5 Crucial Life Lessons I’ve Learned While Navigating My 20s

5 Crucial Life Lessons I've Learned While Navigating My 20s
Pete Bellis

1. Learn to move on and leave the past where it stands.

You don’t have to forgive certain people but you do have to always, always forgive yourself. There are many things in this world that you cannot control, and there are many things that you can, so focus on these instead. Spend your time and energy focused on your own goals, your past will weigh you down, comparing yourself to others will distract you and being bitter will never make you a better person. You don’t have to have a five year plan or follow a dream, it’s enough to just live your life one day at a time; to be brave, to be ambitious, to be wild and boring sometimes, to care, to hurt, to fight for something and to love. You’ll have probably already asked yourself one hundred thousands times what you’re meant to do with this life of yours, and if you take nothing else from reading this, I hope you at least learn that you don’t have to have figure out your purpose. Just live. Live freely, live courageously, and then in good time everything else will fall into place.

2. Create beautiful things instead of collecting lots of nice stuff.

Nice stuff will only bring you temporary joy. I know it’s much easier to go out and buy something to wear or to sit and look pretty in your home, but don’t associate your happiness with material possessions because you’ll find yourself constantly wanting more. Creating something will bring you greater pleasure than spending money will do in the long run. A playlist, a painting, a cake, it doesn’t have to be something substantial, you might even find that creating for others brings you the greatest joy. Seen as we can’t take any of the fancy things we buy with us when we eventually expire, you may as well spend your moments doing something that you can grow and learn from. When you associate joy with nice things that you can buy, you are telling yourself you feel good because of that thing. Remember your possessions are accessories to you and not the other way around. Creating will build your own self worth and that is something no amount of money can buy; and it is for this reason that creating will always leave you richer than collecting.

3. Spend time with people, learn from them, and let them learn from you too.

Hopefully you’ve already figured out by now that not everyone will ‘dig’ you, and you’ve probably also come to learn that people will occasionally do you wrong; this is life. The best thing you can do when you come across these kinds of people is to just rise above. Be better, not bitter. Nurture the relationships you already have, make time for people and love without conditions. Don’t try to ignore or distance yourself from your emotions because you’re afraid to be seen to care, or because you’re simply afraid to feel. If you want to experience love you’re going to have to endure pain too, it’s just one of the many consequences of love. No one ever said you had to be strong either, because love hurts sometimes; so for now just know this, sooner or later you’ll find the love you deserve; but in the meantime let your heart be free, let it feel what it wants to feel without always needing an explanation.

4. Travel, as far and as wide as you can.

You’re going to get old before you know it and some of us won’t even get that far; so make plans, go places, get out of here. You have the rest of your life to figure out how to manage responsibilities, find a career and settle down. Now is the time to explore. Go forth and spread all that you stand for across this enormous planet of ours. Find a place that feels like home, find a place that doesn’t, take risks, meet new people and indulge yourself in other cultures. Challenge yourself and get out of your comfort zone, most things that come your way will only find you once so take up every opportunity you get to seek out someplace new. You’re going to feel lost from time to time but finding new places will give you a sense of belonging. Years from now when you’re a little more tired and wiser, you’ll reflect on these years and wish that you’d have been that bit braver to explore just one more little nuck, so give your older self something memorable to look back on.

5. Appreciate your life, your relationships and your surroundings as they are right now, because nothing lasts forever and every single thing and being has a shelf life.

I hope you know by now that you’ll never have every aspect of your life as you want it all at the same time. It’s taken me a while to realise that life is really about enjoying and enduring as one. Everything isn’t supposed to be good all of the time and we need to stop trying to sort our lives out into neat little packages, instead we can learn a lot by enduring difficult times and overcoming them. No matter how good or bad a situation is, it will not last. If it’s bad endure it, let this situation make you a better person, become wiser because of it, grow from it. We have to endure the worst and accept that sometimes life is tough, learn to ride it out; because soon enough things will change and you’ll find that while you were enduring the hardships, you were also learning to appreciate what life is really about. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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