Two decades of learning: 12 Things I've Learned at 20

Well collegiates, as of October 12th I am officially 20 (shout out to all my libras (#libraszn))- which seriously feels unreal. I am officially a twenty something. 

Like all major events in my life, I took the opportunity to reflect on what turning twenty means to me, what I’ve learned, and how I can better myself moving forward.

I originally was going to make this a list of 20 things I’ve learned at 20. However, that would be drawn out & not that interesting to read. So collegiates, here are 12 things I’ve learned at 20 that hopefully can help you in your life.

  1. 1. It’s better to be alone, than to be with someone who makes you feel like garbage. 

    This is one of the toughest lessons to learn. I know many people who have had to learn this in college. Knowing your worth and having standards on how you deserve to be treated is not selfish. If your friend, or partner is so toxic that you constantly feel like awful about yourself - it’s probably time to let that relationship go. I know it’s hard to cut someone out of your life. Being alone gives you time to get to know yourself and to grow. 

  2. 2.  Being alone isn’t a bad thing & actually can lead to growth

    Going off of my last point, being alone isn’t a bad thing. Obviously not forever, but for periods in our life sometimes we need to be alone. I had a falling out with friends last year, and it led to one of the best periods of personal growth in my life. Being alone allows you to get to know and improve yourself. I got really into fitness, and found writing. It led me to find the amazing friends I have today. I know being alone is scary, but sometimes it’s necessary. Especially if those closest to you are negatively impacting your mental health. 

  3. 3. Let it go - the right way. 

    When it comes to letting toxic things go, you have to do it the right way. Being resentful and bitter does not serve you at all. I have a whole article on this. If you’ve determined that someone or something is toxic, Marie Kondo it. Thank it for the purpose it served in your life- whether it be through a letter or just mentally. Then, go over why you have to let it go, this will prevent you from not going back to it. Lastly, let it go and wish it the best. Having any ill will towards that thing will cause negativity in your life and you don’t need that. This will leave you with more room for positive people and things in your life. 

  4. 4. Stop comparing yourself to others 

    There is so much beauty in everyone. Part of that beauty is how different everyone is. Comparing yourself to other women you see on social media and in real life is not fair to you or that person. Don’t make negative comments about other women either. You can recognize the beauty in someone else without diminishing the beauty in yourself. Compliment and uplift other people. There is nothing more beautiful than self love. We all need to be kinder to each other and see the beauty in everyone. 

  5. 5. It’s okay to say no & stop saying sorry

    As women we are socialized to be nice, not kind. This is something I’ve really struggled with and have been working on recently. Saying no isn’t inconveniencing someone; and you don’t have to drop everything you’re doing to solve someone else’s problem. Because of phones and social media, it is easy like you’re constantly on call for solving your friends’ latest crises. But you’re not obligated to anyone. Realize that you can let a text sit unread for a bit; you don’t have to respond right away. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with unplugging and spending some time away from it all. Sometimes you just need some time to yourself.

    I had a professor who taught me this and it has honestly changed my life: Stop saying sorry. It’s so simple and so powerful. Obviously if you hurt someone or do something wrong, still say sorry. But not for everyone. First of all, I’m the guiltiest of this. I apologize for everything - even if it’s not my fault. Instead of saying sorry, say thank you for understanding. It changes the dynamic of your relationships in such a positive way. Be kind always, of course. 

  6. 6. If you want something, go get it!

    I feel like we let so many oppurtunities pass us by in life because we are afraid of what people think or that things could go wrong in some way. Whether it's an internship, high GPA, or job, if you want something go after it. Do what you need to do to accomplish it and don't let excuses get in way. In life the worst thing that someone could say is no, or you fail. Failure helps you grow. Nothing is the end of world. If you love someone, tell them. If someone hurt you, express it. If you want something, go after it. The worst thing someone can say is no, and there will always be other oppurtunities. Don't let fear get in the way.

  7. 7. Do what you love

    This goes off my previous point; don't let what people think deter you from doing what you love. People spend so much time potraying themselves as something they're not because they're afraid of what others will think. Do whatever makes you happy. It's cheasy but life really is to short to not be doing anything other than what makes you happy. 

  8. 8. The Importance of taking a moment to breathe

    Self care & mental health are so important. I will admit this is something I definitely could practice more, but take a minute to breath. As collegiates we lead such hectic lives. I'm always doing the most. Transitioning into sophmore year balancing being an executive at multiple clubs, school work, and being campus correspondent I had to adjust. I wasn't sleeping, making time to go to the gym, enjoying writing, or being present with my friends. Learning to unplug, and delegate are crucial to your mental health.

  9. 9. Find your people & everyone comes in your life for a reason

    I've had amazing friends and I've had toxic friends. Life is all about finding your people. True friends will stand the test of time and drama. Friends should be there for you and uplift you. It doesn't matter how may friends you have quality is everything. Everyone comes into your life for a reason. Don't close yourself off to people. Some of my best friends are people I never thought I would hang out with. 

  10. 10. It’s ok to get overly excited about something you love

    Everyone has something they’re passionate about. Whether it’s a favorite show, sport, club, or hobby, it’s okay to unapologetically love the things you care about. People are going to judge you no matter what, so you may as well be the most authentic version of yourself. Do whatever makes you happy. 

  11. 11. Adulting: No one else really knows what they’re doing 

    Even if they think or say that they do. Believe me, we’re all confused and don’t know what we want to do with our lives. If there’s one thing I’ve realized, it’s that things— feelings, ambitions, circumstances—always change. So, you don’t need to feel alone in that uncertainty of not knowing what your next step might be. We’re all trying to figure it out. 

  12. 12. There is always something to be greatful for or happy about

    Everyone is really focused on complaining. Social media has bred a sense of self-importance and self-centeredness —the amount of Snapchats or “finsta” posts I see simply complaining about such trivial matters is astounding. -I'm guilty of it too. All too often, we get caught up in the craziness and stresses of our day-to-day lives and tend to resent the mundaneness of routine. This breeds negativity that we honestly would all be happier without. 

Thank you for reading & I hope these life lessons can help you in your experience. I could've definitely wrote more, and probably gotten it up to twenty, but I wanted to focus on the most important ones.

HCXO,

Carly