Some of us 21-year-olds are getting engaged and starting families, some of us are in college or finishing cosmetology school, some of us are working away and joining unions, but there are three things we have in: we are three years into adulthood, we are legal to consume alcoholic beverages, and we don’t really have it all figured out yet.
However, I’ve journaled down thoughts that I’ve learned over the years and I think they may serve as nice reminders for you all. So here are the 21 things I’ve learned by 21:
1. You’re young — know the difference between being selfish and valuing yourself.
It’s OK to put yourself first, your future depends on it.
2. When you’re upset, mad, or frustrated with someone, don’t start texting them a million things that you’ll later regret.
Take a breather, and call them and meet up with them later. Texting solves absolutely nothing.
3. Forgiving yourself and forgiving others is not an easy task, but it’ll set you free and allow you to move forward with your life.
4. Quality over quantity, especially when it comes to friends; valuing close, genuine friends is so much more important than being surrounded by the masses.
5. Your greatest power is being you, embrace that with everything you have.
6. No matter how old you get, you have to follow the golden rule: treat others how you want to be treated because being kind and loving doesn’t cost you a thing.
7. Make decisions that excite you, don’t make decisions based on what someone else wants you to do.
You’ll end up going in circles.
8. When you put in the extra mile, it always pays off.
The effort will serve as guidance for what the next move should be for you.
9. There are spiteful people in this world that are venomous with their words, but those people don’t deserve a place in your universe.
10. Although there are hurtful people out there, there are also absolutely incredible ones who bring so much light and love into your life.
11. With that being said, you never regret telling people you love them, value them, and appreciate their existence.
Whenever you get the chance to engulf others in your admiration, do it.
12. Enjoying your own company better be on your to-do list.
People come and go, but you’re a constant and when the day turns into night, your mind must be kind to you.
13. You don’t have to be who you’ve always been.
There is room for change and growth and realizations to become who you are meant to be.
14. You aren’t going to be liked by everyone, you’ll be too much for some and not enough for others.
That discernment has nothing to do with you, and entirely to do with the person making those judgements.
15. You DO NOT need a significant other to be whole.
You DO NOT need a boyfriend. You DO NOT need someone to tell you you’re pretty, valued, and worthy; you should know you’re all those things without relying on those words of truths from someone else. You are complete, whole, and enough on your own.
16. Taking the opportunity that fuels your curiosity and excitement is one well taken.
Whether that’s moving, taking an internship, exploring a new country, you will find out new things about yourself along the way.
17. Holding onto rage and anger hurts you more than anyone else.
Let that baggage go and know you don’t have to be bitter.
18. Your circumstances do not and will not define you.
You aren't a statistic, you are a person and you can beat the odds.
19. Sex can wait, but it doesn’t have to; whatever you prefer is right.
Whether you’re in love or looking for a fun time, you must remember to be kind to your body and soul and make sure to value yourself and your sexuality. You don’t have to give yourself away to anyone who asks.
20. Let life take you where it wants you to go, you’ll end up exactly where you’re meant to be.
21. As cliche as it sounds, really, don’t let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.
You are an important and have a valuable mind that is unique, so know you have the ability to stand out and achieve all your wildest dreams. You will fail, oh you will fail plenty, but you just have to keep getting back up and try again.
So if you take anything away from my lengthy list, it’s that you are important, loved, and valued, and you should live your life with your urgency and drive.