25 Lessons I Recently Learned That I Wish I Knew Sooner

Between the combination of finally becoming a legal adult, starting college and facing an immense amount of new challenges I didn't even know existed, I have learned so many lessons recently.  These lessons have come from various parts and people in my life.  Compiling this list truly illuminated to me how I wish I would have known them all sooner.  If I would have accepted these lessons to be true and actually applied them to my life earlier than I did, I am sure a lot of things would have turned out differently.  Now that I know them now, I can continue to employ them into all avenues of my life moving forward.

  1. 1. Distance really makes the heart grow fonder

    two different people's arms reach out in front of the St. Louis arch, their pointer finger and middle fingers coming together to make a heart

    Long distance relationships, friendships and family connections suck. While being apart is difficult, it has allowed me to cherish calls, lunch dates, and school breaks to spend with the people I love the most. My heart and mind understand how much these individuals mean to me solely by recognizing how much I truly miss them when we are apart.

  2. 2. FaceTime might be the best thing in existence

    Being away from the people who I was used to talking to everyday was a massive adjustment when I arrived at college. Don’t get me wrong texting, Snapchatting and phone calls are great, but Facetime is the closest thing to having an actual conversation with someone. Facetime has been able to keep me connected with the people I love and who love me.

  3. 3. Family are the people who also want you to be a part of their family

    Kayla Bacon-Love Your Melon Group

    When I was younger, I was always told that “family is forever” and “nothing will ever dominate blood”. As I have grown, I have found this to be far from the truth. The people who reciprocate care and support you give are your true family; it is not a one-way street. Despite what society says, the people who unconditionally love you deserve to be your family. You deserve to be wanted.

  4. 4. Home really is where the heart is

    Dorm room bed with lights

    This was hard for me to accept at first. Home is where you grew up right? Wrong. Home is where your heart feels free and happy. Home does not have to be a place, but a feeling. Home is where you can be yourself without any fear in the world. Home is the place where you feel the most comfortable and loved.

  5. 5. Without leaning on people, you will break

    three women stand together outside. the one in the middle is throwing up a peace sign.

    A support system in life is crucial. I have tried time and time again to tackle obstacles on my own and bottle up my emotions. Let me tell you first hand, it does not work! Being able to cry on someone’s shoulder, talk when you had a bad day or listening to cheesy jokes to make you smile are all needed for everyone. Having people to lean on makes a world of difference.

  6. 6. Asking for help, wanting hugs and crying is brave, healthy and normal

    two woman sit in front of slatted doors. one is wrapping her arms around the other.

    I have always thought that I don’t need to rely on other people to help me, that I can do it all on my own because showing emotions makes one weak. However, this is far from the truth. Asking for help, wanting to be hugged, and crying are all parts of being human. Asking for help are brave, normal and healthy things that everyone needs and is deserving of.

  7. 7. You have the ability to end or repair damaged relationships

    2 women laying on a deck in flannel

    A relationship with another person is a two way street. You are an equal 50% contributor to a relationship whether both parties understand that fact or not. You have complete control to end harmful and toxic relationships with others. You have the ability to end or repair relationships with people.

  8. 8. The people who love you want you to succeed

    two women sit in front of a computer. there are plants on the desk. they are wearing blazers.

    People who genuinely love you want you to succeed by your definition of success. The people who unconditionally love you will do anything to help you reach a point of happiness and health in life. Do not feel like a burden by utilizing their resources and expertise because they want to give you them. People that help feel as though they have succeeded too when their guidance allows you to achieve your goals.

  9. 9. Too many walls make life isolating

    woman posing in business casual dress

    Walls, walls, and more walls have been what people have described my being as. Apparently to get to know me it takes months of intense effort to shatter down my walls. Walls I did not choose to have, but walls that have persisted nonetheless. Let me tell you, they make everything seem lonely and less meaningful. I am relentlessly working to shatter my walls and let people in because the people who love me want all of me.

  10. 10. Trust is everything

    two women sit at the edge of the ocean facing the water

    Trust is needed for a relationship to move past the superficial stage. My own struggles with trusting people have forced many of my relationships to take a longer period of time to grow and develop. Trusting people can be hard and completely terrifying, but necessary. Without trust one will be all alone, something mankind is not capable of.

  11. 11. Needing to be reassured is okay

    two women sit on a swing set. they are facing each other.

    Throughout my life, people of authority have always lied to me when I was counting on them. Inevitable scars have resulted. As I am starting to trust adults in my life once again, I am realizing that it takes a lot to recognize that their support will always be there. Reassurance here is not only okay but expected.

  12. 12. True friends love all colors of you

    three women lay next to each other on a bed with their feet up in the air.

    Everyone has their secrets and their own demons. These can be hard to share to others and especially reveal to friends when forming new friendships. I personally have always feared that showing every aspect of me to my friends would cause them to leave. I have come to understand how irrational this is because if the person leaves me, I should never have called them my friend in the first place.

