20 things i’ve learned since turning 20

woah happy 20th birthday to me!!

it’s a little bit past day of, but 20 still feels kind of momentous, no? it’s a little bit different than age 16 or 18, though, where i felt the effect of aging almost immediately when waking up. the world looked a little brighter, i felt a little more grown, it was a good time! maybe it was just finally being able to get a permit and vote, though HAH.

even though 20 isn’t an age that comes with the gift of new responsibilities (like buying alc huehue catch me in a year), 20 still feels old. i’m no longer a teenager, and i’m fully stepping into a new decade of my life. what i’m grateful for, though, is that i happened to turn 20 over break. i’m currently spending my thanksgiving break at my university, where the large majority of people are at home for the holidays. i’m chilling out here, pretty much alone give or take a few meet-ups with friends, but it’s… really nice to be able to ruminate on my thoughts and goals and ambitions for the next decade by myself. too often, going to a huge university, it’s really hard to find time to let my full introvert come out, and i make do with the few moments of solitude i can scrape together between classes and during meals.

that being said, i have a lot of thoughts and a lot of goals for myself after having an entire afternoon to myself and i’m ready to share on my lil diary-blog.

1. You are the most important person in your life!

And don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. This sounds cynical but I’ve learned that as I navigate life, there’s no other person that you’re going to be spending all of your time with. You gotta take responsibility for your own actions and agency for yourself. So love yourself, be gentle with yourself, learn to be more than okay with yourself. Who else is going to be there with you through all of the highs and lows?

2. Give yourself more credit

I’m still pretty bad at this, but this lesson is one I learned retrospectively when reflecting on high school. Too often, I work and achieve only to dismiss it as just the standard. Yeah it’s good to have high expectations for myself, but it’s also good to take a moment to celebrate the steps I have taken! The end goal is important, yes, but the little wins along the journey are equally as important.

3. Work-life balance is a real thing and you deserve it

Friends are great and you don’t have to compromise having a social life for your goals. Ideally, your friends will not only encourage you to have fun with them, but to also do your work. Also work is hard and sad and honestly a life isn’t just built out of the work you do. Tell that to high-school Kelly, please.

4. You won’t click with everyone, and that’s okay. Other people won’t click with you, and that’s okay, too.

There are 7.7 billion people on this planet and if you don’t connect with every person you talk to, it isn’t the end of the world. You shouldn’t have to feel like you’re putting all the work into a new friendship and a lot of times it’s just a matter of being in the right place mentally, physically, and emotionally.

also, a perfect friend doesn’t exist. not every flaw is an immediate deal breaker, and you shouldn’t have unrealistic expectations for your buddies. some of your best friends now are people that have quirks that you might dislike but what’s more important to consider is if they are supportive and if you want to love and support them. also see #19.

5. People grow up, but that doesn’t mean you have to grow apart

I have friends that I used to be best friends with but they either moved away or changed schools or just grew to have different interests and goals as me. Still friends with them, but maybe not as close as before. And while it does suck, that’s just life.

I remember the summer before I came to college, I was at this summer camp where I was expressing my worry with maintaining friendships and starting new ones. One of the students at this camp made a metaphor about how friendships are kind of like moon phases. As you move through life, some of those friendships wane, kind of like how a moon goes through phases. The friendship is still there, just maybe not as bright, just a little bit dimmer in the background. But then when you link up again, maybe reconnect after not talking for a few months, it waxes, becoming a full moon again. Going to college is like placing those old high school friendships on the backburner, allowing new “moons” to come out and develop. But that doesn’t mean that the older friendships die out.

6. Relationships take work, and maybe it’s just not always a priority 

Romance is hard, relationships take hella work to develop, insta-love is not real. Also the “talking” phase is too emotionally taxing for me and I’m just an old-school gal that wants to get to know people on dates is that too much to ask for?

Also, just like I said, it’s not a priority because I just have too much on my plate right now. But maybe someone will come around that will make me want to prioritize it, who knows?

7. You are capable of more than you think

Honestly, reflecting is a trippy af mind exercise. I’m out here in complete disbelief at where I am maturity-wise compared to a year ago. I am aged and I honestly tried out a ton of things and in the process of learning skills and things that I had no idea I was even capable of.

