Monday, June 29, 2015

20 things I've learned by my 20th birthday

Two whole decades. Wow.

I'm turning 20 in a few days (July 10th to be exact!) and so I figured a fun, thought-provoking post would be to really reflect on the last two decades of my life and remember some of most important lessons I have learned.

  1. It's okay to change your stance on certain issues. And it's okay to change your new stance back to the original one. You're young and evolving; embrace that.

  2. Likewise, be open to the world and welcome new people, cities, and cultures.

  3. But at the same time know that it's perfectly fine to stay grounded and rooted by the convictions that you hold dear. Not every single millennial has to be pro-choice, anti-establishment, bike-riding, leaf-munching hipster.

  4. It's nice and refreshing to date people completely different from you until those fundamental differences start creating unsalvageable rifts in your relationship. Values and life experiences are just as important for long-term compatibility as chemistry is.

  5. Filters make your skin good great. No shame in using them.

  6. Just know that 99% of other people will use filters too. Everyone wants to put their best face forward so don't compare your worst to someone's best.

  7. Or actually, just don't compare yourself to others at all. Use other people's achievements as inspiration and motivate yourself to be better than what you were.

  8. No matter how much mom and dad fight with you, they will always be willing to have your back. Mom will always (even though sometimes begrudgingly) put aside her anger to hug you and then give some tough love afterwards.
  9. But know that your relationship with your parents, as with any other, needs to be worked on and cherished. Mom and dad will get jaded too if they don't feel like you value them. That said, calls at least once a week are mandatory. To both parents. Even if it's just to say hi.

  10. You will undoubtedly never forget your first love and several years down the road, especially on lonely nights or when your current relationship is in shambles, you will likely become wistful and fantasize that first love and relationship as utter perfection. It's beautiful to keep good memories, but know that both you and your partner have grown and evolved since then and are not the same people you once were. There were reasons why things didn't go all the way and it's okay.

  11. Sometimes though, ex-lovers make the best of friends. It just might take a while. This goes out to you, M.

  12. Of course, there are always the ex-boyfriends that you never want to see or speak to again. This doesn't change with age.

  13. Be prudent about who you give your number out to. There is a "block" function on cell phones and utilize it when necessary.

  14. At any stage in life you will have several roles to fill, but you can't be a master in all of them. Pick and chose what is most important to you at that time and focus on it.

  15. You will regret decision you made 2-3 years ago and will have to suffer the ramifications. That's just how life goes.

  16. You will have to betray your convictions at some point and you will feel shame doing so. You will have to do things you aren't proud of to go where you want to go and do things you find worthwhile doing. Be prepared for it and know that self-loathing will get you nowhere.

  17. The harder you work the luckier you will be.

  18. At the same time, the world is very balanced and you will not be able to "have it all." There are always going to be sacrifices along the way. Pick and chose your battles accordingly.

  19. Be friendly with your bus-drivers, custodial staff, grocery checkers, and servers.
  20. Every lesson you've learned about life will likely be forgotten and re-learned several times over. C'est la vie.