20 Things I Learned Being 20
This is the last day that I will be 20 years old. That’s right- the big 21 comes tomorrow. I’m so excited to begin this new year of my life, I can only imagine the adventures that it will take me on. But, before I get to start making the most of all whole new year, I want to take these last few hours of being 20 to be thankful for all of the amazing life lessons I learned this year.
I feel like I experience so much in each year of life and I’m always learning new things- but I would argue that in this past year I’ve grown the most. So, here are 20 things I learned being 20!
1. Take your time choosing a career path
When I was 18 and began college I was sure that I wanted to become a surgeon one day. Two months into Bio 101 and I was no longer sure of anything. I spent the next year switching my major multiple times and a month after my 20th birthday I declared a Communications major that I have been dedicated to since. Now, I have a few different career interests but no definite path. It’s completely okay to be unsure and explore your options before settling just because you think you have to.
2. Never go cheap with hair care
Don’t judge me but up until a week ago I frugally purchased a drug store brand of shampoo and conditioner costing no more than $10. It seemed to work fine. Key word: “seemed”. Recently I was in the hair salon bleaching my hair to ashy blonde. It was all wrapped up in foil when I casually mentioned to my stylist that my head felt hot and she looked at me like I was insane. She immediately began rinsing my hair out because it was literally smoking. It turned out to be a chemical in that shampoo. From that moment I vowed to always spend a little extra for good hair care. There’s many things to save money on in life, risking your hair falling out is not one of them.
3. Love yourself before loving someone else
This was a difficult one. I spent the last few years convinced that I needed a boyfriend and simultaneously feeling not good enough for one. A few months into being 20 I stopped focusing on wanting a boyfriend and started solely focusing on making myself happy. It was only when I was fully okay with being alone that I stumbled upon the love of my life.
4. Eat the damn cookie
Just do it. That one cookie will not affect your health or weight in the long run. But it will make you feel happy and satisfied.
5. Take risks, no matter how small.
This past summer my best friend met two guys and set up a double date for us. I did not want to go. It was out of my comfort zone and I wasn’t up to it. But, something hit me and I figured, “what the heck?” If it was a bad experience I would move on and laugh about it for years to come. Now, one of those guys is my boyfriend and I had the best summer of my life. Whether it’s going sky diving, going on a blind date, or trying out a new hair color- do it. You grow from every new experience you have. It’s better to regret doing something than it is to wonder what if.
6. Don’t be afraid to spend money, but remember to save it too.
I am a firm believer in the “treat yourself” mantra. A little retail therapy always makes me feel better when I’m feeling down. I also believe that spending money on experiences like going out to eat and traveling provide more than saving a few extra bucks. With that being said, I am also the worst saver in the world. There’s no harm in spending some money to buy something you like or have a fun night out but remember to always put a little bit away too.
7. Stop chasing people.
It took me a very long time to learn this one. If someone wants to be in your life, they will be- it’s that simple. I am known for trying to make plans with friends that seem to always have an excuse and never reach out first. It may have taken me a little extra time but I finally realized that maybe I should stop chasing people to be in my life.
8. Social media isn’t everything.
For about a month now I’ve been on a social media detox. That’s right- no Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, oh my. In the beginning of the current semester I decided to try to make it until the end of the semester without using social media to better focus on school work and this blog. If I’m being honest, I did not think I would last more than a week. But here I am, going strong and encouraging everyone to try the detox. I’ve found myself being so much more productive and relaxed without silly Facebook videos and celebrity drama swirling in my head the majority of the day.
9. Don’t have everything planned out
It would be awesome if we could all know what career we’ll end up in, where we’ll settle down, and how many kids we’re going to have. But things can change unexpectedly and life takes all sorts of twists and turns that you’re never exactly prepared for. Instead of trying to have everything figured out why not just enjoy the ride and take things as they come? It makes life much more exciting in the long run.
10. Be independent
Maybe it’s just my introvert side but I spend so much time alone and I love it. I have friends that can’t imagine sitting in a coffee shop or strolling around Target by themselves (some of my favorite pass times). One of the best things about going to college and living on your own for the first time is the independence that comes with it- embrace that.
11. Most friendships right now are temporary, and that’s okay
A few years ago I read a quote somewhere that said “from ages 16-22 you meet a lot of temporary people”. When I became friends with my entire floor freshman year of college and they were the people I spent 90% of my time with, I didn’t want to believe this. Fast forward two years and I only talk to two of those people. I was sad over the realization of this at first but I understand now that each of these people brought something special to my life and I will forever cherish the memories we have together, but life goes on and we keep moving with it.
12. You’ll know real love when it comes
I’m not even sure how to explain this one. But, just believe me that when you find true, authentic love you won’t have to question it.
13. Unless it’s vital, stop doing things that make you unhappy
There are so many mundane tasks that you’re going to have to do in your everyday life that are necessary, so when something unnecessary is making you miserable or doing any less than making you truly happy, stop doing it.
14. Do everything you do with passion
There is no sense in doing anything if it’s not something you are extremely dedicated to and enthusiastic about. Every part of your life should be something that is making you a better person or bringing you happiness. Don’t do things just to do them, do them because you care.
15. Prioritize your mental health
Before school, work, and any other part of your life make sure that your mind is free and healthy- it will make you better at everything else you do. There are some days that I know I will be of no help to myself or anyone else by sitting in class or going to work; when that happens I choose to put my mind first. Mental health days are a must in surviving life.
16. Learn everything you can about yourself
I am always trying to understand myself in different ways. Last year I became obsessed with Myers-Briggs personality tests (if you don’t know what that is, go learn about it here!) No one will ever know you better than yourself and that’s such a beautiful thing- take advantage of it and learn all that you can about the person that you are.
17. Getting up early really does make your day easier
Seriously. I know it doesn’t seem like a fun thing to begin trying but it truly makes all the difference in your productivity and happiness.
18. Read more
I’ve always been an avid reader- mostly of Young Adult novels (and I still am!) but this past year I have learned how important it is to read everything. Newspaper articles, essays, blogs- they all have so much information to educate yourself with, and most of it is entertaining too!
19. Bad love is not better than no love
This one was more of an on going process to learn. But, it is also the most important thing I could have learned this year. Never make yourself little, especially when it comes to relationships. Never give your time, effort, and love to someone that does not fully return it. Being on your own is much better than settling for bad love.
20. Cherish the age that you are
Whether it’s 14, 21, or 40 each year of your life holds so much importance. It honestly feels like yesterday that I was celebrating my 20th birthday, the time has absolutely flown by. While I am extremely excited to begin this next year of my life I want to fully appreciate and cherish the age that I’m leaving. After all, I’ll never be 20 again.