Now I’m horrible at listening to my own advice. I’m also horrible at listening to other people’s advice. I’m a winner, I know. That’s pretty much the point of this blog post. I discovered all of these things myself by trials and failures throughout 23 years. Here are some recurring lessons in my life (and probably yours) worth noting as a 20-something.
1.) You are not going to be good at everything you do–and that’s okay.
2.) You are not always going to be okay, and that’s okay–just don’t stay in that place. Have yourself a good ole fashion mental breakdown and then get back up and continue on with your life.
3.) If you are not happy in whatever path you are on–CHANGE COURSE. Don’t stay at your miserable job for the sake of familiarity. You will never reach your full potential if you stay in your comfort zone. As difficult as it was for me to leave both jobs of mine that I had a combined 8 years at, I finally let go to give myself better opportunities.
4.) If you are doing something–do it for you. Be selfish. Don’t go to school because your parents want you to or because everyone expects you to. Don’t stay at your horrible job because your friend got you the job and you feel guilty. Don’t be miserable because everyone puts their own expectations on you.
5.) No matter how bad your day is–it won’t last forever. The Hangover’s “But did you die?” comes to mind here. Point being, no matter how much of a dumpster fire your day was, you didn’t die. You might have been reamed at work by your manager or even a customer, but guess what? You didn’t die. A member at the country club I worked for once told me during a dinner rush (where I was particularly flustered): “Will this [busy, stressful night] matter two years from now?” It entirely changed my perspective on the situation.
6.) If you have to have a pissing contest with your friend, are they really your friend? Real friendships are mutually supportive and beneficial. They are not based on constantly trying to one up each other. I’ve fallen into this false friendship several times in my life. A true friend wouldn’t purposely try to make you feel lesser than for any reason.
7.) Most of us are hypocrites at some point in our lives. Sometimes we don’t always practice what we preach. The most simplistic example I can think of is when my grandma used to tell my cousins, my sister and I to never smoke, but smoked herself. Keep in mind that sometimes people do one thing and say another because they don’t want you to fall onto the same path they chose. Sometimes they don’t want to see others suffer as they have.
8.) You might need to crash and burn before you find your purpose in life. Yes that’s right. You need to get fired from your shitty job to realize that you are meant for so much more. You need to get dumped by your unappreciative boyfriend or girlfriend to realize how strong you are on your own two feet. You might need to flunk out of school to reflect on what you really want in your life. Oprah got fired from her newscasting position when she was 23–look where she is now! J.K. Rowling was on welfare and now she’s one of the wealthiest women in the world. As cliché as it is: everything happens for a reason. God is in control even when it seems like good and bad things happen at random.
9.) Don’t hide your true self. Ever since I was younger I have been a creative person. As I grew up I heard constantly from every direction that you won’t make money in anything art related. From there I went to study business, and *spoiler alert* I hated it and didn’t go back. Don’t conform to the rest of the world. You are who you are and that won’t change because of anyone else’s opinion.
10.) Be humble in everything that you do. If you get a promotion, don’t gloat about it. You never know if or when you will lose what you have. There is a fine line between being proud of your accomplishments and bragging with the intent to incite jealousy. Know the difference.
12.) Say you’re sorry–own up to it when you do wrong. Don’t treat your friend like garbage, let some time go by, and then start talking to them again like nothing happened. I can’t tell you how many times I have dealt with that in my life; it is incredibly frustrating and shows an obvious lack of respect. When you have done wrong, apologize.
14.) Do NOT find your worth in what you can offer people. Stop trying so hard to please people that do not care about you. This applies to your personal and professional life. Stop killing youself to go out every time your friend asks you. If you need alone time, it’s okay to say NO. Stop trying so hard to please your boss that sees nothing in you. Stop bending over backwards for people that couldn’t care less about you. Your worth comes from you–not what others think of you.
15.) Don’t hold in your feelings–you’ll explode one day and it will be ugly. It’s not normal or okay to bottle up your emotions and keep stewing in them. Since I am generally a very passive person, I let a lot of things slide. I let them slide until I reach a boiling point and explode a disproportionate amount of built up emotion on an undeserving person who happens to annoy me in the slightest. It’s something I’m still working on.
16.) Be firm in your beliefs. That doesn’t mean your beliefs won’t change or mature into something different over time. What it does mean is that you should never let someone bully or manipulate you into sharing their thoughts and opinions on anything. I frequently come under scrutiny for my religious AND political views– and guess what? It doesn’t matter. I don’t cry myself to sleep over it. I remember when I was younger seeing posters all over my classrooms saying “Stand for something or you’ll fall for anything”. In recent years that could not be more of the truth. We have masses of people subscribing to false narratives because that’s where the crowd is going. Stand up for what you believe even if you are standing alone (as overdone as that phrase is it needs to be said and actually put into practice).
17.) Don’t hang on to resentment and anger. You will never move forward with your life. You will never be able to change past transgressions. All you can do is accept them to the best of your ability and move on. “God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, and Wisdom to know the difference.” (credit for that goes to Reinhold Niebuhr). This speaks for itself quite eloquently.
I think I can speak for everyone when I say 20’s are a bit rough. If I can relate to or help out anyone with my own experiences or advice, then I believe I have done my job.
Until next time