8 Lessons You Will Learn Before You Turn 21

8 Lessons You Will Learn Before You Turn 21

Live in the moment, before it becomes a memory.

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We all have so much to learn and are at diffrent points in our lives. Here are some life lessons I have learned before turning 21 years old.

1. You win some you lose some

Life works in mysterious ways, but keep faith that you are going in the right direction. What might seem like the end of the world now, will only keep you on the path you are intended to go on in life.

2. What will be will be

There is no need to constantly stress yourself out over every little thing. What will be, will be and there is nothing else you can really do. So relax

3. Live in the moment, before it becomes a memory

Living in the moment is hard for most of us in this generation. Then we look back on old memories and wish we could re-live them because we didn't take them in. So live in the now. Don't let these memories and moments in life pass you by. Slow down and enjoy the ride.

4. There will always be another party, put yourself first

There is a pressure that most of us college students have to live the college experience the "right way" which for most consists of constant partying and drinking. If you want to take some time away from the party lifestyle that is okay. Put yourself first, and do what makes you happy. You do not have to follow the stigma that is surrounding the party lifestyle. Grades are forever, you are better off focusing on school anyway. You will thank yourself later.

5. Living on your own is hard

We all dream of the day we can get out of our parent's houses and live on our own. Now we are getting a little taste of what freedom looks like, living off at college and let's face it, it's harder than we thought. Living on your own means paying bills, food shopping for yourself, keeping the house clean, just to name a few. What were we in such a rush to move away from home for? Bet you miss the homecooked meals now huh.

6. True friends are hard to come by

We all take pride in the friends we have had for years and thought they would be our friends forever. But college changes all that sometimes, and people drift apart and people change. It's sad but that's how life goes. When you find true friends who have your best interest at heart, hold on to them and never let them go. True friends are hard to come by, whether you met them when you were six, eighteen or twenty, never take them for granted.

7. Being single is worth it, wait until you find the right person

Throwing yourself into a relationship with someone you don't see a future with or don't really care for all that much, just so you aren't alone is a waste of your time. Take the time to be single and get to know yourself and what you want and need from a person. When the right person comes along, you will know and you will be glad you didn't waste your time on relationships you didn't put your all into.

8. Your parents are your number one supporters, never take them for granted

We all look back on the time where we were bratty teens and wonder "what was I thinking." Now that I am 21 years old I can now appreciate fully what my parents have done for me. All the times they told me no, and didn't let me do certain things while I was in high school and middle school was for my own good. Sorry mom and dad, I understand now.

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Working With People Who Are Dying Teaches You So Much About How To Live

Spending time with hospice patients taught me about the art of dying.

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Death is a difficult subject.

It is addressed differently across cultures, lifestyles, and religions, and it can be difficult to find the right words to say when in the company of someone who is dying. I have spent a lot of time working with hospice patients, and I bore witness to the varying degrees of memory loss and cognitive decline that accompany aging and disease.

The patients I worked with had diverse stories and interests, and although we might have had some trouble understanding each other, we found ways to communicate that transcended any typical conversation.

I especially learned a lot from patients severely affected by dementia.

They spoke in riddles, but their emotions were clearly communicated through their facial expressions and general demeanor, which told a story all on their own.

We would connect through smiles and short phrases, yes or no questions, but more often than not, their minds were in another place. Some patients would repeat the details of the same event, over and over, with varying levels of detail each time.

Others would revert to a child-like state, wondering about their parents, about school, and about family and friends they hadn't seen in a long time.

I often wondered why their minds chose to wander to a certain event or time period and leave them stranded there before the end of their life. Was an emotionally salient event reinforcing itself in their memories?

Was their subconscious trying to reconnect with people from their past? All I could do was agree and follow their lead because the last thing I wanted to do was break their pleasant memory.

I felt honored to be able to spend time with them, but I couldn't shake the feeling that I was intruding on their final moments, moments that might be better spent with family and loved ones. I didn't know them in their life, so I wondered how they benefited from my presence in their death.

