Although my 20th birthday was a few weeks ago, there are many lessons I learned before the fateful day I left the teenage years.
1. It’s OK to be isolated.
Being isolated does not mean we are physically isolated. Sometimes it means we have a different mindset than our peers. For me, I have become so focused on my future that I set the going out, being wild mindset aside when a lot of my friends maintained that mindset. It has led to a lot of nights where I feel alone. But that isolation has motivated me to work harder for my dreams and has helped me to realize that the people who are meant to be in my life will accept my mindset and be supportive of it, no matter how similar or different theirs is.
2. Siblings always know when a relationship is wrong.
Whether it’s a friendship or relationship, siblings normally can pick out the ones that are unhealthy. Trust them. Listen to them.
3. No one really has their life together. They are just good at projecting that they do.
The number of people who have recently come up to me and said something along the lines of me having my life together is way more than I ever thought it would be. The truth is I don’t and honestly, I never will no matter how hard I try.
4. Asking for help is essential.
We all need each other. There are seven billion other people on this planet for a reason. They are here to help you.
5. Helping others is essential too.
If others help you, you help them. It’s as simple as that.
6. You shouldn’t be who everyone else expects you to be. Surprise them.
You know yourself better than anybody else knows you. Therefore, you should set your own expectations of yourself and stick to them. Don’t let others boss you around and dictate who you become.
7. Trust your gut about situations.
Humans have been blessed with good instincts. Use them.
8. Reusable bags are some of the best purchases you can make.
Not only are you saving the environment, but there are so many uses for reusable bags.
9. If you want to learn, you have to read.
Humans are pretty intelligent humans, especially when we listen and connect with each other. By reading, we understand how everything works better, and we learn.
10. You don’t have to fall in love with people; you can fall in love with small things.
Love is a big word and sometimes love for other people is just not there. But that doesn’t mean you can’t love a nice cup of coffee in the morning or going for runs or smiling at strangers or a whole slew of other small things.
11. Vick’s VapoRub is a lifesaver. So are Panera delivery drivers.
I would never have survived my first year of college had it not been for either of those things or people. Vick’s VapoRub kept me breathing, and Panera delivery drivers kept me eating.
12. Being passionate is essential to finding meaning in life.
Unless you find passion in something, whether that be in a sport, the arts, being around other people or literally anything, you’re never going to find your purpose or your place in life.
13. If you never speak up for what you want or believe in, you will never get it or you will never earn the respect of others who hold different beliefs.
14. Everyone has different ways to find peace and relaxation. Find and understand your ways.
15. Living in fear is barely living at all.
Fear holds you back. And when you are held back, you will never put yourself out there and make strides in a forward direction. Learning to overcome those fears is the only way to live a life of meaning.
16. If you have to lie about something you did, what you did was probably wrong.
17. Telling someone you love them when you don’t mean it is one of the worst things you can do to a person.
18. At the same time, if you love someone, tell them. We all could use a little more love in the world.
19. You have to get out of bed every day, even if that’s the only thing you do.
I’m not going to lie; there are so many days when it takes every ounce of my being to get out of bed and do something. But that being said, even accomplishing one thing a day, such as getting out of bed and brushing your teeth or getting a glass of water, is better than nothing.
20. Be vulnerable.
No matter what people tell you, being vulnerable and letting people in makes you stronger. Being vulnerable allows you to grow in ways you could never imagine. Being vulnerable makes you human, and we are all humans after all.