Living 20 years in the world is not a lot in the grand scheme. I think though, that the first 20 years of your life is where you learn the most. You go through so many changes transition from childhood to your teens and into adulthood. You may look back at your previous self and cringe, you may wish you knew things then that you do now.
I have made many mistakes in the first 20 years of my life, and I am sure to make many more in the years to come. I did, however, want to share some lessons that I learned on the way.
These are the 20 things I learned in 20 years:
1. Don’t live with your friends.
You may think that it’s a good idea, what could go wrong? A lot. A lot can go wrong. Don’t live with your friends. I thought it was a great idea to live with my friends in college, I don’t speak to them anymore. Save yourself the drama.
2. No one is talking about you.
I have suffered from severe insecurity. The way I’m dressed, my hair, my body type, any imperfections I may think about myself I think that everyone else notices. I have learned that you view yourself in a harsher lens than other people do. The group of girls are not laughing at you.
3. Listen to your mom.
I am a very strong headed person. When I want something, I will do it, no matter who tells me it is a bad idea. I have learned through my many mistakes, chopping off my hair, moving out of state with nothing, and many more that we don’t need to get into, my mom was always right. I look back on all my mistakes and realize, wow I really should have listened to what she was saying.
4. Experiences are better than things.
Don’t get me wrong, I would love to go out and buy clothes, shoes, makeup, books, candles, anything, but I have learned it’s better to spend your money on experiences rather than things. In my late teens, I decided to spend more money on experiences rather than buying new clothes and I have so many great memories with friends and family that I wouldn’t trade for anything.
5. Wash your face.
I feel like this is self-explanatory, but please wash your face. Every morning and every night. Your skin will look better, and it is a great thing to wake you up quickly. Splash some cold water on your face, you’re definitely awake and refreshed.
6. Learn another language.
I started learning Chinese in high school and now it is my minor in college. I think that learning another language is a great thing to do, it teaches you not only how to communicate with people, but also other cultures. It opens your eyes to new people, places and things.
7. No one know what they are doing.
Absolutely no one knows what they are doing. Everyone is winging it. The “adults” you knew when you were younger, who you looked up to have no idea what is going on. Everyone is winging it, and you are too. Do not feel bad about that.
8. Just say no.
This is something I struggle with. I am a people pleaser, which is not a bad thing, but you need to learn to set boundaries. Boundaries are not a bad thing, saying no is not a bad thing. It helps your mental state immensely when you do it and my goodness it feels great to say sometimes.
9. Screw what people think.
Who cares what people think! The only person that can judge you is yourself, the only opinion that matters is yours. Don’t define yourself using someone else. You are amazing. I’ve learned that once you stop caring about what other think and just be yourself, you are happier, it’s like a wight is lifted off of your shoulders.
10. People do not have common sense.
Now, I have worked in customer service since I was 16 years old. People do not have common sense. Sometimes you need to explain things to people like they are a five-year-old. It’s just how it will always be.
11. Sing and dance.
You are not going to want to look back on you “younger years” and wish you had more fun. For me, I love to sing and dance, I’m not good at it, but I love it, it brings me joy. So, I do it. All. The. Time. I am constantly making a fool out of myself, but like number 9 says, screw what people think, I’m having fun.
12. Play in the rain.
The amount of joy, that splashing in a puddle can bring you is amazing. I think that is enough said.
13. Find a hobby.
I have gone so many years where the only thing I did was work and go to school. I didn’t have a hobby. I felt like my life was very boring. Hobbies are also, in my experience, not something easy to find. I have tried drumming, video editing, photography, reading and finally stumbled upon writing, which I love. A hobby gets you out of the usual routine and it gives you something that you enjoy.
14. Wash your sheets.
Now this is going to be gross, but the amount of dead skin cells and bacteria on your sheets are just disgusting. Please wash your sheets, preferably every week if you can. You will smell better and feel better. I promise you.
15. Have a good playlist.
Having a good playlist is essential. It is 2021, you can make a playlist on any music website, Spotify, Apple Music anywhere really. Now the trick is to have a playlist for every mood, sad, happy, nostalgic, anything really. I have playlists galore on my Spotify, possibly too many, but I always have aux.
16. Learn to cook.
Even if it is microwave mac and cheese, learn to cook. Eating out is so expensive and unhealthy. Please learn to cook you will save so much money and It is actually a lot of fun to come up with recipes. It is one of my favorite pastimes actually.
17. Bring a jacket. Everywhere.
Keep a jacket in your car always. You leave the house saying, “oh no I don’t need a jacket.” Yes, you do. Preparation is key. Jackets are important. Bring it.
18. Wear whatever you want.
You are going to feel more comfortable in clothing that you like. If you have ever worn an outfit that you were uncomfortable in, even if people told you, “you looked good,” you know what I mean. Wear what you want. You don’t need to follow trends, or you can follow trends, you can wear all black or a rainbow of colors, just be comfortable.
19. A thirty-minute drive is not long.
Thirty minutes is not a long drive. Just get in the car and go. Now, it’s even better if you have a good playlist. Wink wink.
20. Everyone is fighting their own battles.
Lastly, and possibly the most important lesson of all. Be nice to people, you don’t know what they are going through. Be considerate of people and just be kind to everyone.
So those are the lessons I have learned. Some may be basic, but hey everyone need to learn them one way or another. Take my advice or make your own mistakes, that the best way to learn.