Say what? Yes, not even halfway through my 20's and I have earned a ton of badges on my lifetime sash. Life is a journey we all take and we must do so in stride.
Sometimes we find ourselves questioning what we are going through, and going through this life thing with no manual is not an easy task. But in your 20's you find you have to write your own manual as you go. Your early 20's especially is a tough time as you are figuring out who you are and what you want in life. Here are some of the biggest things I personally have learned in my early 20's that I find are very important life lessons to carry throughout all stages.
Love yourself. This is definitely something I struggle with everyday, but I have definitely learned that I should love myself first. That's right, love yourself first. We live in such a critical world these days and I know it is hard to do. It is a work in progress, loving my strengths as well as my weaknesses, but it is something we should all do. Because at the end of the day you have to live with yourself, during the good, bad, and the ugly. End of story.
Don't sweat the small stuff. Choose your battles wisely, it can be exhausting to fight every little thing you come across that you do not agree with. A friend kissed your ex behind your back? Your mascara ran during a date? You got into an argument with your roomate/bff/boyfriend/mom over something minuscule? In 20 years none of that will matter... though, it does suck and you can learn from your mistakes. Don't ruin a perfectly good dynamic with someone you love or with yourself even over something small. It will do nothing but drain your energy better applied toward something else.
Cut ties with all the negativity. Come on, we do not need to be with a toxic individual while we are so young and trying to find where we truly belong. Work on yourself, remember to love yourself first. All the negative energy and people are just going to drag you down and hold you back.
Never sacrifice your spirit for someone else. If someone wants you to break some core part of you and change you, you do not have to do it. Many times if something doesn't feel right, it isn't. Leave them behind because they apparently didn't like you for you after all. It is not good for you or your soul to let others dictate your karma.
Say hello to strangers. You will meet many people, and most of them won't even hang around. Coworkers, classmates, ex's, you name it will come and go in your life. There is no shortage of people in your community, or even the world. Go out and meet new ones often and do not be so dependent on a small amount for too long. You never know what kind of connections you might make during your social time. But exercise some caution with this one. If the vibe is not right, back up, re-evaluate and move on.
Keep your circle small. This kind of goes against what was previously stated. That being said, making new friends is important, quality over quantity is of the utmost importance. The best people should be in your close knit group. The ones you can truly count on, the rest you wouldn't drop just anything for.
Heartbreak is going to happen. In the pinnacle of your young life there will me many a heartbreak and boys and girls alike will come and go. Take these in stride, learn from it, let yourself feel. Someday someone will come along and mend all the hurt and it will be forgotten.
Being single is NOT a bad thing. Yes, we all hear it. "You're too young to settle down." but we also hear "When are you going to find a nice boy/girl?" Ignore it. If dating is not in the cards for you, so be it. Focus on you and whatever goals you may have. In this day, it's always who is with who, your business is everywhere. So instead of sharing every waking moment with one individual make memories that you can look back on with enjoyment and know that no one can take that and tarnish it.
TRAVEL!!! Go on small adventures or large expeditions. It does not matter. Admire the stars, hike by a river, discover the biggest waterfall. Have a good time going in the moment while you still have plenty of energy and time. Many of earth's greatest gifts are free to admire. An experience is a lasting memory.
Just remember, there is so much to learn out there and you are a sponge. Take it all in, piece by piece. We all have unique experiences we can pull from. Feel what you feel. Believe what you believe. Love. Hurt. Smile. Live