Things I Wish I Knew In My 20s

All the things I wish I knew in my 20s.

Trying to find your path and navigate through your 20s is hardly anything but easy. Nobody truly has it altogether all the time—no matter how it may seem. We’re all figuring it out day by day, through each experience and choice we make. While my chapter of this decade recently came to an end, there are a handful of life lessons I learned along the way, all the things I wish I knew in my 20s.

Nobody is responsible for your happiness, except yourself

Read that, and read that again. Nobody is responsible for your happiness, except yourself. Not your parents, your friends, your colleagues, your partner, your boss. You and only you. What’s hardest about transitioning into your 20s is the constant stage of trying to figure things out. If we place our happiness in the wrong things, then we’re closing the endless doors of opportunities. Life is truly too short to be anything but happy. While problems will arise, as they always do, if you place happiness within yourself you’ll find it’s a little easier to figure things out without risking the loss of happiness along the way. 

Stop comparing yourself to other people.

No journey is the same, and sometimes we need to take a single moment to remind ourselves of that. We will never have exactly what somebody else has or be like somebody else is, because we are not them. And why would we want to be? I used to feel behind in life because I was constantly comparing myself to other people and focusing on what I didn’t have. Comparisons fall short every time, because life was made for our individuality, not everybody else. 

Drop the weight of people who bring you down.

I used to think I could fix people. Hurting people, specifically. I thought if they were able to unpack their baggage and bury it in a far away place, it would end up changing them. The reality is people only change if they want to change. It’s not our responsibility to carry around the weight of other people’s problems. While it’s not to say we can’t help others, as we should, it’s to say we shouldn’t feel responsible for fixing them. Drop the weight of people who only bring you down, you’ll be thankful you did in the end. 

Celebrate the small successes, and forget the timelines. 

This goes back to the root of comparisons, that we need to celebrate where we’re at and not where we think we should be. Remember, you are farther right now than you were before, and great things happen over time. Don’t worry if you aren’t matched up with the timeline life says you should have. Even the smallest success is still a success, and it’s important to recognize and be grateful for that.

It’s okay not to be okay.

We don’t have to put on a face and always pretend like everything is always okay. Sometimes it’s not going to be, and that’s okay. When faced with challenges, what’s most important is how we walk through the difficulties. Life was never promised to always be easy. It’s okay not to be okay, but what’s not okay is to stay there. Emerge yourself in your feelings but remind yourself not to drown there. I wasted too much time in my early 20s feeling like I had to be strong all the time. Strength comes from weakness, and it’s completely healthy to admit to our weaknesses, so we can grow and learn from our hardest and most trying times. 

The 20s are filled with confusion, excitement, uncertainty, growth, and change. You don’t always have to have everything figured out—eventually everything will intertwine and come together exactly how it’s supposed to. What’s most important is staying true to who you are, and remembering even the hardest of times will pass. After all, we’re all in this together.

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