I am a big believer that life experience oftentimes shapes how fast you will mature and grow as a person. Too often, society relates your age or the grade you are in school to how much you know and understand. As someone who feels that I have seen more than most have at a mere 20 years old, I cannot stress enough what experiencing different facets of life makes you realize as a person. So, what are my specific experiences? And what have I learned?

At 6 years old, I realized that there is no such thing as a perfectly happy family

At 8 years old, I realized that taking care of your mind and your heart is equally as important as taking care of your body.

At 10 years old, I realized that the only person who is going to look out for you 100% of the time is yourself

At 13 years old, I learned that hiding your pain is more hurtful than allowing yourself to be vulnerable

At 15 years old, I realized that life is very short and very precious and that you need to cherish your limited time on this planet

At 17 years old, I realized that in life, you may not have control over everything that happens to you and around you, but you do have a choice in how to take advantage of things you do have control over.

At 18 years old, I realized that it’s okay to not know what to do; everyone is figuring out what they are doing just like you are

At 19 years old, I learned that love is not ideal like it is portrayed in movies, but it is beautiful and sweet and gentle and something I am very appreciative of.

At 20 years old, I learned that no matter what you end up doing in life or who you decide to spend your life with, happiness is the only thing really worth fighting for in your life.

I have only been on this earth for two decades, but I feel that I have learned a lot about this crazy phenomenon called life. That being said, the things I have learned have all come from a single experience or a string of related experiences that have ingrained in my mind a lesson of life that often takes others quite some time to truly understand. Thus, I encourage all who read this to go throughout your life and pull lessons from your experiences.

The more you go through, the more you will learn and the more you will be able to grow and develop as a person. Pushing yourself to grow and to learn from the parts of your life that might be hard to comprehend or dissect is the best thing you can do for yourself because this whole process will bring you one step closer to understanding yourself and, further, your true purpose in life.