May 19th was my 20th birthday. Every year on my birthday, I always get asked the questions like "Do you feel any older?" or "Do you feel any different now that you're *insert age here*?" I normally respond with "No I don't. I feel the same," but this year I did feel a little different.
I realized that I have changed a lot throughout my years on earth, some of the changes I wish I had made sooner. There are things in my life that I wish I would have started much earlier in my life, that would have helped me way before I was 20.
Here are some examples of things I wish I knew more about or cared more about before I was 20:
1. Saving money
This is number one because it is definitely something I regret not doing when I was younger. I remember getting my paycheck in high school and immediately going off and spending it. I wish I could have learned the value of saving way before I was in college. I would never look at the bigger picture growing up, which is an important thing to keep in mind especially when it comes to money.
2. Caring about high school
In the beginning of high school, I was definitely not the best student. I cared about school, but I did not try my best at times. This didn't bother me until I went to apply for colleges and scholarships. I remember wishing I could go back and put in a little more effort at the beginning of high school. I'm not saying caring to the point of constant stress and anxiety, but more on the lines of studying a little longer for that test.
3. Not knowing is okay
The unknown is f****** terrifying in any context. This is coming from someone who loves planning and knowing when and where everything is taking place. I've learned over the years that stressing about the unknown is pointless. You have no control over whatever it is, good or bad. I've learned that accepting what you can and can't control is such an important part of life and growing up. If I had known this years before I turned 20, there would be moments in my life that I would have handled very differently.
This is a HUGE one for me! I grew up in a huge area where politics weren't a huge topic, and I now have mixed feelings about this situation. I am glad that I didn't grow up having a biased political opinion; however, I do wish that my parents were more active in political issues and elections.
My senior year of high school is where I really started to get into politics. My honors government teacher really opened my eyes and showed me just how important the government is especially as a young teenager. She made me realize that the decisions being made by the government today will directly affect me and my generation, and therefore I should be active and vote for politicians that support the same things I support.
I always encourage people to start becoming politically active. I also remind them that you cannot complain if you don't try.
5. Female Empowerment
Over the last five years of my life, female empowerment has been a huge part of who I am. I went to an all-girls high school, so it almost makes sense that women's rights and female empowerment matter to me this much.
This also ties in with politics, especially since in recent news, women's rights are not considered, let alone prioritized. We have come a long way, but things like the Alabama abortion law just proves that we still have a long way to go. As a woman, I think it is important to support other women and give them a voice. Female empowerment is a huge part of who I am, and I am happy and damn proud of it.
6. Makeup skills and techniques
On a less serious note, the way I used to do my makeup was atrocious. I did not know anything about makeup, so the pictures of me and Middle School are borderline terrifying. I would like to think that since that I've gotten a little bit better at applying makeup. It has even become an interest of mine! I love watching makeup videos on Instagram and YouTube. I could spend hours in Sephora or Ulta, and I think I'm finally getting better at matching my foundation to my skin!
7. Skin care
Growing up, I didn't have terrible skin, but I definitely had sensitive skin. I remember certain products would burn my face while others would make my face really red. Instead of trying to do anything about it, I kind of just let the problem go away on its own, which of course it didn't. After years of trying to figure out what was wrong with my skin, I finally have found products that work for me! The difference in my skin is amazing, and I'm really glad I took the time to figure out what was going on. Had I done this earlier, I would have saved myself a lot of money on concealer and probably would have been in less pain.
8. Putting myself first
This one is last because it's the most important, in my opinion. This is something that I'm still struggling with at the age of 20. Putting yourself first in any situation is so important in my opinion. There is something so incredible about helping another human being, but that doesn't mean you should personally suffer from it. There are times where the best thing for you might not be the best thing for someone else and that's okay.
Not to be cheesy, but you do only get one shot at life, and if you spend all that time trying to make everyone else happy, that's not fair to yourself. Making other people happy is awesome, but making yourself happy is equally as awesome, if not better. Again, I'm still struggling with this, but hopefully with each year, I'll grow and improve on it. After all, isn't that the whole point of getting older?