20 Things I wish I had Known in my early 20’s

Its pretty crazy to think how fast a few years have gone by, I feel like I turned twenty yesterday rather than 6 and a half years ago. To be honest, my 20’s have been a blur. I know the events that have happened but I cant give you an exact timeline or year anymore. We’re so busy in our 20’s growing into ourselves and finding out who we really are that the years all blend together into one big mess of insecurity and misdirection. Looking back now, there are so many things I wish I had known, but I guess thats all a part of the learning process…

1. When someone shows you their true colours, believe them.

I know this sounds like such a cliche, but this is the biggest lesson I’ve learned. It’s so easy for people to backtrack and fake their way back into your lives and I’m a firm believer in forgiving and forgetting, but when someone hurts you once, know to keep your guard up. It’s not a grudge, it’s just growth.

2. Don’t take life too seriously

Life’s going to happen, the bad will come with the good and vice versa, if you take any of it too seriously you’re going to have a hell of a time getting through it. One of the best things I’ve learned to do was look at the bright side of things. If something unfortunate happens, focus on all the blessings you have in your life. It’ll make you realize how much you have to be grateful for.

3. Walk a mile in someones shoes

I mean, not literally, but if the shoes are cute just keep walking till they can’t find you anymore. Seriously though, when you feel hurt by someone close to you, try thinking of what could have sparked their anger. Its so easy to victimize ourselves and feel as though the world is out to get us, but when you stand back and look at the bigger picture, you can understand what it is you may have done wrong to spark such a reaction. I feel like self pity is something every adult should grow out of. When you’re young its so easy to think the world is out to get you and that you’re so misunderstood, it’s almost comes with the territory of being a teen but there is nothing worse than an angsty adult.

4. Don’t dwell on the future

This has been my biggest mistake, and the mistake of a lot of young people. I remember the first week of my freshman year of high school, I was pulled into the guidance councillors office with about 3 or 4 other students and asked what I wanted to be when I grew up. Each person answered with such confidence yet I had barely given it any thought. I mean, I was 14 years old, my biggest concern was who was going to give my friends and I a ride to the mall that weekend. When the councillor got to me, I froze for a second and said “Journalist” with the same confidence as the rest of the people in the room. I had never given any thought to journalism to be honest, it was the first thing that popped into my head and I just kind of went with it. It was at that moment I realized when no one else in the room knew what they were talking about either, we just didn’t want to be the only misguided person in the room. It’s ok to not know what you want to do with your life, it’s ok to be confused, the best thing you can do is figure out what you’re passionate about, practice your craft and let life happen to you.

5. Your parents really were on your side all along

I was out with my mom the other day and we were chatting about parenting and how hard it is. I began telling her that once I decide to have kids, the world is going to be even scarier in terms of electronic devices and social media. I went on to say how I would shield my kids from the bad aspects of life by instilling certain rules. I looked up at my mom and saw a smug smirk on her face that screamed “hate to say I told you so”. We spend all these years fighting with our parents, acting as if they are so clueless about the world and we have all the answers. Once you grow up, you realize that they were right (most of the time), and you begin appreciating the rules they enforced on you because it gave you structure and direction.

6. Nothing good comes easy

Another cliche, but a good one. In this era of instant celebrities and YouTube stars, kids are growing up thinking they can make a fortune off of social networking. Success isn’t measured by the number of followers you have, it’s measured by the things that make you happy. Do what you love and do it well, success will come in some way, shape or form.

7.  Never Second Guess yourself

Our gut instincts are usually right, when your gut tells you to do something, you should just do it. I recently got an opportunity which I had been waiting for for quite some time. I was so excited when I got the call, but when I was asked to meet with the person, I hesitated and asked to reschedule due to a prior commitment, in the end I didn’t get the opportunity that I had waited for and it was all because of that second of hesitation. Do I regret it? sure I do, but I take it as another lesson learned. Your gut is always right

8. You will lose friends

This one is a hard pill to swallow when you’re younger but you will lose friends as you grow older. It’s so hard to think about when you’re young and you’re making friendship bracelets and vowing to be best friends forever but as you grow up, growing apart becomes a natural progression. It’s not that you stop enjoying each other’s company, but you just get busy and only have time for the closest people in your life. I can only imagine what happens when kids come into the picture.

