20 Things I Learned When I Was 20

My 20th year was probably the most trying year of my life. However, I learned a lot about myself and discovered a ton of things that I think everyone might benefit from knowing before having to learn them the hard way. Here are 20 things I learned when I was 20—just so you know what you’re getting into.

1. You're supposed to be selfish.

Please take this as literally as possible. At the end of the day, it’s okay to do whatever is in your best interest.

2. You have enough time to do everything.

I live and die by my planner (it’s a Virgo thing) so this was hard for me to understand. As soon as I realized that all I had to do was make the time, it was easier for me to fit everything in. There were even two months where I took a break from social media; you’d be surprised by how much time you save when you don’t waste it on scrolling.

3. Friends are nice, but they're not a necessity.

It took going through a breakup alone for me to truly understand that while it’s ideal to have a squad, you can do anything solo.

4.  Makeup is great, but so is your face.

GIRL. I know that new Fenty just came out but hear me out! I went from doing a full face every single day with baking and lashes to rolling out of bed and just filling in my brows and maybe throwing on some mascara (a no makeup day will always have the brows—don’t fight it). Granted I learned this one because of the funk I was in post-breakup; it was something that I came out favoring. But some days, I was getting as much as an entire extra hour of sleep. Plus, there’s nothing greater than feeling confident with or without a full face of makeup.


Okay so you nixed the NYX , great. I invested in a $15 dupe of the Clarisonic. From there, I experimented with face washes and oils that best fit my skin. I went from just washing my face with a makeup wipe every night to deep cleansing, sometimes twice a day. Your girl even got into toning. *cue the ooh’s and ah’s*.

Photo courtesy of Karina Lee

6. If you want it, you can get it.

I bought a car! Not just a point A to point B car, but a truck that I actually love (if you were wondering, her name is Penelope). I want to stress that if you want something badly enough, you will work to get it, and it is possible.

7. Your palate changes, so try it again.

Basically, I’ve graduated from the Spaghetti and Meatballs at Olive Garden to the Chicken and Shrimp Carbonara, and I’ll even eat my soup like the adult that I am. The point is, just try something new because you might love it. I use to avoid seafood at all costs, but all of a sudden I love shrimp?

8. Doing well in school is rewarding.

To this day, one of my greatest accomplishments is making the Dean’s List.

9. Buy the shoes.

I told myself that I was going to go full Whitney Simmons and splurge on a pair of Adidas NMDs  and you bet your girl bought a pair. While saving money to deck out my dorm room, I put a little bit aside here and there was eventually able to fork over the $160 and just buy the shoes.

10. You have time to pamper yourself.

Up until this semester started, aside from the gym, the only consistency I had in my life was getting a fill faithfully every two weeks. Monday morning, bright and early, I was at my nail salon and the first week of every month I dedicated to a pedicure. Find something that allows you to wind down and enjoy the simple things.

11. Take initiative.

After so many months of saying I was going to start working out consistently and I was going to take care of my body I finally got off my butt, and let me tell you, it was AWESOME.

12. Speak up.

It’s easy to change your ideas, and that’s totally okay, but it took me making an entire friend group and losing them in one summer to realize that if you believe something isn’t right, speak on it! Be fierce and don’t let anyone walk all over you!

13. Quit your job if you don't love it.

I had the world's worst boss, and I went from working a job that I loved for three years to literally loathing going into work every day. There were some days where I would call my dad during my shift and just cry because I wanted to quit so badly, but I was too afraid of the instability. Yet, here’s the situation: I quit my job on a Friday and I had a new one by that Monday. It wasn’t the end of the world, and here I am, a year later, still doing something I love. Take the chance.

14. There’s a lot of things you don’t need.

Like I mentioned a little earlier, I ended up taking a break from social media for a couple of months. After a while, I realized it wasn’t something I needed and, in the end, I think it made me a better person. I finally had time to do everything I wanted to do and I ended up having the best second semester to date (making the Dean’s List of course).

15. It’s okay to say “no”.

This is super self-explanatory and it goes along with being selfish. It’s okay to spend some nights alone. Turning down plans isn’t the end of the world.

16. It’s okay to sleep in.

Sometimes I forget this. My whole life I’ve been to so use to moving 24/7, but one day I didn't set an alarm and I woke up at noon, worked out at 3pm, and ate dinner at 8pm. It was a perfect day. Your body needs that.

17. You're allowed to be busy.

*Inserts my own tweet because no one says it better than I do*

Tweet from Karina Lee’s Twitter Account

18. You don't have to explain yourself to anyone.

No, because no, and that’s that. You don’t need a reason for feeling some type of way and your feelings are valid no matter what. End of story.

19. Your body can do AMAZING things.

I hate to keep coming back to this (but not really). Weightlifting changed my life! Whitney Simmons changed my life! High Intensity Interval Training changed my life! I took control and I changed my own life! This was all in the span of 4 months.

Photo courtesy of Karina Lee

20. Don’t take yourself too seriously.

Smile. Be happy. Be excited. Be sad. Be different. Most of all, be still, and know that 21 is right around the corner.

Rep image courtesy of Pexels