20 Things I’ve Learned In The Past 2 Decades

In one month I will be turning twenty, and I would be lying if I told you I wasn’t freaking out. Yes, your twenties are supposed to be the time of your life (for the most part, right?).  Don’t get me wrong–I am having one hell of a time in college, and I must admit that I can’t imagine it getting much better than this. So, yes, it is slightly terrifying that I am almost halfway finished with college life. The recent alumni who came back for homecoming weekend telling me that the real world sucks and to stay in college forever really didn’t help matters. But as of right now, I have no room for complaints—My life has been pretty great, and I’ve picked up on a few things along the way So here are 20 random, some serious and some silly, pieces of advice/ things I have learned (in no particular order of importance):

1. Appreciate good music, real music.

I really wish people would turn off the top 20 pop songs of the week and actually let their ears hear something decent. There are so many artists with way more talent than Ke$ha or Miley Cyrus. (Please note: I can still embrace dancing obnoxiously to Timber at a party and/or drunkenly sing to Wrecking Ball) However, take the time to find good music. Explore all kinds of genres and artists because there are SO many amazing singer/songwriters out there who deserve more credit.

2. Everyone should make time to read.

And I don’t mean the top Buzzfeed articles of the day or your Twitter feed. Sit down, grab a cup of tea and curl up to a good book. Cradle the binding and feel the pages. There is nothing more peaceful than letting yourself fall into another world through the words of someone else.

3. Pick up the phone and actually call the people you care about.

I’m guilty of taking the lazy route by shooting out a text, instead of actually taking the time to call my family members while I’m away from home. But chances are, they would much rather hear your voice than read a text that says you miss them. And on that note…

4. Send cards and letters.

I absolutely love giving and receiving hand written cards and letters. It’s about 10 times more personal than an e-mail and takes just a little extra time.

5. Go to the concerts. All the concerts.

And make sure some of them are at smaller venues. There is nothing better than being in an intimate space listening to artists you love in the company of others who share the same taste in music as you do. The price of the ticket is worth the experience, and those ticket stubs carry memories that can’t be bought or replaced.

6. You do not need to go out Thursday, Friday and Saturday to have a social life.

Yes, this can be extremely fun and harmful to your liver all at the same time (in a good way), but it does not need to happen every week. It is perfectly acceptable to sit at home on a Friday watching Girls on repeat or spend a Saturday night laughing at Schmidt’s witty comments via a New Girl binge. My roommates and I have spent quite a number of nights with a bottle of wine, some Peanut butter M&M’s and each other’s company. Netflix is a beautiful thing my friends. The frat parties can wait for another night.

7. We should all thank our parents more often.

I would not be here today without them, and neither would you without yours. I think everyone can attest to being guilty for not appreciating them enough. Again, pick up the phone and just thank them. It will mean more than you know.

8. Social media consumes too much of my life.

I think everyone in my generation is guilty of this. I check my FB way too often, and I really do need to cut back on the snap chatting (selfies look ridiculous, buuut it doesn’t mean I’m going to stop taking them). Sorry, not sorry. Anyways, I think we should take the social media down a notch, it’s time for the FB status to officially die (most people probably don’t care that you made spaghetti for dinner or took a spin class right before).

9. Relationships aren’t really a thing in college.

I have the rest of my life to find someone and settle down. These years are for having fun. “Flings” and “things” are reoccurring patterns for the college scene. Relationships are hard to come by, and I think this is for good reason.

10. Calories count, but they don’t matter.

Sure, stay healthy, but eat the damn piece of cake. You deserve it. I don’t really need to say anything else.

11. Candles equal happiness.

I have lost count of the number of candles my apartment has burned this year (and I’m pretty sure we aren’t even allowed to be using them in our building…oops). It’s worth it. There is nothing more relaxing than a room full of them after a long day.

12. The yellow ones don’t stop.

But seriously, Will Ferrell wasn’t kidding. After moving to the city from a small town in Pennsylvania, I have quickly learned that the yield to pedestrians doesn’t always apply, especially for DC drivers. Pay attention to those who surround you. People are in a hurry and really don’t care. They will keep going if you don’t get out of there way.

13. Sometimes you just need a hug.

Yup, I’m going to go ahead and pull out another Elf reference here with the whole ‘Does someone need a hug?’ ordeal. But seriously, hugs are the best. Give them, receive them. They’re pretty great and underrated, if you ask me.

14. Strangers should wave and smile to each other more often.

Just the other day I was walking home from a shitty day at work, and a stranger just waved and smiled at me. Automatically, I felt better. It’s the little things, and although this type of behavior might be popular in the South—it’s not in the Northern parts. This should change.

15. College roommates and friends quickly become your family away from home.

Be thankful for these people in your life. They’re the ones who will take care of you when your sick or listen to you bitch about your problems (which sometimes might not even be real problems). But they still continue to listen! Make sure you’re there for them too.

16. Run while you can.

Well, at least exercise. Because I’ll admit, running genuinely sounds god awful half the time. However, we’re only young once, and as a soon- to-be 20 year old, I realize I’ll never be in this good of shape again. Stay healthy (but as I noted earlier, eat the cake, always eat the cake).

17. Don’t be afraid to meet new people.

Have friends in different groups and branch out. Don’t stay in the same social circle all the time. Believe it or not, there are people out there who are probably even crazier than your friends. Embrace this, find those people and introduce yourself.

18. Each person in your life is put there for a reason. Some leave, some stay— we move on.

Some will mean more than others, some will hurt you, and many will change your life without you ever even realizing it. All of these people were put there for a reason. Be thankful for them while you can (or not, if they suck) because you don’t know what tomorrow holds and neither do they.

19. Try to focus on the now.

Yes, I will admit I probably think about the past too much and worry about the future too often. But this really doesn’t ever solve anything. As cliche as it sounds (much like I’m sure other parts of this post do) ‘live in the moment.’ What you’re doing now is what really matters.

20. I’m nowhere close to ever figuring life out.

After all, I’m only 20 (minus one month). Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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