9. Less is more and more is less

When I was younger, I was so excited to start wearing “adult clothes” which I thought meant short skirts and high heels. Honestly, I don’t know where I got that idea from considering both my parents are fairly conservative people and my sister has never been a girly girl. My friends and I would buy these little dresses and high heels and think we looked soooo good. I look back now and cringe…what the hell was I thinking!? I guess I needed to go through that phase throughout my style evolution, but if any of you are reading this and going through that same phase, just make sure you’re dressing comfortably and for yourself. Once you feel good about yourself on the inside, your confidence shines on the outside (I sound like a mom).

10.Be a cheerleader for everyone you love

Women are constantly knocking each other down for some reason, and hollywood loves to play up the cattiness that women are stereotyped with. There is nothing more refreshing than a woman who genuinely supports all the women around her. Be a cheerleader for the women in your life, encourage them to pursue their goals and you’ll receive the same encouragement back. As I said before, you will lose friends in your life, but the ones that stick around will be your friends for life. Don’t knock them down to feel better about yourself.

11. Share your experiences

Everyone always says to do as much as you can before you “settle down” -meaning find someone you love and get married. Sure its a nice thought to be a free spirit that can wander around without a care in the world but it’s also nice to share it with someone. Also, why is it that once you get married you’re expected to sit at home and lead a boring life? Why can’t you find someone who becomes your best friend which you can share all those life experiences with? Life doesn’t end with marriage, its just a new chapter.

12. Don’t compare yourself to others

This one is tough with social media being such a prominent figure in most of our lives. We see people getting married, getting amazing careers, traveling and embarking on all of these journeys which can make us feel like we’re living a lacklustre life. Just keep in mind that most people don’t post the bad aspects of their life on social media, so what you’re seeing is a portion of their lives through rose coloured glasses.

13. Learn to love yourself

Never before has society been so open to all kinds of people and lifestyles. You should never be ashamed of anything in your life that makes you happy. Learn to love yourself and accept all the quirks that come along with it.

14. Put the phone down

Seriously (unless you’re reading this post from your smart phone, you can finish it then put it down). I was at an event recently and wanted to pull out my phone to take some photos then I thought about it. Alright, so I can pull out my phone, take a bunch of pictures, use a nice filter and post it online so it could get a few likes then forever be forgotten, or I can put my phone away, enjoy this experience and keep it in my mind as a fond memory. I’m disgusted with my cell phone addiction, I wish I could kick it and I’m really trying to. Lets all vow to put the phones down and just enjoy life without needing the validation of “likes”.

15. Don’t dwell on the past

We’ve all made mistakes in the past; we all have regrets and we’ve all experienced embarrassment and guilt. As much as looking back on them sucks and makes you feel so crappy about yourself, you have to move on. The best thing about making mistakes is that you learn from them, and thats all life really is, one big learning experience and that brings me to my next point…

16. Know your mistakes and learn to apologize for them

One thing I noticed about people is they are quick to justify their actions, which is fine but if you know you’ve done something wrong, that justification needs to come with an apology. Learn to acknowledge your mistakes rather than defend your actions.

17. Learn to say “No”

Canadians are the nicest people in the world, it’s a fact. We apologize for the most mundane things and never want to let someone down, it’s a great quality, but sometimes you need to look out for yourself first. You know those days when you feel really tired and just need time for yourself then a friend calls you up and asks you to hang out and you feel obliged? Sure those nights sometimes turn out to be really fun but you also need to learn to just say no and stay home with nothing but your Netflix your sweats.

18. Focus on your health

You know when you’re little and you have that one person that made a big impact on your life? For me that was my aunt, she was the second youngest in my dads side and was my first friend. We would spend hours hanging out, throwing little concerts in her bedroom, teaching me how to apply make-up and having little fashion shows. Whenever she was around I had to be sitting on or near her, and she always wore this sweet perfume that almost had the same scent as jello. Years ago she was diagnosed with cancer and she sadly passed away a few months ago. The day she passed away I remembered thinking that nothing in the world is more important than your health and the health of your loved ones. Try to kick any bad habits that may hinder your lifestyle in the future and focus on living a clean, healthy, life you can enjoy for years and years with the ones around you.

19. Make time for your family

They’re annoying, they’re nosey, they do anything and everything to get under your skin but at the end of the day, they’re yours and you need to learn to love and accept them for who they are. Try to plan a family vacation (or even a staycation) once a year

20. Do everything you want do to and don’t let anyone stop you

Write down a bucket list of things you really want to do without taking anyone other than yourself into consideration, then think of ways to make all of those things happen. Life is all about experiences, enjoy every second of it and don’t let anyone stop you.

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