While I may be only turning 21 years old and not even halfway into my 20’s yet, that doesn’t mean I haven’t learned a fair share of lessons in my life. I’ve learned a lot in the past two decades, which are valuable life lessons that I will definitely carry with me into the future. I still have a lot to learn, but here’s a short list of just a few big ones I’ve learned so far from my experiences. These are 15 lessons you’ll learn in your twenties!
1. Appreciate your loved ones.
People take things for granted every day and don’t know what they have until it’s gone. Love your friends and family around you as much as you can, because not all of us are going to be around someday. We’re getting older. You never know what can happen next, because life is unpredictable and anything can happen in just a few seconds. Life is short so appreciate the time you have with the people in your life.
2. People who are meant to stay in your life, will stay in your life.
Now I’ve had many, many people come and go in my life. There are two kinds of people: those who are meant to stay in your life and those who are simply passing visitors. As heartbreaking as it can be to lose people you love, sometimes it’s life doing you a favor. Looking back now at the people I used to talk to, I’m actually very grateful that they are no longer in my life. You shouldn’t ever have to beg someone to stay, and don’t ever waste your time on people who are only there when they need you for their own needs. Why waste your time banging on locked doors, chasing things, and people that just aren’t meant to be there? If you lose someone but found yourself, you won.
3. Careful who you trust.
Learn to cultivate your circle and only let certain people in. Not everyone deserves to know you. I learned the hard way that you can’t buy someone’s loyalty. In the end, doesn’t matter how much they mean to you, because it doesn’t mean they value you the same. Even the people you love most can turn their back on you. In this world, the only person you can trust most is yourself. Trust your guts.
4. It’s okay to leave relationships unfinished.
Not everything needs closure. Yes, it might be nice to know the truth as to why things ended up the way it did, but sometimes it’s also nice to just leave it. I always hear the words “we just stopped talking” from people, and I’ve definitely had those words come out of my mouth as well. Not every book has a definite ending. Some endings are ambiguous and left open, but that’s perfectly alright because what made the story good was the journey, not the ending.
5. You’re going to end up very disappointed if you think people will love and
care for you the same way you do with them.
We all want to be loved, it’s part of human nature. All we want is to receive the love we give, right? However you shouldn’t have to fight to be loved by someone. Maybe it’s romantic in films and books but in reality, there’s absolutely nothing lovely about it. You can love and care for someone as much as you want but that doesn’t mean they’ll feel or value you the same.
My boyfriend and I tend to joke around and have light-hearted debates on who loves each other more, and it’s just natural to wonder sometimes on who really does love more. However I don’t think love is something you can measure easily. Love is love, and the definition is different for everyone. You should find a love that you don’t have to question.
6. Your happiness is the greatest revenge against those who would love to bring you down.
Revenge is sweet, so serve it with a smile. Nothing gets people as riled up as when you’re happy and not caring what they think. Focus and work on yourself while karma deals with the others.
7. Keep it classy.
Remember that in a world full of trends, you want to stay a classic. How you handle situations says a lot about your character. Whatever is being thrown at you by someone, do not ever stoop down to their level. Show that you’re better than them. As Albert Einstein said, “you learn the rules of the game, and then play better than anyone else.”
8. Time and distance does not limit friendship.
It took me a while to realize who my real friends are, and I can’t express just how relieved I am looking at the friends I have now that stuck with me. Friends come and go, but the real ones stick with you. Even if you don’t get to see or talk to each other every day, doesn’t mean the friendship stops.
Despite the three of us going to three different universities, I’m glad that I can still hit up my two other friends from high school anytime with a simple “hi” and start talking like nothing ever happened. It’s really all about the effort. Time and distance is just an obstacle and if you can get over it, you can get through anything.
9. Let it hurt then let it go.
Whatever has hurt you, it’s fine to grieve about it, but eventually you need to let it go in order to move on. A lot of people tend to suffer because they’ve chained themselves to whatever has hurt them and that is the most torturous thing you could ever do to yourself. Time does heal.
10. You do not owe anyone anything.
Don’t say maybe if you want to say no. You shouldn’t ever have to apologize for feeling the way you feel, or about doing what’s best for you. Do what you need to do for yourself. You are not responsible for other peoples’ happiness. The only happiness you are responsible for is yours and yours only. You don’t owe anyone any explanations.
11. If you want something, go out and get it.
If it was easy, everyone would do it. Work for it. As Scott F. Fitzgerald said, “Our lives are defined by opportunities, even the ones we miss.” You can’t just sit there and wait for something to be given to you. If you take a step forward, you’re closer than where you were before. You are what you say, not what you say you do. In the end, we regret the chances we didn’t take. After all, you’re always one decision away from a completely different life.
12. Stop worrying about what other people think about you.
It’s hard to be confident in a world that is full of judgmental people, I get it. My anxiety is constantly hitting the roof because I’m always worried about what people think of me. Maybe we’re always telling ourselves “I don’t care.” but in the very back of our minds, there’s a bit of tugging saying we do care what others think. However, I don’t think anyone judges you more than yourself. Not everyone will like you and you’re not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, and that’s fine. It’s okay, life is a tough crowd.
13. Know what you deserve and don’t settle for anything less.
Just because dust settles, doesn’t mean you should. Don’t ever settle for less than what you deserve. There’s a difference between what you want and what you deserve. Remember that you deserve to be fought for and if others won’t fight for you, you fight for yourself. You deserve the love you give around to others, you owe yourself that much at least. Knowing what you deserve in life is just the first step in moving forward.
14. It’s perfectly okay to not know what the hell you’re doing.
Nothing will ruin your 20’s more than the constant thought that you need to have your life together. Do not waste your youth growing up. Life is about learning lessons along the way, it’s all part of the journey. You’re not supposed to know what the hell you’re doing. It’s like reading the summary of a book and getting the ending spoiled, which would be boring. It’s okay to feel lost. Aren’t we all?
15. Life goes on.
Whatever happens, life goes on whether you want it to or not. The world will never really end. Your time here is short, so make the most out of it. Let the past stay in the past, and move on in life. If today sucks, make tomorrow better. Time doesn’t ever stop for anyone and all of a sudden, life is a lot more meaningful when you realize you never the same moment twice.
What are lessons that you’ve learned in your twenties!? Share in the comments below!
Featured Image: weheartit
Student in Toronto studying New Media and Journalism. A Virgo baby who has a deep love for tea, getting lost in bookstores, and hanging out in retro coffee shops.