40 Things I Learned When I Turned 20

Jeremy Bishop

1. Your blind optimism that you can change or fix people is going to destroy you in the end. Let people be themselves and accept the fact that you can’t always fix the broken. The only people who can fix them is themselves.
2. Don’t lose who you are just to keep a relationship. Know your worth and know when to walk away.
3. Know what you deserve and don’t let anyone make you feel stupid for wanting what you deserve or knowing that you do deserve better. If you want better, then go get better.
4. On the contrary, you can have all these lists in your head about what you deserve and what you want but you never really know what lies in your heart until that person standing in front of you, asking you to take a chance on love once again. You can say all these things that you should and shouldn’t be with someone like this and that but there is only one important thing- you should go listen to your heart, always.
5. Don’t be afraid to stand up for what you believe in. Be who you really are don’t ever be afraid to show that to people. Be brave, be fearless and be different.
6. Don’t let anyone take the fire that is within you. Whether it’s having faith in God or doing your best to truly have a good and pure heart or having an endless passion for the arts, hold on to that because it’s what makes you who you are.
7. Never compromise that with anyone else and never let anyone take that away from you.
8. Words are always going to have an impact on people’s lives. The wrong kind of words will always hurt and these kind of words can push a person away from you. Always be careful what you say.
9. Being straightforward or blunt isn’t an excuse to say whatever you want without caring if other’s feelings get hurt. Be sensitive enough to those around you.
10. Effort isn’t always what keeps a relationship. Most of the time, it’s respect because trust roots from respect and love roots from trust. If the respect is gone, it simply isn’t going to work out.
11. The timing you meet people in your life is literally everything. You can say that timing doesn’t matter with the right people but at the end of the day, timing really is important. You just have to hope that you meet the right people at the right time.
12. Know that everything starts from within you. Know that you deserve so much love and happiness from the world, and the rest will follow. Self-love will always be important.
13. Do not do unto others what you do not want others to do unto you- the golden rule. If you want the world to treat you kindly, then treat the world of kindness. If you don’t like being lied to, then never lie to anyone ever. It’s as simple as that.
14. Your 20’s are about finding yourself and we’re all a little mad trying to figure things out for ourselves without falling apart. It’s okay. Just breathe and know that everything is going to be okay.
15. Your mental health is so important so never feel guilty about putting yourself first. If you feel as if life is getting a little bit too overwhelming, you deserve to take a break and just let yourself breathe. Read a book. Dance to your favorite song. Have that iced latte on a hot summer afternoon. Hold on to whatever makes you glad that you’re alive.
16. You don’t have to force what’s real or what’s meant to be, ever. Forced relationships aren’t worth your time.
17. Life is too short to always hate on yourself. Wing that eyeliner. Wear that red lipstick. Dress as if you’re going for an interview.
18. Your feelings are valid. You are allowed to be sad over simple things that probably won’t matter in 5 years. You are allowed to walk away from toxic friendships and relationships. You are allowed to change who you are when you no longer think you’re growing as a person. You’re allowed to cry over the break up, even if it was your fault. You are allowed to feel things. You’re human, it’s okay to be vulnerable sometimes but don’t beat yourself up for it.
19. You should ALWAYS listen to your gut feeling because most of the time, it’s always right.
20. You should always be yourself and don’t try to change yourself for someone else. Don’t let someone else kill the fire in your heart and the spark in your eyes because you will never be ‘too much’ if it’s the right person.
21. Family doesn’t necessarily have to be blood. Sometimes, home can be a person. Sometimes, home is someone who would accept you for who you are, not for who they want you to be.
22. You can travel all you want but no matter where you go, you can never escape yourself. You can’t always run away from your problems because at some point, your past is going to come back and haunt you, fast.
23. Your thoughts really are everything. If you have a positive thinking about things, all aspects in your life could change in a heartbeat. Perspective really is everything.
24. You can’t change or control the past. You can’t hold on to the past. You can’t even run from the past. The past is simply the past and you have to learn to let things go. Otherwise, you’re never really moving forward.
25. Every relationship moves at a different pace and every relationship has a different story. Some relationship makes God their foundation. Some relationships don’t have sex in the equation. Some relationships balance the art of being both best friends and significant others. Some relationships are spontaneous as ever. It’s not the same and it’s never what you expect it to be, but that’s the best part.
26. Your independence is the most important part of your individuality. You will never grow as a person once you never master the art of walking this world alone.
27. In contrast to the statement above, you are not always alone. You have people who care about you. You have people you are confident will be there on your darkest days. Hold on to those people because in a world full of temporary things, it’s rare to find connections like that.
28. The world that we live in is a harsh one and bad things are always going to happen, but do not let the world take away your genuine and kind heart. Always be kind to the world, even when the world hasn’t been so kind to you. Don’t let the world harden your heart and turn it into something so unrecognizable. Hold on to whatever keeps you warm inside.
29. Don’t spend so much time trying to prove to people that you are a good person. Be a better version of yourself, for yourself.
30. At the end of the day, you should like who you are because if you don’t, it’s so easy to believe the lies and opinions that other people tell you about yourself.
31. You might believe that you’re not good enough, or that you don’t deserve love. Don’t ever give in to the satisfaction that they got to you. You are stronger that this.
32. Don’t beat yourself up for attempting to balance all aspects of your life in one go. You’re human, and you’re not perfect. Breathe. Not everything in your life is about trying to be perfect.
33. As you grow up, you lose relationships that you thought you can never live without and you gain relationships with people you never thought you would connect with. That’s the beauty of life.
34. Always find time to write. Even if writing may not be your passion, don’t be afraid to write your inner most thoughts and fears. It makes you feel like you can breathe again, I promise.
35. Life is literally too short to be angry at the world. Change your thinking about things because not everything in life goes the way you planned. Think of the bigger picture and maybe it’s about appreciating the simple things even more. Maybe it’s about laughing at 3am on a phone call with your boyfriend. Maybe it’s about talking about something that’s bothering you with your mom. Maybe it’s about forgiving yourself about something in the past and letting it go. Maybe life is all about appreciating moments. Maybe anger and hatred is all about a lack of love.
36. Hold on to family. We’re so busy growing up that we forget that they made us who we are.
37. Find your faith and find what you believe in and hold on to that. Don’t let anybody else tell you otherwise. Don’t let people’s opinion change who you are. Find beauty and perfection in this broken world of ours and realize why you believe in the things you do.
38. Always have empathy for the things around you. Always try to understand things, no matter how hard it may be. Always remain good and pure at heart, even if the world may push you at your limits. Always use your kindness to your advantage and know that there is courage in being a good person.
39. Love who you are, without any apologies. Love your awkward personality.
40. Love your flaws and imperfections. Love your vulnerability. Love your brokenness. Love your self wholeheartedly and know that at the end of the day, you will always be more than enough. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Full-time Freelance Writer. Contributing Writer. MNL, PH.

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