20 Lessons To Learn In Your 20s (And Remember Forever)

Thought Free | March. 18, 2018

I’m not even a full year into my twenties but I already feel like I have such an insight into the next ten years ahead of me. As everyone tells me, I do believe my twenties are going to be one of the best ages of my life. I can get away with being foolish and acting like a child, while still being held responsible for all the adult stuff that children haven’t learned yet. It’s a time to learn and it’s a time to realize. And naturally, I’m still working on all 20 of these.

1. Inject yourself and everyone you meet with love.

Not the friend love, the fake love, or the love just because you feel you’re obligated to return it. I’m talking about the genuine, sincere, love them so much it hurts you type of love. Love yourself and let your positive energy spread to those around you. Wear your heart on your sleeve and tell the people around you how much you love them this second because if you don’t, you’ll probably think about telling them for the next few years and never get around to it. There’s too many people in this world who don’t feel loved, valued, smile or get a hug everyday. As cliche as it sounds, love is a disease and love makes the world go round. It’s up to you – start now.

2. Step out of your box.

Some of the greatest things that will ever happen to you will be because you had 10 seconds of liquid courage to step out of your comfort zone. I encourage you to do one thing each week that absolutely terrifies you. It’ll make you stronger. I promise. Tell someone how you feel. Go skydiving. Stand up to your boss. The adrenaline rush that comes after all these doesn’t suck either. If you don’t do it now, you probably won’t do it “eventually” either. You’re in your twenties remember? You’re supposed to be bold. Don’t let us down.

3. Take some time for yourself every once in a while.

It won’t be the end of the world if you don’t go to that party on Friday that you know everyone will be talking about all through next week. Stay in for a night while everyone else goes out and just take some time to relax and breathe and compose your thoughts. You don’t have to constantly be surrounded by your friends or family. Find that peace within yourself and cherish that time. Like I said, I’m not even far into my twenties and I’m already finding it hard to get some time to myself. There’s going to be a day where you’ll be responsible for more than yourself and everything going on in your world. It may not be just yet, so take the time while you still have it.

4. Take the road less traveled and keep looking for more.

As you start your twenties, you’ll see some that are settling down already and some that are only beginning their journey. Most importantly, you’ll see people settle for what they have because it was easy or just because they can. There’s no reason to sell yourself short. You only have one chance to make your mark on this world so strive for the greatest and the best whether it’s a relationship, a job, or your friends. Surround yourself by people who inspire you and don’t accept what you have. Accept what you can achieve.

5. STOP complaining.

Your happiness is all up to you and not anyone else. If you don’t like something, then change it. Complaining doesn’t get you anywhere except blowing up the problem in your head even more. No one likes a complainer and the truth of the matter is when you complain to someone about your problems, half of them don’t care and the other half are probably glad you have them. You can get through it just fine.

6. Appreciate your family.

Growing up we all thought our families were weird or embarrassing or we were ‘too cool’ to hang with them because we had to go to the latest movie premiere. I think I’ve always realized this, but I’ll tell you again. Family is everything. Your family is the only group of people that will love you unconditionally no matter what. Yes you will find your differences and get into arguments, but at the end of the day they’re the only people who you couldn’t pick to be loved by and they live up to their duty. Spend as much time with them as you can because you never know when they’ll be gone. No one will love you as much as your family.

7. Meet new people.

Just because you’re 20 and you think you’ve met your friends or boyfriend/girlfriend who you’re sure you’ll keep in touch with for years to come doesn’t give you an excuse to stop branching out. Did you know there are over 7 billion people in the world right now? You only know maybe .01% of people in this world and are actually close to even less than that. Go places where you barely know anyone and introduce yourself. Widen your perspective, see how others live their lives, and show them how you live yours. You never know when someone just happened to need a friend. People get set in their lifestyles as we get older and it gets harder to socialize and meet new people. Everyone has something to offer whether you see it or not.

8. Stay out late and go to work the next day.

It won’t be the end of the world if you stay out late on a tuesday night when you know you have to write a paper that night and go to work the next day. I’m pretty studious myself, but I’m realizing this more and more as my senior year approaches. I won’t have opportunities to do things like that in a few years. It’s really true. You’re never going to remember the nights that you got a full 10 hours of sleep, you’re going to remember the crazy things you did when you were supposed to be sleeping. If you can’t do it right now, when can you?

