I’m writing this as a almost 20-year-old (I will be turning 20 in about a month plus a week). I was gonna do “20 things I learned before I turned 20” but I thought that would be too complicated and I have only had this blog through my 19th year so it would make more sense to focus on this year.
1. The biggest thing holding you back is yourself: I had wanted to be a vegetarian for many years but I didn’t think I could do it, I kept making excuses. I even talked about it with my ex and he was like (he’s a non-vegetarian) “yeah, go for it, why not?” and I realized I was the only one holding myself back. This goes for other things too. I decided to teach myself ukulele instead of just wishing I could play but telling myself I couldn’t. Don’t ever limit yourself!
2. Time and distance can make you see clearly: This one is too personal to elaborate on but basically this speaks for itself.
3. Success doesn’t happen over night: This is in regards of me learning ukulele. When I first starting I was frustrated that I couldn’t learn songs instantly and that I could barely form a G-chord. But I was patient and realized that practice makes perfect and while I’m nowhere near an expert, I’m far better than where I started from and I had the determination to learn in the first place.
4. Being blunt and speaking your mind can be crucial: For many years blunt is not a word I would have used to describe myself. I always put others feelings before my own and was reluctant to speak up about how I felt and kept quiet instead of speaking up. This year I learned how to confront people better, share my feelings, and realized that you have to speak your mind or your thoughts will devour you. I’m not saying disregard others feelings and say rude things aloud, but I’m saying sometimes it’s necessary to be assertive and rock the boat in order to keep yourself happy.
5. There are more than 3 sexualities (heterosexual, bisexual, homosexual..yeah there’s way more than that): Not to mention various romantic orientations as well. And it’s 100% ok to feel unsure of your feelings and it’s also 100% ok to be proud of who you are…even if not everyone understands.
6. Getting a job is really hard: People said getting a job was hard, but until I tried to get my own summer job I could never understand the frustration of filling out dozens and dozens of applications, scrolling on various websites, getting job rejection emails, etc. Eventually, I did end up getting an amazing job at a pet resort that I’m so thankful for, but it felt a lot more rewarding to get the job after seeing how tough it is to get a job.
7. Everyone handles grief differently: Some people handle grief by getting irritated over little insignificant things (when their mind is truly elsewhere), some people seem like they have it all together (but you don’t know the thoughts racing through their mind), some people are criers but it’s ok when some people are not. It’s so important to remind yourself that just because someone copes differently than you, doesn’t mean it didn’t effect them any less.
8. You honestly can be friends with your ex: I know people think this sounds ridiculous, some people will never agree with me on this. But I truly believe that with maturity on both parties and under some circumstances you can and maybe your strong friendship compatibility is what truly what brought you together. Not all breakups have to mean cutting them out of your life 100% and avoiding eye contact when you pass by.
9. If you have to force it, it’s not meant to be: First off, two jobs I had an interview to I felt like I was being fake as hell in my interviews and looking back I’m like “wow I so didn’t want those jobs I wouldn’t have been happy!” this applies to people too, if you feel like you can barely even keep a conversation about the weather going with them then they aren’t worth talking to. People can smell fakeness from a mile away. Fake smiles, fake laughs…just don’t try to force anything.
10. I will forever have an urge to be a pet owner: Maybe it’s just my love for animals (which I already knew) but I realized this year that while some people jump from relationship to relationship, I’m the same way with pets. I have this constant urge to have a pet and I don’t feel as happy when I don’t have a pet. When my dog died, I bought a rabbit. When my rabbit died, I bought a fish. When my fish dies..well probably another fish then. I don’t know if this is a problem, but it’s not negatively impacting my life so…
11. You are not your grades: If you’re studying at the library 10pm on a school night and you’re wearing 2 coats and still shivering from a fever please stop studying and take a break. If your GPA is lower than a 3.5 you’re not a failure and you’re still gonna get into graduate school. If you’re sitting in a lecture and you’re feeling like you’re on the verge of crying and or throwing up, leave. I still am in the process of balancing working hard with overworking myself.
12. Being healthier will make you feel happier: I believe anyone can benefit from more exercise, yoga, and eating healthier. I’ve been eating healthier this year and exercising more and my body visibly has a more athletic build which I love and my skin is better too. This year I cut soda out of my diet and I feel way better, I don’t even crave it anymore and without all that sugar I feel grossed out even having a sip of a carbonated drink. My teeth will probably thank me too…I’m not saying cut out non-healthy foods entirely, but I think it’s better to have baked goods for sweets rather than processed sugar-packed candy.
13. Some people will never understand you and that’s ok: I have a pet peeve of someone not understanding me, especially since I have strong passions and beliefs and one of my least favorite feelings is coming across as someone I’m not. However, I realize now that there’s some people that just don’t get you. They don’t get your identity, they don’t get your personality, they don’t understand you or your beliefs and as long as you can find some people who you connect with, it’s ok if others don’t.
14. Get off WebMD and go to a real doctor: This is something I stupidly didn’t realize for many years. It’s so tempting to google your symptoms when you’re ill but you’re likely to get results for all these fatal scary diseases when it’s more likely that you just have a common treatable illness. I got quite sick this year and I thought it was like an infection, the flu, pneumonia, or worse..turns out I just had a month-long common cold. I held off going to the doctor for weeks when I should have just taken care of myself sooner.
15. You won’t feel like an adult even if you’re considered an adult by law: Then again I don’t feel like a child either. I just feel like I’m young and I have a lot to learn in life but I also recognize that I’ve matured a lot. I feel like you don’t all of sudden “become an adult”. Even my mom says she doesn’t feel like an adult haha. It’s ok to not know what your plan is and to still be figuring your life out.
16. There’s a difference between being scared and not being ready: (Self explanatory really..)
17. Your home is in your heart; home is more of an abstract concept, not necessarily a physical concept: Once I realized that home is not necessarily your own house, it’s not necessarily four walls under a roof to call your own, it’s your own sense of wellbeing and your own security and internal sense of stability…this got be through a lot. My dorm was not always a place I felt comfortable. I grew tired of the noise, the clutter, and the strong smell of weed..but having a strong sense of stability within myself got me through it.
18. You’re far stronger than you think: Self explanatory, but next time you’re struggling think of how you’ve picked yourself up and how you were able to keep yourself going when everything seemed to collide.
19. It’s ok to still need a hug from your mom even when you’re no longer a teen: It’s ok to still be childish in some ways, it’s so ok to be having a hard day and turn to your parents for comfort, it’s ok to still sleep with a stuffed animal, it’s ok to not know some “adult things”. Youth has no age. As I said in #15, the transition into adulthood is a gradual process.