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20 Things I’ve Learned During My 20 Years Here on Earth

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCSC chapter.

I’m going to keep this article like some people use to describe me: short and sweet. These words of advice are written as if I were writing them to my former self. Here are twenty things I’ve learned throughout my time existing on this lovely planet we call home:


1. It’s Okay to Like Popular Things

Whether it’s the color pink, the latest movie/show starring your favorite celebrity, or even the music you listen to, liking popular things is okay. “But I don’t wanna be like everybody else!” Then be yourself, and if you find yourself liking the same things as other people, that’s okay. Whatever you like is probably popular for a reason, and whoever created it is probably appreciative of you liking whatever they’ve made. Also, liking the same thing as other people can allow you to be a part of a community, and feeling included is always nice. It’s ok to like whatever you like (as long as it’s not harming yourself or others) so don’t worry so much about other people’s opinion. You don’t need to force yourself to be an individualist in order to prove how worthy and special you are.


2. Your Feelings Are Valid

It’s ok to cry, to get angry, to feel passionate, and to feel happy. However you feel is genuine, and no, you aren’t faking anything for attention. Feelings don’t make you weak and anybody who tells you otherwise has their own healing to do. Anyone who makes you bad about how you feel is someone you shouldn’t want to spend time around either. But also, your feelings shouldn’t be used as an excuse to act mean and inflict harm on others. For example, it’s okay to get mad and angry, but not okay to use words that make others feel bad about themselves. 


3. You Don’t Have to Like Everyone

It’s okay for you to not like everyone, some people truly suck. Also, when you find yourself not liking someone, this isn’t the world telling you to fix them and make them better. I’m not saying go out of your way to make these people suffer, but you don’t have to go out of your way to fix them either. Ultimately, whether someone wants to change or not will be up to them. Even then, they don’t have to change how they are if it works for them. Your image of who you want to be isn’t going to be the image everybody strives to be, and that’s ok. Morality is relative based on our own experiences and influences, your belief of what makes a good person will be different from other people’s interpretations.  


4. Not Everyone Has to Like You

You little people-pleaser, read that again and let it sit with you for a while. I’ll wait.

Okay, but seriously though, it’s fine listening to the qualms of your loved ones about the things that you can work on. However, when you find yourself shapeshifting into whatever image you deem fit in various environments, you risk losing your true self in the process. It’s okay to take the input from others into consideration and better yourself with the advice you receive from various influences, but at the end of the day, you are the big boss who’s in charge of who you want to be and how you want to better yourself. As long as you like yourself, that’s all that matters; if you don’t then you’re not living for you, and it’d be a shame living an existence that doesn’t make you happy. 


5. You’ve Gotten Through Hard Things

And that’s amazing! I’m so proud of you! Not saying that the road ahead won’t have more hard things for you to get through, but it’s important to take some time to acknowledge the hard things you’ve been able to get through. You’ve made it this far, and that’s pretty damn good. 


*** I’ve written too much and have tired myself, so here’s my non-nuanced hot takes:


6. Not Finishing Something Isn’t Giving Up


7. Like Your Body No Matter How It Looks


8. Don’t Ostracize Yourself From the People/Things You Enjoy As a Way to Self-Sabotage


9. Being Alone is Different From Being Lonely


10. Go Outside At Least Once a Day


11. You’re Always Going to Look Back and Cringe at Your Past Self, So Allow Your Present Self to Do Whatever You Want 


12. Doing Something That Makes You Happy Isn’t a Waste of Time 


13.  You Don’t Have to Be Good at Your Hobbies 


14. Hardships People Go Through Doesn’t Excuse Them From Being Mean 


15. Question Yourself Whether You Like the Outfit or the Body of the Person Who’s Wearing It


16. If Nobody is Doing What You Want, Do it Yourself


17.  Read the Damn Books You Bought Yourself Years Ago


18. The Less You Worry About Your Appearance, The Better You Feel 


19. Stop Ruminating About What Should Be and Think About What Could Be


20. Not Everybody Who Enters Your Life Is There To Stay 


Cake with lit candles
Photo by Ami Suhzu from Pexels


That’s all for today folks! I hope you appreciated my small morsels of wisdom, and if not that’s okay too. No matter your age, I hope you collect your own messages of wisdom as you grow and get closer to the person you want to be. I know I’m getting there. 

Hello! My name is Theresa Bostic but I also go by DJ Terbear for my radio show, "The Shuffle" which plays on Sundays from 2-4pm on KZSC, UCSC's campus radio station. As an undergradute at UCSC, I'm double majoring in History and Sociology with a minor in Black Studies. I love making new friends, baking, hiking, and watching video essays on YouTube.