Life Lessons of a 20 Year old

20 Life Lessons for 20 Years Lived

Please enjoy this brief conversation with younger versions of myself in the form of a "lessons learned" list!

4
Shutterstock

Turning 20 in April prompted me to think about what I wished I had known in my past.

Unfortunately, I think most of these things are things that we know intellectually but don't realize to actually practice them while they're happening. In that same vein, I think most of these life lessons are lessons that you have to learn through experience, as the lessons don't seem important before you're faced with the moments from which they derived.

In any case, I would hope that you spare yourself the heartache and simply learn from my mistakes, but if you don't, that's alright, it'll be a lesson you won't forget.

You cannot love someone into loving you back

Loving people comes with a risk and, unfortunately, that risk doesn't always pay off. That doesn't mean stop loving people, it simply means that you will be hurt. You will be hurt, despite your efforts, and you will survive.

Judgment is not always a bad thing

Judgment is there to protect you. If you have a bad vibe, acknowledge it, watch it, and adhere to the boundaries you've created. You can simply watch a person without opening every door to them in your life.

There is a thing as "too friendly" 

Oversharing is a coping mechanism meant to disillusion you into feeling "known". It opens you to betrayal and is maladaptive.

Let it be 

We've all heard the phrase "let it go". Maybe it's just me that has an issue with letting things go, but I doubt it. Learning that letting it go does not have to mean forgetting or changing your feelings toward the situation has been a life savior. I'd say a more appropriate phrase might instead be "let it be". Recognize that you can't change it and that it will be what it is. Let it be.

If you want to be an artist- be one.

Creativity is like anything else- you must practice it in order to be good at it. You need it. Write more. Sing more. Draw more. Paint more.

Just write

The more you read, the better you will be at writing. And forget your imposter syndrome. You can write. You are a writer.

Caring gives the world meaning

You are never too much. They are simply too little. Your intensity and passion are a result of your care. You care- revel in it.

Know what you need and ask for it!

You are not asking too much. You are asking the wrong person. We all have issues. The secret to interpersonal relationships is knowing how to match your issues with the issues of those around you, and frankly, sometimes you'll realize that your issues aren't compatible enough to maintain that relationship.

It's okay to laugh

Hiding your excitement over things, hiding yourself through dressing down, hiding yourself through presenting one aspect of yourself as your whole- only hurts you. You are more than the kid who reads during recess. Don't hide under that façade.

You miss you

That loneliness you feel deep inside you has a fix. And it isn't other people. Spend time by yourself and enjoy it. Go out to eat. Walk the town square by yourself. Do what you want, when you want. I promise, you'll come to realize that you're the key to your own happiness, and it is much easier to find than you think it is.

Everyone is self-centered, and that's okay

You are loved and valued; however, everyone has a life. They have not forgotten about you. They are simply focused on themselves, and that is okay. You're focused on yourself too!

"No" is not a bad word

Creating clear boundaries saves yourself from a lot of pain and resentments. Don't allow your feelings of false responsibility and false guilt force you into doing things you don't want to do.

You'll drown holding onto a sinking ship

Holding on to things and people is not always a sentimental value (especially for you); it is an attempt to stay inside the known. In fifth grade, you will be asked what your biggest fear is and you will be told that your answer is profound when you say, "the unknown". This fear will follow you (as it does most everyone). You must actively fight it.

Failure is inevitable

Choosing to exert no effort rather than risking failure is still failing, you've simply guaranteed it. It doesn't save your ego and it hurts just the same. So what if you fail? Your life is still just as present before you, as it was. Try again- or try something new!

There is no timeline 

You are behind and will always be. It is not a bad thing. You are a different flower from every other flower in the garden, but rest assured, when you bloom, you will be just as beautiful. Have patience. Your life is not on a timeline.

It's for you

Forgiveness is not for them. It is for you. Forgive- even when they aren't sorry. Give your heart a rest.

You will never be enough for someone who is not enough for themselves

You will never be enough for someone who is not enough for themselves. That is not your burden to carry. You should strive to love and to support, but do not lessen yourself to do so. When you are 18/19 you will be in a position with someone, in which their friend will tell you, "He's changing. I can see it, and it's because of you". You will let this thought keep you in a friendship that has you writing not one, not two, but multiple pro/con lists debating the whether you should leave. Spoiler alert: writing a pro/con list about a person and your relationship with that person is a HUGE red flag. Leave. The sooner the better. It will hurt, but the peace you'll find afterward will be worth it.

Moderation is key!

Too much of anything is a bad thing, truly. You can love someone too much. It looks like giving up boundaries and giving up key parts of yourself for someone else. You can care too much. It looks like allowing yourself to be destroyed by things that would never hurt you if someone else did them. You have a tendency toward lovingness, you must remember to belong to yourself first.

It'll all be back

Life is cyclical. You will be happy again, and unfortunately, you will be sad again. It's okay to be somewhere in the middle of the cycle, you'll go through it and then back again. Live in your happiness and make art during your sadness- it all has its purpose.

A thankful heart is a happy heart

Gratitude changes everything. Your perception is your reality. Stop looking at everything that's hurt you and start looking at what you have in front of you. Thank the universe for the sunny day, and the flowers, and the birds chirping. Thank the universe for reminding you of where your car keys are. Thank the universe for getting you home from work safely. The day is full of blessings, all you have to do is count them.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Lifestyle

13 Father's Day Shirts Under $30 To Gift The Dad Wearing The Same Two Every Day In Quarantine

You've been begging him to change it up, and now he won't have a choice.

