Lessons I’ve Learned Over The Year | 21 Has Begun

annahayyy 21 Has Begun

Let me tell you what I’ve learned.


Hello, friends, family and anyone who may stumble upon this post!

In case you didn’t know, I recently turned the iconic age of twenty-one. Oh, my, twenty-one. The big two one. The right to drink legally in every country, and be entitled to all sorts of adult things.

Last August when I turned twenty I made a (slightly embarrassing) little video recapping the twenty things I had learned in life thus far. Click here to watch! I thought it would only be fitting to document this year, and all the lessons I’ve learned along the way with an updated blog post.

As an avid journaler, I took some time to reflect on my year and the memories I’ve made, the struggles I’ve faced and most importantly growth that has taken place within me. Instead of listing twenty-one things I’ve learned this year, I am going to touch on the major areas of my life that have been tested, trialed and as a result, have changed immensely.

Isn’t this the truth?

We all poke fun at the term “adulting,” but I feel as though this year I transitioned from this younger version of myself into a full blown woman. Everyone told me, moving to London will change you. Or they believed that I would “find myself” on my journey, a million miles from home. I think both statements are true; and I had the opportunity to challenge myself in a new environment and also had plenty of time and space to allow growth.

I don’t say it often, but I am so proud of myself for the risks I took and the person that I am becoming. This year was one for the books, and worth the recap, I learned so many vital lessons, read on to learn from my mistakes (and triumphs).


Money Doesn’t Grow On Trees

I’ve had a job since I was fifteen; my parents always instilled in me how important hard work and responsibility were. I have always worked hard and strived to be financially independent. I can honestly say that I have never valued financial stability more than I do, right now.

My move to England had such a direct effect on my overall growth this year, but no one could have prepared me for the expense of living in The Big Smoke (aka London). I am not exaggerating when I say; everyone told me it would be expensive. Before I left, every conversation was a reminder that I was moving to “the most expensive city in the world.” For some reason, it didn’t seem to bother me. I had no idea how truly insane the cost of living was until I got here, months passed, and I realized that I had to change something.

Reality checque…

The biggest reality check was that I could not maintain the lifestyle that I had in Vancouver or even while I was living at home in Saskatchewan.

Having to budget, save and sacrifice taught me the importance of setting yourself up for financial success. I know it is not a lesson everyone is forced to learn at twenty-one but for me, it was self-inflicted with my choice of moving to London.

Being faced with some pretty tricky situations helped me realize that I want to become incredibly smart with my money. I feel like I know the value of a dollar and will work my ass off to find stability and balance in my life. I don’t want to struggle, and living to paycheque to paycheque does not suit me well.

Below are my handy dandy pieces of advice, based on personal experience. Hard lessons to learn, but so incredibly valuable.

  1. Stop spending money on “throw away items” (i.e., Fast fashion, low-quality accessories, and unnecessary bits and bobs)
  2. Invest in your purchases (Save up for whatever it is that you want to buy, and make sure you walk away with a high-quality product built to last)
  3. You do not need to eat out more than twice a week, it is too damn expensive (Date night with my babe is a treat, and so is the latte and croissant while I work in my favorite cafe)
  4. Save, save, save! (Make it a habit)
  5. Don’t live beyond your means (if your paycheque doesn’t allow a monthly vacation, don’t insist on taking one, learn to love your budget and what it does allow you to do)


Love Comes When You Least Expect It

If you have read any of my previous more personal blog posts, you will know I met my incredibly amazing boyfriend before jetting off to England. I was not looking for a relationship and yet I had met my best friend, and couldn’t let him go.

Over the months, we have grown so much closer, taken on the most incredible adventures, faced some challenges and continued to fall in love. I never used to be the girl who would gush about her love life, but I feel so lucky to have a partner, someone by my side who I trust and respect. Love comes when you least expect it, and you have to take advantage of these untimed and magical moments.

Below is my sappy, relationship and love advice (if you want to hear it).

  1. Do not change who you are to match the person that you want to be with; it will never work out in the long run. (Be yourself, always).
  2. Have respect for your partner, through any and all situations.
  3. Don’t assume you know how the other person is feeling; there is a good chance, you don’t.
  4. Don’t take anything for granted, enjoy the little moments, and the big celebrations the same.
  5. Learn to compromise.
  6. Be friends, not just lovers. Grow together, challenge one another and always have fun.


You Are What You Eat

The subject of health and fitness is currently my favorite topic. My most recent personal project has been to get back on track and achieve some serious fitness and nutrition goals that I set for myself.


I tried going vegetarian (which lasted six months) and did it all wrong which resulted in me destroying my health. I didn’t have the right mindset going into the transition and also wasn’t getting enough nutrients and ended up deficient and weak. My hair was falling out, I was tired all the time and stressed. I was consistently sick the first few months I lived in London, lost my love of exercise and was very unhappy with my body.

Beautiful (Inside & Out)

I am so excited to share that these circumstances have since changed, drastically. My boyfriend has extensive knowledge in the world of working out and training. He has been such an asset to me better understanding the world of fitness. I have completely fallen in love with leading a healthy and sustainable lifestyle.

This new lifestyle means no crazy diets, no fat-blasting workouts (okay maybe a few!) and zero body-shaming. I am en route to achieving my specific fitness goals; I want to be strong, eat healthy, ethically sourced foods and grow my body confidence.

Being an individual who danced competitively for 19 years of my life, the gym was foreign territory for me. The idea of working out, lifting weights and doing yoga never fit my agenda in the past. However, giving myself a break from the dance industry opened my eyes to new and exciting opportunities that would feed my desire to move my body. I can honestly say I have never felt so healthy and happy in my own skin.

Below are some of my favorite health and fitness tips!

  1. Eat healthy food. Cut out the garbage; you simply don’t need it.
  2. Make working out a priority, because your health is more important than you realize.
  3. Listen to your body
  4. It’s not about dieting, quick fixes or being “skinny.” It is a lifestyle; it has to be sustainable.

Get To Know Yourself

This whole self-development thing has become my focus and priority throughout the year. It is a topic I love to discuss and write about. Over the course of the year, I learned to invest in my self, and honestly, take time to set goals, make gratitude lists, work on new skills, and also push my creativity.

For the first time in my life, I am allowing myself time to decompress. I’m slowly learning the art of letting go, de-stressing and as simple as it sounds just putting my feet up and relaxing. I operate at a high level, consistently, and I’ve learned that if I don’t give myself time to recharge I just do not function properly. I use to associate doing things strictly “for me” as selfish activities, and this is something I’m slowly letting go. Nourishing my mind, body, and spirit is a damn good thing to do, so imma keep doing it.

Today and every day of my life I am working on self-love, appreciating who I’ve become and thanking myself for my perseverance throughout many challenges.

It may sound very indulgent and self-absorbed, but mastering the different aspects of self-development takes patience and lots of reflection. I advise you to reevaluate your current state and see if there are areas that you can actively improve.

Let’s wrap this up!

Twenty was the first year of my life that did not go as I planned. For the first time, I didn’t get everything I wanted and faced situations that I couldn’t have even imagined. I do believe it was all supposed to happen, to shape me and push me outside of my comfort zone. I hope twenty-one if filled with more growth and gratitude, I can’t wait to reflect next year.

As I wrap up this blog post, I am sitting in a cute little coffee shop in east London. I feel like I am right where I’m meant to be. This hipster cafe is where my fourteen-year-old self-had envisioned the twenty-one-year-old Hannah. Big city, bigger dreams, and surrounded by creative energy.

It’s funny how that happens.

Live a creative life and progress with passion




Lifestyle blogger with a focus on inspiring and empowering individuals to find their passion.

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