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

Here are some of the hardest pills I've had to swallow over the years and some of the most beautiful reminders I now carry with me.

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20 Things I've Learned In 20 Years
Ashley Goyette

For two decades I have lived through many mistakes, accomplishments, goals, trials, and errors to get me to where I am today. As my 20th birthday is approaching, I decided to reflect back on some of the trivial times in my life and the lessons I have taken away from them. I wrote out an entire list of some of the hardest pills I've had to swallow and some of the most beautiful reminders I now carry with me.


1. This time next year, life will be completely different.

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Every year that I look back, nothing matches up. I am always in a different place mentally, physically, and emotionally. This is a reminder to keep pushing and work towards the next year that I want to have.

2. There is way more than meets the eye.

I have learned to live by the saying, "trust none of what you hear, only 50% of what you see, and 100% of what you feel". Not everything is as it seems, as perception is everything. This reminds me there is no need to jump to immediate conclusions in anything.

3. Live each moment presently.

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How often are we truly experiencing something? Without the phones, without texting somebody who isn't apart of the moment, taking away from our own attention. No matter how small or uneventful something may seem, you will never get that exact moment back. So live presently, be aware, be there.

4. Even family can disappoint you. 

This was a harder lesson to learn. But not always is blood thicker than water. Family is who you're connected to biologically, but it is okay not to see eye to eye and sometimes not even get along with your family.

5. Positive thoughts produce positive action

If you think positively, positive things will happen, positive people will flock to you, and more opportunities will arise. Positivity is everything.

6. Some people need you more than you may need them.

Some people come into your life not because you need them, but maybe they need you. This is okay, just as sometimes you will need somebody more than they may need you. Be there for them.

7. It is better to understand than to know, and to listen than to hear.

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To understand in any situation is better than to know it. Just the same as listening vs hearing. You can hear anybody talk, but to listen, and take in the information for what it is, is a whole other talent in itself.

8. Dedication > Motivation. 

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Just as I wrote before, motivation comes and goes, dedication gets the job done.

9. Spending all your time trying to fit in, only wastes time you could be being you.

I spent too many years trying to be like my friends that I looked up to, or the popular kids that everybody seemed to like growing up. This only made me feel lost and exhausted me. It wasn't until I started being unapologetically me, that I found true friends and passions in life.

10. You can't control others. 

No matter how much you try to control somebody, you will never be able to. At the end of the day, a person is going to do what they want to do. No matter what it is. The only power you have is how you choose to react to it.

11. Taking time for yourself is a must. 

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It's always nice to be surrounded by people you love, but if you can't find happiness within your own company, you put your peace in others. Taking at least 15 minutes a day to yourself completely alone, doing what you want/ need to do increases your mental health more than you could imagine.

12. What's done in the dark always comes to light.

I probably think about this one the most. It is a reminder not to stress about things happening, as it'll all come out in the end. So control the controllable and cross bridges upon arrival.

13. If you want something, go get it.

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Often times the only thing holding you back from the things you want in life, is you. That's it, just you.

14. Let go when you're no longer benefitting.

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This one was especially hard. But learning to let go when something is no longer positively contributing to my life has saved me so much wasted time and energy feeling stuck in situations I didn't need.

15. It is better to ignore, than engage in negativity. 

Do you know how much emotional energy is used just to argue with somebody? How much it impacts you when you partake in negative actions? A lot. A wise man once said, you can't fight fire with fire. Calmness creates peace.

16. Love wholeheartedly.

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What do you lose from loving with everything you have? I recently read, "nobody on their death bed has ever said they wished they had loved less".

17. Not everyone is going to treat you as you treat them.

It doesn't matter what you do for somebody, they still might not appreciate/ reciprocate any of your same efforts. That shouldn't change how you choose to treat others, remain genuine.

18. What you put in your body matters.

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Through everything I've learned about health and nutrition, I noticeably changed my entire life for the better. There's a famous quote, "the food you eat can either be the best form of medicine, or the slowest form of poison", and this could not be more true.

19. The way a person treats you when they're mad at you, says a lot about how they feel about you. 

This one was another hard one to understand. It is so easy to write off explosive behaviors as just a reaction to being angry, but a person who truly cares about you, will not put you in a position to purposely hurt you. These are the facts. "I only said that because I was mad", is no longer a valid excuse.

20. Everyday is just another step in your journey. 

This final step ties into a lot of the other ones, it is simply another reminder that it's all apart of the process. This can apply to your goals or life in general. Some days are better than others and some just feel like a complete setback. But they're all headed somewhere. Somebody has to go the wrong way to learn the right one. So no matter what, pick yourself back up and use the setbacks to push your further forward. One day at a time.

In twenty years of life I have learned a lot, some things more important than others and many things that I will probably continue to live by for the rest of my life. It's crazy to think about, I have never felt "old" in my life until this moment. This just goes to show that time waits for no one, each day is a new opportunity to live and to learn. These next two decades will surely fly by even faster than the first. Here's to the next chapter of lessons in my life.

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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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