Twenty lessons I’ve learned in 20 years…

Graphic by Finn Grosu @tesdoncbenfinn

…In no particular order

At the ripe age of 20, I definitely don’t have a lot of “life experience.”

However, I am proud to say that I have learned a few lessons, several of which come from observing family members and friends. In honour of my approaching 21st (oh no) rotation around the sun, I decided to reflect on some of said lessons, in the hope that these small slices of wisdom may be even slightly applicable to you. 

In no particular order…

  1. It is okay, if you financially can afford to do so, to stay at a job only until you can no longer learn anything from it. Wise words from my late Opa.
  1. It is completely natural for highschool friendships to fizzle out. The people who you have known for over 10 years tend to stick around for another 10.
  1. Moving out alone (and to a new city) is exciting yet ultimately terrifying. But you do get bragging rights.
  1. If you are not receptive to learning from something that continues to come up repeatedly, life will simply ram it down your throat. Some things you really have to learn.
  1. Watching a loved one slowly fade away is gut-wrenchingly heartbreaking, especially when you know it’s happening but you’re too far away to witness it. As much as you try to prepare for the inevitable, that pit in your stomach won’t fully disappear. 
  1. You will never be “home” again if you move for university; home is where you make it. On the upside, you’ll have a few places to call “home.”
  1. Spend time with your grandparents; it makes them so happy. Talk to them about anything, they’re excited to listen.
  1. It isn’t too late to turn a situation around if you really set your mind to it and it is in your power to do so. Do with that what you will.
  1. Lego is great no matter how old you are. And if you have never accidentally stepped on a Lego brick and been in agony, then I don’t know what to tell you.
  1. Changing yourself specifically for someone else will likely cause complete unhappiness. But don’t shy away from personal growth.
  1. Your grandmother will always give you second helpings of food, so don’t try to refuse.  You won’t leave her house feeling hungry, that’s for certain. 
  1. Listening to your parents will get you to the moon and back if you want it to. I know my parents are reading this and giggling gleefully.
  1. In some situations, people are powerless; never judge someone in a bad situation because leaving it can be easier said than done. Sometimes you just need to stand by and offer what you can. 
  1. Formulate your own opinions and personal values. You are a skilled and reasonable individual, trust your gut.
  1. If your mum says your outfit doesn’t look good, listen—she’s likely right, and you’ll save yourself the haunting pictures. Considering my mum dressed me up in some pretty stellar outfits as a kid, I’m still not sure why she let me out of the house in that outfit I wore for my 18th birthday party.
  1. If you have feelings for someone, shoot your shot, the worst they can say is no. Speaking from personal experience… It’ll take a bit of time, but you’ll get over it eventually. 
  1. There’s a fine line between whether the bad situation you’re in is actually someone else’s fault or your own. You cannot play the blame game for everything.
  1. Your pet will be your best friend. They’re great to vent to as well. 
  1. Be cautious about who you open up to about your past; unfortunately, some will use it against you. Not everyone wants to see you succeed.
  1. Only keep a precious few people privy to your private life. It is a privilege to know what is going on in the life of someone else, should they choose to share it with you.

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