20 Things I've Learned in 20 Years

Birthday Reflections, Happiness, Life Advice

In a few hours I will turn 20, and I'm not going to lie, it freaks me out a little bit. Something about not being in my teens anymore makes me realize how old I really am. When I was younger, I thought a 20 year old was someone who had their life together and was a perfect example of an adult. Well, obviously that's not quite true.

Here's what I learned from the past 20 years on this earth.

1. Happiness is a choice.
It sounds so cheesy, but it's so true. Every morning, you wake up with another chance to have a good day and to look for the good in things. A few years ago, I finally figured it out. If I chose to be happy, I would be happy. This concept drastically changed my life.

2. Sometimes, life really does suck.
But it always goes on. Things always get better.

3. "Travel is the only thing you can buy that makes you richer." 
I have found this to be so true. In the last 20 years I have been fortunate enough to travel all over the world; from Saint Kitts, to Europe twice and all over the United States. Included in this was a study abroad program in Scotland for a summer, which was something I always dreamed about.

4. Don't let change scare you. 
It's pretty much inevitable. Accepting change is something I'm still working on to this day. It has never been easy for me, but it's something I am learning to accept and deal with.

5. Mom actually does know best.
Quite often I find myself thinking, "My mom said this exact thing to me years ago, and I thought she was crazy. But it turns out, she's totally right." Listen to your mom, she's probably right.

6. Relationships are supposed to make you a better person.
When I was in high school, I wasted a lot of time in unhealthy relationships that were filled with drama. I have been with my current boyfriend for almost three years now, and even though things aren't always perfect, at the end of the day there's nobody I'd rather be with. If you're not happy 99% of the time, he's just not worth it.

7. Don't waste your time on things that don't make you happy.
This is true for everything from jobs to relationships. It's not worth your time if it doesn't make you happy, it's as simple as that.

8. Make time for yourself.
Alone time is one of the healthiest things you can give yourself. It's important to take a step back from the chaos of life and give yourself some pamper time.

9. If you want something, work hard for it.
Don't be the kind of person that is dependent on others. You are a badass, and you can do whatever you set your mind to. 

10. Remove yourself from toxic friendships.
This was another hard one for me. Sometimes being alone is better than being with people who constantly bring you down and make you feel bad about yourself. Eventually you will find a few good friends. Friendship is meant to build up both people and have a relationship that fosters happiness and love. Friendships are supposed to make everyone involved a better person.

11. Make time for people you love.
I don't want to turn 40 and regret not spending time with people who mean the most to me. I've really been making it a priority to spend time with my grandparents, family, friends, and boyfriend. At the end of the day, the people you have in your life are far more important than the material things you have.

12. Being a good person doesn't cost a thing. 
Be the kind of person your younger self would look up to. Stepping on other people and taking shortcuts in life won't get you anywhere.

13. Don't shit talk people behind their backs.
It's mean, it's stupid, and it's a waste of time. Not only does it make you look bad, it only ever ends up hurting someone. Constantly talking bad about other people brings a lot of negativity into your life, and you don't need that.

14. Take lots of pictures.
I don't know about you, but there's nothing better than looking back at photos and reliving the awesome moments of your life.

15. Think before you act.
This is something my mom has been telling me for what seems like forever, and it took me a long time to figure it out. Thinking through what you're about to say or do, especially when you're mad, will keep you from saying stupid things you regret.

16. Use a planner.
It will help you keep your shit together and make you way more productive.

17. Save your money.
You will thank yourself when you have a hefty savings account in case of emergency. Saving money is so important, but don't forget to…

18. Buy the damn purse. 
Chances are, you deserve it. It's okay to treat yourself every once in a while.

19. Take a deep breath.
When you feel stressed, overwhelmed, sad, or even happy, take a deep breath. Focus on the important things in life.

20. Don't be too hard on yourself.
You're human, and humans make mistakes. Learn from them and move on instead of letting them ruin your life. You are doing just fine, even if it seems like everything is falling apart.


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