21 Lessons I've Learned In 21 Years

21 Lessons I've Learned In 21 Years

Years come and go, the lessons they leave behind stay forever.


As I've grown, I have learned many life lessons. Now that I am (sort of) an adult, I can look back on my life so far and see all that I have learned. Here are some of those lessons.

1. Your first love will hardly ever be your true love.

As much as you'd like to believe in a fairy-tale love, life simply doesn't happen like that. You'll waste time and end up burned if you try to force it to work.

2. An abusive partner will not change regardless of how hard you try.

I always heard, "Well, if you would do things like I want you to, I wouldn't react this way." I tried everything to make him happy. I gave so much effort to try and make our situation better. No matter what they say or what they try to get you to believe, they will not change.

3. Divorced parents and single parent households aren't inherently a bad place to grow up. 

My mom did the absolute best she could for me, and I turned out just fine. Yeah, our family dynamic is different than most, but that doesn't make it any less wonderful. My family has supported me and helped me grow into the woman I am today, and I wouldn't change a thing about it.

4. Pursue the things that you are passionate about.

I got caught up in the pitfall of burning out. I was trying to force myself to do things that I didn't enjoy just because I thought it was the right thing to do. When I started pursuing the things that I was passionate about, I started to enjoy life more.

5. Stop caring so much what other people think.

I used to get so hung up on other people's opinions. I would dress, act, and behave a certain way in order to make people like me. I did this to the point that I began to lose my true self. If you are unashamedly yourself, then those who take offense to that shouldn't be in your life anyway.

6. Don't be afraid to try.

I was always so afraid of failure that I wouldn't even try. It wasn't until years after the fact that I realized that by not trying, I am not growing. To quote Jake the Dog, "Sucking at something is the first step to being kind of good at something."

7. Embrace your individuality.

Yes, I have tattoos and piercings. Yes, I like to be bold and voice my feelings. Yes, I have short hair. And no, I will never be silent about who I am. For so long I have felt guilty about being the "black sheep" of the family, but now I know that I'd rather stand out than blend in.

8. Never leave a loved one angry

My dad passed away when I was 14. A couple months before his passing, we had had a major argument. I didn't talk to him for weeks. Once we started talking again and made up, he began to become more ill. A few months after we mended our relationship, he passed away. It took him passing away to make me realize that I did not want our last interaction to be a negative one. You never know when your angry words might be the last someone hears.

9. Stop comparing your rough draft to other people's highlight reel.

It is so easy to compare ourselves to others. We must remember, however, that what we see in others is often what they want us to see. We cannot afford to compare our darkest feelings to someone's best version of themselves. For me, I would always find negative thoughts swarming my brain, thoughts of inferiority. There is no need for that added anxiety.

10. Spending time in nature is a wonderful grounding experiences

When I first started college, I found myself in the vicious cycle of class-food-band-sleep. It wasn't until I took a yoga class and the instructor challenged us to spend quality time in nature that I realized its importance. I challenge you: put down your phone and allow yourself to be alone with nature.

11. Lose the friends that aren't supportive.

You are constantly working on bettering yourself, so you need to surround yourself with positive people that will build you up.

12. Explore your options in life.

Never limit yourself, because once you start, you let so many life changing opportunities pass you by. Open your heart and mind to the possibilities.

13. Stand up for what you believe in even if you're standing alone.

Make your values clear. Do not ever compromise on the things you believe in. Having a drive and a passion is something I hold very important.

14. Find love within yourself.

If you're like me, you'll give and give until there's nothing left for you. It is so important to learn to love yourself as much as you love others. I know that it's easier said than done, but once you love yourself, no one can tell you differently.

15. Don't wish away your youth.

I missed out on so much just because I couldn't wait to be older, to be 21, to graduate college. I lost a lot of time in wanting for the future, and I realize just how big of a mistake that was.

16. Do the thing that scares you most.

For me, it was leaving an abusive relationship or leaving for college. It took such a big step for me to overcome the fear of failing, but it was so worth it. It has given me so much happiness.

17. Don't be afraid to say "no" to something.

Stop doing things just because you feel like you should. It is perfectly okay to say "no" when you can't take something on.

18. Try new things.

You are never too old to learn something new! If it wasn't for me trying something new, I would have never known that I had a love for yoga if I hadn't tried it. I felt dumb, sure, but after a while, it developed into a full blown passion.

19. Fake it till you make it.

One of the things that my mom always told me was: pretend to be confident until you are. I had to force myself to hold my head high until one day, I realized it wasn't faking it anymore.

20. It's okay to make mistakes.

Fail and fail until you get it right.

