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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

The month of November marks my 20th year on this earth. I’m not gonna lie, the idea of leaving my teenage years behind scares me beyond belief. But change is inevitable and we have to learn how to embrace it. Through the maddening, happy and occasionally lonely times, we learn more and more about ourselves.

Over the past 20 years, I have learned many things about myself, but I am also continuously learning and struggling to figure out who I am what that means. There is however one thing for every year I have been alive that I can affirm to have learned.

1. The sad moments don’t last forever….. but neither do the happy ones. Learn to flourish within both the good and bad times, you’ll thank yourself later.
2. Acts of kindness are worth a thousand words, never undervalue your ability to reach out to others.
3. Know when to stand up for yourself and when to walk away.
4. Stand firm in your beliefs and values. When something or someone is being mistreated, don’t just stand back and watch.
5. Actively let go of your regrets. Don’t shove them down; confront them, recognize them and then move on.
6. Dress for yourself… not for the male gaze, not for your friends or family…. for yourself.
7. Listen to your gut and your heart, it may know more than your head ever could.
8. Learn to cook, even if you don’t enjoy it, it’s an essential part to life and your health. Learn to make it fun.
9. Healthy eating and exercise are important, but so is your mental health. Don’t sacrifice one for the other.
10. Read and do it often. It can open up a thousand worlds you didn’t know could exist.
11. Be impulsive, be spontaneous, go crazy even if it’s for just a day. It will free you.
12. Dance, sing, paint or do whatever you enjoy. Find a healthy way to escape your mind and body.
13. Be present. Actively live your life instead of just going through the motions.
14. Don’t wait for others to join you in doing what you want to do. It’s okay to do things alone. Never let others keep you from living your life.
15. Go places alone. You are the only person you have to live with for your entire life, learn to love yourself.
16. Travel any chance you get. The world is too big to stay in one place for long.
17. Being “basic” shouldn’t be a descriptive trait. Like what you like and do it unapologetically.
18. You can miss people that mistreated you. But never, ever let yourself go back to them.
19. Do things that make you uncomfortable, that make you nervous. True growth lies outside of your comfort zone.
20. Think of your life as a movie. Romanticize even the little things and tasks you do everyday. You are the main character of your story.

I learn every day in life.

What I know now, I may not have known a year ago at 19. One year from now, I hope to be able to add at least one thing to this list, my 21st lesson. Though I hope to continue to learn, to regret and to live, I know it’s okay to not feel as if I have anything and everything figured out.

Success, experience and life should not be and cannot be defined by age. We are all on our own time clocks with different experiences, struggles and motivations. Life lessons are not always universal, but I hope by sharing my own, you realize you are not alone. And that you too are alive and learning every day.

Mariah Alanskas

Kent State '24

Hello! I am a sophomore majoring in journalism.I love to read, paint, and explore new places. I am extremely passionate about the environment, health/wellness living, and traveling! When I graduate, I would love to do investigative or magazine style journalism.
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