8 Things I’ve Learned In My Twenties

I wholeheartedly believe a person’s twenties are one of the hardest times emotionally in a person’s life. You come out from being a shiny teenager with a limited knowledge of the world, to being thrown out into the muck of reality and decision making. You are no longer told when and where to be. You are no longer told this or that is what you are doing with your life, which is great, but is also really scary and kind of actually sucks.   All of a sudden you are faced with two of the hardest questions to answer. Who the heck am I, and what am I supposed to do with my life!? You are in this nasty scary world with the soft skin of a baby, and haven’t yet developed the tough hide of a seasoned adult. It seems like most people this age end up going through some form of depression. But there is also a lot you can learn in your twenties if you pay attention, so here are 8 things I’ve learned so far:

1. Not everyone is who you think they are.

As a teenager I hadn’t quite developed the ability to see past people’s crap, so I fell for fake smiles and conversation, and therefor had a pretty good opinion of most people. I lived in a shiny rose-tinted bubble, and then, somewhere in my twenties, it popped. I found out people I thought were great were either a. mean and judgmental or b. completely crazy. This was probably the hardest, and definitely most discouraging, lesson I have learned so far. I kept thinking to myself, “is anyone who they seem, or is this entire world full of nutters?” And the answer to that question is… yes, the world is full of nutters.

Thankfully I have also learned that we are all a bunch of imperfect humans, raised differently rarely with the same opinions. As we get older we gain reoccurring faults that we don’t realize we have or we’ve learned to ignore. There is no one person that could ever fully meet your expectations. The only one who fits that ticket is God. Once I realized that, it started to matter less and less how perfect other people were.

2. You can’t please everyone.

Chances are if you are pleasing one person you are upsetting someone else. Everyone has differences of opinion, and all of them think their opinion is right.  This includes me, but my opinions are actually fact, so you know… Anyways, there is always going to be rude people judging and criticizing you for something you have done. If you turn the heat up, people will complain it’s too hot, if you turn the heat down, people will complain it’s too cold. 

The first thing you need to realize is…haters gonna hate. Second, as long as you got your life right with the Lord it DOES NOT matter what other people think. For goodness sake do not live your life trying to please everyone. You will be running around in circles, and you will never feel contentment. 

Most people think the best way to deal with criticism or judgmental attitudes is by retorting with some snarky remark or the rolling of their eyes (*raises both hands and jumps up and down*), but that only spreads the negativity. Kindness and love is always the best response. It’s the water to the flame of negativity, and it usually, not always, results in the person feeling ashamed even if they don’t admit it or show it. Regardless of how they react to your kindness it’s good for your spirit. Treat others as you would want to be treated, even if they don’t happen to be treating you that way in the moment, and all you want to do is shove pie in their face and smush it around.

3. Stop living your life in phases!

When you’re young you wait to graduate high school, when you graduate high school you wait to graduate college, then you wait to find a husband or wife, then you wait to buy a house, then you wait for children, then you wait on promotions, then you wait for retirement, and then I’m guessing somewhere in the midst of all those phases you do the same thing with the stages of your children’s lives. Once I graduated high school I thought all that waiting mess was over, but then I learned it never ends. We are always looking forward to the next big thing, thinking, “then I will be happy!” Guess what? That’s never true unless you’re dead and going to heaven. We are waisting precious moments and time waiting for something better to come along. Stop living for tomorrow, and start living in each day. Learn to be content in the mess you are in, because NEWSFLASH we are always going to be living in a mess, because we are messy humans in a messy world. 

Stop being a bunch of waiters and start being a bunch of livers! That doesn’t sound as catchy as I hoped it would, but you get the point!

4. Don’t base your self-worth on having a significant other, and don’t constantly worry about finding a spouse.

*Cheesy line alert* You are never going to be happy in any relationship until you are happy with yourself. I’ve seen it time and time again through friends or other young people that think finding a husband or wife is life’s ultimate goal, the thing that will bring them happiness and complete them. That train of thought creates the perfect conditions for an unhealthy relationships. Nobody can complete you (that’s God’s job), and when you expect that of a person it puts way too much pressure on them, and you will be sadly disappointed and just as unhappy as you were before.

I personally don’t feel anyone should be in a relationship until they learn to be happy by themselves. We make ourselves discontent by wishing for the things we do not have. Take the hand you were dealt, and make it awesome! There is no point in sitting around and waiting for a better life. Live now, and forget about ooey gooey love stuff until that’s the hand you are dealt.

If you keep pining and pining after having some arm candy, you are going to be so desperate that you end up settling for the first loser that you can find. Being single and alone HAS to be better than being married and miserable.

Most people say that as soon as you stop looking that’s when the right person comes along. I believe this is true because 1. you exude a lot more confidence when you’re not desperate for a guy or girl, therefor attracting the right kind of guys or girls. 2. You can trust your judgment more when you don’t have the bias of desperation, and will in turn pick the right guy or girl. You will stop waisting your attention on all the muck that comes strolling along, and only reserve it for the best of gems. And 3. maybe there’s a little bit of serendipity thrown in there too.