21. Allow yourself to have fun.

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. It is absolutely okay to be good to yourself, so please do something you enjoy. I allowed myself to get so burned out and it is because I didn't take time to care for myself. It is seriously so important.

Popular Right Now

10 Things I Threw Out AFTER Freshman Year Of College

Guess half the stuff on your packing list doesn't really matter

I spent the entire summer before my freshman year of college so WORRIED.

I also spent most of my money that summer on miscellaneous dorm stuff. I packed the car when the time finally came to move in, and spent the drive up excited and confused about what the heck was actually going on.

Freshman year came and went, and as I get ready to go back to school in just a few short weeks (!!), I'm starting to realize there's just a whole bunch of crap I just don't need.

After freshman year, I threw out:

1. Half my wardrobe.

I don't really know what I was thinking of owning 13 sweaters and 25 T-shirts in the first place. I wear the same five T-shirts until I magically find a new one that I probably got for free, and I put on jeans maybe four times. One pair is enough.

2. Half my makeup.

Following in the theme of #1, if I put on makeup, it's the same eyeliner-mascara combination as always. Sometimes I spice it up and add lipstick or eyeshadow.

3. My vacuum.


One, I basically never did it. Two, if I REALLY needed to vacuum, dorms rent out cleaning supplies.

4. Most of my photos from high school.

I didn't throw them ALL away, but most of them won't be making a return to college. Things change, people change, your friends change. And that's okay.

5. Excess school supplies.

Binders are heavy and I am lazy. I surprisingly didn't lose that many pens, so I don't need the fifty pack anymore. I could probably do without the crayons.

6. Cups/Plates/Bowls/Silverware.

Again, I am lazy. I cannot be bothered to wash dishes that often. I'll stick to water bottles and maybe one coffee cup. Paper plates/bowls can always be bought, and plastic silverware can always be stolen from different places on campus.

7. Books.

I love to read, but I really don't understand why I thought I'd have the time to actually do it. I think I read one book all year, and that's just a maybe.

8. A sewing kit.

I don't even know how to sew.

9. Excessive decorations.

It's nice to make your space feel a little more cozy, but not every inch of the wall needs to be covered.

10. Throw pillows.

At night, these cute little pillows just got tossed to the floor, and they'd sit there for days if I didn't make my bed.

Cover Image Credit: Tumblr

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

I'm Not The Person I Was In High School And I'm Not Sorry I Changed

I'm sorry, the old me can't come to the phone right now.


If those who knew me in high school hung out with me now, they probably wouldn't recognize me. If my friends from college hung out with me around two years ago, they probably wouldn't recognize me. It's safe to say I've changed... a lot. I definitely find the change to be for the better and I couldn't be happier with the person I've become.

In high school, I would sit at home every night anxiously waiting to leave and go out. Now, honestly, going out is the last thing I want to do any night of the week. While everyone in college is at a fraternity party or at the bars, I prefer to sit at home on the couch, watching Netflix with my boyfriend. That's an ideal night for me and it is exactly the opposite of what I wanted to do a couple of years ago. There's nothing wrong with going out and partying, it's just not what I want to do anymore.

I craved attention in high school. I went to the parties and outings so I could be in Snapchats and photos, just so people would know I was there. I hung out with certain groups of people just so I could say I was "friends" with so-and-so who was so very popular. I wanted to be known and I wanted to be cool.

Now, I couldn't care less. I go to the bars or the parties if I really feel like it or if my friends make me feel bad enough for never going anywhere that I finally decide to show up. It's just not my scene anymore and I no longer worry about missing out.

If you could look back at me during my junior year of high school, you probably would've found me searching for the best-ranked party schools and colleges with the best nearby clubs or bars. Now, you can find me eating snacks on the couch on a Friday night watching the parties through other peoples' Snapchats.

Some may say that I'm boring now, and while I agree that my life is a little less adventurous now than it was in high school, I don't regret the lifestyle changes I've made. I feel happier, I feel like a better person, I feel much more complete. I'm not sorry that I've changed since high school and I'm not sorry that I'm not living the typical "college lifestyle." I don't see anything wrong with that life, it's just not what makes me happy and it's not what I want to do anymore.

I've become a different person since high school and I couldn't be happier about it. I have a lot that's contributed to the change, but my boyfriend definitely was the main factor as he showed me that staying in can be a million times better than a night out. My interests and my social cravings have completely transitioned into that of an 80-year-old grandma, but I don't regret it.

Change doesn't have to be a bad thing. In fact, it can bring a lot more happiness and comfort. The transition from high school to college is drastic, but you can also use it as an opportunity to transition from one lifestyle to another. I don't regret the lifestyle flip I made and I couldn't be less apologetic about it.

Related Content

Facebook Comments