  13. 13. Saying sorry too much makes it insincere

    Kellyn Simpkin-Two Girls Sitting

    Sorry, sorry and even another sorry are common words uttered from my mouth. This is typically followed by people asking me what I am exactly sorry for or claiming that I have nothing to be sorry about. I have learned that apologizing for things that do no harm ultimately make your apologies less genuine when you actually need to be sorry.

  14. 14. Questions are the seeds to cultivating clarity

    two women talking

    Questions provide answers...most of the time. I used to be scared of asking questions because I thought they were silly or a bother that relentlessly made me suppress my curiosity. Not until my research mentor told me that all of my questions would only make the world more clear did I realize gaining answers also generates curiosity.

  15. 15. Faith can be a learning process

    Meditation

    As I entered college, I was introduced to Badger Cru, a Christian community at UW Madison. Fear and apprehensiveness consumed me at first. I had never been the most religious person, but connections led me to this organization. Throughout the process, endless questions and worries have arisen within me about faith. I have come to understand that faith takes time and will always be teaching me new things.

  16. 16. Standing up speaks volumes about your character

    girl posing in the city

    Too often do people hide and cower when they are the minority, they feel hopeless or fear overwhelms them. Speaking up is one of the hardest things to do. It takes courage, power and perseverance. Being able to speak up to help others speaks volume about your character. Allowing yourself to serve as a platform for something you believe in regardless of the process illuminates who you truly are.

  17. 17. People do not get to have an opinion on what you should be majoring in

    This is a big one for college students. For too long I had people try to live their dreams through me. Instead of being pressured and led down certain paths, I should have been allowed to explore the world on my own. The possibilities for your future are endless and is something you are entitled to. People either get to respect your college major or get to move the hell out of the way on your path to success.

  18. 18. Debate, do not fight

    still from highlighted movie

    People containing different views and disagreeing on things will always be unavoidable. Instead of having these opposite standpoints leading to heated arguments that create a negative atmosphere, people are capable of having calm debates. Opinions here will still be incompatible, but damage will not be done to the people having the conversation. People need to agree to disagree at some point.

  19. 19. Making yourself happy is worth not pleasing everyone

    Woman wearing purple lipstick

    This one has always been hard for me as pleasing people I care about and who need my help above myself is in my nature. In my opinion, I am always my last priority. Recently, I have learned how important it is to take care of oneself. I have come to understand how much truth there is in the statement that to help others one must take care of oneself first.

  20. 20. One bad thing does not make an entire day bad

    Sunset Beach Girl Ocean Water Sky Nature Peaceful

    Too often has my day started with a horrific event that I thought made the entire rest of the day a wash. If the day started off bad, then it was going to be bad the entire 24 hours. Recently, experience has taught me that this outlook has made my days become what I expected, and not in a goodway. I now approach everyday that starts off on the wrong note with the knowledge that this can change completely.

  21. 21. Setbacks are unavoidable, just don’t let them define you

    Everyone has something going on, limiting their potential, impacting their mindset and clouding their view of the world. Do not let yours define you. Be everything you are still supposed to be. Do not lose sight of your goals, dreams and ambitions because of any obstacle. Pushing past these hardships and times of adversity is what actually will define you and illuminate your personal strength.

  22. 22. Relax and breathe because everything happens for a reason

    girl lounging relax 3

    “Just relax.” “Just breathe.” These might be my two least favorite statements in the world. People tell them to me constantly because I need to be reminded that everything will work out. Panic and disappointment might be endured in the moment, but there is always a possible plan for the pain. Relaxing and breathing has made me understand this.

  23. 23. Your determination can take you anywhere if you just work the problem

    Work the problem. My mind always jumps into the future way, way, way too fast. I have realized that instead of making a situation into a slippery slope, breaking the problem into a step by step process works a million times better. Formulating a plan and executing one thing at a time to achieve a result will always solve whatever is bothering you. Of course determination and persistence work too.

  24. 24. Understand that everyone is going through something

    three women standing on the top of a cliff looking down on the water

    Everyone is enduring their own internal turmoil, suffering and challenges. Some might be larger than yours and others might be smaller, but they are all impactful. Children, adolescents, teenagers, young adults, adults and the elderly all have different obstacles posed to them at their current age. Something that you might view as small is a large burden for someone else. Acknowledge this and try to help

  25. 25. Random acts of kindness make all the difference

    Best Friends Piggyback 2

    Holding a door open for someone, smiling across the street or simply saying you like someone's outfit actually brightens someone's day. I have had my fair share of days where everything seemed to be going wrong. Then, someone completed a random act of kindness for me and I was able to say to myself that everything would be okay. Receiving and doing these random acts of kindness make a difference.

This list may be extensive, but I have done so much learning and self-discovery lately. These lessons I have come to learn, I wish I would have known sooner. The outlook they now give me on life is something I will forever be grateful for. I know that I will learn more lessons throughout my life and grow as a person as I continue to change. Approaching life understanding all of these things will not only affect how I treat others, but how I treat myself.