Hello, beautiful people! It has been a week since I turned 20 years old, and it’s very hard to believe that I have been in this world for two decades. I thought about all the things that I have been through and everything I’ve accomplished in the 20 years that I have been on this earth. The list of things I have learned is almost endless, but there are certain things that have stuck with me more than others. That brings me to a narrowed list of 20 (more or less) specific things I have learned in 20 years, those of which I thought I’d share. In no specific order, let’s get into the 20 things I’ve learned in 20 years.
1. Life is Short
In the past five years or so I feel as if I’ve experienced much loss. Family members, beloved pets, amazing friends, and the list goes on. Some of these losses are people who’ve had long lives (in terms of human years) and some not even making it to 20 like me. No matter the case, people don’t live forever thus making life short. You never know if you’ll be granted another day, so why not live each day like it’s your last?
2. Do More of What Makes You Happy
This kind of goes along with #1. Since life is short, why wouldn’t you spend more of it doing the things that make your heart happy?
3. Spend More Money on Experiences vs. Things
I’ve always loved traveling, going to concerts, and other extravagant things as well as shopping in general. Unfortunately, material things don’t last, but the memories I have from day two of Taylor Swift’s 1989 concert in Chicago will last a lifetime. I will always love buying clothes and decor for my living space, yet as I’ve gotten older, I’m more apt to spend money on the plane ticket rather than a new bathing suit.
4. Family is Forever
My dad has always told me this little saying, and for the longest time, I didn’t think much of it. However, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve really taken this saying to heart as I spend an immense amount of time with my immediate and extended family. People think it’s crazy that at 20 years old my cousins are some of my best friends, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
5. Self Love is #1
Being a girl in this Instagram obsessed world, I am able to tell you everything I don’t like about my appearance in a matter of minutes. Although this will most likely never go away, I try to counteract these negative thoughts with all the things I like about myself making a mental list of things I could work on. It’s so easy to compare ourselves to other people, especially as young women, so instead of gawking at another woman’s tiny appearance I try to appreciate what I have that helps make me capable of the things I like to do.
6. You’re Not Always Going to be Right
This was one of the harder lessons that I have had to learn. I’ve always been extremely opinionated and willing to fight for what I believe. This isn’t bad, except that opinions don’t necessarily matter when facts can prove you wrong.
7. The Little Things in Life are the Most Important
Just a couple of days ago my friends and I spent our evening put-put golfing and watching the sunset over Lake Michigan. We all agreed that the simplicity of watching the sunset over the water all together was one of the most fun nights we’ve ever had. What about the times where you’re just driving around screaming the lyrics to your favorite songs? Such a simple thing makes me feel so full of life.
8. Get to Know Yourself
If you don’t know yourself when it’s just you hanging out alone, how do you expect to know yourself when you’re in a room full of people? I find it extremely important to know my morals, likes, dislikes, what makes me feel lonely, and more because everybody needs a little bit of alone time.
9. It’s Okay to be Sad
When I was younger I always felt like I had to be a strong person even in the worst of moods. I started to realize that missing people and missing certain times in your life is sad, so if I want to be sad for a little bit that’s okay. I always make sure that I don’t let myself wallow in my own sadness for too long, and talking about it can always help.
10. It’s Okay to Like Different Things Than Other People
This can sometimes be hard for young people, and it was for me. I always liked something or someone that other people didn’t. It took time to learn that just because other people didn’t like it or didn’t think it was “cool” doesn’t mean that I still don’t like it. In the end, it’s not about what other people like because if I enjoy doing something or if I like something then it doesn’t really matter what other people think.
11. Treat Yourself
I am a huge supporter of treating myself. My parents are very good to me, but every once in a while when I’m at school and it’s been a long day/week, I always treat myself with a coffee or a cookie from someplace on campus. I have to be extremely careful that I don’t do this too often otherwise it will become a habit.
12. Just Have Fun
If you’re not having fun why are you doing something? This is something I’ve had to ask myself so much while at school because virtually everything I do is in preparation for my future. If I’m not having fun creating content and writing at school then what makes me think I would want to do it for the rest of my life? Every day is a new adventure where new fun awaits.
13. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
Again, jealousy is natural, especially in this day and age. You know everything about someone based on their social media platforms, so it is so easy to get caught up in what you do or don’t have compared to someone else. This can be things someone has or how they look compared to you. Either way, it gets really tiring for you to constantly compare yourself to someone skinnier or someone with a bigger house than you. You will be much happier and healthier if you focus on what you do have, and if you do want to make a (healthy) change, make some goals. No one was created looking the same or born into the same life, so why are we always comparing ourselves?
14. Just be Nice
Seriously. I can remember some of the worst things I’ve said to people where I was so mean. Nothing makes me feel worse than knowing I purposely might’ve tried to hurt someone’s feelings. You may forget a lot as life goes on, but I don’t think you’ll ever forget how you made someone feel.
15. Expensive Things Don’t Define You
Things are just things. You can’t take them with you when you’re gone. Sure, I love shopping and spending money on things. I also like to treat myself with things, but having nice, expensive things don’t determine who you are AT ALL. Don’t judge how great someone is based on what they have; it doesn’t mean much.
16. A Handwritten Card Goes a Long Way
This is something both of my parents have always stressed to me. We live in a world full of ingenuity, so taking five minutes to write out a “thank you” or a simple “hello” could give someone that extra boost.
17. Relationships Are a Two Way Street
Since graduating and moving to college, it hasn’t been super easy staying in touch with some of my best friends. I can admit that I haven’t always been the greatest at it, even with the technology that we have today, I don’t always feel as connected as I could to a friend. In all my relationships, I find it important to shoot a message to them every couple of weeks or maybe once a month if I haven’t heard from them in a while. I know that peoples’ lives are just as busy as mine is, so sending a little, “I’m thinking of you, hope all is well,” text is a good way to keep in touch with friends.
18. Everything Will Be Alright
I don’t really know how or when, but it just will. Things that were so heavy on my heart for a full week somehow ended up working out. I really have no other answer other than prayer and hope because I promise, everything will be okay.
19. Tell People How You Really Feel
Anyone who knows me might say that I do this a little too much. Hear me out when I say I really am trying to not say everything that comes to mind. However, I still believe in telling people how you feel. If someone hurt your feelings maybe you should tell them what hurt your feelings and why. They might not have even known why your feelings are hurt. If you don’t ever tell someone you like them as more than a friend how will they ever know? C’mon people!
20. Just Be You, and Enjoy Life
Big number 20 is that I love my life. I’m the only person put on this earth with exactly everything I like or don’t like at exactly this age in exactly this town. It’s important to remember that we matter, and we were put on this earth to be ourselves. Enjoying life comes after you enjoy who you are and what you love.
Overall, I have learned more than just these 20 things in life, but these are most relevant to me at this time. I feel extremely lucky to wake up with the opportunities and the love that I do every single day. I have most definitely been jealous of people and maybe been a little mean, but the best part about life is learning something new every day. These 20 things are things that sometimes I forget, but I always come back to them in some way.
Krystal, With a “K”