21 Things I Have Learned In The Past 21 Years Of Life


1. You can’t make everyone happy.

I know, you want to be able to do it: Enroll at your parents’ alma mater, change the date of your party so your best friend’s boyfriend can attend it, answer your grandmother’s fifth Skype call of the day so she can update you on her bunions. Most likely, those things aren’t exactly on your list of priorities. It’s not easy to keep up with everyone’s wants and needs, let alone your own. Someone, somewhere will always be disappointed and you will eventually make peace with that.

2. You will never be satisfied.

Humans have a never-ending thirst always waiting to be quenched. Whether your goal in life is to earn a lot of money, to travel, or to attain notorious fame, the truth is it will never be enough. We just have a “can’t stop, won’t stop” attitude towards everything and refuse to settle. Though this perspective could take you far, how much is too much? Just remember, even the richest man in this world still wants more money.

3. You lose your friends.

It’s the most cliché saying in the books. You find out who your true friends are as you get older. However, the truth is you just grow out of certain people as you get older. With some, it’s a painstaking drift at a glacial pace and with others it’s an abrupt occurrence that feels like a slap to your face. No friendship is immune to a fall-out. As you get older, you go through many changes in your life and sometimes that means changing the people in your life, too. Don’t worry though. Think of it as a filter, slowly getting rid of the ones who simply don’t deserve to make it to your future. Look closely enough and the ones who truly matter will always be by your side.

4. You will question everything.

What is the meaning of love? Why are people so hateful? Why does society have so many preconceived notions? Why are “do” and “go” spelled the same but pronounced differently? Why must the good song on the radio finally come on once you’ve reached your destination? These are all legitimate questions, so please continue asking them. And do let me know when you discover the answers.

5. You will have to get rid of the toxicity in your life.

Whether it’s a relationship, a friend, a family member, or a supposed well-wisher. They will tell you all the things you want to hear, claim to want the best for you, possibly even love you, but still end up being wrong for you. They just don’t fit into your life no matter how much you try to adjust. They don’t deserve you. Get rid of them and move on, for the sake of your own sanity.

6. You will be the prince…and the pauper.

It’s a universal truth. There will be days you will enjoy all the luxuries of life: unlimited cab rides, $20 cocktails, Seamless deliveries for every meal along with occasional excursions to your favorite restaurants for brunch and bottomless mimosas. Then there will be days of strategic frugality, when you’ll feel like you’re at the bottom of the food chain. You will settle for munching on Ramen and 99 cent pizza slices with a calculated weekly trip to your local ‘dollar beers’ joint. Welcome to your 20’s, folks. Enjoy your stay.

7. You will realize your parents are humans rather than superheroes.

You’ve always seen your parents as your guardians, more so your heroes. Always facing the toughest situations, never a mark of concern on their faces, constantly battling the world for you. Soon enough you realize your parents are flawed human beings. With their own list of regrets, hopes, dreams, and believe it or not, fears. As you grow older, you find yourself relating to them more and more. You realize the sacrifices they’ve made for you and learn not to take them for granted. And if you’re really lucky, your parents also become your friends.

8. You will always care about the people you once loved.

The end of a relationship is always strenuous. Sadly, break ups aren’t so clear-cut and easy to deal with. Emotions are intangible and pop up when you least expect them to. This doesn’t make you pathetic; it makes you human and perfectly flawed. When you love someone wholeheartedly, you invest all of your time and energy into it. So it’s only natural that once you let go, some pieces of the relationship stick with you. The person you once loved becomes a part of you. And that is reason enough to care for them and carry them in your heart.

9. You will do things you’re not proud of.

There will always be things you’d rather forget. The drunken hook-up, the misunderstanding with a friend, bailing on an important event, starting a stupid argument, or simply cheating on your diet and indulging in late-night munchies. We’re prone to putting ourselves through situations we shouldn’t be in. You wouldn’t dare repeat some of it, yet much of it will happen again. Don’t put yourself through the shame spiraling. Stop looking back and replaying what you’ve done. Laugh it off and learn from your mistakes. It will happen less often – or not. Either way, focus on how far you’ve come and how far you will go.

10. You can’t be happy unless you really want to be.

Much elaboration isn’t needed on this fact. If you’re miserable, only you have the power to change it. Don’t like the job you’re working at? Take measures to build towards a better career. Heartbroken over your ex? Take baby steps, focus on yourself, and get out of your rut. Learn to ask for what you want out of life and go get it. Life is too short to not be doing things that make you happy, but happiness truly does come from within. Find it, grow from it, and spread it.

