20 Things I Learned by 20
As of two days ago, I am officially twenty years old.
And twenty years is quite a long time if you think about it. That’s 7,300 days of life and then an impossibly large number if you convert that into minutes or seconds. That’s twenty revolutions around the sun. Twenty years spent floating around the universe. Two whole decades under my belt.
So I’ve picked up a few things since August 16, 1997. And I thought I would share a few with you. I still have a whole heck ton to learn, but I think I’ve figured out some pretty important lessons so far.
1. Cherish memories, but don’t live in them. There are new ones to be made and nothing can be done if you’re stuck in places that don’t exist anymore.
2. Don’t ever apologize for your feelings. Don’t ever apologize for enthusiasm. Don’t ever apologize for enjoying the things that make you happy.
3. Keep a stash of dark chocolate somewhere in your home at all times.
4. You are never as alone as you think you are. Keep in mind that there is at least one other person in the world going through something similar to what you’re experiencing right now. And there are also people close to you who may not understand, but will be there with hugs, chocolate, and support anyways.
5. You’re never too old to build a fort. Sometimes it helps to hide from the real world in one made of blankets and fairy lights. It also helps if this fort comes along with a Disney movie screening.
6. There is so much more to life than homecoming royalty and yearbook superlatives.
7. People may think you are weird, but weirdness is what keeps the world interesting. Embrace it and use it to your advantage. (In a few years, everyone will want to be the weird that you are.)
8. Sometimes you will just need to say “whatever” and walk away. You may have a few different words in mind, but in some situations it’s more productive to simply save your breath.
9. Your parents are real people. They have feelings, and emotions, and stories that you might not understand. We all grow up thinking they’re invincible, so this may be hard to learn, but they will make mistakes too. However, this doesn’t mean they love you any less.
10. It’s okay to not be okay.
11. Tea is an absolute lifesaver. Always make sure to keep a cabinet in your kitchen stocked full. (My personal essentials: green tea, peppermint, earl gray, chai, and chamomile)
12. If you’re ever feeling heavy, it helps to write it out. Grab a pen and paper and just write whatever you’re feeling and whatever comes to mind. You will feel so much lighter at the end. Trust me. Also use this as an excuse to buy yourself a nice new journal and some colorful pens.
13. Body positivity is hard. But it’s also important. Try giving yourself a compliment at least once a day. Appreciate your legs that can run, and your eyes that can see, and your mouth that can laugh. Don’t take these things for granted.
14. Make sure to watch a sunrise at least once a month.
15. You can’t get rid of stains in clothing once you’ve put them in the dryer. This will lock the stain in and now your Ravenclaw sweatshirt will always and forever have a splash of english breakfast tea smack dab in the middle.
16. Always treat people with kindness. You never know when someone might need a reminder that smiles still exist in the world.
17. Trader Joe’s has very cheap flowers. Take advantage of this and make Flower Friday a thing. It will give you something to look forward to each week and will make life a little bit more colorful.
18. You can’t let your happiness depend on others. People are unpredictable and often change their minds. This is okay. It’s human. But you need to learn how to be happy on your own so that your emotions aren’t kept in the hands of others and you can be free and independent by yourself.
19. No one knows what the heck they’re doing. You are not alone on this.
20. Be kind to yourself and don’t take anything too seriously. There’s always sunshine just around the corner. And if there isn’t, then hopping in rain puddles is quite a fun pass time.