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Tessa Pesicka / Her Campus

Lessons I’ve Learned At 22

Your twenties are a time period of personal growth, self-discovery, and new ventures. It is crucial to remain introspective and self-reflect on what you’re learning along your journey to adulthood. As I slowly get closer to 23, I’ve taken the time to look back at some of the lessons I’ve learned over time. Here are some lessons, takeaways, and advice from my twenty-two-year-old self. 

1. Get Out of Your Comfort Zone And Try New Things 

Become comfortable with the uncomfortable. Approach everything you do with an open mind and an open heart. Challenge yourself and take risks. Learn that by stepping out of your comfort zone, you’ll grow so much as a person and what you will gain will outweigh your uneasiness about stepping into the unfamiliar. We usually regret the things we don’t try, so push yourself to do those things you’ve always been too afraid to try. Everything I’ve done that I wasn’t completely sure about initially has taught me so much about the person I am and has helped me gain experience that will later serve me well in the future. 

2. Never Feel Guilty For Putting Yourself First 

This one is a hard one for some people but it is so important for your health and well-being. If you’re a people pleaser like myself, it can be hard to say no sometimes or to make choices as you don’t want to let others down. The truth is that this is your life and we can’t live off of what is expected of us to do. You don’t need to prove to others that you’re committed to something when you know that you are. If you need to take a day off from work or school to recharge, that’s okay and you should be able to without feeling like you’re letting others down. If you signed up for something but later can’t make it because of other responsibilities, it’s okay to recognize that you can’t make it and be okay with the fact that you’re putting yourself first. 

3. Make Time for Self-Care

I cannot emphasize enough how important self-care is. You need to make time to rejuvenate, recharge, and destress every once in a while. It’s important to take breaks and learn to be okay with taking them. Go on a walk, run, journal, or do something that you enjoy that will help you rejuvenate. It is necessary to make time for self-care. As someone who is very “go-go-go” all the time, I’m still learning to pace myself and learn to take breaks to recharge. There is no benefit in overworking yourself to the point that you become completely burnt out. Learn to prioritize self-care in your daily life. 

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Molly Peach / Her Campus

4. Give Yourself Credit And Celebrate Your Accomplishments 

Sometimes we tend to think that we’re not doing enough and as a result, we’re really hard on ourselves. Something I’ve learned is that there is no such thing as too much or not enough. Instead of looking at things through this “black or white” perspective, learn to see what you’re doing as progress. To think that you aren’t doing enough is doing yourself a disservice. In reality, you are trying and you are progressing. Maybe you aren’t where you’d like to be, but you’re working towards getting there and the fact that you are is enough. Learn to give yourself credit and celebrate every accomplishment you make along the way. Whether it’s big or small, it is worthy of being recognized. Be proud of yourself for how hard you’re working. 

5. Find the Learning Opportunity In Every Moment 

Sometimes what happens to us is inevitable. There is no guarantee that things will always go according to plan or work out well. In spite of this, there is always something to learn and gain out of every situation. Whether something ended well or not at all as planned, the fact that you experienced that certain situation helped you grow and learn something new. When I began to look at everything that occurred to me as a learning experience, I found myself living more intentionally and being a lot more grateful. Learn that with each experience comes valuable lessons attached that are meant to help you grow. 

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Arianna Tucker / Her Campus

6. Don’t Rush Through Life 

In a generation where everyone is constantly broadcasting their wins and accomplishments, it can be hard to feel like you’re getting to where you want to be. I’ve realized that at this age, “happiness destination” is very common. We have become obsessed with this idea of doing more and not really enjoying the process. I have learned that living life through a timeline is not only unhealthy but is adding more self-imposed pressure. You don’t need to rush through life to get to where someone else in order to feel like you’re succeeding. Give yourself a break and learn to take things slow. When you live your life in a rush, you miss out on the beauty around you and you forget to enjoy the process. Learn to be present at the moment. 

7. Embrace Change – It’s a Good Thing

We are always evolving and with growth comes change. Change can either be great or extremely difficult to adjust to. Regardless, it is necessary. Change is what molds us and shapes us. Maybe you’ll figure out that the major you chose isn’t really what you want to pursue anymore, or you’ll have to move outside of the state for work. These are all ways in which you’ll experience significant change; you’ll have to learn to adjust to it. Along the way, you’ll learn to embrace it. Change is necessary and presents itself in different ways; but instead of being afraid of it, learn to embrace it as it will help you grow and teach you new things. 

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Nicole De Khors from Burst

8. Gratitude Changes Everything 

Practicing gratitude is a life-changer. It helps to put things into perspective, be more self-aware and helps you stay grounded. The list goes on and on actually. Ever since I became familiar with gratitude while in high school, I’ve made sure that I practice it daily. This has helped me so much over the years and I’ve realized that living from a state of constant thankfulness changes your entire outlook on life. It might not always be easy but it makes a huge impact on your life. 

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Tessa Pesicka / Her Campus

9. Not Everyone Will Like You and That’s Okay 

This is a part of life and is something we can’t control. There will always be someone who won’t like you whether they have a reason for it or none at all. This is completely okay and is normal. You won’t always get along with someone and this can be tough if it’s someone you interact with daily. However, it’s important to understand that you aren’t here to conform to other people’s standards. You’re not meant to be liked or accepted by everyone either. Instead of trying to stand out to someone or get them to like you, learn to be accepting of the fact that not everyone will like you and embrace what makes you unique. 

10. It’s Okay To Not Have Your Life Figured Out Yet 

Our twenties are a confusing period of time. We have to make smart choices as they are what can impact our future. this certainly causes stress and pressure to have everything figured out. Although it is true, this is a time period of self-discovery and learning. I’m slowly learning to be okay with the questions and uncertainty of life. You don’t need to plan out every second of your life, beat yourself up, or compare yourself to others who seem more ahead than you are. Instead, embrace your own journey and learn to recognize that everyone is at their own unique period in their life. Life isn’t a test to figure out and solve or a destination to arrive at, but rather it’s a journey. It’s a journey of self-discovery and growth and it looks different for everyone.

Gemma is currently a senior at Florida International University studying Social Work. She is passionate about helping others improve their quality of life and is a big self-improvement enthusiast. You can often find her reading personal development books, listening to podcasts, or on Pinterest creating boards on self-growth and self-care. She enjoys fashion, interior design, and writing. She believes in a life full of finding gratitude in the little things, human empowerment, and wholeheartedly loving what you do.
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