11. Travel whenever and as much as you can.

Everywhere and anywhere. It broadens your perspective beyond incomprehensible measures. You will realize how small you and your life are compared to the rest of this world; it will amaze you and scare you all at once. There is nothing in this world that exhilarates you quite like meeting new people, discovering new languages, and embracing different cultures. The world is at your fingertips. Now go and conquer it.

12. Spend on experiences rather than material things.

We live in a materialistic world and I’m not going to lie, I will always have my eye on that Chanel bag. However, no Chanel bag could ever compare to experiences and moments spent with the people I love. Whether it’s traveling or attending your favorite artist’s concert with a bunch of your friends, these experiences are worth more than any designer bag or shoes you wear. It enriches you as a person and will always make for an unforgettable story. Trust me, one day you’ll want more than just a fabulous closet to show for yourself.

13. You will encounter (and possibly date) assholes.

This goes for both men and women. If a guy/girl seems like they’re a waste of time, they most definitely are. If they’re making excuses or mistreating you, accept that it’s just who they are. No matter how much you want that impeccably good-looking person to be kind and caring, it’s probably just wishful thinking. Sorry to break it to you, but you are not the person they’ll change for. Truth is, they won’t change for anyone. Let’s face it, everyone can be an asshole from time to time, but there are people who just have this trait ingrained into their personality so much so that they become it.

14. You will stay in bed and watch Netflix all day.

It’s inevitable. The sooner you accept that, the happier you’ll be. Happy watching!

15. Do what you like and like what you do.

Don’t buy into the societal view of everything. People will always have something to say, there will always be someone who will judge your decisions, and people will want to bring you down. Embrace your choices and show them off proudly. Everyone always seems to have an idea of what you should do with your life. No one knows your journey, nor do they really need to. Go after what you want and don’t stop until you get it. Don’t let the fear of failure or what people think keep you from taking chances.

16. Embrace your inner child.

Always be a kid at heart. Have a snowball fight, play dress-up, have a sleepover with your best friends (this time you can add wine to the night in), play in puddles, dance in the rain, watch your favorite childhood cartoons, get excited over ice cream, and eat your favorite home-cooked meal made by your mom. These things will never get old no matter how much you do.

17. Appearance makes all the difference.

Unfortunately, we do live in a superficial world. Going to that interview looking like a mess will not land you the job. Showing up to his parents’ house in a revealing dress won’t impress them. Showing up to a fancy date in anything less than a dress shirt and pants won’t get you to your first kiss. You can never be overdressed. So dress up and show up.

18. Timing is everything.

Truer words have never been spoken. You might have been the perfect candidate for that job, but the timing just wasn’t on your side. She could be the one, but she’s with somebody else at the moment. You’re absolutely certain he’s your soul mate, but he’s permanently moving across the country in two months. You two were perfect for each other, but too young and too immature. You wanted to go to your dream college, but money was an issue. Sometimes the timing is off and there’s nothing you can do about it. It’s a difficult truth, but the most important one to accept.

19. Family is everything.

Whether it is the family you’re born into or the one you make for yourself, it really is the most important aspect of your life. I’ve been lucky to be born into a wonderful family. From my parents and sibling, to my aunts and uncles, to my cousins. It would be impossible for me to ask for a better family even if I tried. Your family knows you inside and out and still accepts you for who you are. They accept your quirks, your flaws, your moodiness, and your silly tantrums. They embrace you on your darkest days and are there to aim a spotlight at you allowing you to shine on your brightest ones. They are the ones who know the inside jokes, the ones you attend crazy family parties with, and the ones who feed you delicious food. And what is the best part, you ask? They will always feel like home.

20. You will stop chasing after things.

There is a fine line between determination and desperation. Let go of what wants to go and keep what wants to stay. You should never have to chase after people and their affection. If someone is not willingly giving you their time and putting in an effort, it is never wise to try to force it out of them. If he cares, he’ll call. If she cares, she’ll come around. Remember, there are only two things in life that are meant to be chased: your dreams and your drinks.

21. You will realize how blessed you are.

Truly, it is the best feeling in the world to realize how lucky you are. Besides the basic necessities of life, we’ve all been blessed with so much more than we deserve. Take time to count your blessings and realize how privileged you are to have what you have. Stay humble, happy, and blessed. TC Mark

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