance music just to have something to talk about with people in my registration class. But this is so not needed, just be yourself because trying to change yourself to make friends just means they aren’t really your friends, you don’t know who you really are so how can your friends know you? I stopped trying to be someone I wasn’t and now I have a few close friends that know and love me for who I am.

Sophia Leigh in a green field

2. Family is what you make it; it’s not always about blood relatives

I have learnt that a family is a unit of people who love and care for you no matter what; you don’t have to be blood related to be a family. I have grown up with relations to my mother’s side, a step-family through my mother’s marriage and even my brother’s family that consider me apart of their life even though I’m not related to them by DNA. I don’t have any connection to my biological father’s family or my aunts from my mother’s side & you know what it is best that way. My family will always be made up of a diverse range of people & I’m ok with that.

3. Nature is precious

As you can tell with my blog I am a nature warrior, I love the outdoors walking in the forests, taking photos of flowers and trees spreading the love for the environment. We have to love the world we live in, there could be a day when we have damaged it so much there won’t be a world anymore. Even though this is a scary thought we can prevent this from happening by changing the way we live- start adapting your lifestyle to be a little bit greener. You will probably start to have more love for nature like I did.

sophia Leigh standing on a tree stump

4. Food is not the devil

Not many people know this about me; but I have struggled with food, which I didn’t even know was happening until I started therapy sessions. I started exercising religiously trying to lose weight, and reduce the size of my thighs, along with this exercise, I wasn’t eating as much because I was never hungry, which got worse when I switched schools for A Levels, I never ate in front of people it grew into a fear. But today I am fighting the fear of eating in front of people & I have learnt that food is not a devil, we need it to survive- It takes us all different times to fight this illness so never be ashamed if it takes you longer, you got this and can recover.

5. Enjoy the little things in life; they can be the best

I love the little things in life, spending time with my family. Laughing, joking around and just making memories. We come into the world with nothing and we leave the same way so make sure to create moments that you can remember for your life. I have so many memories of my nan that I will cherish she is gone but I can remember those 5am morning chats we had, or the times she said something so so silly. The little things may not bring anyone back- but you can always keep them in your mind that way the memory of them lives on.

6. Your mental illness does not define who you are

Anxiety is just a mental illness; it does not make you who you are. I have so many other better traits in my personality that define me way more than anxiety does. Always remember that.

Sophia Leigh

7. Never be ashamed to say no

Saying no to have more time for yourself, that is ok and you should definitely do it more often. As I do have anxiety I struggle to say yes all the time, or it takes me ages to encourage myself to go to the event. Therefore I have learnt that saying no is ok and I shouldn’t feel ashamed of it because I need time to calm myself and have alone time to enjoy some meditation.

8. Your whole life can be turned upside down in a short amount of time

My nan got sick suddenly, back in 2015. I was with her on Thursday; she was fine and happy then Sunday we find out she had to be rushed to hospital laying in ICU wired up to 6 or 7 machines then to be told we had to consider turning off her life support machine. Monday came around, 12.30pm we had to send her off- this was the first time I had ever seen someone so close to me die right in front of my very eyes. It was a difficult time for us all because it happened so suddenly & I now know that anything can happen in a matter of minutes. Live your life to the fullest because it can be turned upside down at any time.sophie watching the ocean

9. Don’t compare yourself to others

Be you and only you. There is no need to be anyone else. You are great the way you are.

10. Music is always there for you

Thanks to my granddad, I am a violinist & I always express my emotions through the violin and the music I create. That love for music will always be there. Or even through the bands you listen to, All Time Low being that band who have always been my rock through everything. Getting to meet Jack Barakat was one of the best things to happen to me and yes I did cry a little bit. You can always rely on your music not matter what.

sophia leigh in alcudia

11. Look after yourself

You need to look after yourself. Meditation, nature walks and pamper days are my go to forms of self care. You deserve a break; reflect and be positive.

12. It’s your life; do what makes you happy

I went vegan because of my love for the environment and animals, this was the source of many jokes from people. But I learnt that you should always do what you want, make yourself happy because only you can live your life. It was given to you and no one else. Be happy and enjoy whatever it is you do.

Sophia Leigh in Armagh

13. Long distance relationships do work

Will be 4 years in October with my boyfriend, and yes that is 4 years of long distance. These relationships can succeed but only if you try to work at them. It is a challenge but if you know that someone is the one for you then you know it’s worth it. I will be going to university quite close to him so we are reducing the distance from 500 miles to about 20 miles. Exciting and I can’t wait to see how things go.

14. Embrace the failure

You don’t have to have everything figured out, if you fail take it on the chin and try again or try something different. I failed my driving test twice was going to give up but was told I shouldn’t because I can drive & I would pass and of course I did. Embracing failure doesn’t make you a bad person, it shows growth and that you can evaluate your life choices. Always remember that.

Sophia Leigh passing the driving third time

15. Be kind to people

Be kind to everyone. No matter who they are, it is only right to treat people with respect.

16. Compassion never costs a thing

Compassion is free, showing love for all animals it connects you to them. You learn a new perspective on life through compassion. I adore animals and have no fear around horses anymore (they are one of my favourites) Be kind to animals and they will love you back.

Sophia Leigh and a horse

17. You do have an accent and it will probably amuse others

I’m from Northern Ireland and everyone assumes I have an Irish accent (mainly a southern accent; but this is not the case) I believe I  have a neutral Northern Irish accent, but for people across the world I have a strong accent and some things I say can be amusing. Such as the word Saturday; I pronounce this word in a farmer tone instead of saying “Sa-tur-day” I say “Sa-urr-day”. Never noticed until someone was giggling at it, so now I know some words in my accent can be amusing for people.

 18. Not everyone will like you but that’s ok

HAHA! This one is so true, and when I learnt this I was so much happier, I stopped trying to please other people. Forced relationships are awful- so if someone doesn’t like you leave it and walk away, you’ll be better off without them.

Sophia Leigh

19. Your thighs should be the thing you love not hate

No matter what they are the thing that take you places love them! They may be thick but that ok embrace your body the way it is and don’t try to change.

20. Be strong and you will get through anything

Always remember this, I will always be strong no matter what. I have a great life and I am so grateful for what I have got, what I’ve had to learn over my 20 years and I will always cherish the memories, moments and love from my family, friends and of course now the blogging community. I can get through anything!




  1. August 11, 2017 / 11:05 AM

    This is such a lovely post. Can’t say I’m there yet with Number 19 but I like the sentiment! 😉

    It took me a little longer than you to accept that not everyone will like me but that’s okay. Now I just do me. I don’t have time for people in my life who have a problem with that.

    Happy birthday! 🙂

  2. Gyanendra
    August 15, 2017 / 4:57 AM

    Lovely post.

  3. August 15, 2017 / 10:01 PM

    Beautiful blog post, I agree with everything I think! Even the accent thing 😀

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