Twenty Things I’ve Learned Before Turning 20

With my birthday just around the corner, I decided to take some time to myself and journal important life lessons I’ve learned during these past two decades of life. Here’s a list of 20 of them.

  1. 1. Passion fuels purpose.

    Find something you are passionate about. It can be an activity, such as traveling, or a cause, such as empowering women. Finding your passion will give you the drive that you need to not only succeed in life, but get through each day.

  2. 2. Mental health is just as important as physical health.

    College can be tough and I would be lying if I said it hasn’t taken a toll on my mental health. Your mind is the only place you will be spending your whole life living in, so do take good care of it. Always remember that if you do need help with respect to mental health, UMKC offers counselling services.

  3. 3. Sip water from your Hydroflask.

    If you know me, I love a good bean juice that tastes like chocolate because it makes me go fast. However, it is important to stay hydrated. With days filled with classes and work, it can be easy to neglect your body’s needs. Being hydrated allows your body to perform at its highest level.

  4. 4. There is more to life than social media.

    This is pretty amusing coming from me, considering I am a person who takes pride in ensuring my Instagram feed is as aesthetic as possible. However, it is important to take a step back and realize that the number of likes on a picture do not matter. What matters more are the memories behind each picture. At the end of the day, do what makes you happy. Engage with social media in a way that allows you to express who you are without seeking validation from others. 

  5. 5. Home does not have to be a place.

    Personally, I define home as being able to feel emotions such as warmth and comfort. I feel like I am at home when I am spending time with my friends or when I am talking to my mom on the phone. Embodying the concept of home being a feeling will definitely make the college experience easier.

  6. 6. Spend money on experiences, not things.

    Experiences become a part of our identity and shape us into who we are. However, material items only bring momentary joy, which pales in comparison to the feeling you get when you reminiscence about a spring break trip. There is always something to take away from experiences, whether it is a sense of purpose or learning more about ourselves and the world we live in.

  7. 7. Alone time is crucial.

    It is important to recharge yourself with some alone time. The beauty of alone time is that you get to decide how little or how much you need it. I’ve started to set aside 10-15 minutes a day to reflect and journal about my feelings, which has allowed me to understand myself more.

  8. 8. Confidence is key.

    Being confident in myself, both physically and mentally, has taught me to love myself more and feel more empowered. However, it is important to note that being confident does not happen overnight. It is okay to take small steps daily. Don’t put yourself down if you don’t feel confident on a certain day. We all have days where we don’t feel like the best versions of ourselves and that’s okay. Take a deep breath and try again tomorrow.

  9. 9. Embrace your mistakes.

    I can safely say that I’ve made mistakes in life, but I’ve learned to embrace them. Every choice I’ve made up till today has made me into the woman I am and I am truly grateful for that. So, do not beat yourself up over the mistakes you’ve made in the past. Instead, own the fact that you made those decisions in the past because you deemed that they were right at that point of time.

  10. 10. Don’t be afraid of change.

    When I first started college, I was a Biology major on the Pre-Medicine track and was certain I would stick with it over the next four years. But, at the start of sophomore year, I realized that it wasn’t the right fit for me. Instead, I wanted to be able to tap into both of my passions for the arts and the sciences and do a double major. I initially felt uncomfortable switching majors because I felt that it portrayed that I was indecisive. But deep down, I knew it was the right thing to do, as it would make me happy. This taught me that as much as you plan, things can change and the best thing you can do is adapt or modify your goals accordingly.

  11. 11. Never compare yourself to anybody else.

    All of us are on different journeys and it is simply unfair to yourself if you spend hours wishing you were somebody else. You are here for a reason and your journey will be no where identical to anybody else’s. The only thing you can do is embrace your life and work on improving yourself.

  12. 12. Show people you care about them.

    I love expressing care towards others, as it shows that I do not take them for granted. It is very easy to focus on ourselves when we are busy but it takes less than two minutes to text someone and ask them how they are doing. This might seem like a small action but can actually make their day.

  13. 13. You can give someone a second chance or ask someone for one…

    As people, we are constantly figuring ourselves and what core values we should implement in our lives. If someone wrongs you but seeks for forgiveness later on, it is okay to accept it and give them a second chance.

  14. 14.  … but be careful.

    However, you do need to take a step back and acknowledge if they are continuing to perpetuate the toxic behaviors that they’ve displayed in the past and end things again. Life is too short to hold grudges but, at the same time, it might be necessary to do so.

  15. 15. Always keep a tub of Ben & Jerry’s in your fridge.

    Ice cream is always good, whether you want to celebrate after getting an A on a quiz or need comfort food. I think Ben & Jerry’s does the best ice cream, but I might be saying that because of the values that the company upholds are truly remarkable.

  16. 16. It’s better to try and fail than to never try at all.

    It is a well-known fact that humans are afraid of the unknown. For every decision that we make, a little, “What if..?” pops in the back of our heads. But if we let this stop us from making a decision, we will not be living life to the fullest. Being scared of failure means that you will always be sitting in your comfort zone, which will prevent you from growing as a person.

  17. 17. You do not need many friends.

    As a person who is selective of who I let enter my life, I do have a small group of friends. However, I can safely say from the bottom of my heart that the friendships I have with them are genuine and will most likely be lifelong. Having a small group of friends allows you to know someone’s core intimately and be there for them when they need it.

  18. 18. Communicate.

    Communication is important in all relationships, whether they are professional, romantic or platonic. It allows one to be able to express their ideas and feelings. Misunderstandings usually arise due to a lack of communication. However, communicating your needs earlier will prevent situations from escalating quickly.

  19. 19. LUSH bath bombs are simply divine.

    I honestly cannot imagine what my life was like before I was introduced to LUSH. I’ve tried multiple bath bombs but none have compared to LUSH. There’s an array of colors, scents and even shapes and you are bound to find one that you love. I love indulging in a LUSH bath after I’ve had a long week.

  20. 20. Short-term goals are just as important as long-term goals.

    Short-term goals are important stepping stones that will lead you towards a long-term goal, which is usually the big picture. They will help keep track of your journey towards your long-term goal.

The journey to 20 taught me a lot about what’s important to me and what makes me thrive. I hope at least a few of the 20 things I’ve learned have taught you something. Hopefully these lessons I have under my belt will prepare me for my twenties!