20 Things I’ve Learned In 20 Years

1. Finding things you love doing is a very special process. You have always known in theory that there are people out there who like doing this particular thing and actually make a living out of it but sometimes it’s hard to make that thing your own. I have often seen people shy away from things because it hasn’t ever been “their thing.” Writing was that for me. It was never “my thing” until I made it so. It is okay to make things your best friend loved or older sister loved as “your” thing. They don’t have a claim over it. (Of course this is different from plagiarizing. NEVER PLAGIARIZE OR YOU’LL GET PREGNANT AND DIE!! Mean Girls references will never get old. Never.)

2. Waking up early is the best thing ever. (Granted you get enough sleep.) There is no feeling like listening to the morning birds chirp and to feel the warmth of sun’s early rays. The slight flutter of breeze and that today-is-a-new-day feeling is beautiful. 

3. Mostly likely the things you plan on don’t actually happen. You end up taking classes you never thought in your wildest dreams you’d take. You hang out with friends without making a plan and you realize you end up at this silly carnival by the side of the road with the crappiest rides you’re almost 100% sure would stop functioning any moment. I think, that’s how things are supposed to happen. With chaos and madness and no order. 

4. It’s okay to sleep at 8 am and wake up at 6 pm. As long as you fix your schedule by the time you need to be in school.

5. People don’t owe you anything. I think that’s a brutal realization but you can’t have expectations of people (unless you’re their employer). If people do things for you, including your parents/siblings/friends, they do it out of the kindness of their heart. Once you start believing that, your mind frees itself of a lot of let-downs and disappointments.

6. Kindness is probably the only thing that can actually bring change. It stays with you. Even if it’s that stranger who offered to share his umbrella with you when it was pouring outside. Or that oldman you always see feeding the squirrels.

7. You can never have enough books, shoes, scented candles, or earrings. That should be the eleventh commandment. 

8. Before deciding on wearing a long skirt, check the weather. You think you’ll be fine in rain, but let’s be honest. (Learned it the hard way after ruining my favorite skirt.)

9. Unless it’s self-degrading/unhealthy for you, you should welcome all the phases in your life. Right now I am going through a phase where I love bold colors on everything and anything. I have also been listening to country music a lot. 

10. If you are tired of having the same kind of friends, you should join weird clubs. I have realized that the clubs/organizations where no one knows why they’re in it is the easiest way to find different kinds of people. I think it’s because everyone is aware of the fact that they’re in a weird club so no one has any judgments on anyone (not even themselves). People are more likely to show you who they are. 

11. This does not apply to those studying Art. Don’t lie to me, Contemporary Art makes no sense whatsoever to you. If you are not studying Art and can understand Contemporary Art, I don’t trust you.

12. I have noticed that the person you are criticizing is almost always aware of his/her own demons. So your words have no effect on them. I also think that unless you are willing to help the person fight that demon, you should not speak of its existence. Because, again, they tend to already know of its presence. 

13. You should never turn yourself into a victim. Even if bad things have happened to you, you still have the power to react. I think that power is way more important than the power of actually being incharge of events. Once you start feeling sorry for yourself, you stop believing in yourself. People often ask me why I am so appreciative of life. It’s because I never let myself turn into a victim-regardless of the circumstances. If you’re not going to fight your battles, who will? 

14. The strongest people I have met are the ones who are both kind and ruthless. They are kind in the sense that if you had a problem, you wouldn’t think twice about approaching them. But they are also ruthless in the sense that you wouldn’t dare to cross them or play with their feelings. They seem to know where exactly the line between kindness and push-over is and they know how to walk it. 

15. There’s a difference between holding someone responsible for their ignorance, and constantly bringing up the ignorant things they said years ago. The latter is you being an ass. 

16. There’s also a difference between not having on opinion on something because you have done extensive research on all the possible arguments and have thought about it a lot and are still unsure, and not having an opinion because you are too lazy to think about anything substantial. The latter is ignorance. 

17. While it is important to not stay stuck in the past, you should always remember why you started and where you’re coming from. This has numerous interpretations. You must remember what you were and who you are right now to become what you will be tomorrow. You should also remember your roots and your culture and the values you grew up with. You don’t have to always agree with them, but the ones you do agree with should sort of be a constitution of life for you. Because we all need things to come back to when we are too unsure of ourselves. 

18. As I progress in college, I have encountered two kinds of people. People who are ambitious like no one’s business and people who are okay with mediocrity. The latter are in abundance. The latter are also the ones I want to avoid and avoid being one of them. 

19. Hard work pays off. Always. And to be quite honest, it’s the only way to actually achieve anything. Luck and chances and all that are just that. But hoping to beat the odds instead of doing things to beat the odds is a very bad plan. 

20. And finally, “No matter how you feel… Get up. Dress up. Show up. And never give up.” Thought Catalog Logo Mark

More From Thought Catalog