Let's be honest: most of our dads are wearing the same shirts today that they probably wore while changing our diapers and holding our hands as we learned to walk. Sure, we love them for it. But whether you're quarantined with him wearing the same two shirts on rotation every week, or every time you FaceTime him, you know what he'll be wearing before he answers the phone, he needs to add some new items to his wardrobe rotation.

And you know dads — they'll feel guilted into using practically anything you were to give them. But these shirts are sure-fire ways to get him to switch up his wardrobe, and he'll be more than excited to wear each and every one of them. Plus, most of them are under twenty dollars, so no harm in dropping more than a couple in to your cart and letting Dad have his pick of his favorites.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

I Sat Down (Virtually) With Hollis Tuttle To Talk About Coronavirus's Impact On The Wellness Industry

Just because coronavirus has greatly impacted the wellness industry doesn't mean wellness stops.

If you're anything like me, your weekly fitness classes are a huge part of your routine. They keep me fit, healthy, and sane. Honestly, these classes help my mental health stay in tip-top shape just as much as they help my physical health.

Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, gyms and fitness studios are facing temporary closure. Yes, this means my personal routine is thrown a curveball, but this also means the wellness industry is one of many that is looking at unemployment and hardship. Do I miss my Monday spin class? Of course. But do the wellness professionals whose worlds were flipped upside down have a lot more to overcome than a slight change of routine? Absolutely. Thankfully, if anyone can prove the ultimate flexibility, it's the wellness industry.

Keep Reading... Show less
Swoon

My Boyfriend Has Changed Since Quarantine Began, And I Don't Know What To Do

"All he says is 'I love you,' which is great and all but OMG I can't get anything else out of him."

Each week Swoonie B will give her advice on anonymous topics submitted by readers. Want to Ask Swoonie B something related to dating and relationships? Fill out this form here — it's anonymous.

Dear Swoonie B,

My boyfriend and I have been dating for almost a year, which has been the best year of my life (as far as i know). Well we go to different schools and are both very involved in sports and school activities which makes it hard to see each other. During this quarantine it is especially hard. Since we haven't seen each other in over a week things are kind of tense. He won't really talk to me much and I always check in on him to make sure he is doing well and to just see how he is, ya know being a girlfriend. Well apparently that is driving him crazy and I don't understand how. I'm not being controling or clingy, i'm just checking in on him. While this is happening, I also have noticed how he just doesn't really care anymore. I'll leave him paragraphs of sweet love letters to wake up to and I encourage him throughout his day but I just don't get it in return. I love him with all of me and I obviously care about him a lot. Also, I've compared how he talked to me before all of this has happened. He was so sweet and caring, texting me a lot and telling me he loves me and just making sure everything is OK but he doesn't do that anymore. All he says is "I love you," which is great and all but OMG I can't get anything else out of him. He is a little stressed at home with trying to find another job to pay for his car, constantly having to do things for his mom, being responsible for his siblings, and managing school. I know thats a lot but im doing a lot too right now and going through a lot of the same stuff he is but It seems to me he just does not care and i don't know what to do. Please help me or give me some advice on what to say, what not to say, what to do, what not to do. Anything at this point will help. Thank you!

If I had a dollar for every time I heard "these are unprecedented times," I'd be rich. But that's because it's true!

Keep Reading... Show less
Tower 28

On paper, Amy Liu appears to be one of the most intimidating women in the beauty business. Not only did she launch her beauty marketing career at legendary Smashbox Cosmetics, she went on to lead luxury, high-end brands like Kate Somerville and Josie Maran — just to name a few.

But sitting down to meet Liu for the first time in an underground New York bar over a year ago felt like meeting a friend I'd known since childhood. As she walked into the bar in a chic red dress, it was impossible not to feel her immediate warm presence. When she talks about her history as an entrepreneur (and truly, at heart, she always was one), you don't get the sense that she's selling you anything, though with her impeccable taste, I'd use anything that had her glowing review attached to it.

Keep Reading... Show less

Sixth grade was the year that you were allowed to participate in a school sport. This was what my friends and I had all been waiting for since we started middle school. I had already made the cheer team with my friends, but I had to wait to start that in the winter since we cheered for basketball. I really wanted to have some sort of activity in the fall, but I did not know what to do. Somehow, I decided to run cross country. Not really sure how I decided on a sport where it was quite literally just running. A few of my friends were doing it as well, so I knew it was going to be fun.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

Working Out Every Day During Quarantine Helps Me Feel A Sense Of Control

Physical activity helps my mental health in a world that feels uncertain.

Before the pandemic, I exercised a handful of times a week at best. In quarantine, I've been exercising every single day. I don't want this article to be another spiel about how exercise "changed my life," and all the other cliches that health gurus use to convince others to work out more. Rather, I want to reveal that exercise is a tool that works for me because it boosts my mental health when I feel like the world is spiraling out of control.

Keep Reading... Show less

To say that 2020 has been a bit of a roller coaster is an extreme understatement. Who knew that this decade was going to start off like THIS!? Not me, not you, and not that sweet old lady who lives down the street. One thing is certain though — while the world may be a mess right now, you can still fuel your body with food that keeps you happy and healthy. Thankfully, as we are all spending more time inside, you can get healthy snacks delivered straight to your front door! Amazon has never been more convenient (and tasty).

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments