As I'm writing this, I'm five days away from my twentieth birthday and let me tell you, I'm feeling some type of way about it. I've learned a lot over the years so here are 20 things I've learned by the time I turn 20.
1. Getting older is bittersweet.
This one is pretty self-explanatory. While getting older brings exciting new experiences and people it also brings challenges that can be difficult and frightening. It also happens fast, real fast. You're not sure how you've come so far yet still have so far to go.
2. People come and go and that’s okay.
This one has been huge for me. You can feel pressured to keep in touch with people just because you've known them forever, even if your interests don't seem to align anymore. It's important to understand that every relationship in your life serves a purpose. Some are there to teach you lessons and others are there to get you through a portion of your life. It's okay that people come and go, it just means their purpose has been served. Chances are, that person taught you something about yourself or others along the way.
3. You can’t change people.
People change what they want when they want. Don't wait around for someone to fix something because you want them to you'll just end up disappointed.
4. Positivity and mindset are key.
While we all have our days, trying to live the most positive life possible does absolute wonders for how you feel and your happiness. Learning to accept situations for what they are and not dwell on the negative has been life-changing for me. Not only do you feel better, but others like being around you. In a world full of half empty glasses, be the person that sees it half-full.
5. Don’t compare yourself to others.
Whether it's while stalking beautiful Instagram models with flawless skin and perfect wardrobes or listening to my classmates talk about their internships for the summer, there is always something others have that you don't. It's important to remember that we're all on our own path. No one's circumstances are the same as yours. You are not behind nor are you ahead, and you are no better or worse than anyone else. We are all simply different.
6. Dress for success.
It's simple. When you look good, you feel good. While I know we all love our comfort colors and Nike shorts, wearing a cute outfit and feeling confident can do so much. On days you know you need to be productive, even just putting on a pair of jeans can help your mindset. Looking your best = feeling your best.
7. Find a fitness regimen that works for you.
Just because your friends swear by Orange Theory or doing an hour of cardio five times a week doesn't mean that's what's best for your body. It's taken me four years to find a routine that makes me feel good and confident. Experiment as much as you can. Try out free classes and find what you like.
8. Don’t be too hard on yourself.
Some things take a few try's before you finally succeed. I've learned that trying your best is all you should expect from yourself. We all fail sometimes and that's okay. When you do fail, feel free to laugh at yourself and use it as a learning experience.
9. Save your money.
I won't lie, I haven't quite mastered this one yet, but I am trying. We all have financial goals whether that's to travel, buy a house, or start a family. Stay conscious of what you're spending your money on. Do what you can now to set yourself up for success later.
10. Experiences are greater than material objects.
Experiences can include travel, going out to eat with friends, taking a day trip to an amusement park, or anything else you'll have memories to look back on from. Later in life, these memories will be far more valuable to you than material possessions.
11. It’s all up to you.
You decide what you want out of life. Don't settle for anything less than your dreams.
12. Surround yourself with people that bring you higher.
If you find someone in your life isn't contributing anything positive, it's okay to distance yourself. You don't have to cut the person off completely but spending more of your time with people who uplift you is the way to go.
13. Listen more.
Try to practice more active listening. It's good to let others feel heard. Listening not only betters your relationships but can be incredibly insightful.
14. Eat a salad.
I love junk food as much as the next person but eating healthy is important for not only your body but also your mind. While pizza and ice cream are okay from time to time, try eating more foods that nourish your body, you'll thank yourself for it later
15. Trust the process.
Whether you believe in fate, destiny, or nothing at all there seems to be some sort of flow to life. Every bad situation eventually pans out. Trust where you're at and no matter what's happening know that something better is ahead.
16. Care about the bigger issues.
Politics, the environment, animal rights, domestic abuse. Find issues you're passionate about and be an advocate. So many people turn a blind eye to the hard topics. Be the change you wish to see.
17. Make time for the people that you love.
They won't be around forever. Unplug and spend true quality time with the ones you care about most.
18. Stay true to yourself.
This is important in all aspects. Check in with yourself from time to time. Question whether or not how you're living aligns with your morals and beliefs.
19. Take risks.
Going to UGA was probably the biggest risk I've ever taken, and boy has it paid off. Without risks, we don't get rewards. Don't be afraid to fail and start focusing more on the present than the future.
20. It’s not that serious.
At the end of the day, nothing is as serious as we make it out to be. I look back on things that used to keep me up at night and laugh at how much worrying I caused myself for a situation that turned out just fine. Breathe and remember that the only way out is through.