20 Life Changing Things I Realized As A 20-Something

Credit Pearl/LightStock.com
Credit Pearl/LightStock.com

1. It’s okay to miss the past.

It’s okay to reflect on the past, there is so much change and growth in your twenties. Part of you is still hanging on to your adolescence wondering where time went, while the other part is hoping to find success and figure it all out. You’re allowed to miss the past, your hometown, your college experience, but even if you went back it wouldn’t be the same because you’re no longer the same. You’re allowed to miss the past, but don’t live in it.

2. Trust more.

The world is not as evil as it is made out to be. You have to learn to trust more, in the world, in others and especially in yourself. Go with your gut and if something doesn’t feel right then it most likely isn’t. You know yourself best so always trust yourself and go with what you think is right.

3. You don’t have to figure it all out.

Like really, it’s okay to have no idea what you want to do. You can test the waters; see what actually interests you and what you hate. You don’t have to be so hard on yourself to have it all figured out in your twenties. It’s a time to explore and learn, while still having fun. Don’t be too hard on yourself you’re still young.

4. In order to grow you have to leave your comfort zone.

You should always test yourself. Leaving is sometimes the only way to establish growth and without growth we can never live up to our full potential. If you always stay in the same place you will never change. Let the world change and break you in order to figure out who you really are and who you really want to be. Break out of your comforts and let the world inspire you and move you. The greatest change is made in the most uncomfortable moments.

5. If you live in fear you’ll never accomplish anything.

These days everything has a warning label, but if you’re constantly living in fear of danger or failing, you’ll never amount to anything great. Let go of your fears, trust and let the world guide you to where you’re supposed to be. If you’re always waiting for the right moment, you’ll spend your whole life waiting for a moment that will never be good enough. Take the leap.

6. Being right isn’t always worth the argument.

Sometimes you just need to know when to take a step back and let things be. You don’t have to always be right because some people are very set in their ways and nothing you do or say will change their mind. You just have to accept it because it isn’t worth getting upset over. Sometimes the best thing you can do is  just speak your peace, hear them out, nod your head and walk away. Pick your battles wisely because it’s more important to be happy than right.

7. When people show you who they are, believe them.

If you’re a person who looks for the good in everyone, that is really an amazing quality, but once someone shows you who they really are it’s time to accept that. It’s time to stop making excuses for them and start opening your eyes to who they really are. It might be time to let them go and see that not everyone has the same heart as you. It might be difficult but it will be best for you.

8. Your friendships are harder to maintain with age.

When you’re young you have ample time to spend with your friends, and then you go to college where you’re also surrounded by friends everywhere you turn. Then it’s the real world. You move away, your friends all head in different directions and you’re stuck Facebook messaging between Emails.  Some people are settling down, getting married and having kids, and that’s awesome. Some people are traveling the world and completely dominating in their careers and that’s awesome, too. But life in your twenties goes a million miles an hour and you have to accept that and cherish the relationships you do have because you can’t get that time back.

9. Forced love is not love.

Don’t fall in the arms of someone you don’t really care about in order to not be alone. Don’t push yourself to try to care about someone just because they care about you. If you are anything but over the top in love with the person, don’t spend time in a relationship you’re not really into. Who cares if you’re single a couple more years? Being single can be as great or awful as you make it, so make the best of it and don’t force a love out of loneliness or guilt. It will never inspire you when you roll over at 4 AM.

10. You have to quit comparing yourself to others (unless you’re using it as motivation to better yourself).

Seriously, stop doing it. Once you stop comparing yourself to others things will really look up for you. Even if that means taking a detox from social media, it’s worth it. I used to compare myself physically to others and it always made me feel worse, but the thing is the girl’s bodies I admired were the girls who were in the gym everyday, the girls who weren’t going out and partying and who were spending their weekends meal prepping. And to be honest, to me that sounded like hell. I was having the time of my life going out on the weekends, I was way happier to eat a burger than a salad and I didn’t feel guilty having a Netflix marathon. Our lifestyles were just completely different so there was no sense in comparing myself to them. So I quit comparing and I starting using them as motivation, along with learning how to love myself for who I am.

11. Failure will always be the best teacher.

You won’t really learn until you fail. Failure will either make or break you, and you should never give it the power to break you. I love writing, but if I stopped writing after my first rejection letter I wouldn’t have made it where I am today. If I stopped writing after my second, or third rejection letter I still wouldn’t be here today. You have to fail in order to succeed. You have to experience rejection to improve and grow. Failure stimulates growth and makes you push yourself further. Let life guide you to where you’re supposed to be and never give up if it’s something you really want.

12. It’s okay to not be okay all the time.

Sometimes you just need to give yourself a little mental break from the world and there is nothing wrong with that. Sometimes taking a day off of work to do nothing is fine. Your mental health is very, very important to your wellbeing, so make sure you’re always taking care of yourself because it’s okay to not be okay all the time.

13. Learn how to accept constructive criticism.

Also know there is a difference between constructive criticism and just being mean. Most people honestly don’t care if you fail or succeed because they’re looking out for themselves, but if someone is willing to give you insight to improve yourself, thank them. Be appreciative and learn to accept it, but also learn to ignore people who are just being plain rude, that shows more of a reflection of them than it does you.

14. Experiences are always worth more than material items.

Even though you can cling to material items, the experiences life throws your way are what are going to mold you. A trip to Europe is going to fill your heart more than designer shoes, at least in my case it would. Experiences are far more valuable than money will be, so call your friends and book that plane ticket, or just go on your own! Life has so much to offer and it’s meant to be experienced.

15. Love life and it will love you back.

I’m not talking about acting like you’re having fun, I mean seriously open your heart and your mind to love and let it all in. Let the world shape you and welcome all the experiences good and bad into your life and I promise once you fall in love with life, it will love you back. If you live with a closed mind you will miss out on so many great people and things in life.

16. Let the gossip and drama go (along with the people who create it).

It’s time to say goodbye to the people who still enjoy sitting around talking about others misfortunes. It isn’t worth your time or energy. You can leave these people behind and you will be okay, in fact you’ll be better than okay. Don’t hang around people who feel a need to drag others down because it will only pull you down. Surround yourself with others who inspire you and lift you up, along with those around them.

17. You don’t owe anyone an explanation of your choices.

This includes a significant other, if you want to do something because it makes you happy then go right ahead and do it. If you hate something then don’t do it. It’s a simple as that, you should never do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable and you shouldn’t have to justify that reasoning to anyone either, unless of course you choose too.

18. If you aren’t happy at your current job, leave.

I made a promise to myself that if I had a job I hated I would quit. I worked a job for a week and I hated it, it made me miserable, I didn’t want to do the work and it was only the beginning of it. So I quit and there is no shame in that. If you don’t fully enjoy something then what is the point of doing it? Find a passion and go from there, don’t do something just because it pays the bills. That should never be enough.

19. Don’t try to hide who you are to impress someone.

If you are who you are unapologetically, you’ll attract the right people you’ll want around you. You’ll make real, meaningful connections with people who actually care about you instead of trying to be someone you’re not in order to get someone to like you. Be completely yourself, you’ll be happier that way.

20. Don’t ever be afraid to ask for what you want.

Whether it’s a raise at work, what you want in bed or if you need an extension on a project. Never be afraid to ask because at the end of the day you need to do what is best for you and you shouldn’t feel shamed to ask. Let your voice be heard and go after what you really want and don’t let anyone make you feel bad for it. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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