20 Things Before Turning Twenty
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Health and Wellness

20 Things Before Turning Twenty

Two decades of growth, learning, and understanding. Here's a list about it.

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20 Things Before Turning Twenty

This past week I reached the major milestone of turning twenty years old. The teenage chapter of my life has come to a close, and I'm starting to face that reality that I am becoming an adult, and with that comes a lot of responsibilities I never had to worry about before. Luckily, in my two decades of life, I did acquire some useful knowledge that I will carry with me in the confusing world of adulthood. Here is a list of twenty important things to learn before you turn twenty years of age.

1. Be grateful for everything you have.

A lot of people, including myself at times, have the tendency to look at everything wrong with their life and feel the need to constantly complain about it. There is so much negative in our world that sometimes we forget to look at the positive, no matter how small. If you have a roof over your head, clothes to wear, clean air to breathe, and food to eat, you should check your privilege and be grateful for what you have. It's so important to remember how lucky you are.

2. No one cares.

This is something I learned relatively recently. In the grand scheme of things, no one is going to remember that you had really badly smudged eyeliner in CVS or that you talked to a bunch of people with a piece of spinach stuck between your teeth, no matter how much it may haunt you in your sleep for days to come. At the same time, no one else really cares about how good or bad your Instagram aesthetic is or whether your tweets are funny. No one cares what clothes you wear, or whether you have perfect hair. The people who matter only care about you. You don't have to do anything to impress anyone except yourself.

3. No one knows what they're doing.

Millions of young adults around the world can relate to this. No matter how much someone may look like they have their life completely together and figured out, it's most likely a facade. So many students go into college thinking they'll end up doing one thing and come out with something completely different, whilst changing their mind at least 3 times in the process. You may leave college before you even graduate and do something totally unexpected, because life usually has it's own plans. There is no need to freak out everyday about what you're going to do with your life, because a lot of people decades older than you still don't have a clue--and that's fine.

4. Art matters.

That quote "life imitates art?" It's true. Whether you find art in paintings, drawings, music, film, T.V., literature, or just on the street, I think it's really important to see that there is art in everything. There's even art in things like sports if you know where to look. Everything in life can be so beautiful and meaningful if you take the time to notice.

5. Educate yourself on the world around you.

Know what's happening in the world. Become passionate about important topics, whether they're in politics, human rights, the environment, animals, anything. Care about something, and speak your mind about it. Care about the world.

6. Take care of yourself.

Whether mentally, physically, or emotionally, please listen to your body and brain when it speaks to you. You only have one body and mind, they deserve your love and attention more than anything else. Drink enough water, eat enough food, do things that make you feel good.

7. Listen to music you like.

This is pretty self explanatory and simple. Music is so important, so you should enjoy what you're listening to. Your amazing life needs an amazing soundtrack, right?

8. Take pictures.

I know so many people think that people who take pictures of everything are obnoxious, but if you really want a photo of yourself in front of a certain backdrop or you think this Tuesday night sunset is the most beautiful thing you've ever seen, take the damn photo. I know a lot of people say "be in the moment", but a moment only lasts for so long. A photo is timeless.

9. Travel.

I know this one is hard if you don't have the means to do so, but even just traveling to a fun landmark a few towns over can end up being something very memorable! Seeing the world, no matter how close or far, is an opportunity you can't waste.

10. Treat animals (and nature in general) with respect.

I know this one may seem a little random, but as an avid supporter of environmental activism and animal rights, it's important to remember that our Earth also belongs to animals and plants. There is no need to kill every bug you see if it's not doing anything to you. There is no need to spray pesticides everywhere when there are natural ways to keep out critters. There is no need to destroy an animal's habitat you see in the woods just to make your friends laugh. Animals have been here just as long as us, and just because we may think we are the smarter species doesn't mean we actually are. Humans aren't above nature.

11. Eat the junk food (if you want to).

Life is too short not to eat that cookie if you really want it, okay? It's important to eat healthy and try to eat clean, but come on. Cake is good, and I'm not going to deprive myself of it.

12. "They won't remember what you said or did, but how you made them feel."

I love this quote because it's so true! Like I mentioned before, no one will remember the food stuck between your teeth at that party, but they will remember how hard you made them laugh (even if they can't remember what the joke was).

13. Tell people you love them.

Whether it's your mom or dad or best friend or pet hamster, tell those you love that you love them at every chance you get. You just never know when the last time will be, or that saying "I love you" may make that person's entire day. In general, just tell people how you really feel.

14. Never lose your sense of imagination.

A lot of people like to believe that imagination is just for little kids, but I think it's so important to be able to lose yourself in your own little world when you want to. To be able to have fun by yourself is such a gift, don't waste it.

15. "Don't let your dreams be dreams."

As the legendary Shia Labeouf said in this iconic video, don't let your dreams be dreams. I know it's become a cliché to "follow your dreams" and "dream big", it's still really true. Don't sell yourself short. For example, I've always been interested in joining the military but never really made an effort of looking into it because I always thought I would be too 'dainty' to make it through. Then I realized: so many people have done the unthinkable and proved everybody wrong. Why can't I prove myself wrong? Why can't you surprise yourself and do something you've always dreamed of, even if so many factors tell you that you shouldn't be able to? As Shia said: just do it.

16. Don't be embarrassed about your passions.

If you love Star Wars with your entire being, or really enjoy anime, or would sell your soul to meet Tom Brady, or have a fiery passion for economics, you should own it! No matter what your hobbies/interests are, no matter how mainstream or not, you should be loud and proud about them. Enjoy what you enjoy and don't care about what anyone else may think.

17. Try.

As Ron Swanson once wisely said: "don't half ass two things, whole ass one thing". Whether it's at your job, in school, or just trying to put make up on, do your best and be sincere about your effort. Future you will thank you for doing it.

18. Make the effort with others.

This one has been hard for me. As an introvert to the T, I have a really bad habit of keeping to myself and forgetting that it's important to see my friends if they are trying to see me. Even if you would rather stay in and watch Netflix, sometimes it can be really important to be there at that party or ask your friend to do something with you. Showing people that you care is crucial in any relationship. Don't leave them hanging.

19. Love yourself.

Another cliché, but again, still true! Like I mentioned before; you only have one body, one mind, one chance at life. There is only one you, and whether you like it or not, you're stuck with yourself. Life is too short to not fall in love with yourself. No matter what obstacles you have to overcome to get there, try and make that leap. You may have days where you feel like the most beautiful person in the world, and you may have days where you wonder how anyone could possibly like you. It's natural to have ups and downs with yourself. But taking the time to treat yourself well and appreciate your strengths is just as important as doing the same to others.

20. Take it all in.

Feel the breeze slide through hair, enjoy the sun on your skin, inhale the air and appreciate how sweet and clean it is. With so many things in this life left uncertain, please remember to appreciate the simple beauty in your life in case it's not there tomorrow. Even if you hate winter and it's -10 degrees out, try to find something beautiful in the madness. Remember the way your moms hair smells, or how warm your dads arms are when he hugs you, or how beautiful you felt on a certain night. Life is too precious to ignore it.


I know, I know, I'm only twenty years old. I don't know it all. I have so much more life left to live and so much to learn! Life is a work in progress up until the very end, and I hope to continue to grow and develop everyday. But these are just some things I've picked up along the way that I think will carry some weight no matter how old I am. I hope you can make a list of your own and try to appreciate 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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