10 ways my life has improved after reading How To Be A Grown Up by Daisy Buchanan

I was lucky enough to be sent an advanced copy of How To Be A Grown Up by Daisy Buchanan (out on 6th April) and I absolutely loved it. Daisy has a great, informal, almost conspiratorial style. The book is like a conversation with a candid older sister or a wise best friend. No story is too embarrassing to share, no experience too silly to recount, no wound to raw to be revisited. 

“The brilliant thing is, Daisy also shares what these experiences have taught her; what the delicious take aways were from her life’s experiences.”

Some of the experiences Daisy shares are very personal – she speaks openly about rape, anxiety and jealousy. She recounts a horrific story about being trolled on Twitter for writing a piece in the Guardian in 2015 that, not only made me cry but also made me want to invent a time machine to go back to 2015 to write Daisy numerous tweets of support. But the brilliant thing is, Daisy also shares what these experiences have taught her; what the delicious take aways were from her life’s experiences. And I’ve taken a lot away too. Here are the 10 ways my life has improved since reading this book:

1. I appreciate the joy of confidence. In chapter one, Daisy makes a great point – “This is why confidence is so crucial. It’s the petrol for your personality, and gives you a vital shot of positivity when you’re feeling pathetic.” She reminds us too that “the key to confidence lies in getting off your arse”, i.e. no one is giving you that shot of positivity for free, you have to take it for yourself!

2. I know it’s never too late to make friends. Chapter two focuses on friendship, and Daisy talks about the difficulty of continuing friendships from school into adulthood. She also reminds us that friends can be made well into adulthood, particularly online. She has a really level-headed approach to online friendship, saying “The internet is only as good as the people on it” and if the friendship doesn’t work, you shouldn’t assume it’s a failure in your part.  

3. I don’t feel like a failure because I suffer with anxiety. I’ve written at length before about my struggles with anxiety, depression and panic attacks. Sometimes it can feel very lonely. Daisy explains that she was offered a her dream job, and had to leave after three months due to crippling anxiety. Daisy didn’t allow the anxiety to beat her, but rather shaped a new path for herself as a freelancer to make sure she was happy and healthy, as well as employed. 

4. I should exercise for my mind as well as my body. Like Daisy, I’ve struggled with my body image since I was a teenager. I’ve done every fad diet, starvation tactic and exercise regime you can name. It’s sometimes easy to forget that my body is fully functioning and healthy, and something I should be grateful for, and that any (responsible) exercise will not only keep it in good shape, but will also help me to settle my mind. After all, exercise releases happy endorphins, and allows you to concentrate rather than letting any dark thoughts in.

5. I can wash my hair properly. About a third of the way through the book, Daisy gives instructions from a hairdresser about how to wash your hair correctly. This has revolutionised my life and my hair has never looked better! I will never go back to my old one-shampoo-and-a-bit-of-conditioner ways!

“Daisy shares a really frank guide about “do you really need to tweet that?” including a reminder that sometimes it’s better to mute than retaliate”

6. I will never tweet in anger. Sometimes the internet enrages me. It’ll full of trolls and egg profiled bellends who delight in making people’s lives miserable. Daisy shares a really frank guide about “do you really need to tweet that?” including a reminder that sometimes it’s better to mute than retaliate, and that sometimes it’s better to be kind than to be right. Does someone really need to know that they used the wrong spelling of “too” in a tweet? Probably not….

7. I won’t be shy when talking to my heroes. This is quite personal for me, as one of the reasons I’m reviewing this book at all is that I asked. I got to know Daisy in the first place because I read a piece she wrote about being “internet famous” on Medium, and I was compelled to tweet her to tell her how good I thought it was. Daisy is reassuring throughout this book that if you admire someone, you should tell them. No one will ever be gutted to hear they have inspired you! 

8. I won’t be embarrassed to cry. I’ve always been a cryer. I recently saw Beauty and the Beast for the second time, and by the end I was a snotty, weepy mess. In chapter 12, Daisy explores the importance of letting the sadness out sometimes, having a good wallow, and then once it’s done, getting on with life. Bottling stuff up is for chumps. Let the tears flow once in a while! 

“Newsflash guys, we’re human and we drop the odd clanger from time to time.”

9. I won’t beat myself up for mistakes. We’ve all experienced that moment, haven’t we? You say something out of turn, you close a document you didn’t save, you get distracted by Facebook and burn the dinner. Making a mistake can sometimes feel like the end of the world – making your stomach sick and an icy chill run through your veins. Newsflash guys, we’re human and we drop the odd clanger from time to time. You have to forgive yourself, learn from the mistake, and move on as a stronger person. You can survive the mistake, I promise! 

10. I’m doing fine. Some of Daisy’s tips about being a grown up are plain old common sense – be confident in admitting you don’t know something, make time to eat at a dinner table, laugh at yourself, and never get naked in front of someone who doesn’t appreciate it. Life is too short for that foolishness, as all sensible adults will know! 

I would strongly recommend this book to older teens, 20 somethings and early 30s ladies that are still trying to work things out. I really wish I’d had the chance to read this sooner, and I guarantee I’ll be reading it again when I need a little boost. Sometimes you just need a little reminder that you’re getting this life thing right, and you’ll be fine in the end!

How to be a Grown Up by Daisy Buchanan is published by Headline and will be available from 6th April 2017. 

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