As I sit and revise this list in my first week as a 20 year old (ah!), I think back on my life so far. I have outgrown things that no longer suit me, I’ve had major character change, harsh reality checks, and life has thrown curveballs that I thought I could never handle. Despite these things, I continue to flourish and find myself. Without further ado, here are twenty life lessons I’ve learned along the way:
- If they wanted to, they would.
Whether this be a friendship, or a relationship, if that person wanted to text you, wanted to see you, wanted to talk to you, they would do anything to make that effort. If they don’t, they never wanted to. Simple as that. This is definitely a hard pill to swallow sometimes but it proves they are not worth your precious time and you are better off without them, seriously. You had a life before you knew them and your life will continue after they leave. Always remember, the person who cares less has the power.
- Work smarter, not harder.
This is something I struggled with especially in school until I formed new habits. Changing my ways helped me to maximize my time efficiently and feel more successful. Working smarter and not harder can mean different things to everyone. For instance it can be prepping your morning the night before so you save time in the morning in case you are running late, maximizing your time working out by focusing on one part of your body for 30 minutes a day, saving money during the week by cooking at home or shopping on sale or budgeting better. All it takes is 22 days to keep that new habit as your new lifestyle.
- Do not force anything in your life.
Never force a relationship, a friendship, a job you really want, ANYTHING! Don’t.do.it. You will end up hurting yourself and tiring yourself out. It goes back to the “If they wanted to they would.” If it is meant to be, it WILL stay in your life. Patience is a virtue. The things in your life right now are there for a reason, they haven’t left, right? For the things that do make an exit, don’t beat yourself up over it. They aren’t mean’t for you because bigger and better things are on their way. Life happens for you not to you. Trust the timing, everything you want is coming your way.
- Comparison will kill you, Confidence will lead you to success.
Everyone has the habit of comparing themselves to Instagram models, or their pretty friends and thinking they are not good enough. You are MORE THAN good enough. Not to sound basic or cliché but it is so true. Every person was put on this earth to be different. If we all looked the same, talked the same, and thought the same, life would be pretty boring. You are worthy, you are loved you are amazing. Be unapologetically you. Learn to love every bit about yourself, even on your bad days. The more secure you feel in yourself, the more success you will have. If you don’t feel it, act like it! This 100% helps and you end up attracting other high vibrational people as well.
Whether it’s three days, three weeks or three months, they alwaaays come back when you are doing good. If things didn’t end well don’t let them back in your life. They might try to sell you on the idea that they “changed” when they didn’t at all. Don’t give them the time of day, they are not worth it.
Now, for the ones that needed the time to make themselves better for you (yes, these people exist), keep them close. If they took it upon themselves to make themselves better for YOU, then they know you deserve someone who treats you like the amazing queen you are. Don’t take them for granted because you might mess up something great for you. Take it slow, don’t let them down because they worked hard for you.
- Never apologize or feel bad for taking a mental health day.
Life sucks and college is hard. Keeping yourself healthy, especially mentally is so important for your overall wellbeing. Take that day to yourself: refocus, recharge, rebuild yourself so you can do better in school, better at work, better at being a friend and not feel like you are about to pass out. Everyone has these days, don’t feel stressed or feel bad about not getting up for that morning class or morning shift. Letting someone you are comfortable talking to about this know you are not feeling your best helps lift a weight off you. For school, most professors are very understanding of this and they really do care about you. Talking about how you are feeling is something that should be normalized more with people you are comfortable talking to especially in an academic setting away from home.
- Choose the people who choose you.
Always surround yourself with people who genuinely want to hang out with you. It seems like nowadays people only hang onto toxic friends because that’s all they know, but it takes some inner searching to know what kind of people you want to be with who make you feel good, uplift you, don’t get jealous or bring you down if you are on a great path in life. You deserve your hype group!
As someone who deals with the anxieties of growing pains, growth is NEVER a constant happy ride. Relapsing happens a lot. Don’t let it discourage you however, it’s all apart of the process and it does not erase your success. You will thank your past self that the things happened the way they did for you and that you went through all the struggles. When the pain comes, so do the new beginnings. Don’t give up on your goals, don’t give up on yourself because we are all a work in progress.
- Make sure you know your facts before speaking.
In a world with false information and people screaming at others because their opinion is “wrong” it’s tiring to see so many uneducated individuals. Maybe take a second before sending that tweet bashing someone for what they think, crack open a book or talk to some professionals on the topic. There’s no shame in asking to be informed on what’s going on when you don’t have a clue. What is wrong however, is thinking your opinion is superior, thinking everyone else is wrong, and not reading up on the facts. Think before you speak, please….it’s quite embarrassing to be old enough to read and act like a fool.
- If you can’t buy it twice, you can’t afford it.
