5 important things I’ve learned now I’m 25

1. It’s okay not to get on with your ex
This may seem like an obvious one, but allow me to explain and rewind a little. What I mean by this is that self-respect is everything. Like many girls, I was a ‘fixer’. I was obsessed with ‘helping’ one guy in particular, and it did me no favours – to be truthful, it broke my heart multiple times.

It’s okay to decide that someone is not for you to help, that they will never change, and to move on. It’s a level of maturity and self-worth that, in hindsight, took me far too long to reach – but no regrets.

2. It’s never too late to make new friends…
When I was younger, I believed that a person made all of his or her friends at school or college, and that was that. Wrong! Every year of my twenties so far – and not just the college years – has brought new friendships with some of the nicest and funniest people I’ve ever met.

3. …but old ones are more special as time passes
As I get older and busier, the friends that I manage to keep in touch with are the ones that mean more and more to me. It can be really difficult (and I’m still working on it!) but the memories and understanding that I share with these people make it all the more worthwhile.

My oldest and wisest friend recently departed to work with a charity in India. Saying goodbye to her was an utter shock to the system. She’s always been around, my whole life, so waving her off and not knowing when she’ll return was no easy feat. Needless to say she wasn’t the first of my friends to emigrate (and she won’t be the last), but that didn’t make the goodbye any less bittersweet. I’m so proud of her that sometimes I see pictures on Facebook and just well up… it seems that another side-effect of getting older is that I cry more easily!

4. Nobody really knows what they’re doing
I’m just beginning to realise that this whole ‘growing up’ racket is a total myth in itself. One of the most difficult lessons I’ve had to learn is that age is by no means a measure of maturity – this is something I find myself saying to friends over and over again. Some of the most, er, memorable (and, in hindsight, hilarious) encounters and exchanges I’ve had with people have surprised me because I kept thinking ‘surely at his/her age, (s)he should know better?!’ Wrong again! Everybody you meet in life is kind of just bumbling along and winging it to some extent.

5. Super high heels aren’t worth it.
When you’re a bit more comfortable in yourself, you care far, far less about what other people think, and learn how to ‘do you’ with ease. For me, this means sticking to what I like to do, rather than what I think I should do.  I grew up believing quite subliminally that women wore heels for all smart occasions. Well, of course they don’t – they wear whatever they feel good in. Lesson learned: I hate heels, therefore I rarely (if ever) wear them.

Oh, and nobody cares, anyway. They’re all far too busy worrying about what others think of them!

Deirdre Foley is a history grad, sceptic, wearer of red lipstick and self-confessed 'beauty maniac'. She is also the co-founder of fabulous Irish beauty blog, Viva Adonis.