There is a funny feeling that comes with turning 20. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m kind of an adult now or just because the long stretch of teenage years are behind me. Growing up I thought that everyone had their lives together by the time they were 20 because to a 13 year old 20 seems so old!!
I can tell you that I definitely don’t have everything figured out but after reflecting on my ‘teens’ I realised that there is a lot I’ve learnt, and I want share a few things.
So here are 20 things I learnt before turning 20, or just from being a teenager…
- It’s okay not to do what everyone else is doing. Follow your interests, your dreams, and your heart. Be yourself. Who wants to fit in anyway?
- You shouldn’t make yourself look a certain way to fit in. This goes along with what I said above. Just because everyone else in your class is wearing hair extensions, doesn’t mean you have to.
- Who you are in school does not matter once you leave. You don’t have to stay in contact with anyone if you don’t want to.
- Wear as much make-up as you want but remember you do not need it. This is something I wish I had said to myself when I was growing up. Nowadays I go out without make-up more than I do with it because I can’t really be bothered to wear it on a weekend.
- Don’t pick your spots. Growing up with acne it was always tempting to try and get the spots to go away and picking is often too tempting. I was lucky and haven’t been left with too much scaring. Nowadays when I get a spot I just leave it to go on its own because otherwise it just feels itchy and irritated.
- Calories restriction is not a good way to lose weight. Okay, so obviously by calorie restricting you can lose weight. But it is extremely unsustainable!! Not to mention unhealthy and causes metabolic damage in the long run. I tried a ton of fad diets over the years and even calorie restricted to 1200 calories only last summer. Over the last few months I’ve been researching and practising a healthier way of living.
- Neither is taking laxatives. It is shocking how many people use and abuse laxatives as a way to lose weight. I don’t know the real effects that excessive laxative use can cause but it is extremely bad for you.
- You are going to lose friends, and that’s okay. It’s more than okay, it’s necessary sometimes. People grow apart, it is okay!
- Not everything you are taught is true, or useful. For example, Cow’s milk is the worst form of calcium. In fact, it does not make our human bones stronger, it has the reverse effect. Animal foods draw calcium from the bones because they are highly acidic and our bodies are alkaline. “It is vital that the acidity levels of your diet are not so high, if is too high your body must leach calcium from your bones to keep the bodies alkaline levels balanced.” You can research further into this yourself.
- The happiness you feel from material items is very temporary. Of course it’s nice to have things. But there is way more to happiness than having the most clothes or the most expensive bag or the newest phone. It goes deeper than just what is on the surface. Focus on working hard, doing more of things you enjoy, and surrounding yourself with positive people.
- Get comfortable with being alone. Bare in mind that there won’t always be positive people to surround yourself with and that is okay too. Being alone is part of life and it’s great to get to know yourself. And yes, it is healthy. Just like material things, you can’t focus on other people to make you happy. “So how can I be happy then?” What I’m saying is you need to find happiness within yourself. This is something I myself am working on too.
- Not everyone will like you. And so what? It doesn’t mean you are doing anything wrong and if someone doesn’t like who you are is does not matter. There will be people you don’t like either.
- Learn something from everything. Every day is a learning opportunity. You might not even realise that you have learnt anything and the most vital learning happens outside of school.
- It is okay to change your mind and your path. “People are people, and sometimes we changes our minds.” I was so set within the idea that I wanted to be a Fashion Designer for years growing up. I finally changed my mind a year ago when I was applying for University. I chose a degree of Fashion Buying and Merchandising. Yes, still fashion but completely different to design. I am mainly mentioning this point because I have no idea if I will stay in this “industry” after I finish University.
- Don’t describe yourself with labels or put yourself into categories, it limits who you are. I always thought I was shy and when I would tell someone this, it is how they defined me. The shy girl. I was extremely quite when I was younger but not anymore. I get nervous, just like anyone and I’m not loud and outspoken. But I will not categorise myself as shy or as anything because I am more than labels.
- See others are inspiration and motivation, not as threats or competition. Just because someone else is successful, doesn’t mean you are not. “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Congratulate others.
- Not everyone is judging you or talking about you behind your back. They are probably too busy thinking about what others are saying of them. But honestly, so what if someone thinks something bad of you? It doesn’t define you. And how often do you think something bad of somebody else that you walk past in the street? Probably never! Personally I look for inspiration in others from the way they dress to the way they walk down the street. I find that confident people motivate me to be more confident, to stand up straight, and to look up when I’m walking.
- It is okay not to be okay sometimes. So give yourself a day to be alone, watch films, eat some chocolate, go for a walk, have a cry, whatever it is you need to do. But then pick yourself up again and keep it moving. Don’t get stuck in a bubble of misery because it will eat you from the inside out.
- Don’t let negative thoughts consume your life. It is so easy to let so many things get us down. Above I mentioned how it is okay to feel down sometimes and it’s completely normal. But don’t let it consume you or define you. I like to think positive thoughts when I notice I’m being negative and write them down in a journal. This was something I never really thought would work but it honestly does. Another thing I’ve been doing recently is being aware of when I’m complaining and stopping myself. There is always a reason to be grateful.
- When you compliment yourself, it really makes you feel better. Like I said writing down positive things in a journal really helps. So write down positive things about yourself. And after you’ve done that, look in the mirror and tell it to yourself. “You are enough, you have enough, and you do enough.”