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!

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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.

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. 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.

9. 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.

10. 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.

11. 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!

12. "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.

13. 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.

14. 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!

15. 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.

16. 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.

17. 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.

18. 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.

19. 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.

20. 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.

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'Jane The Virgin' Season Five Made Me Hate Jane

Season five has ruined Jane Gloriana Villanueva.

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SPOILER WARNING: This article contains spoilers for "Jane the Virgin"

Now, for all the super fans left, let me preface this article by saying that I love "Jane the Virgin." The show itself has brought a large piece of Latinx culture to an American audience in a way that is both educational and thrilling. Somehow, the writers of this modern Telenovela managed to find the balance between "soap opera" drama and modern TV drama.

However, while the show itself remains captivating, its main character has lost her luster. In other seasons, Jane proved to be an honest, selfless young woman. One of the prime examples of this is when she tells Michael she is pregnant instead of just accepting his proposal and dealing with the consequences later.

In seasons one through four, Jane was, as expected, caught up in the drama, but she always tried to put others before herself. She was fiercely protective of her mother and abuela as well as her son, Mateo. She was eager to help a struggling Petra, though Petra was nothing but rude to her.

Season five Jane is a different story.

This Jane perpetuates the idea that it is OK to play with someone's feelings, that she is right in dangling a relationship over both Raphael and Michael's heads. She claims that she doesn't know what she feels, that she has feelings for both Raphael and Michael. That she can't just run from her feelings for Michael.

She preaches that "love" is only an emotion. That it is ONLY felt. That because she "feels" something still there with Michael, she must still love him.

Sorry to break it to you Jane, but love isn't just a feeling. Love is a choice. It's a struggle. It's a fight you'll never stop fighting. It's a race you'll never get tired of running or when you do, you'll take a long drink of water and keep going.

Quite frankly, the way in which Jane treats her relationship with both men is emotional abuse. It is not only affecting the adults, but also the children as Mateo begins acting out and Ana and Ellie are convinced Raphael is taking drugs. While toying with the hearts of two men she cares about, she is also placing a wedge between herself and her son.

It seems stupid to be so opinionated about a silly TV show like "Jane the Virgin," but I know what it's like to be the second choice, then the first choice, then second again. Always wondering if you'll be good enough the next time, what you could have done better, how you could be different. Jane's actions in the final season only perpetuate the idea that it's OK to play with someone's emotions and that love is only a feeling. If you don't feel it, you don't have it.

Disclaimer: I am totally Team Raphael (if that wasn't obvious enough in this article), but here's why: Jane and Michael's relationship was based on "feeling." It "felt" magical. Raphael and Jane were not "love at first sight' but grew to love and accept one another. To me, this is the beautiful story. This is the real story of love.

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College Made Me Feel Like I Can't Have Free Time

Every second that I do have free, I feel like I need to be working on some type of homework.

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There's no doubt that college is taxing on most student's mental health. You get to the point where you feel stressed about even breathing. I have hit the point where I feel like I'm permanently affected by the stress that I've dealt with this semester.

I used to have so much free time. Even in my other semesters, I had time to hang out with my friends, work, and even be lazy when I wanted to be.

I was still a good student, I got all my assignments done on time and I worked hard on them, but I never really had an overwhelming workload.

That is, until this semester. I got to a point where work was overwhelming, I was working longer hours than I was used to, and having to spend every second that I wasn't in class or at work doing homework, whether it was just lengthy math problems or writing multiple essays or scripts.

After months of being in this habit, when my workload from both work and school died down and I actually had free time, I didn't know what to do with myself.

When my friends were busy and I just wanted a relaxing day at home, since I felt like I deserved it, I would try to just lay down and rest, either reading a good book or catching up on all the shows that my stress had caused me to miss.

But there was always a voice in the back of my head reminding me of every upcoming assignment. I would start thinking about the essay due the next week, or a test that I could be studying for ahead of time.

That voice kept telling me I was being unproductive and wasting my time if I wasn't getting ahead on school work when I finally had the time.

And so I'm still in a position, at the end of the semester, where I feel like I'm wasting my time every time I lay down and just want to take a nap because I'm exhausted from running between work and school. I'm trying to fight myself and tell myself that I am allowed to be lazy for at least a little bit, and I don't need to be constantly working.

Hopefully, that voice wins over, especially with summer coming up. With all of the free time, I'll have since I won't have to stress about school, hopefully, I'll be able to better balance my busy days with my lazy days.

I know this is probably an issue for many college students who are overwhelmed with everything that they have to do. Hopefully, summer break is a nice break for all of us and it gives us the chance to get the free time that we all deserve for surviving this semester, and the school year overall.

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