8. Slow down

I’m literally only 20 and am already expecting myself to be a master of all trades or something and that’s just… not realistic? In high school, all I ever dreamed of was going to college. Now, all I do is think about where I’ll be post-grad. But I really just need to take a moment to appreciate where I am right now and take things at a slower pace.

9. People are more forgiving and giving and supportive than you think

I love my friends, my family, and all those around me. That is all.

people that love you are willing to listen to you and support you and you don’t need to be afraid of burdening them. be sure to lean on them and your support systems more because you would do the same for them in a heartbeat.

10. Appreciate the simple things in life

Like being able to shower barefoot and not in a cubicle.

11. It’s okay to be a kiddo, especially when you talk to your parents and siblings again

I swear, I revert back to a 5-year-old when I talk to my brother and my parents LOL.

12. A nice lipstick or cute outfit can really make a difference

I knew this in high school but I kind of… forgot how much it could do for my mood until this year. Have loved rediscovering looking hot for nobody except myself 🙂

13. Grades aren’t everything

Do I mean this, or is it just because I’m about to get a C in math? Tune in in approximately 3 weeks and I’ll let you know.

In all seriousness, there is so much more to life than just studying and grades.

14. Hard work trumps natural skill

Guilty of riding on my smarts bc yagirl is still trying to relearn how to study effectively for college. It’s a work in process but it is doing amazing things for making me less prideful and be better about asking for help.

15. Be openly appreciative and honest with those around you. Gratitude goes a long way.

Because it says more about your own character to be open and nice and appreciative than those that will judge you for it. Also positivity begets positivity because it’s the CIRCLE OF LIFEEEEEEE!

Really though, if people and your friends see you being open and honest and thankful, it makes them more comfortable to do so with you too and honestly I just love my people. shout-out to one of my bestest pals for teaching me this @lho ❤

16. Don’t let your passions die

See kelly quit dancing in high school = big regret

now she dance a lot = very happy all the time

17. It’s never too late to start !

See above but also me trying to learn to code and play ukelele and my billion other hobbies

18. Quality over quantity

In everything, friends, food, clothes, school, everything

19. Everyone is doing their own thing, so don’t take it personally

Got left on read? Turned down for dinner? Maybe they let the elevator doors close on you? Or someone cut you off on Bruinwalk? It’s aight, let it roll off of you bc college teaches you better than anything else that everyone has their own goals and ambitions. Also see #1! They doing that too, prioritizing their own mental, physical, emotional health so being understanding can go a long way.

20. There’s always more to learn and growth is an ongoing journey

Goals for year 20:

  • Practice greater patience. You aren’t gonna improve in one day, honeyboo, but you will if you stick with it and persevere. Be patient and gentle with your own progress. You can have high expectations but also, be realistic about what it’s gonna take. Also stop beating yourself up for tiny errors and being hella dramatic when a little bit of patience would make yourself feel so much better.
  • Relationships take two people (and time!) to develop so stop rushing through life and expecting things to happen if you just work at it yourself. Other person also has to be present bro or you’re just throwing things at a target that ain’t there.
  • Stick with a new project to the end. I have a bad habit of starting new endeavors and just… dropping them halfway through from lack of interest. I want to stick with web dev and developing a personal website!
    • I should probably set concrete goals so I don’t just stop doing this too.
  • Take more initiative and stop procrastinating, especially on important things! Time management is crucial to maintaining that work-life balance, homie.
  • Use your phone less! There’s more to life than virtual connections. I know that you’ve taken a lot of commitments that require cellular connection and such real world connection is so much more meaningful. Plus you’ll probably be less distracted 24/7.

this post is a hot mess but aren’t we all? catch me editing and writing an actual conclusion for this in approximately 12 hours bc i want sleep now woop

edit: hi it’s morning now and i’m sitting in front of my laptop eating a salad and drinking hot cocoa bc tis the season! i hope year 20 is one of growth and adventure in more new ways! i look forward to going through and investing in my career aspirations and friends and relationships even more than i have this past year. i’m really excited to see what this year will bring, especially since i’m so blessed to be surrounded by such phenomenal people that encourage me to be my best self.

lots of luv and good night bc it is currently 2:24 AM ❤


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