Lessons in My 20’s

Growing up I was always considered a “nice” person. As a child, I had (fortunately) never really experienced what it felt like to be left out, or actively disliked. So when I arrived at University, it was a shock to learn that not everyone was as nice as me. That just because I was kind, did not mean others would be kind back; a lesson I’m sure we all have learned along the way. As an adult, I was even more shocked to learn how often rude and patronizing people somehow ended up as managers. This made me wonder, do nice girls and guys really finish last?

Over the last few years, I have unfortunately heard stories and seen firsthand adults be publicly embarrassed in the workplace, only to be left on the brink of tears. I remember earlier this year on my Monday commute into work, I had a similar instance – albeit not in the office. There I was, smiling and standing patiently at Marylebone Station on a cold Winter’s morning, completely unprepared for what was to happen next. There had been issues with the ticket barriers that day – a nightmare for any London commuter. As a result, this meant pandemonium erupted among the hundreds of people who were rushing to get to work. When it was my turn to go through the gates, the employee checked my ticket only to realize I had the wrong one, and reacted as if I had tried to cheat the whole of Transport for London. She shouted at me as if to make an example out of me, utterly humiliating me in the process in front of a crowd people. I remember my face began to feel hot, my eyes began to well up with tears, and my blood began to boil. I was completely taken aback by her overreaction and this moment of humiliation. I then became increasingly aware of the eyes of onlookers watching this moment of drama unfold, all before it was even 8 AM.

It had in fact been totally her own fault, rather than mine (which I suppose so often is the case in these kind of scenarios) as I had told her as I approached, about the ticket dilemma. However I managed to hold it together, and calmly called her out on her behaviour. I stood up for myself, correcting her on what had actually happened with ticket-gate (excuse the pun) and told her there was absolutely no need to treat me, or anyone else like that. I then proceeded to complain about this to one of her team members. Whether this was taken seriously I do not know- I certainly did not receive an apology. Nonetheless, I was proud of how I handled this stranger’s outburst and that I had kept myself mostly together. In that moment, I empathized with those who may experience such behaviour in the workplace. Thinking about this now, I wonder how this kind of scenario may be playing out in a remote setting. I also wonder if I would have reacted the same way if it was my boss speaking to me in such a rude manner, rather than a complete stranger. How would I act, especially now, where there is an increasing amount of anxiety around job security? I sincerely hope that I would have the courage and resilience to deal with this, or that a kind colleague would step in and show me some support if needed.

2020 has been a tough year on many levels, and whilst I may not have all the answers, I know that being nice does not cost a thing. I remember reading an article on The Everygirl about protecting your heart at work, which emphasized just how important emotional resilience is. Although I still have so much more to learn and I know inevitably there will be more hurdles to overcome, here are some of the lessons I have learned in my 20’s so far…

  1. The company I keep both in an out of work is important
    The people we surround ourselves with have a direct impact on our wellbeing and outlook on life. Take a look at those nearest to you and figure out if they add value to your life and if they build you up as a person.

  2. Other people’s opinions of me do not validate me
    Whenever I catch myself ruminating about silly thoughts like what I said earlier that day, I stop myself. Instead I try to focus my energy on my own goals, rather than wasting energy on needless worry.

  3. Showing my “true” self can be daunting but liberating
    I used to differentiate my identity between my “work” self and “true” self, and now count myself lucky to work somewhere where I feel I can and want to, bring my whole self to work. This also means I feel more authentic in my choices and am able to bounce back easier on days which are challenging.

  4. It’s better to be understood than to be liked
    Not everyone will like me, and that’s fine, despite the people pleasing voice I have in my head!

  5. Not everyone shares the same ideas or outlook as me
    As obvious as this, really taking time to digest and understand this has made a huge difference. This was also summed up really succinctly for me in the Everygirl article,

    Most people see interactions as swift, emotionless transactions ; whilst this is true in many businesses, it doesn’t mean you have to be the same, just recognize that there are others like that”.

  6. How people act and respond to you often comes from them projecting their own feelings from what’s happening in their own life, rather than in response to the actual content of what you have said.

  7. Being smart and kind will always be cool

  8. Always trust and listen to your gut

  9. Feel the love

  10. Nice people certainly do not finish last
    Being nice isn’t a weakness, it is a strength.

I’d love for you to share some of your tips or lessons you have learned with me in the comments below!

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Dinners To Try This Week!

With the weather getting chillier, today I am sharing with you a roundup of my favourite 7 recipes to warm you up. Lockdown may have you feeling like every day is Groundhog Day, but your meals don’t have to follow suit! All of the below recipes I have selected are easy to cook, and will scratch that restaurant quality itch you may be missing!

Full recipe and ingredient lists are all linked below

Butternut Squash Soup
Cookie + Kate
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes

best butternut squash soup recipe

During these Autumn months, I really love cooking and eating squash vegetables. Although technically a fruit, butternut squash is rich in Vitamin C, a source of Vitamin A and can be roasted, toasted, sautéed and puréed for soup! This meal will go down a treat, especially with some crusty bread.

Beef Goulash
Hairy Biker’s
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours and 35 minutes

Beef goulash

I first discovered this recipe as a student where a slow cooker was my best friend. Start preparing this in the morning and let it’s flavours marinade all day. This hearty dish can be served with either bread, rice or potatoes.

Pulled Pork Burger
Inspired Taste
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours

Two hands holding a sandwich filled with shredded pork and coleslaw.

Another slow cook meal of dreams. Serve this burger with a brioche bun for an instant gourmet spin. Use the leftovers for tacos, meaning you also double up on meal prep – that’s if there are any left!


Vegan Stew
Healthy Living James
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes

Sweet Potato & Black Bean Stew

I discovered this after having an intense craving for black beans and sweet potato, and boy you will not be disappointed! If you struggle to find black beans in the shops, you can absolutely swap it for spicy red chilli beans or kidney beans (or both!). I added these all and it was delicious! Serve with rice or quinoa.

Chicken Tray Bake
BBC Good Food
Prep Time: 30 minuted
Cook Time: 30 minutes – 1 hour

Ras-el-hanout chicken traybake

Who says you need to save Mediterranean food only for the Summer? This easy one pot recipe would make a lovely mid-week dinner or on days where you are short on time. If you don’t have any ras-el-hanout spice, I would recommend substituting it for your own spices which you may have at home. I used equal parts paprika, cinnamon, pepper, nutmeg and coriander instead. I also personally left out the fresh thyme, coriander and natural yogurt, and it still tasted amazing!

Veggie (& Vegan) Paella
BBC Good Food
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes – 1 hour

Vegetable paella

This vegetarian paella is sure to mix up your taste pallet. Rather than using saffron which can be very expensive, I use tumeric which adds enough spice and also gives that lovely golden yellow colour. I always find that rice takes at least an hour to cook though, so factor this in to avoid any hangry moments!

Chicken Katsu Curry
BBC Good Food
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes

Curry in bowls with rice and sauce

In absence of Wagamamas, try this easy-peasy recipe at home. If you want to simplify this even more, buy already breadcrumbed chicken like chicken goujons which will taste just as good. Unless you want to be fancy and serve this for guests, I don’t see the need for ribbon slices of cucumber and carrot either. Remember that this recipe does serve four and it will absolutely be too much sauce for just two, so either halve the required amount or keep it for leftovers the next day. Serve this meal with a wedge of lime and enjoy!

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Come connect with me on socials:

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