14 Things I Wish I Learned Before I Turned 20

14 Things I Wish I Learned Before I Turned 20

It would've been cool to know all of these things a little sooner.

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Being a 20-year-old can be described in one word: confusion. I've learned a lot since graduating from high school, but I definitely didn't learn everything.

1. How to keep your gas/electric bills down

I had been living in an apartment for four months before I turned 20. It took me about that long to understand that no, I cannot keep the lights on, and no, keeping the apartment cold until I'm cold and then jacking up the heat does not save me any money.

2. How to cook vegetables to make them...edible

I'm finally starting to understand the concepts of roasting and seasoning. I can cook carbs and proteins just fine, but vegetables had been a mystery to me until recently (thanks Pinterest!).

3. How to grocery shop without spending $50 each trip 

SHOP. SALES. ONLY.

4. How to keep myself from gaining 10 pounds of pasta weight

True story: from August to December of 2018, I really did gain a ton of weight because I thought it was okay to eat noodles every night. It isn't. Now I have to learn to cook real food...how tragic.

5. How to establish and maintain a good gym routine

I always thought that any sort of exercise was good exercise, but that's not true. One trip to the gym a month does next to nothing. I finally realized that you need to keep going if you want to see any results. That seems obvious, but a lazy girl's mind will convince her to believe anything.

6. How to care less about other people's opinions

This one is still a work in progress, but the longer I spend in college existing mostly by myself, the less I care about the opinions of my peers. Social media is slowly losing its appeal to me, and yes, I will show up to class looking like I just rolled out of bed, because I did. No cares given.

7. How to practice my hobbies without feeling bad about how bad I am at them

I really enjoy painting and drawing, but I've always felt discouraged when I have this vision of a painting in my mind that doesn't quite turn out. I'm starting to get over this, because how am I going to get better if I never try?

8. How to drink enough water every day

This is a REALLY new revelation -- like, a week old from the time this is written. A good cup with a (reusable!) straw makes drinking water so much easier. And Crystal Light. That helps too.

9. How to distance myself from people who are bad for me

I have zero tolerance for people who don't add anything to my life. I've always felt mean or rude about cutting people out, but honestly, surrounding yourself with only the best people will ultimately make you feel like the best person. I wish I had learned this so much sooner.

10.  How NOT to binge watch a season of my favorite show in one sitting 

....I still have my moments of weakness, but I'm getting better. I can now watch "American Horror Story" one episode at a time, for the most part.

11.  Expensive makeup is not always better than cheap makeup

There are definitely some products I can't buy from a drugstore, but there are a ton of great quality products that cost just a few dollars. I spent so much money on expensive highlighters and mascaras and concealers when there's drugstore makeup that works just as well, if not better.

12.  How to budget responsibly 

This was a hard-learned lesson. I went absolutely broke buying Christmas presents for all of my loved ones, and it made me realize that I really need to have a separate savings account for short-term things set up. That's how you'll catch me budgeting in 2019.

13.  How to save money

I've always been the type to put half a paycheck away and leave myself no money after my bills were paid. This always ends inefficiently -- I have to steal money from my savings to afford to live. I've learned now that saving a smaller amount, like $50 a paycheck, is a much more efficient way to save when you're only working part-time.

14.  How to show my people I love them without buying them ridiculously expensive gifts for every occasion 

Quality time + experiences > expensive gifts. Christmas cleaning out my bank account definitely forced me to learn this.

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The Truth About Young Marriage

Different doesn't mean wrong.
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When I was a kid, I had an exact picture in my mind of what my life was going to look like. I was definitely not the kind of girl who would get married young, before the age of 25, at least.

And let me tell you, I was just as judgmental as that sentence sounds.

I could not wrap my head around people making life-long commitments before they even had an established life. It’s not my fault that I thought this way, because the majority opinion about young marriage in today’s society is not a supportive one. Over the years, it has become the norm to put off marriage until you have an education and an established career. Basically, this means you put off marriage until you learn how to be an adult, instead of using marriage as a foundation to launch into adulthood.

When young couples get married, people will assume that you are having a baby, and they will say that you’re throwing your life away — it’s inevitable.

It’s safe to say that my perspective changed once I signed my marriage certificate at the age of 18. Although marriage is not always easy and getting married at such a young age definitely sets you up for some extra challenges, there is something to be said about entering into marriage and adulthood at the same time.

SEE ALSO: Finding A Husband In College

Getting married young does not mean giving up your dreams. It means having someone dream your dreams with you. When you get lost along the way, and your dreams and goals seem out of reach, it’s having someone there to point you in the right direction and show you the way back. Despite what people are going to tell you, it definitely doesn’t mean that you are going to miss out on all the experiences life has to offer. It simply means that you get to share all of these great adventures with the person you love most in the world.

And trust me, there is nothing better than that. It doesn’t mean that you are already grown up, it means that you have someone to grow with.

You have someone to stick with you through anything from college classes and changing bodies to negative bank account balances.

You have someone to sit on your used furniture with and talk about what you want to do and who you want to be someday.

Then, when someday comes, you get to look back on all of that and realize what a blessing it is to watch someone grow. Even after just one year of marriage, I look back and I am incredibly proud of my husband. I’m proud of the person he has become, and I’m proud of what we have accomplished together. I can’t wait to see what the rest of our lives have in store for us.

“You can drive at 16, go to war at 18, drink at 21, and retire at 65. So who can say what age you have to be to find your one true love?" — One Tree Hill
Cover Image Credit: Sara Donnelli Photography

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For The Older Sister Graduating College, You Made It

My best friend is going into the real world, and I am going to miss more than just stealing her clothes.

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My sister is graduating from the same school I just started attending. Slowly, while I was distracted by my own life, she started moving on from being an adult in training to paying rent and having a wardrobe of professional clothes. While I was worrying about homecoming, prom, and then college acceptances, she had midterms and internships. Now that I am finally understanding why she would FaceTime met at home at midnight while she was in college and say it wasn't even late, she is going through interviews and planning her life after graduation.

Nobody is your bigger fan than your younger sibling. So, to my sister, though I will never quite catch up to you in age, I know how hard you have worked and can't believe the places my best friend will be going.

When we were younger, there was nobody I wanted to be more like than my older sister. I took what you said as fact unless you were saying I couldn't have something of yours. I bragged about things you did to my friends; I may even still do that now. As we got older, you bravely assumed the role of doing all the firsts, then helping show me the way. The first one to get her wisdom teeth out, the first one to take the challenging classes, the first one to go on a trip by herself, and now the first one to go into the real world.

Even now, you were the first person I texted when I couldn't think of anything to write about for my article. We are different people; I show my worry and reach out to others when I need help, and you show the first-born preference to solve your own problems and not let on when something isn't easy. I am so fortunate to have my best friend just a few blocks away. And I know we are both busy, but you couldn't tell by the number of times we run into each other in a Starbucks. While you are trying to arrange for a career and tie up knots on a college degree, you also give me advice on housing on campus. You have also helped me through my college experience, all the while accomplishing so much on your own.

No matter where you end up (somewhere telling someone to do something), I will be proud of you, even if all I am saying is a rant about my own problems. I feel a little bit more put together when I am wearing one of your sweaters that is more fashionable than my own and a little bit more confident having a role model off doing incredible things.

So good luck, though I know you won't need it because you have trailblazed your way through our world and are the best-dressed and educated big sister a girl could have.

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