20 Lessons in 20 Years

I turn 20 on the 29th and I’ve been thinking a lot. Honestly these upcoming days have been filled with dread, and it’s forced me to look to my past for relief. Through looking back, I realized how much in my life has changed since I was born. I thought about a bunch of the lessons I’ve learned over the years and I compiled a list of the most important ones.

1. Trust your gut.

Your instincts are usually right. Feel uncomfortable on a date? Leave. Pretty sure the answer is A and not D? It’s probably A.

2. You don’t have to do anything by a certain age.

You don’t have to have anything done or figured out by a certain time. It’s fine if you don’t date until you’re 25, it’s fine if you graduate college at 50. There isn’t a right time for anything.

3. Things always get better, but not always when you want them to.

But they do.

4. Just because you think you know someone, it doesn’t mean that you do.

People can surprise you.

5. You won’t change anyone’s mind if they don’t care to learn.

People that don’t care about what you care about don’t care to hear about it (even if you’re right).

6. Advocate for yourself.

Make that doctor give you a test, fight for your grade if you deserved better, leave people that hurt you. Be your own advocate.

7. Self-care is vital to your health.

Make sure you drink water and relax once in a while.

8. Treat yourself every once in a while.

Sometimes you really just need a thick slice of cake.

9. Seek help for things you can’t work out on your own.

See a therapist, call your mom.

10. No one cares about what you did in high school.

You don’t have to be who you were forever.

11. Make time for people.

Everyone is busy, but you have to make time for the people you love and care about.

12. Don’t stress about things that won’t matter in five years.

That 75 on your chem exam isn’t going to keep you from getting a job.

13. Just because you don’t feel like something is offensive doesn’t mean it isn’t.

Educate yourself and learn from people.

14. Seek beauty.

There is enough ugly in the world.

15. Following your dreams is always hard, but always rewarding.

You’ll never know if you don’t try.

16. You are never too old for things that make you happy.

Watch that Disney movie, reread Harry Potter.

17. Not everyone will like you.

And that’s okay.

18. Just because you love someone, it doesn’t mean they’re right for you.

It’s not fair but it will be okay.

19. Everything happens for a reason, but usually not the reason you hoped for.

I worked with this really cute guy who knew a bunch of people I knew, and thought for sure that meant he was my soul mate. He wasn’t, he was just a really nice coworker that made it a nice place to work, no dramatic summer fling ensued.

20. Loving yourself can be hard, but you have to learn to do it.

In the words of RuPaul Charles, “If you can’t love yourself, how the hell are you gonna love somebody else?”

In summary, I have no idea what I’m doing, but I think that’s the whole point. Happy 20th to me!