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21 Things I’ve Learned in 21 Years

Image by J Lee on Unsplash

Recently, I was reading this Tumblr blog I had in high school. It had a fair amount of followers, enough to the point where I thought I could give advice, I suppose, because I had this post called “17 things I’ve learned in 17 years.” It was ridiculously fun to look back at my priorities as a 17-year-old (they’re mainly about being emo with relationships, or school, or confidence, or just emo in general).

It used to be a trend on YouTube, might still be, and I do love the idea of it. So here I am, four years later, doing it again.

1. Life is so short. Modified from ‘high school is so short’ back as a 17-year-old. Anything that you’re going through right now feels so long, but it’s going to end up being so short. If you’re going through a happy phase of your life right now, capture it, clutch it to your chest, because happiness will come again, but not the same way.

2. Be wary about extremes. Usually balance is the answer.

3. Happiness is hard-earned and is constantly in motion. Fight for it.

4. Your life will change in ways that you never would have expected and you’ll be stunned and blown away. It’s going to feel very weird. But that’s okay. It could be something wonderful.

5. Your memory can only hold so many things. Write down everything. Appointments, feelings, events. Take pictures of everything. Your family, your new shoes, your uni room wall. You’ll forget, and then you’ll be glad.

6. You’re going to feel like you’re on a deadline, and when you really stop and think about it, you’ll realise that the deadline is stupid. You’ll feel the deadline anyway. Ignore it as best you can. Life is like a ladder in which you can compare yourself to your peers as a kid. As an adult, life is more like a tree in which everyone has different paths on different timelines.

7. Cultivate your habits without feeling the pressure to monetize them. If you want to, that’s great. If you don’t that’s okay too. You just need to do something that’s not studying, chilling, watching media, and consuming social media.

8. Read at least one book about personal finance. That’ll set you up better than most people. It doesn’t need to be complicated or scary, but it needs to be done.

9. You’ll never be this young again. Do the thing.

10. You are the only person you are guaranteed to spend your whole life with. Take care of yourself, your mind and body. Be your best friend and guardian. Learn how to rely on yourself.

11. You may grow up thinking the world is your world, but that’s not true. The world is very large, and you are very small. Grow your world, inch by inch. Read everything. Travel everywhere. Talk to everyone. Question every idea.

12. You are a multi-faceted human being. Don’t let society tell you that you can’t be something and something else.

13. Consciously create little joys, whatever that looks like for you. Treasure the things you know you love and spend time doing, having, or getting it.

14. You will desperately love people and they will desperately not love you back. It will feel desperate. And hopeless. But one person’s appraisal of you is a complete non-factor on how loveable you are as a person.

15. You have no obligation to be the person you were five seconds ago. Literally none. Change starts with your belief in your identity.

16. Everyone else in the world seems like a minor character to your struggles and achievements, but in the narrative of their life, they are their own main character. Be kind. You never know what they’re going through.

17. Figure out a way to use social media in a way that is healthy and fun for you, whatever that looks like.

18. Sometimes you just need to sit with something and then let it go. It’s unfair, it sucks, whatever. Your peace of mind is the most important.

19. The tortoise and the hare kind of sounds like a scam when you’re younger, but hard work and effort really differentiates people as you get older. You might not get the results you want, but you’ll never regret it.

20. You’re going to grow into yourself, whoever that person is. With experience and time comes confidence.

21. Re: all the advice above. People will give you all sorts of advice, and some of it will be very good. Some will be rubbish. Some of it you will listen to, some of you won’t. Either way, sometimes you just have to go through the thing and learn the lesson yourself.

x B

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