Remember that time when you were innocent, young, and completely in harmony with how you wanted your life to turn out? Because I do.
Growing up, I thought I knew it all. I remember watching my older family members struggle through their teenage and college years and assure myself that I would be different. I wouldn’t get involved in drama or lose track of who I was and where, one day, I wanted to be.
Well, as you may have guessed, I was pretty naïve in my thinking. It’s safe to say that’ve probably I can now identify that, day by day, I changed in some way or another. I’ve lost friends. I’ve lost a family member, I’ve made mistakes, been reckless and naïve. I’ve trusted the wrong people far too many times and allowed myself to care a little too much about the opinion of others.
I’ve become a hot mess which at the time, didn’t seem very hot at all.
I can say confidently that life can be confusing, full of doubt, self-correction and anxiety. But while I’ve experienced my fair share of difficulties, I’ve come to terms that life is also amazing.
You learn what truly makes you happy.
You learn that new experiences and risk-taking promotes growth.
You learn how to love yourself and others and learn to make more of your relationships.
Throughout my short period of existence, I’ve learned a lot about myself and gleaned pieces of wisdom by which to live.
Below are 20 things I’ve learned the hard way, and hope that my mistakes will become your lessons.
1. Take care of your body
And this doesn’t mean starving yourself to look like the Instagram star whose bikini pictures have been photo shopped dozens of time. I’m talking about listening to your body and taking care of it like you would take care of someone else.
2. But more importantly, take care of your mental health
Let’s face it, we spend so much time at the gym but completely forget our mental health. Our generation has embodied a die-hard, social media based obsession with anything and everything concerning fitness and diet. But what about our mental health? Our mental health is just as important, if not more, than our physical health.
3. Homes are people, not places
Home is where your heart is, and your heart is with the people you love. So stop seeking a place you can call home and follow your heart to the people who could make any place feel like home.
4. Life isn’t fair
You won’t always get what you want and what you deserve. You won’t always get things your way, but it’s never about the amount of times you fall, it’s all about the amount of times you get up.
5. Remove toxic people from your life
You control who is allowed in your life, so choose wisely. Negativity is contagious, so don’t catch it.
6. Be grateful
Like Rita Ora so wisely said, be grateful for the pain, for everything that made you brave.
7. Step out of your comfort zone
Because sooner or later, you’ll figure out that it’s better say “oops” than “what if.”
8. Don’t criticize your appearance
You’re imperfectly perfect, and did I mention unique? So own it.
9. Follow your heart
And while your heart may sometimes misguide you, the heart wants what it wants. So trust your head on the little things in life, but allow your heart to guide you to your ultimate destination.
10. Live in the moment
Allow someday to be today, and embrace every moment while it lasts.
11. Your happiness is up to you
Sorry to be the deal-breaker, but only you can make yourself happy. You can allow yourself to be happy or you can bring yourself down. Stop counting on your SO to brighten up your day and be your own ray of sunshine.
12. If someone does or does not trust you, realize what that truly means.
Trust doesn’t come around easily. If someone confides in you, that’s an honor. Hold on to that.
13. People can be mean
Let’s face it, some people are just plainly born mean. Granted, everyone isn’t always mean, but more likely than not, people don’t care if you are having a bad day. So sometimes, you just need to suck it up and be an adult. (You can eat ice cream and cry about it when you get home.)
14. Family first
They’re your safety net and the people that will love you unconditionally – always remember that!
15. There’s no shame in not wanting to go out
Because sometimes, there’s nothing wrong with catching up with your favorite Netflix show instead hitting the club. Besides, what’s better than wine, Jane the Virgin and a home-made dinner?
16. Drinking isn’t really that fun
You know what’s fun? Going out with friends who you don’t need alcohol to have fun with.
18. Acknowledge the respect you deserve
If your SO or friends isn’t treating you with the respect you deserve, you may want to start questioning your relationship.
19. Express your emotions
Whether you’re an introvert or extrovert, bottling up your emotions will only inflict pain on yourself – I can guarantee it.
Because the world is your oyster. Okay, you might have to sacrifice a few shopping sprees and your casual Sunday brunch, but there’s no education worth more than traveling. At the end of the day, you’ll never regret it when you’re sitting on an island with your girlfriends, sipping on wine, and talking about the rest of your lives.
So learn from my mistakes, and make the most out of your twenties. Because your life has just started, babe.