20 Things I'm Learning In My 20s
They say your twenties is where you learn a lot, especially about yourself and other people. You lose friends and you gain friends, you go through – good and bad – experiences that can help you grow as a person. These experiences can shape who you are and how you treat yourself and others. But, thankfully - most of the time - you can learn from these experiences.
So, here are a few things I am currently learning and I’m sure there are many more that I will add to this list:
1. It’s okay to cry and show vulnerability – you don’t have to be strong all the time.
Not everyone struggles with this, however, to the people who don’t like to show their emotions (like myself) and seem like they’ve got their crap together it’s okay to show these feelings. You can let your guard down and ask for help when you need it. People shouldn’t expect us to be happy or perfect or tough all the time. I’m learning that most people will take the time to help you with something and not belittle you and its strong and brave to be vulnerable in front of others.
2. It’s okay to show that you care.
Some people aren’t very good at showing they care instead bringing a sense of humour into everything (again like myself), shying away from showing they care because some can find talking about their feelings to be awkward. But you can be genuine about being there for people and supporting them.
3. It’s okay to let people in past the “walls” you’ve built.
“Walls” are the metaphorical shields put up to protect ourselves (some for different reasons) usually because we’ve been hurt before and try to protect ourselves from this ever happening again. However not everyone is going to judge you, tease you or mock you. We don’t have to keep everyone at a distance or shut them out because we’re scared of the past repeating itself. We can let people in.
4. You’re allowed to think about your needs and wants before others needs and wants.
It’s not selfish to do what’s best for you. You can think about yourself first instead of putting other’s feelings or opinions before your own. You shouldn’t put yourself out to make others more comfortable or rearrange your plans to fit someone else’s. You matter too!
5. You’re allowed to voice your opinions.
You can have your say in most situations. If you want to say something about a topic, say it. Don’t let other’s opposite opinion or the fear of conflict get in the way of that. If they respect you, they will respect that you may have a different opinion to theirs. It shouldn’t mean they should think any less of you. Your opinion matters too.
6. You can say “no”.
This has been a big one for me. You don’t have to say yes to something you don’t want to do or you feel you’ll disappoint someone. Don’t let people force you to do something you don’t want to even if they do all they can to persuade you. A lot of people in their teens and early 20s will drink or smoke etc. from peer pressure because their friends are doing it. But you don’t have to do those things to fit in or be accepted or to have fun.
7. Be passionate about something you love and do what makes you happy. Don’t be afraid to do that!
If you find something that you love to do and you’re good at it don’t be afraid to go and do your thing. Don’t let other people’s negative comments or lack of support deter you from what you want to do.
8. Don’t apologise for things that aren’t your fault.
Some people have the ability to make you feel bad for something that wasn’t even your fault. Don’t feel you have to apologise just to avoid conflict or to make a situation better.
9. Slow down. Not everything needs to be rushed.
I think in our 20s we believe we have to have done this and that by a particular age, we should have a good full-time job or a partner by this age or having kids at this age because people tell us this and so we rush into things. What I’m learning is everyone does things at their own pace, do things when you are ready not when you are told to.
10. You don’t need to live up to everyone’s expectations.
I think a lot of us (myself included) bear the weight of others' expectations – be family, friends etc. - of our life. We should be living up to our own expectations. If those happen to be lower than others' expectations of you then so be it, it doesn’t matter. If where you're at and what you’re doing is making you happy and good enough for you then that’s enough.
11. Listen to good advice and take/do it.
I’ve been given good advice before and nodded and agreed but not really taken it onboard and so I learnt the hard way. But, a lot of people will give you advice, mostly because they’ve been in your position. But it’s up to us as to whether you take that advice or not and whether it is good advice or not.
12. Listen to people and don’t be so worried on the next thing to say/ask.
One thing I know I do in conversations is become too focussed on the next thing to say or rely on the other person to keep the conversation going. I become so worried about this I don’t fully take in what the person is currently saying. I have learnt that there is a difference between hearing and listening. Hearing – the sound and words someone is saying whereas listening – comprehending and understanding what a person is telling you.
13. Try to focus on the present, don’t worry about the past or the future.
I’m a constant worrier (for someone who says ‘no worries’ a lot) about almost everything. We can worry about the past and what we did (and even cringe about it) but unfortunately can’t change it. We can worry about the future and what can happen, that we can change but only by focusing on what we’re doing right now. Try to focus on the now and what’s happening around you and enjoy it.
14. Don’t let people walk all over you. Stand up for yourself and what you believe in, but be nice about it.
Standing up for yourself and what you believe in takes courage and bravery, even if others disagree with you. Not everyone is going to have the same opinion as you and that’s okay. You should respect one another’s views. But don’t let people walk all over you and convince you to agree with them.
15. Don’t let people take you for granted. Know your self-worth!
Don’t let people use you or expect you to always be there and do something for them. It’s okay to help someone out every now and then but we shouldn’t let people rely on us for every little thing. It’s important to know who you are and what you’re worth is and not let people over-look that.
16. It’s okay to screw up every now and then.
No one is perfect and nobody should expect us to be perfect. We're human and going to make mistakes and mess up and not make the right decisions. Sometimes it takes a while but we can learn from these mistakes.
17. Never apologise for who you are. Be yourself!
If someone doesn’t like you for who you are, that’s their problem. Be who you are and the right people will come into your life. Don’t feel as though you have to pretend to be someone else to have people like you.
18. Go with your gut instinct.
If something feels wrong or doesn’t feel right – trust it. Sometimes that uneasy feeling in your stomach is telling the truth whether it is about a particular person or a situation.
19. ‘Be the person you needed when you were younger’ - unknown
This one I found and really related to it. Most people when they were younger needed a someone whether that be someone to rant to, to cry to or even just a friend to hang out with. Be that person for someone else.
20. Look after your mental health.
It's so important, don’t just brush it off. Treat yourself when you can. Relax when you can. Do things that help you. Give your body what it wants but also what it needs.
Cover Image: Unsplash Fabio Comparelli