23 Things I’ve Learned About Being 23

1. Life isn’t based off of a TV show, although it will certainly feel like it is at times. You don’t need a tribe like in Friends or HIMYM to hang out with everyday and logistically this may not be possible. All you need is a core group of friends who are genuine souls that you want to make time for in your life because life wouldn’t be as exciting without them. But also, don’t close off any opportunities to grow your friendship circle and meet new kindred spirits. 

2. Dive into the unexpected and there you will find freedom, joy, empathy, and pain. Life is about opening up to every possible emotion and then you will truly have lived.

3. Older guys do have more experience in certain areas, but in all seriousness their age is not a reflection of their wisdom (assuming they have this), “worldliness”, or maturity, especially maturity. Truth is, you’re probably smarter in some ways if you think with more than just the influence of a specific anatomical part. 

4. Life is about living on the edges of your comfort zone. Take risks, feel raw, deal with uncertainty, battle anxiety and challenge yourself by pushing yourself to new bounds. You are capable. You are enough and you will pull through.

5. Stay humble and stay genuine. Be real and down to earth. People who actively manipulate others end up confused with their lives and create tangibly negative energy. Avoid doing that and being friends with people like that; it will not improve your life in any capacity. 

6. Explore your city. In particular, explore it with a friend so you can share these experiences and have fun stories and memories to look back on. Sharing food is always good (and cost effective) too. 

7. Life is not a race. Don’t compare your timeline with anyone else. Your journey is unique. It will take willpower and strength to remember that, but remember it. You are succeeding in other indefinable ways. Celebrate yourself and your achievements. Also, isn’t it a better thought to hope that everyone makes it together? 

8. Understand the situation you’re in, whether it’s family or financial or academic or relationship or friend struggles and if it’s painful, don’t hurt alone. You have more supporters in your life than you think. Reach out. It is not a signature of weakness. It is an invitation and it will likely be received. 

9. Be creative. Encourage yourself to think outside of the box and in unconventional ways. You have more skill and talent than you think. Be a well rounded individual in ways society may not promote. You’re unique so own it.

10. Develop hobbies and actively engage in them. What’s that? Academia robs you of your time? Well, make time. You need to balance your schedule and make room for some of that “me” time. 

11. Family matters are always complicated. It’s always about learning and growing together, even if you may have fallen apart a long time ago. You can’t expect your family to understand you or truly know you. They probably won’t. But it’s up to you to give them a chance if you want to. Just make sure you don’t lose yourself in the process. 

12. Call people out on their shit. I mean, not always because then you’re just making a point for the sake of it, but if there’s someone in your life who always thinks they’re right… Question them. Chances are, they just sound like they’re always right or want to always be right, and usually aren’t.

13. Revel in the moments where life seems to be somehow “perfect”. There are those sweet moments in which everything feels right and that remind you that you are where you’re meant to be. Hold onto that and don’t forget it. Because you likely will when you get caught up in useless drama or are stressed out by life/school/love/etc. 

14. Be ambitious in an overachieving way. Be the odd-one-out who has to write a thesis in two weeks with research that no one else is working on in your department. Because why not? Just make sure you’re still maintaining your sanity during this process. 

15. Don’t feel guilty for a mistake another person has made. You were not born to be a victim or to be victimized. Face your emotions, deal with them and move on. And truly move on, no matter how much it hurts or how much you’ve loved that person. Do this for yourself and empower yourself. 

16. Remember the good times but don’t dwell on them or try to recreate them. Respect what once was for what it was at that time and move on. 

17. Network with the people you’d like to be one day and maybe it’ll happen. Also, don’t blatantly fangirl over someone to their face–you’ll probably bewilder them. Just do it secretly like normal people do… I think. 

18. Engage in new activities and make time for spontaneous adventures. The stories are always worth telling.

19. Don’t feel limited by your age, whatever age you are. Sometimes you may present yourself as older or younger and may not be aware. Consciously project what you hope to but do it because you want to. Don’t fake being older just because people give you shit for being “young”. 

20. Live in the moment and take one day at a time. 

21. Find mentors. 

22. Laugh as much as you can. And none of that fake stuff. Laugh because you’re happy, because you heard a great joke, because people are hilarious, because you tripped over your shoes.. Wait what. No one saw that by the way. Just laugh. 

23. And lastly, trust yourself. Thought Catalog Logo Mark


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