Thought Catalog
March 16, 2016

20 Things You Learn In Your 20s That You Might Not Realize Until You’re 30

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Paolo Raeli
Paolo Raeli

When I was twenty-five a person told me that you change the most from the ages of twenty-five to thirty. I didn’t believe them. I’d already learned so much and felt like I’d changed so much in the five years prior to that how could I be up for another five years of change and growth?

Before turning thirty I found out that person was right, you do change a lot in your twenties. You learn a lot, a lot about love, a lot about life and a lot about yourself. And although it may not feel like it at times, you come out the end of your twenties much wiser, stronger and self-aware.

Here’s a list of twenty things that you’ll more than likely learn in your twenties.

You’ll love a lot

Given that you haven’t married your high school sweetheart then, yes, you have more than likely loved more than one person in your 20’s, and that’s completely ok. You will love people differently, you will learn from love and you will recover from love.

But sometimes love is not enough

As much as we hate to admit it love doesn’t always turn out like the end of a Disney film. You can love someone with all your heart but if life takes you in different directions, which it often will, then sacrifices will be made. Always follow your heart.

People don’t judge you as much as you think

They are way to busy worrying about their own lives, and if they do judge you then feel sorry for their lack of empathy because it won’t do them very well in finding happiness in life.

There’s no such thing as the perfect diet

No matter how much they “prove” a diet works, they’re wrong. Every person is different and every person’s body reacts differently to both food and exercise. Find something you enjoy and do that. Don’t judge your own body by the scales, judge it by how you feel in your clothes. Save yourself the nasty gym fees and do what makes you feel good.

It’s ok to go in the other direction

Sometimes in life it seems that everyone is walking in the same direction. If you don’t want to walk that way, don’t! Go your own way. No use following the crowd just because everyone else is doing it. There are many more surprises waiting when you go where you want to go. Be who you want to be, not who someone else wants you to be.

Money isn’t everything

I spent half my 20’s working my way to the top of the corporate ladder. My pay was good, but my fulfillment was absent. Spend some time thinking about wants versus needs. Big brand marketing has taken over our lives and we are taught to want much more than we actually need. A life of simplicity is worth much more than a life of fancy brands, and experiences are worth more that material objects.

It’s ok to start over

So you realise you’re not where you want to be. That’s fine. You’re only 30, not 90! Start again, you will find your way. Whatever happened in the past is always a learning curve. We take so many paths in life, if we stayed on the same one our lives would become mundane.

Traveling to a developing country will change your life

Sometimes in order to achieve true gratitude and appreciation for the life you have you need to see the world from a different perspective. There are many people in this world less fortunate than us and although we see it in the media, seeing it first hand will change your life and make you understand the compassionate part we have to play in the world.

Traveling is good for the soul

Seeing a new place, connecting with people, experiencing a different culture, all these things are good for the soul, especially human connection. Travelling is all these combined. It gives you an experience that can’t get at home. Make time to see the world, or a little bit of it at least.

Some people lack compassion

Harsh but true. There are some people that just don’t care. Don’t let their lack of compassion alter your perspective of the world.

But there is humanity everywhere

Look around and you will see kindness is everywhere. For every person that lacks compassion there are twice as many who care about the world more than you think. Surround yourself with positive people and don’t let the negative ones bring you down. You’re actions are an example of what kind of world you want to see. Always be kind.

We should talk more about mental illness

I was lucky enough to grow up in an era where mental illness has begun to be openly spoken about. Most of you reading have most likely suffered from some kind of anxiety or depression in your life. It’s completely normal and should be spoken about. We work hard, we worry and we stress. We go through bad times. The best we can do is talk about it openly and not feel as though we have a problem, because it’s something that so many other people have gone through.

If it doesn’t feel right it’s probably not

The age-old saying ‘trust your instincts’ couldn’t have put it better. I’ve learned that human instincts are stronger than we realise, even when it comes to making life decisions. You know what is best for you and what is right. You might find it hard to make that decision but deep down you know the right one, you know you do.

Natural beauty is more beautiful than fake beauty

You’ll learn to love yourself more as the years go by. You’ll learn to look after yourself, find skin care routines that suit you and styles you like. But you’ll also stop giving in to all the makeup and products and realise that nothing beats natural beauty. Stop picking up magazines and forget the touched up, false expectations of what we see in them. Love the skin you’re in.

You learn from everyone

Yep, everyone! Every single person that comes into your life will teach you something. So be open, be open to meeting new people outside of your immediate circles, travel a bit, and participate in community activities. Let the world teach you as you teach the world.

Our environment is fragile, we must care for it

There are bad things happening to our world, oceans and skies are polluted, animals are becoming endangered as their habitat is being cleared, landfills are filling to the limit. Our earth is fragile and our generation needs to be the one to help make the changes that will preserve this planet. Yes, we have to save the world.

The media is deceiving

I’m not going to pretend to be an expert on the nuts and bolts of media coverage but lets just say that I’ve learned not to believe what you see on TV. Use the best invention of this century, the Internet, to get access to proper information and make decisions for yourself.

Everyone has a story

Try to remember that every person has a story. Before you are quick to judge or quick to make assumptions remember that, just like you, every person has their own story and you often don’t know what they are going through.

Caring what other people think of you is a waste of energy

Some people will like you, some people wont. If you worry about what people think of you then you are using up your own energy that could be used in a more positive way. Surrounding yourself with positive, like-minded people will make you feel like you don’t have to care what they think because you already know.

Aim high. If you believe you can do it you will.

Aim for the things that are most important to you and aim high. You are much more capable than you realise. Believing in yourself will allow you to work harder for what you want to achieve, which will result in the achievement of those things. If you do achieve them, always remember that humbleness is a wonderful quality. TC mark