I recently turned 20 years old. A pivotal moment in my life where I transitioned from a teenager to a (non-promiscuous) adult. Throughout my two decades of existing, I can definitely list the many life lessons I've learned thus far. Here are 20 things I learn being 20.
1. Take care of yourself
I've learned that self-sufficiency is the most valuable trait to have. Relying on someone else for your happiness and sanity is a stab to your mental health. Don't make someone else your lifeline, be your own.
2. Have a big heart
I've been very naive. I've gotten into situations that could have been avoided if only I thought before I acted. Opening my mind to different perspectives made me realize that irrelevant conflict can always be avoided if you're more understanding. But having a big heart doesn't mean that you devalue yourself for others. Make sure that your open-mindedness doesn't get taken advantage of.
3. Move on
Little things used to always get to me. I'm sure I'm not the only one harboring the smallest things and dwelling on them every now and then. But I had to face the reality that shit gets tough and these insignificant worries are useless. Moving on especially became a moral for me when I transitioned from a high school student to a college student. Reality definitely hits you in the face with a weight heavier than my student loans. Move on from the minute issues, and think big.
4. Value the good times and the bad
My attention was always on the "downs" in life. Focusing on the events that negatively impacted my life longer than the positive times made me have constant negativity. But I came to the realization that these "bad times" are only temporary. In the end, growing out of a low in your life only means that things can get better. Learn from your lows and grow towards your highs
5. Be honest
Don't lie to yourself about being ok or being fine. Living life in dishonesty will lead to you deal with obstacles. If you aren't honest with yourself about your own well being you can't expect anyone else to be there for you. Make sure you're being open with yourself first because that's the most important person you need to be honest with.
6. Define your own happiness
For a majority of my life, happiness was constructed based on the image of someone else. I've never truly defined my own until the last few years where I started to value my own achievements. Although this is still in the works of being implemented I can assure you that progress is being made. Appreciate your own work where you deserve it don't let someone else define that happiness.
7. Work smart, not hard
It's cliche to say and hard to express without it just being something you see on a Tjmaxx decoration piece. However, from personal experience, I can let you know that working "hard" does not work. I used to value lengthy study hours over the quality of work done within that time. The aftermath of those study hours would sadly not be portrayed with the grades. In conclusion, long hours of studying could have been condensed if only I utilized my time properly. Working smart is the key to success.
8. Learn to give yourself a break
If you feel like you're getting overwhelmed, make sure you are taking the time to yourself. Do NOT neglect your own mental health. But simultaneously do not neglect everything else in your life. Find a balance and at that point of equilibrium, you will thrive.
9. Success is not defined by numbers
This is difficult. When your whole life you were taught that numbers defined you. Grades, GPA, age, wage, etc. It's hard to stray away from that mentality since your future literally depends on it. But what I will say is that don't wire your brain to think it's all about the numbers all the time. If you're continuously thinking about the numbers you won't focus on how to improve since you just want to get a better score. Instead, use failure as a way to change the way you work or think.
10. Do not take your family for granted
I recently visited Bangladesh after nine years and realized that I have definitely let the distance between us coincide with their significance. Since they live so far it's hard to stay in touch constantly. However, the ambiance as soon as I entered my family's home was as if I never left. I had the most wholesome trip I've ever experienced and it wouldn't be complete without all of my family being together. Don't devalue your family even the ones living under your roof because at the end of the day they will always be your supporters
11. Surround yourself with quality friends
I am very blessed to be surrounded by the most amazing people every day. From my years in elementary school up until now, I've had the same group of best friends that I am grateful for. And now that I'm in college I have made genuine friends that I am happy I have around me. The energy around you reflects the person you are. And with quality friends, this energy will illuminate your life.
12. Encourage yourself to be the best you for you
Everyone has things they want to change about themselves. And for me, it was always something I wanted to change because of how someone else perceived me. I never wanted to change myself because it was something I wanted to do. Knowing your own flaws and how to fix them is essential to be the person you want to be.
13. Find a passion or a hobby
At this point in my life studying and school work are the only things keeping me occupied. My down time consisted of laying in bed contemplating my major, sleeping, and eating. In the end, I fell into a cycle of nothing besides school. This year I've tried to utilize my downtime by studying with friends, going out, painting, and writing more. This allowed me to build a schedule around studying, leaving little time to wallow in my self-loathe.
14. Be spontaneous
To anyone who knows my strong passion for trip planning, this point may make me sound like a hypocrite. But you have to hear me out. As much as I love trip planning and itinerary making being spontaneous is just as fun. I've learned that "going with the flow" and all of that nonsense can actually be very fun. Don't limit yourself to things you plan, be adventurous. Spontaneity has its own fun that can't compare with a strict itinerary.
15. Support your family and friends
Your own mental health is important, but that doesn't mean you can neglect the people around you. You can't expect anyone to check up on you if you cannot reciprocate. Be the person you would want to be there for you.
16. Be open to other peoples advice
I have the stubborn tendency of not taking in what I'm dishing out. I've definitely tried to change recently and it's much better than holding things into myself. Sometimes it's better to be the listener than the "advice-giver" because having an open mind is important. Stop and listen for once, it could be helpful when you least expect it.
17. Make mistakes
Shooting myself when I'm already down from a mistake only makes me see the downside of a situation. Instead, I could use that time to strengthen my skills and learn from my mistakes. I have the bad habit of not looking at the bright side because I have the most pessimistic mind. But over time I've definitely tried to decrease the amount of negativity I have and learn from the mistakes I make.
18. Stop caring so much
As much as I care for others and enjoy checking up on people, I realized not everyone is like that. Of course being who I am I will never stop checking up on people and having small talk even if they don't want to. Because I value those small conversations regardless. I've taken offense to the people who don't reply or fail to keep in touch even though they swear we're "close." But in the end, it was hurting me and making me think I was at fault. When in reality the other person just didn't care. This is where I began focusing on my own life and checking up on myself too. Stop caring so much it's not worth your time
19. Enjoy the journey
Don't dwell on life, make sure you are having fun. Don't take your life so seriously to the point where you aren't enjoying your time. You won't get these days back, so make use of the time you have. If you're spending most of your days sad and regretting certain things you won't be able to enjoy these valuable days in your life. Being sad and stressed every day gets boring. Trust me, I know.