21 Things I Learned Before Turning 21
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21 Things I Learned Before Turning 21

Life lessons learned by twenty-one.

21 Things I Learned Before Turning 21
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To a young adult, there's nothing more awakening then coming up on those milestone birthdays. You know, the ones where a restriction gets lifted. Getting to drive at 16, getting to buy lotto tickets at 18, and not having to use a fake ID anymore at 21. Even though I don't drink, turning 21 was pretty exciting. In one sense, the years flew by, but in another they dragged on and on. Reflecting back, I actually learned a lot in what some may perceive as 21 "short" years. Here are a few things I've learned.

1. Not everyone you come in contact with has your best intentions in mind.

These people are the ones you have to watch out for. They will waltz into your life dressed as everything you've ever imagined, but will ruin you in heartbeat.

2. It's okay to cut people out of your life.

This is something I majorly struggle with. It's hard not to feel rude when you're deciding that someone no longer has a place in your life, but sometimes you have to be selfish and decide to put what is best for you first.

3. No matter what you do someone is always going to disapprove.

As a young adult trying to find their self, you're always going to have people looking down on you and telling you what you're doing wrong. You just have to ignore those comments, as hard as it may be, and do your thing. Honestly, someone somewhere will always be judging you.

4. Never pick your future career based off of the money you'll make.

Waking up in the morning and going to a job that you hate is worth no amount of money.

5. You're going to have terrible relationships that you will regret.

I think this is just a part of growing up. You date terrible people who treat you with utter disrespect, all so you can appreciate the one who does treat you right even better.

6. College is hard.

People will always try to tell you that it's not, especially people who never attended college. Don't let those people deter you.

7. Chances are, you won't be exactly like the person younger you imagined you would grow up to be.

When we're young, we all imagine ourselves growing up to solve world hunger or something crazy like that. We vow that there are things that we would never do or say. Turns out, all of us can't solve world hunger and those things we vowed against, are things we tried just to learn a life lesson. And that's perfectly fine.

8. The scariest chances in life are usually the best options for you.

In my late teens and early twenties I've encountered a lot of opportunities that terrified and shook me to my very core, but those opportunities ended up being the best steps I've ever taken.

9. Always capture the moments you don't want to forget.

I've heard all the arguments about dropping the camera and living in the moment, but I'm a huge advocate for taking way too many pictures. In my opinion, these are the days I'm going to want to tell my children about and when I do, I want pictures to prove it all.

10. Everyone has their baggage.

Everyone goes through things. So never be ashamed of your past and never judge another on theirs.

11. Netflix is your best friend and your worst enemy.

Sometimes you're just not in the mood to go out and fight the crowds out on the town. The answer? Netflix. But just like everything else you need a balance. Netflix can easily effect your grades and want to actually be social.

12. Your gut instinct is reason enough to make a decision.

If you have a bad feeling about something, chances are you're right about it. You don't owe anyone more of an explanation that you just not feeling right about it.

13. Cooking can actually be fun.

Don't look at it as a chore. Experiment. Have fun. Try new things. Nothing makes you feel more adult than preparing an amazing meal that looks just as good as it tastes.

14. It's okay for your boyfriend to be your best friend.

Sure, you should have other friends, but sometimes, the one that knows you best and what is best for you, is your partner in life.

15. There will be days you want to quit.

That doesn't mean you're not capable or lazy or any other misconception people may try to tell you. Life is hard. College is hard. It all gets hard. It's okay to have days where you just want to quit it all, what matter is that you keep going.

16. Age is just a number.

I'm not saying that it's okay to date someone who has 40 years on you, I'm speaking more to the sense of maturity. Some people go through things at such a young age, that they can't help but have the maturity of the average 50 year old at the age of 16. So, don't let anyone ever tell you, "you're too mature for your age."

17. You don't have to be "old" to lose your friends.

At the ripe age of 14, I lost my very best friend. Then, I only thought people who were older than me lost their friends. My heart and mind didn't know how to handle that level of loss. From that day on I knew life was both fragile and unpredictable.

18. You don't "get over" loss.

This may sound pessimistic, but I've learned that it is true. I never got over the loss of my best friend or my grandfather. Instead, I simply learned to live with it. I believe that you just become numb to that missing part in your life, you don't fully "get over it."

19. American is beautiful, but so is the rest of the world.

I've always been told that America is the greatest country in the world. Believe what you may, but some of the most mesmerizing places I've been, have been outside of our borders. The world is full of magic and learning opportunities, you just have to be brave enough to go there.

20. If you want to know how people truly see you, ask a primary school student.

Working with kids brings me joy every single day. They are some of the most creative, insightful and truthful (nice or not) people you will meet. They will tell you if you're a good teacher, if you dress nicely, if your hair needs cutting, or even if your makeup is a little of that day. The best part about it is, its hard to be offended by a toothless smile and a sweet laugh.

21. Find you at least one person to motivate you daily.

Whether that be a boy or girl friend, a best friend, or a parent, you need that person. Someone to encourage you to eat right, go to the gym every now and then, and do your homework (even though you think your grade can handle one missing assignment). We all need someone.

Granted, I didn't gain all of life's knowledge by the age of 21, but I do feel like I have some good points to share. Life is a process that teaches us lesson daily. Sometimes you just have to sit back and take it all in.

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

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