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The 19 Things I’ve Learned Before Turning 20

19 years. I have lived for 19 years. I have had more than 19 successes and have definitely made more than 19 mistakes. I have met over 19 people and have probably lost more than 19 also. I have cried more than 19 times and smiled much more than 19 times. Throughout 19 years I feel like I have been on top of the world and at the very bottom multiple times. But one thing that has remained constant is learning. I have learned well over 19 important things in my life. I started off with learning how to walk, talk, and tie my shoes. Now, I am learning how people’s minds work and what human nature seems to be. Throughout 19 years I have learned an infinite amount of life lessons, but here are my top 19:


1. Face masks are always a good idea

I have never once doubted doing a face mask. If you’re bored, don’t want to do work, or just want to relax, a face mask is always the way to go.


2. You learn a lot more outside of a classroom than you would think

The older I get, the more I realize how much I learned from my friends, family, and experiences outside of school. School is important, don’t get me wrong, but if you don’t focus on anything else you won’t find what you’re passionate about or who you are.


3. Sundays are the best days 

Controversial – I know. But, hear me out! Sunday has become my favorite day because I have made it my personal day of rest. In order to center myself for the week ahead, I take Sunday for myself and relax. I’ve spent full Sundays in bed watching TV or studying at a coffee shop and even shopping sometimes. Each Sunday varies but the theme stays the same, I don’t stress myself out and I keep to myself to reboot for the coming week.


4. Coloring is a stress reliever 

I learned this in elementary school and then forgot about it until college. Trust me on this, if you haven’t colored in a while, try it again. It pretty much turns your brain off and calms you down!


5. It’s okay to fail at first, as long as you try again

I’ve had my fair share of let downs, but I’ve learned that you can’t let those failures and rejections get you down or define you.


6. Traveling alone is liberating

Whether you are traveling the world alone or just a new city, finding the confidence to tackle a new adventure alone will help you grow into a better, more independent person.


7. Some friends aren't meant to be forever 

You win some, you lose some! I’ve had friends who have been amazing, but as we grew up we grew apart and I’ve realized that grudges can’t be held because some friends aren’t meant to be part of your life forever.


8. Some friends are meant to be forever 

Some friends are forever friends! There will be people you meet who you know are with you for the long haul! Those friends are always the ones to keep close and stay connected to.


9. Your family is a little bit more complicated than you once thought they were

Families aren’t the fairytales that you thought they were when you were younger. That doesn’t mean they aren’t perfect in their own ways though! You might even find family members that you aren’t blood-related to, but because of your memories and friendships, they may seem just as perfect as a family.


10. There is a song for every emotion 

Literally – there is a song for everything you could possibly imagine! I have countless playlists and songs that I randomly stumbled upon one way or another which all mean something different to me.


11. You will wind up where you are supposed to

Life is freaking nuts. There’s no way around the feeling of despair that comes when you have no idea what you want to do or where you are supposed to be, but everything will work itself out in the big picture.


12. Driving is very fun, but also very dangerous

I remember learning to drive and being out-of-this-world excited! As much fun as my friends and I have had driving aimlessly around, I’ve also realized how dangerous it can be. My brother is going to learn how to drive this year so I’ll just warn everyone to stay off the roads!


13. The best place to take a nap is on the beach 

I’ve taken countless naps and by far the best ones I’ve ever taken have been on a beach. For some reason, if there is sand, heat, and the sound of waves I automatically get put to sleep!


14. Social media is not the end all be all 

As I grew up, so did social media. I’ve seen people get consumed by their online persona, and I have been lucky enough to learn that social media is less important than some people may think. It can be fun and I am definitely addicted to it in some respect, but also I haven’t forgotten to live in the moment and be present.


15. It’s okay to be terrified of the future

If you aren’t terrified, you aren’t growing. Period. End of story. I’ve realized that the years I have grown the most I have been the most uncomfortable through them.


16. Saying "yes" usually makes for a better story

I’m not saying that you should just go out and say yes to everything… but I am saying that if the option is between being bored at home and having a fun adventure with a friend, the latter is always a better option (even if you don’t want to move from your bed).


17. While doing laundry, washing darks and lights together is okay if you use cold water

I don’t know why I was doing two loads of laundry all the time when you can actually just do one?


18. Pickles are great 

This is another controversial one. I get it, some people hate pickles. But I promise they really are a great snack and I can’t trust you if you don’t like pickles.


19. Everything will work out just fine

This one I’m still working on, but in theory, I understand that everything will work out fine. It’s hard for me as a college student to really understand this in my day-to-day life since there is actually something always stressing me out, but I’m getting there!


I’m most definitely not done learning. I’m really just beginning to learn 20 years in! With the basics covered — such as knowing how to brush my hair and how to dress for an occasion and when to smile — I’m just now starting to learn the real importance of life and myself and cannot wait for what the future holds!


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Delanie is a senior at Boston University who loves Pavement's iced tea and the Charles River. She has a passion for writing and is on an adventure to find the best coffee shop in Boston. 
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