Young, But Not Dumb: The 22 Things I've Learned In My 20 Years

by Alivia R.

Remember that time when you were young, innocent and totally in tune with how your life was going to pan out? I do. I thought I knew more than my parents did, even though they would constantly remind me that they had lived a lot more life than I had. I remember watching my friend's older siblings struggle through the teenage and college years; I would assure myself that my experience would be easier because I was in tune with myself.

Well, as you may have guessed, I was pretty naive in my thinking. I can now identify that, annually, I change in some way or another. I'm totally different from who I was when I turned 18; I'm even different than the girl I was when I first turned 20 — and I'm still 20!

Finally I have realized that growing up is an unending process. It’s full of ups and downs, trial and errors. Yes — it can be confusing, full of doubt, self-correction and changed world perceptions. But while difficult, it’s also amazing. New experiences and risk-taking promotes growth. You learn how to love yourself and others and learn to make more of your relationships. You learn what truly makes you happy and impassioned. Your twenties are basically all about yourself: take advantage.

Throughout my short 20 years, I’ve learned a lot about myself and gleaned pieces of wisdom by which to live. Below are some items to share.

1. Stop Caring About What Other People Think

Every person will have opinions that other people will judge — it's human nature. Learn to stop caring about what other people think or whether or not they will approve. Just tune it out and be exactly who you are. People will, at some point in your life, talk about you behind your back (and you will likely do the same). It's unavoidable. The best way to handle this is not to let it affect you. Learn to be okay with being yourself, regardless of what others may think.

2. Take Care of Your Body

Eat healthy, but don't deprive yourself. Drink a lot of water and stay hydrated. Take long, hot showers. Exercise with the intention of feeling good and being healthy, not just losing weight.

3.  Don't Worry So Much About The Future

Uncertainty can be scary, but it can also be exciting. Who knows where you will be in 10 years? Just follow your gut and do what you love.

4. Step Outside Of Your Comfort Zone

When there is no risk, there is no potential gain. The prospect of failing is always better than not having tried.

5. Remove Toxic People From Your Life

You control who is allowed in your life, so choose wisely. Negative people and toxic relationships do nothing but bring you down. Surround yourself with as much positivity as possible.

6. Be Appreciative

Remember to express gratitude daily. Be appreciative and thankful.

7. Follow Your Heart And Find Your Passion

No one wants to be the person who wakes up every morning and dreads going to work. I want to wake up excited to go to work; I want to love what I do. If you feel like you aren't on a path toward happiness, do something about it. The only thing worse than quitting is waiting too long to quit.

8. Don't Settle For Less Than You Deserve

Well, this one is pretty self-explanatory.

9. Travel While You Can

Take advantage of every opportunity to travel. Learn about new places and different ways of life.

10. Stop Criticizing Your Appearance

While this is definitely easier said than done, we are our own toughest critics. Stop looking for every little flaw — embrace them. Flaunt what makes you beautiful.

11. Be Open To New People

Be open to meeting new people — and when you do, learn about them. Find out who they are, what makes them unique and how they can enrich your life by simply being your friend. Embrace originality and search for it.

12. Treat Yourself

Just finish a tough week of work? Reward yourself with something you love. You deserve it.

13. Loosen up And Don't Take Life So Seriously.

Live a little. Stay out too late. Party too hard. Try new things. Do something scary. Live recklessly (to an extent). People don’t look back fondly to remember the nights they got a lot of sleep, right?

14. Forgive, But Don't Forget

Forgive those who have hurt you. Learn from these experiences, then take the high road and trust that karma will handle the rest.

15. Don't Be A Follower, Be Your Own Person

Embrace what makes you different and unique. Be who you want to be. Don't conform in order to feel accepted.

16. Live In The Moment

Don't waste your days wishing you were somewhere else. Make the most of every day and stay present.

17. Respect Yourself And Others

Treat yourself with the same respect you expect from others.

18. Don't Depend On Anyone But Yourself For Your Own Happiness

Resist looking outside of yourself for happiness. Moving cities won't automatically make you happier, and neither will a new relationship or job. Looking for external qualifiers to make you feel better internally is a recipe for unhappiness.

19. Let Go, Don't Get Dragged Down

Let go of things that you have outgrown, that don’t make you happy anymore.

20. Stop Comparing Yourself To Others

There's just no point. It's a never-ending cycle in which you do not want to be stuck.

21. Feel Your Feelings

Learn to be one with your feelings instead of running from or numbing them. If you’re sad, let yourself be sad. Listen to sad music and cry it out.

22. Set Boundaries

There will always be people who will try to take advantage of you. Set clear boundaries and don't let it happen.

Photo credit: Blue Devil Tumblr