This rule of thumb helps me from overspending on myself. If you’re able to buy the thing twice, buy it. If it’s a luxury item like a Fendi bag or Louis Vuitton scarf and you’re able to buy it twice, great! If not, consider waiting until you feel necessary to purchase. Never deprive yourself from splurging and treating yourself but we don’t want to be broke after buying it once.
- Keep a simple morning routine.
It’s the little things like this that make you feel like your life is together when it might not be. Wake up early, make your bed, and eat a healthy breakfast. Your mood is instantly changed, and these are things you should be doing anyway. I know that when I sleep in I don’t feel my best and my to do’s for the day overlap or I don’t feel like doing all of them. Feeling sluggish isn’t ideal. Your mornings don’t have to be a huge ordeal with 8 million pillows, a comforter, and 200 blankets and you don’t have to wake up at the crack of dawn. Keep the mornings simple and attainable. Growing up, you start to live for these little things in life and they become enjoyable.
- Your old friends will change, but they’ll still be around.
This isn’t a setback, the people you were close with in high school won’t always be around and that’s okay. Of course they are still your friends but it’s not the same as it used to be. Life happens, people grow and change. Don’t be afraid of this, it’s natural. You might feel afraid or alone and it’s okay. You will have more friends and you and your old friends will make the time again to reconnect, you’ll always be apart of each others’ lives!
- Don’t be a pushover but don’t be mean either.
Don’t become a doormat. If you let this bad behavior go on, people will assume you don’t care and that it’s okay to take advantage of you. At the end of the day all you have is yourself. You have to live for you, don’t let people tell you how to be other wise. Communicate how the toxic behavior makes you feel and don’t let it happen again. You have your own voice don’t be afraid to use it.
- Don’t make your main focus in life finding a relationship.
This is especially important if you’re in college. These are the greatest four years of your life. Dating someone is great, but I have seen so many people make decisions on colleges based on where their s.o. was going to school. What if you guys break up? Then you would’ve made a life altering decision based on a relationship that didn’t end up lasting. Be selfish with these four years and do you. Do what makes you happy because you will end up wasting your time on something that won’t last. I promise guys are not worth it.
- It’s okay to not know what you are going to do with your life.
For me, I always planned my future. But, when I started college, I was rethinking everything I planned for myself. It’s fine to not know what you want! You will learn a long the way and you are not alone, you have so many resources and people to reach out to as well. Talk with friends too, chances are they don’t know what they want to do either. You guys might inspire each other and find your soon to be passion.
- Moisturize, hydrate, always wear SPF.
Your body is a TEMPLE, treat it as such. Your skin needs just as much loving as your actual health. Be sure to moisturize daily and wear your spf when going outside. Wrinkles in your twenties is not a look we want. Be sure you are drinking enough water too. Your skin will thank you and it will help your emotional and mental health downing a cold glass of water (you know that amazing, refreshing feeling). When you are going for that nice afternoon jog or walk make sure you are protecting your face with a hat and sunscreen whether that be actual sunscreen or tinted moisturizer that has sunscreen (Laura Mercier, and IT cosmetics are great).
- Cherish your family time.
Our time is precious and limited. Make sure to say your I love you’s, see your relatives more often, and call your family frequently. We all have regrets in life, missing out on seeing our loved ones and expressing how much we love them any chance we get should not be one of them.
- Don’t talk about it until you’ve done it.
Keep your moves silent and surprise them all once you’ve done it, the satisfaction will be all that much better. When you talk about your next move you become predictable, you come off “weak” because it’s like a self sabotage moment or you want people to know every aspect of your life. You’ll quickly learn how keeping things a secret will save you so much drama and unnecessary stress.
- Let your feelings come and go, don’t let them consume you.
At the end of the day, nothing is ever that serious. Whatever you were worked up about earlier that day seriously does not matter once your head hits your pillow at night. Feelings are just feelings and nothing more so don’t read too much into them! This takes a lot of practice but it’s something I heard called “the art of not caring.” All of my fellow overthinkers and overfeelers are stressed I know, but it’s a very delicate art that will help you live your best life. You will learn to shift your energy into more productive things. Take things as they come but don’t dwell on them.
- If it makes you happy, do it.
Whatever that thing is that you have been putting off on doing, Do it. Stop living with regrets. Be yourself, take the risk. You will kick yourself later and wonder “what if” for the rest of your life if you don’t. You live for no one else but yourself. Taking the jump is the ultimate way to set yourself free and who knows, it might make a great story later on in life.
Little six year old me would be proud of the things I have been through based on these twenty things. There is still a lot more to learn, and a lot more responsibilities to be put on me but for now it’s time for being selfish with my time and having more fun. Here’s to strangers still mistaking my age and me saying “I’m twenty” with no one believing me, and at times, not even myself.