5. It’s ok to cry, and be emotional. 

Some people equate being emotional to being unstable. I’m thinking specifically of some men I’ve heard claim women shouldn’t be in charge or do this or that, because we are too emotional, causing women to feel ashamed and insecure. I could just as easily say men shouldn’t be in charge, because they are so easily influenced by what’s in their pants, but both statements are idiotic. We are ALL influenced by our emotions, stress, faults, health, drama, hormones etc. from time to time.

We try to put on some fake little persona like a bunch of robots, because we are trying to seem macho or strong, but the problem is that it’s fake! Don’t ever let someone make you feel ashamed when you get emotional, or feel the need to cry. Those emotions are there for a reason, and there is a reason we have tear ducts. They alert us to issues in our mental health, help us feel compassion towards others, and provide us with an outlet. 

So if I want to cry, I am going to cry. If you want to judge me, fine. I will just imagine myself shoving pie in your face and mushing it around, but instead will just give you a sweet little smile… through my tears of course, and I’ll probably be eating the pie.

6. Everyone has faults.

I struggled with something for years that made me feel awful about myself. I kept it from people, because I didn’t think they would understand, or they would look at me differently. This caused me to hate myself. I felt like an imposter.

A lot of this low self esteem resulted from seeing how few faults the people around me seemed to have, and if they did they didn’t seem to be anything major. It wasn’t until later that I realized everyone has things they hide about themselves, and then they slap on smiles and act like everything is dandy. This creates an illusion in ourselves that we are the only ones that struggle with {insert whatever it is here}. We don’t feel like we can talk to anyone about it, or admit it, because we fear being judged, and it slowly eats us away. We fear being labeled as a freak, weird, stupid, or whatever.

To overcome this we need to first, realize whatever we are struggling with somebody else is struggling with as well, probably someone you know and probably more people than you would think. There is nothing new under the sun after all.

Second, we need to be able to open up to each other, and stop hiding all our imperfections all the time. Find someone you trust to talk to about what you struggle with. Most of the time they will admit their own dark struggles back to you. We need people to build us up and encourage us. The more we keep it to ourselves, the more we just wallow in our own filth. We need someone to help pull us up and wash the mud off, to tell us, “you’re not a freak, and you can overcome this.”

Third, stop beating yourself up, and start changing today, not hoping it will get better in the future. Sometimes the shame of what we do can hold us back from actually changing or trying to have a relationship with God, because we don’t think we are good enough. Stop thinking about how awful you are, and do something about it.

This whole “everyone has faults” mentality shouldn’t be used to make an excuse for yourself, always hold yourself accountable. The point is we are not in this struggle alone, and you my friend are human.

7. How to change the world.

One of the worst things about living on this earth is all the hate, negativity, and scary things that exist in it, and how it seems like there is nothing we can do about it. When we think of changing the world, we think about really big things, so we don’t attempt to do anything, because what is there big that I can actually do that will make any difference? This is so false. The world is changed through many small actions. Bad things that happen in the world start with one person’s action, and the same thing is true of good things.  You change the world when you smile at someone, you change the world when you show someone love, you change the world when you tell someone something positive, you change the world when you stop and notice all the people around you, the broken and grumpy and sad people. When you share positivity with someone, that in turn gives them the strength to share it as well. The positivity that you gave one person could have affected hundreds by the time the day is over. The same thing is true though of negative actions.

The man who angrily honks his horn and flicks his hand up at me, just causes me to sneer back and walk through wherever I was headed with a grumpy look on my face darting angry glances at anyone who dares to get near me, causing them to think “what’s her flippin’ problem?” thereby souring their mood. You know how hard it is to be nice after someone has been rude to you? Really hard. That’s why so many people in this world are walking around so grumpy all the time. If we would just realize that someone else probably caused them to feel this way, we might show a little more compassion, and stop this negativity train in its tracks.

“Those who are hardest to love need it the most.” -Socrates

So when you are discouraged because you see some sort of negativity happen, combat it with something positive. Attack the world with a smile and love. Things others would react towards with anger react with love. Do the unexpected. That’s how you change the world.

For additional ideas on how to change the world read: 20 Ways to Brighten Someone’s Day

8. Finally, moisturize every day so you don’t have to pick breadcrumbs out of your wrinkles.

 

One of the saddest things about all these lessons I’ve learned, and that I’m hoping you glean something from especially if you are under the age of twenty, is that you are probably going to have to learn them for yourself. The best teacher is usually the hard way, but sometimes, if you are lucky, when you read something enough times it will finally stick. So hopefully you came reading this with a mind full of glue.

5 thoughts on “8 Things I’ve Learned In My Twenties

  1. I know what you mean about the 20s being difficult! Once I graduated from university I felt like I had no idea what I was doing. I feel a bit better about the grown up world now,
    although there is still a way to go!

    I like number 7, someone being a bit nicer than neccessary can make all the difference.

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