20 Things I've Learned In 20 Years
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20 Things I've Learned In 20 Years

I’ve lived a little, loved a lot, and learned even more.

20 Things I've Learned In 20 Years

This past week, I celebrated my twentieth birthday, and I’m taken aback by how fast the time has seemed to have gone. Although I know that I’m still very young, and likely have many more years to come, the vast majority of things that I’ve learned in twenty short years astounds me. In twenty years, I’ve learned a lot- lessons about life, love, and the meaning of it all. I can’t even begin to imagine what I’ll learn in the next twenty years to come.

  1. Loving yourself is so very important. I don’t know how to stress this enough. Finding worth within yourself and by yourself is one of the most valuable things you can learn, because at the end of the day, you and you alone have to pick yourself up off the floor and put yourself together piece by piece. You have to learn to love yourself for all of the tiny fragments that make up your being. It’s the only way you’ll grow.
  2. There’s nothing wrong with walking away from someone who treats you poorly. This was one of the hardest lessons I’ve ever had to learn. I hate giving up on people and turning my back on those I care about, but I’ve come to understand that some people just aren’t worth the pain. If they cause you more stress than happiness, more tears than laughter, then that’s a clue that it’s time to walk away. I promise you that you’ll feel a lot lighter and happier as a result.
  3. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. A life worth living is not lived within a box. It’s scary, but I promise you that your life begins at the end of your comfort zone. Stepping out and taking chances is what leads you to the person you ultimately become. Take a leap of faith, and trust that whatever is waiting for you is much better than anything you ever could have imagined.
  4. Everything you do affects someone else. Too often, when making decisions, we are preoccupied with ourselves and our wants and desires. As humans, we weave tangled relational webs, we connect ourselves to others, and we rarely think about how our actions affect those around us. Every little word that we speak affects someone else. Be conscious of what you’re doing and what you’re saying, always.
  5. It’s important to continually choose joy. There is so much pain in this world, it can seem hard to remain optimistic and hopeful. But in the midst of pain, there is so much beauty and wonder. There are so many things to be happy about, even on the bad days. Find joy in the little, ordinary things. It’s everywhere, you just have to look hard enough.
  6. Always make time for the people that you care about. Life can get busy, but it’s important to devote valuable time to the important people in your life. The rest of the world can wait.
  7. It’s important to have people. As humans, we value connection, and we rely on others to thrive and survive. Don’t shut yourself out and push people away because you’re scared of what might happen. We need people, and people need us.
  8. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help. We all need a little help sometimes, but too often we let our selfish pride get in the way. There’s nothing wrong with asking for help when you need it. We’re all in this together, and we’re supposed to help each other make it through.
  9. Loving people is so very important. Sometimes I think we’re afraid that love makes us weak, but this isn’t true. Life is too short to do anything but love others. Granted some people are more difficult to love than others, but that doesn’t mean that we still shouldn’t do our best to love people the best that we can.
  10. 10. It’s okay to let people in. Too often, we are so afraid to take down our walls and open up to people. We’ll never make true connections with people until we learn how to let our guard down. Opening up to people is scary, but in the end it’s more than worth it.
  11. 11. Don’t be so hard on yourself. We tend to be our own worst critics, and too often we are far too critical of ourselves. Remind yourself that you are doing the best that you can, and your best is pretty darn good. You’re only human.
  12. 12. Do what you love. Life is way too short to be miserable doing something that you don’t enjoy. No matter where you are in life, don’t be afraid to start over or change you path. There’s no time like the present to start the best days of your life.
  13. 13. Mistakes are a part of life. We all mess up, and that doesn’t mean that we’re worth any less, it just means that we’re human. In the same way, it’s important to be understanding of others when they mess up too. None of us are perfect, but we’re doing the best that we can, and I think that’s enough.
  14. 14. Gratitude can change everything. Being thankful for the beautiful things in life can change your entire outlook. There are so many things to be thankful for.
  15. 15. Don’t stress yourself out so much. I know this is easier said than done, but life is too short and too precious to spend your time stressing over things that are out of your control. Find ways to manage your stress so that they don’t overtake your life.
  16. 16. Learn to find happiness on your own before finding it in someone else. This is without a doubt one of the most important lessons I’ve ever learned. You need to be able to be happy on your own, without the fulfillment of a relationship, because once the relationship is gone, you’ll be devastated. Find your happy on your own, and then find a person that adds to your happy.
  17. 17. Take opportunities, but not too many. It’s important to know your limits and pace yourself so that you aren’t overloaded and overwhelmed. Don’t be afraid to say no if that’s what’s best for you.
  18. 18. Learning to be a good listener is a valuable skill. One of the most important things you can do is sit with a friend who is hurting and listening to them. Comforting someone is a valuable thing that we get to do is humans, so don’t take it for granted.
  19. 19. Surround yourself with good people. It’s so important to have people in your life that lift you up and bring you joy. When you find these people, never ever let them go.
  20. 20. Never ever quit fighting. This life is a struggle, but it’s so beautiful and so worth it. Never give up the fight, and never stop pushing forward. Each day, push yourself to get out of bed and go conquer the day. Life is lovely and painful and splendid all at the same time, and you don’t want to miss a single second of it.
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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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