9. You can’t just get by.

Nothing will ever happen if you don’t wake up and make things happen. About #8, yes do that sometimes, but not every night. Our generation especially, is so competitive with everything we do. Your twenties is when you start applying for jobs and for grad school. There’s so many other people just as qualified as you, but you have to put in the extra effort to prove you can be successful and that you’re ready to work over a 40 hour work week if necessary.

10. Know your worth.

You’re 1 of over 7 BILLION people in the world, and you’re not exactly like any one of those others. If you’re not comfortable with doing something, don’t do it. If you feel like you’re forced into a choice, stand up for yourself and drive them the other way. You’re the only person that has to live with your choices and past regrets will haunt you to no end.

11. Realize that not everyone will like you… and that’s okay.

Yes, this may suck to hear but it’s true. People may still dislike you regardless of how kind or successful you are. It’s human nature to have likes and dislikes so the things that you hate about someone will be the very same things they love about someone else. Just remember, don’t let other’s opinions threaten your behavior. The best you can do is to behave in a way that if someone was to talk bad about you, no one would believe it.

12. Don’t plan too far ahead.

As I enter my twenties, I hear about my friends who already have their whole lives planned out on paper. I’m not saying to live your life without a little structure, but what’s the rush? Your twenties are a time to live to the fullest. If you get your mind set on your plan and it fails in the third year, I don’t want you to feel like there’s no other way as your world comes crashing down around you.

13. Travel.

I really believe that traveling and seeing the world is one of the greatest experiences. It’s so breathtaking to be in a town you’ve never been in and to experience what others experience in their daily life. It really makes you understand things. Take a trip with your closest friends and have the vacation you always talk about having. While you’re there, travel like a local. See what living there would be all about. Try new things and create memories. I intend to do this this year.

14. Thank your parents.

You’re not in high school anymore where everything seems like the end of the world and when you’re upset you just yelled at your mom or dad and they blamed it on being a teenager. Your parents have been the most influential people your whole life. Now it’s your turn to take the stronger lead and assure them and show them that they’ve raised you right. Believe it or not, parents wonder this all the time. They’ve never expected anything in return from you, so thank them and appreciate them whenever you can.

15. Go ahead and eat what you want.

There’s always so much talk about crazy cleanses or diets or the way that we should look. You’re twenty something, NOT 50 something. You’re not going to suddenly gain 20 pounds overnight if you eat a cookie. When you’re 50 something, you’re going to wish you had the metabolism you have now. Food was meant to be enjoyed, so taste it and love it! Food is life. Indulge in it, you’ve made it to at least 20 so now it’s time to celebrate.

16. Never close your ears.

Never stop learning. Even if you think you’re so knowledgable that you know everything there is to know, I guarantee there’s something that would amaze you. We live in a century where Google is always at our fingertips. If you’re curious, look it up. Learn new things, take the time to listen about other people’s lives, and keep learning. Your brains a sponge remember? What if that random fact wins you a million dollars on who wants to be a millionaire one day?

17. If you hear someone needs help, HELP them.

Seriously. I can’t say this enough. It doesn’t matter whether you overhear it, or they tell you personally. It’s never been okay to think that someone else will help them so you let yourself sit back. If everyone does that, we’d all be suffering right now. You have time on your hands and not everything is about you. If you’re reading this right now, consider yourself fortunate. Not everything is about you, it’s time to give back.

18. Find your niche.

If you haven’t already, keep looking. If you have, still keep looking. Try new things. Take that dance class, or that art class, or the cooking class you’ve always wanted to take. You never know what new activity you’ll fall in love with and maybe even make something of. Remember how amazing it is when someone tells you their hobby and you think it makes them extraordinary.

19. Make mistakes and learn how to handle criticism well.

Whether you think so or not, there will always be a way to improve. It’s okay to make mistakes because it’s a keystone in improving. Criticism is supposed to better you, not bring you down. Guess what? No one’s perfect and you’re especially nowhere near it in your twenties. Learn to be mature and take it with a grain of salt. Learn from your experiences and know that you’ll be an ounce closer to perfection the next time you do it.

20. Surround yourself with the right people.

Surround yourself with people who will make you a better person than you are today. They always say you’re like the 6 people you spend the most time with. If this is true, are you happy with your choices right now? Those people should encourage you to live in the moment, while reminding you of your responsibilities, while still acting like a 2 year old with you when you need to be after staying out with you all night just because you needed to talk. They offer hugs, challenges, laughs, cries, pain, warmth, and kindness. These people mold you. I know it’s a lot to ask, but that’s why there’s six.

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