20 Things I've Learned In 20 Years That Everyone Should Take With Them

20 Things I've Learned In 20 Years That Everyone Should Take With Them

You have a lifetime to celebrate figuring yourself out.

Last week, I turned 20. Two whole decades. It’s weird because I still feel like a kid, but I know I'm supposed to be an adult. Does that ever go away? I hope so.

20 isn't that old, I know, but it feels a lot older than 19.

On one hand, I want to be a teenager forever, but on the other hand, I want to actually be taken seriously. While I still really have no idea what I'm doing in general, I've learned a lot of important lessons in my 20 years. Here are 20 of those lessons:

1. Your friends are what you make them.

Friendship goes both ways. It's important that your friends make an effort to actually be your friend, but it's also important that you do the same. Treasure your friends, celebrate their existence.

You're not being clingy when you ask your friends to hang out – that's normal, and if someone has a problem with that, they don't deserve you.

2. Grades don't measure intelligence.

Your entire self-worth is not equivalent to the D you just got on that essay. Or that math test. It's not that big of a deal. In the long run, no one cares.

This isn't to say you shouldn't try, but your intelligence comes from your experiences, so make the most of those.

3. Best friends are soulmates.

You can definitely have more than one soulmate in life, and one of them is going to be your best friend, your day one, your ride-or-die. Never let them go.

Tell them the capital-T Truth, support them, make playlists with them, laugh with them. Go do relatively boring stuff with them and realize how much fun you have regardless. Always tell them you love them.

4. College doesn’t have to be the amazing, life-altering acid-trip we see in movies.

Yes, you’ll find out a lot about yourself and have a lot of fun, but take it seriously. Living out loud doesn’t have to stop once you graduate and get a job.

You have a lifetime to celebrate figuring yourself out.

5. Good books can be life-saving.

Immerse yourself in stories that you could never imagine. You’ll feel so much better.

Here are some suggestions: “The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood, “Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley, “Big Sur” by Jack Kerouac, “A Mercy” by Toni Morrison and “Walden” by Henry David Thoreau.

6. Sleep isn’t just for the weak.

Please sleep, and do it well. If you need a melatonin, take a melatonin. Eight hours.

7. You are not what has happened to you.

You are your favorite books, your best friends, your favorite songs, your thoughts, your habits, your favorite foods, your biggest dreams, your style, your college major, your favorite style of art.

Don't use the bad things that have happened to you as an excuse for not living your life authentically. My dad passed away last year, so trust me, I’ve tried it, and it just makes things worse.

Don’t forget, but don’t dwell.

8. Save half, spend half.

Budgeting really is important, sorry. Mostly everyone hates it, but it’s way better than going broke. Save half of every paycheck.

9. Be good to people.

Seriously, stop being rude to people for no reason. Stop judging people for how they look or for how they acted during a five-second interaction with you.

You'd see that there’s a lot more under the surface if you actually cared enough to find out.

10. Stop trying to find comfort in every situation.

You don’t need to tailor new experiences to your comfort zone. Live a little. Everyone else is making the same mistakes and surviving, and you will, too.

Let yourself be nervous – it means you care.

11. Siblings are irreplaceable, priceless and magnificent.

Especially mine. They’ll always be your number ones. Much like best friends, they're soulmates. They’re not so bad once you actually talk to them.

12. Hate is learned, not inherent.

Do not let hate fester, especially not in young minds (see number 18). Love, accept, embrace, educate, understand.

Tolerance isn’t enough. “Thoughts and prayers” aren't enough. Blissful ignorance is detrimental. Do something to change the way things are going right now.

13. Travel.

If anything, the saved portion of your paycheck should be used for traveling. See the world, meet new people and immerse yourself in different cultures while you still can. You’ll never regret it.

14. Put your phone down.

For the love of God, take a break. Talk to your mom. Pet your dog. Go get some Vitamin D. Unglue your eyes from the screen, and look at a bird or something.

If your phone is the first thing you think about in the morning, you’re addicted. Tone it down.

15. Think critically.

Invoke your inner David Foster Wallace and realize that you’re not the only person in the world with problems. Everyone else is frustrated, too, and they have reasons for it.

I’m not saying you should actively enjoy being stuck in traffic or waiting in line at the grocery store, but know that the world isn’t ending when something minuscule doesn’t go your way. Consider others.

16. Counting calories is stupid and unnecessary.

And so is counting carbs. If you have no medical reason to be doing it, you shouldn’t be doing it – you’ll be miserable. Just make sure you’re living a balanced lifestyle, and don’t keep yourself from indulging every once in a while.

