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Wisdom I’ve Learned In 21 Years

With my birthday being April 26, I was thinking about all of the things I’ve learned throughout my short time on this Earth. I’m 21 now, which means that I’m an adult. But I still don’t know everything. Admitting that, however, I believe there are some lessons that are too good not to be shared. 

Open up to others.

I’ve always had a hard time telling other people how I feel. When I’m not feeling the best, I tend to hide it because I believe I’m burdening others with my emotions. However, over the past couple of years, I’ve learned that people actually do care about how I feel. Every day, I’m learning to tell others how I’m really doing because my emotions aren’t bad. I deserve to release them and you do too. 

Don’t judge other journeys.

In society, you are highly regarded if you follow the traditional route: school, university, career, marriage and family. If you don’t follow these steps in this exact order or pay attention to them at all, you are judged harshly. I’ve learned that you can’t base a person’s worth off of the life they choose for themself. Everyone’s on a different path and at a different pace. It’s better to worry about what you are doing to be successful rather than being mean to someone who isn’t the same as you.

You need rest.

I tend to be a workaholic, I won’t lie about it. I still have difficulties maintaining my schedule and taking breaks. But if you don’t get rest, you will burn out. You will get so tired that you begin to have no motivation. Believe me, I’ve been there many times. If you’re feeling particularly awful about deadlines and work, that’s okay. It’s necessary to step away from work. Do what you need to do to recharge and get back to it. 

Your body is your home. Treat it right.

As a student, I used to have awful eating habits. To be honest, it’s something I’m still working on. I used to go hours not eating because I would be too busy working or just too lazy to do anything. I’ve learned that behavior is extremely unhealthy. Lately, I’ve been eating more nutrients and more meals. While I highly prioritize work, I realize that I only get one body. And laziness is not an excuse either because I know I’ll feel even lazier if not properly nourished. The point is that you have to eat. 

Social media is not reality.

Social media has really shaped so much of our world that it’s hard to imagine our lives without it. But life existed before it and life exists outside of it. People tend to only share the good things and it creates an unrealistic expectation of what goes on. It’s important to remember that life is more than the highlights. Life is the ups, downs, in-betweens and everything else that doesn’t get posted.

Friends are the family we choose for ourselves.

We don’t get to choose the family we are born into. Some of us have messy family lives or not much of a family at all. However, we can always choose who we spend our time with. Find the people who empower you, challenge you and love you. Our friends can easily become the family that we never had.

Don’t take time for granted.

We don’t have any guaranteed time here on this Earth. That’s why it’s vital that we always are grateful for the time we have here. Anything can happen at any time. Spend time with loved ones and do the things you love. Life’s too short to not do what makes you happy. 

There’s a big world out there.

Luckily as a child, my parents exposed me to a lot of people and a lot of places. We have always traveled, gone to museums and learned about new cultures. I know that not everyone gets that opportunity, but you can still participate in learning about the world. Whether you do this in-person or online, keep in mind that we are not the only people here. There are millions and millions of things waiting to be discovered by you; you just have to put yourself out there. 

Take the risk.

Taking risks is incredibly hard. I always get scared of being judged or not getting the opportunity I want. But instead of thinking negatively, what if we do get what we want? What if we aren’t judged in a bad way? You have to believe in yourself enough to take chances because if not, life will just pass you by. 

Be in the now.

A part of my anxiety concerns itself with the future. I like to plan everything ahead to make sure there are no ways a mistake can happen. Recently, however, I’ve learned that sometimes I have to go with the flow. It can be more fun that way. I don’t want to focus so much on the future that I forget what I have now because what I have now is precious. 

While it’s weird to say, turning 21 has really taught me a lot about myself. I know that these lessons will stick with me for the rest of my life. And if you read this article, I hope you found something you needed to hear as well. 

Maddie Houx is a senior at the University of Missouri-Kansas City majoring in psychology and minoring in criminal justice. She is a second-year Her Campus member and is also a mentor on campus for students with disabilities. She is passionate about food, advocacy, and her favorite sports teams.
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