However, after learning that several of the patients I visited didn't have anyone to come to see them, I began to cherish every moment spent, whether it was in laughter or in tears. Several of the patients never remembered me. Each week, I was a new person, and each week they had a different variation of the same story that they needed to tell me.

In a way, it might have made it easier to start fresh every week rather than to grow attached to a person they would soon leave.

Usually, the stories were light-hearted.

They were reliving a memory or experiencing life again as if it were the first time, but as the end draws nearer, a drastic shift in mood and demeanor is evident.

A patient who was once friendly and jolly can quickly become quiet, reflective, and despondent. I've seen patients break down and cry, not because of their current situation, but because they were mourning old ones. These times taught me a lot about how to be just what that person needs towards the end of their life.

I didn't need to understand why they were upset or what they wanted to say.

The somber tone and tired eyes let me know that what they had to say was important and worth hearing. What mattered most is that someone who cared was there to hear it.

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A Few Birthday Thoughts

Goodbye teenage years, hello twenties!

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So, it is looking like I am about to leave my teenage years behind. I think that I want to reflect back on this time in my life and think about what I want to keep with me in my twenties and maybe some things I can let go. My teenage years have been full of love from my family and friends; hard work to make good grades in school and creating art. I developed several great friendships that I have held on to across the miles even though I went to college 14 hours away from our previous home. I am so thankful for the friendships I have made in college as well.

It seems like friends you make in your childhood and younger years can really stand the test of time. Maybe it is because when you became friends you were truly who you were. Everyone was genuine and didn't put up walls to protect themselves. You got to know someone on a deeper more personal level more quickly than if you had met later in life. I also think we laughed even more as children and that always creates good memories to look back on. So I think in my twenties I will try to hang on to the "childish" way of making friends. I will try to show my true self and will accept them for who they are, and we will laugh....a lot.

I think a good thing to let go of is always trying to make dead-end relationships work. When we were children on the playground and we tried to play a game together or jump rope and it just wasn't working, we would run off and find someone else. It was easy. It was just natural. Now sometimes I find myself trying to stay in a relationship by being overly nice, giving gifts, trying to find what pushes the persons "good" buttons. I might spend so much time trying to figure this person out that I leave out more solid relationships that are worth my time. So in my twenties, I will try to be more realistic about who to spend my time on. Some people are just never going to stand the test of time. I can continue to be cordial but won't let them rule my time and thought life.

As children, we loved our parents and siblings and would show love to them in a myriad of ways. Maybe it was hugs, pictures on the fridge, good night kisses, playing games, or just quality time spent together as a family. Starting my twenties, I am mature enough to realize the value of these people in my life. Thankfully, I have always known this. I was never the type that was embarrassed if someone saw me walking with my Mom or Dad or being dropped off in the Mom Van somewhere. I always knew these people loved me more than anyone else I was about to meet. But in my twenties, I plan to keep up with my family even when I am eight hours away from them. We are never too old to need the love of family.

As weird as it is to say goodbye to my teenage years, it's honestly helped me to soak in the precious moments of everyday life and treasure them even more. Every year when birthdays come around, it always serves as a reminder how quickly the days, months, and years fly by. I think that has been one difficult part of this birthday season. It's hard to say goodbye to the past, without a clear map of the future. But, I must remind myself that this is why growing up is a beautiful thing- as we live life and experience new things, we are better prepared for what the future may hold. Everything that I have experienced in my 20 years has served an important purpose- to make me into the person I am supposed to become. Yes, life is always changing and so am I... and change can be hard. Very hard. But one thing to remember is God is always constant. He will never change. No matter what number is on your birthday cake, He is always there...the same God yesterday, today and tomorrow. He is the Rock that we will always be able to cling to. Isn't that a wonderful thought? Even if we don't know what's in His plans for us in the coming year, it's important to make Him a part of our plans. Rather than worry about change, let's embrace it all- the good and the bad- and look to the Lord to see how He will guide and shape us.

Teenage years- the time has come. I must say goodbye to you now. But, you will never be forgotten. I will hold your memories in my heart forever. Twenties- I am excited for all that awaits me.

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." - Joshua 1:9

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