17. Moms are really f***ing awesome.

Talk about strong women. Face it, you'd be nothing without your mom, and you can't thank her enough for giving you a loving kick in the ass every time you've messed up.

We'll never be able to repay them, but we can treat them like the queens they are in the meantime.

I love you, mom.

18. Kids are a lot smarter than adults.

If you can, sit down and have a real conversation with your baby siblings, your little cousins or the kids you babysit.

Ask them what they want to be when they grow up. They’ll tell you that they want to be eight different things at once, and then they’ll tell you exactly why and how they’ll be great at all of them.

Pay attention to how they view the world (see #12).

19. Voting is SO IMPORTANT.

On a serious note, voting is the bedrock of democracy, and there are a lot of people trying to undermine that right now. Please go vote the minute you’re legally allowed to.

I don’t care who you vote for, as long as they’re not genuinely evil. Just vote, and vote at every single level. Utilize that privilege.

20. Stop doubting yourself.

You’re going to do great. You’re going to be great. Remember that your great isn’t going to look like anyone else’s great. Work hard, and don’t cheat. You’ll be okay.

Cover Image Credit: Annie Bolin

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Thoughts About A 21st Birthday

Turning twenty-one has its pros and cons.

In life, we all have the "useless" birthdays. These birthdays are nothing but a celebration of turning another year older. This is kind of how I felt last year when, in February, I became twenty. But twenty-one is considered a milestone, especially for American youth. In the long run, how unique is gaining another responsibility?

I only question this, and slightly dread it, because there is more that comes with being twenty-one. For myself, a female, being this old means I am required to receive Pap smears in South Carolina, a procedure I do not like in the least. If you don't know what this is, well, they put a plastic thing inside you to open the region up and check the cervix for cancer. It isn't pleasant for me for multiple reasons.

But, back to what everyone knows about this age: drinking and the ability to purchase whatever kind you like.

I will probably enjoy being able to drink here. Thing is: I've had alcohol before. In Europe and Mexico, everything is a bit more relaxed, and it is indeed an excellent experience to learn what wine tastes like, or alcohol in general, and how to be a responsible drinker. Have I snuck some vodka in a tea before while on a trip? Yeah, and it was good. So, in hindsight, I've already had a taste of that part. But I'm celebrating regardless of experience.

Also, I'm going to be happy to be twenty for the next little bit. Do I know what I'm doing with my life? Not necessarily. And it will be a while until I do. But that is the point of being at this stage. And another year won't change that.

Yeah, I'm happy it is coming up, and that I get to see my friends and family, but I have only lived a short part of my life. More milestones will top this one, and they might not even be birthdays. But I'm still glad to be able to celebrate with those I love.


Cover Image Credit: unsplash.com

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10 Thoughts A College Senior Will Have In An All-Freshman Class

Why do they look 25 and I look 12?

Being 22 and sitting next to 18 year olds is an interesting feeling when it comes to being in a freshman level class. While you're questioning your sanity, so are the little freshman around you as they ask you what you are even doing there. Here is a list of 10 things a college senior thinks to themselves as they sit in a sea of freshman.


1. What am I doing here?

Still not sure why I chose to take this class.

2. Why did I wait this long to take this class?

Why didn't i just take this class freshman year like a normal student? Oh yeah, procrastination.

3. Why does my advisor hate me?

Why didn't my advisor tell me I needed this class to graduate? Do they really hate me that much? LMK

4. Is my TA the same age as me?

I'd bet $10 my teaching assistant and I are the same age. Hell, I might even be older.

5. Why do the freshman look scared of me?

When they look like you like you have 9 heads or snakes for hair.

6. Why do these freshman look older than me?

Why do I look 12 and they look 25?

7. If I don’t get an A, I’ll cry.

I'm a senior taking a 1,000 level class. If I cant pass this class i needed to drop out like yesterday.

8. I need a drink.

I need a drink and guess what i'm the only one who can legally have a drink in the room.

9. I can’t even think the boys in my class are cute because they're so young.

The fact that there is a 4 year age difference is like me dating my little brother and that's just weird.

10. This is the only class keeping me from graduating; let’s ride.

Maybe i'll just pack wine in my swell bottle to make it through the year. Graduation here I come.

These are thoughts I have everyday as i sit in my freshman baby biology class. Two weeks down, a hell of a lot more to go. Wish me luck people.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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