A few weeks ago I turned 20. For the most part I’ve just stumbled through the last few years, making split second decisions that have completely changed my life. Or maybe I was always meant to be where I am today, but that’s a philosophical discussion that I’m definitely not ready to get into at this point in time! While I still have no idea what I’m going to be doing next month let alone the rest of my life, these are some of the thing’s I’ve learned in the past 20 years:
- Use your age to your advantage: Anytime I make a big life decisions (e.g. moving to New Zealand to work with ponies) there is always going to be someone who feels the need to criticize that decision. Which is when my age becomes a perfectly valid reason to just go ahead and do it anyways. Who cares if I have no idea what I’m doing with my life – I’m 20, I’ve got time.This is the perfect time to make as many mistakes as it takes to get things right. Feel free to use this excuse anytime someone questions why you’re doing something.
- You don’t need to drink to have a good time: This one took awhile for me to fully be ok with, but the older I get (I sound like I’m in my mid 30’s here) the less I feel the need to drink just because everyone else is. The hardest part about this is realizing that no one actually cares if you’re drinking with them, as long as you’re having fun they won’t even notice. It’s just as fun to go out, stay nice and sober and then be good for work the next day, which brings me to my next point..
- Don’t drink and expect to be perfectly fine the next day, especially if you have anxiety/insert any mental illness you can think of: I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone out with friends in full awareness I had work the next morning with intentions of only having a few, only to then realize it’s 3am and my full panic about work sets in. Next thing you know I’m having a panic attack about having to be up in 4 hours and expected to be at work without any sleep, still drunk and anxiety off the charts. Not fun. Just do yourself a favour and drink accordingly to what you have to do the next day.
- It’s healthy to let some friendships go: Sometimes you just drift apart from your friends who you’ve had forever, and that’s ok! It doesn’t mean you don’t care anymore or that you won’t get together for coffee again when you’re both back in the same town. Sometimes you just need to let a toxic friendship go so that you can grow into yourself and be happy. There’s no shame in doing what you need to do to be happy in life.
- Save what you can: This one should get a chuckle out of a few people, but saving money is personally a huge struggle. I get paid bi-weekly and out of the paycheck half goes into two weeks rent, the rest into bills (car payments, groceries, phone bills…) by the time I’m done paying everything I have a bit of money to spend on coffee and buying things I kinda need but could probably go without. The best thing to do is save what you can, if it’s $10 or $100 it’ll add up to something eventually (or so I tell myself).
- Travel as much and as far as you can: Seeing a new place, connecting with people, experiencing a different culture, all these things are good for the soul, especially human connection. Travelling is all these combined. It gives you an experience that you can’t get at home. It’s the best way to truly know who you are and what you want out of life. Before I left Canada I read an amazing blog post: blog.jennasuedesign.com that was about this incredible women who after going through a divorce, decided to travel to Thailand for a new start. It was the push I needed to confirm that travel is something everyone needs to do in their life. It doesn’t matter how much you have in your bank, you don’t need to travel to the other side of the world. Simply traveling someplace new is an incredibly humbling experience.
- You make your own luck: I hate when people say things happen for a reason. No things happen because I made them happen based on decision I’ve made. You can’t just wait for something amazing to happen or for your luck to change, you have to go out, put in the work and make it happen.
- It’s healthy to talk about your feelings: Anyone who knows me knows I talk a lot and to anyone. But something I’ve always struggled with is opening up and talking about how I feel. Some people may have no idea I have a few different mental illnesses, but they’re there every single day. Looking back it was not talking about it that made it worse and made me feel very ostracized. I still struggle to explain it and have those who have never had to live with a mental illness understand, but more often than not it opens up the conversation and I find most people have had it touch their lives in some way. Everyone’s going through their own life battles, and opening up and talking about it may help not only you, but your friend or family with whom you’re talking to.
- Staying in bed all day is ok, but not everyday: Sometimes on my day off I’ll stay in bed the entire day, watching the entirety of Greys Anatomy over again and only getting up to get more food. By the end of the day I feel like I wasted an entire day and I could have spent it doing something -anything- more productive. And yes, that’s definitely true, but these ‘veg days’ are days I desperately need. After spending a week doing physical labour (joys of working on a farm) and constantly talking to customers, I feel physically and emotionally exhausted. So I take a ‘veg day’ and then continue on being a relatively normal functioning human being. The point is, if you need a day to reset and rest then take it. There’s no point in burning yourself out over trying to get the most things done in a day.
- Never take thing’s or people for granted: Life is constantly changing and it’s impossible to predict what will happen tomorrow. Take the time to appreciate the amazing people in your life and put in the effort to keep them there. Things change quickly and it’s important to recognize the little moments in life that stand out and really take them in when their happening.
These are just 10 things I’ve learned from 20 years orbiting the sun, I’m sure there’s more and I’m sure these will change in my next 10 years. Maybe you agree with some, maybe you don’t and that’s ok! Because everyone has different life experience that mould them into the humans they are today. All I know is that I’m excited to see where my 20’s take me!