20 Things I Learnt By 20

It was my birthday yesterday, and of course this calls for a generic ‘things I’ve learnt’ kind of post. Because who doesn’t like a neat list of life lessons?! I think it goes without saying that we all learn a lot of things over a year, month or even a day, but that could form a vast and boring collection. So instead, here are twenty highlights…

Appreciating the little things is important: whether that’s the sunshine on your face in spring, the thoughtful words of a fellow blogger, or a hug at the right time – gratitude is a powerful thing.

Prioritising is difficult but necessary; multitasking doesn’t really work in most situations and it’s better to just focus intensely on one task at a time. Managing all the important aspects of your life is an ever-evolving skill.

Mental health issues shouldn’t, but sometimes do, hold you back: sometimes it is admirable to push through whatever’s making life a struggle, but there’s also courage in knowing when you need to pause to take a breath.

Best friends aren’t always the ones that have been around the longest, or even the ones that are geographically closest to you. They’re the ones that know how to help you and stick by you, make you laugh and feel comfortable, go on adventures and share your dreams.

Just because a life choice is unconventional, it doesn’t mean it’s worth any less than anyone else’s life path: don’t feel pressure to do the ‘normal’ thing.

In fact, sometimes making a decision fewer others have made can be a great thing; it could lead to opportunities you otherwise wouldn’t have been able to experience. You could end up travelling the world, meeting like-minded people, fulfilling your seemingly unreachable ambitions… Take thought-through risks.

Talking about problems often helps lessen the weight they put on your shoulders: good listeners are wonderful people to have in your life, and sharing your issues with them will make working through problems a whole lot easier.

Trends come and go: wear what makes you comfortable and not what society imposes on you.

Trying to be someone else isn’t going to work; trying to imitate the ‘perfect’ social media life is also not going to work. Be proud of the individual you are growing into, and stay curious as you get to know yourself.

It’s important to be kind to others, but also to be kind to yourself: sometimes we can give ourselves the hardest time, and mentally talk to ourselves in a way we’d never talk to someone else.

Be aware of privilege and disadvantage, and where you fit into this in any given context: this helps shape understanding in a way nothing else can.

Just because someone looks happy, it doesn’t mean they’re not struggling: help people when you can, not because you want them to help you back at some point, but because it’s a nice thing to do.

Having confidence and good self-esteem is a constant work in progress: if you stop practicing, it becomes harder the next time you need a spark of courage.

Knowing something logically and rationally doesn’t mean you can always avoid being impacted emotionally. I knew at the time that no one would remember the five-minute speech I did in English class age 13, yet that didn’t stop me feeling like everyone would be laughing about it a decade later. Accepting this disconnect between thought and feeling is hard, but necessary.

If you have the chance to travel and there’s any part of you that wants to do it, then do it: it is the best thing I ever did for myself.

Sense of self isn’t fixed: as time passes, the way you think about yourself and your place in the world changes, both positively and negatively. Knowing it will keep on changing is scary yet comforting, both confusing and exciting.

Place massively influences sense of self too: this was most obvious to me when I travelled to India. I constantly felt very conscious of the fact that I am a white woman, and often felt very uncomfortable about it. The way you see yourself can really shift in different environments.

Reaching that sudden turning point in which you’ve become an adult is a myth: growing up is a long road with many bumps as well as downhill cruises.

This is the same for making life decisions: some people have it all worked out with the click of a finger, but most of us are discovering what we want from life as we go.

And finally, life will constantly surprise you.

If you enjoyed this post, you might like:

You Don’t Have To Eat Oysters: An Open Letter to Myself About Making Decisions

18 Things I Want To Do In 2018

Dear 2017 Me: An Open Letter

My Social Media Links:

Twitter (@alysjournals)

Instagram (@alystravels)

Pinterest (@alysdc)



25 thoughts on “20 Things I Learnt By 20

  1. Rachel says:

    Happy belated birthday! My birthday is next month and I’m going to be doing 23 things I’ve accomplished because let’s face it, I haven’t learned much, hahaha!

    Rachel || anotherstationanothermile.com

    Liked by 1 person

  2. bournemouthgirl says:

    Happy belated birthday! It is so important to appreciate the little things! It’s also true that your best friends aren’t always the ones you’ve known the longest. I can definitely relate to mental health holding you back. Xx

    Liked by 1 person

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