Last weekend I turned 20. What a concept. In these two decades of life, I’d like to believe that I’ve learned a few things. I’ve been around the block a couple of times, and I feel like these are some of the keys life has offered me thus far. Whether they’re practical for you or not, I feel as though they’re things every twenty-something and above should at least hear.
20 Things I Learned Before 20
- Comparison is the biggest thief of joy in the world.
Comparison doesn’t just tell us that we aren’t good enough in areas where we’re already insecure. It goes above and beyond, reminding us of out self-deprecating images and actually takes our pain a step further. Comparison takes what was once good enough or positive or joyful and corrupts it based on what we see in someone else. And our world is just plain full of this drug called comparison.
2. Someone else having/being something doesn’t prevent you from having/being something too.
This one kind of goes with comparison. I remember realizing this when I was jealous of a friend of mine. People told us we looked alike, we acted alike, and she and I were interested in the same things. I remember though being so completely jealous of her- I thought she was way prettier, more talented and better in every way. I remember realizing that we were on a media team together and would be doing the exact same thing-taking photos and videos for an event- and finally being okay with it and not at all nervous. I was excited to use both of our skills together to create something beautiful. But it wasn’t until I was secure in myself and the way that Jesus loves me that I could actually look across the room at her and say to myself “there is space for both of us to be great”.
3. It’s never to early to start tithing.
This is something my Momma has ingrained in my brain since I started working. That first 10% is all God’s asking for in your finances. I remember thinking that my $8 wasn’t helping anything when I brought home those first paychecks from Starbucks, but it does. It helps in obedience to God and training yourself to continue that act of obedience later on in life. Because 10% is always 10%- whether you’re making $80, $8,000 or $8,000,000.
4. Late night car talks are where the truth comes out.
I’m not sure what it is about the car mixed with late nights that really brings peoples hearts out, but I do know that it absolutely does. Have those chats. Don’t be afraid to open up and get real with people.. that’s a great place to start.
5. Learning how other people feel the most loved is the key to healthy relationships.
The “Love Languages” have gotten more popular recently (if you don’t know what this is, read more about it here). However, it can be really easy to recognize the way you personally feel the most loved and assume that everyone else also feels love in that way. For example, my love language is “Words of Affirmation”, but other people may not relate with words like I do. They may prefer acts of service or quality time. Because of this, showering them in words may be what I want, but it may not be as effective in making them feel valued.
6. Sometimes, a nice long break from social media is necessary.
Dudes (dudes? okay.) this one is key. Seriously. Just take a break when you need to. Delete the apps and you’ll realize your fingers automatically drift to their normal location without a thought. It’s WILD. Another tip for this one is to just cleanse who you’re following. Get rid of those people you compare yourself to or don’t even know. Last week I did this and it just lifts a huge weight from your shoulders. I bet you tons of the people who you’re following aren’t necessary.
7. It’s okay to not be okay.
This is one you never stop working on. I know I’m still working on it daily. But something I am challenging myself to do is to actually check in with myself. Take charge of your mental health and recognize when you’re not alright. No-one knows your mind and body like you and God. So don’t let others tell you that you’re alright or to suck it up when you aren’t. Find help and help yourself.
8. People relate way more to your brokenness than they do to “perfection”
Facades and smokescreens help no-one. No one relates to the fake image of perfection we try to portray and attempting it just feeds into the vicious cycle of lies that comparison is. This year has been one of the hardest of my life, and I’m going to start trying to open up more about the things I’ve been waking through on my blog for this very reason- openness.
9. “Everyone is intelligent. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it’s stupid.”- Albert Einstein
This is one that I learned when I had the ability to do some student teaching for 2 years. From Kindergarteners to fifth graders I saw the same recurring themes- kids truly are smart when we allow them to be. We live in a world that is trying to simultaneously encourage people to be whatever they want to be but also squash out any ounce of creativity in the classroom. School is the root of education and we’ve got to encourage learning in our own ways. Whatever works for your brain is what’s right for you- we can’t fit everyone in a box of standardized testing!
10. Rushed mornings make for tense days.
Legitness. I have never ever (ever in the history of ever) been a morning person. I love sleeping in and would absolutely sleep in until 12 if I could and stay up all night. Total night owl. But unfortunately, that’s not a lifestyle conducive for actually functioning in the real world. Because of this, I’ve learned that the days I allow myself to actually get up in the morning and take my time, my days are WAY less stressed out!
11. Never underestimate the power of a good cry.
So many people think that crying is unhealthy or that it means your emotionally unstable. This is so false. Guys and girls both just need it at times. It’s a form of releasing everything that’s going on and creating space in your head that seems to just be filled with static. Seriously, you may need to try it.
12. Sometimes you just need to take yourself on a date with Jesus.
Have you ever just spent a day chatting with your Heavenly Father like he’s your best friend? He wants to do that with you. He’s got lots to say and lots to teach you. Grab yourself some coffee, your Bible, and a journal and just sit with him. Do it in your sanctuary if you can- the place you feel the most connected to God. For me, that’s the beach, but for you, it may be anywhere else. Think about it, get there, and just connect.
13. Organization relieves stress.
I’ve realized that a lot of times when I feel stressed, it is because I have a million and one things going on and I’m constantly forgetting them. This is where to-do lists and planners come in. They are straight up my holy grail products. When I plan out my days- sometimes even hour by hour- or at least make to-do lists, things get clearer. As soon as I commit to something, I have to write it down in my planner so that it doesn’t get lost in the folders of my brain. This lets it leave my mind and not be stressed about remembering it- it’s already written down.
14. Learn what makes you feel the freest & do it.
The other day, a few friends and I spent the day at Busch Gardens. A few hours into the day it started to rain. And I mean torrential downpour. Everyone was standing under a covered area staying out of the rain, but I just couldn’t. I LOVE the rain. It makes me feel so carefree. And so, I stood out in the rain and danced by myself. Yes, everyone and their mother looked at me like I was a crazy person, standing out in the middle of a thunderstorm, but those are the moments you’ve got to just learn not to care. Find your freedom regardless of other people’s looks.
15. You are enough.
The God who formed the stars calls you his own and made you too. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
16. Adventures are always worth it
Go on those random road trips and midnight ice-cream runs and beach days. It will always be worth it to make the memories, embrace spontaneity and just go. Find the antique shops, take the scenic route, buy the plane ticket, grab your passport and go. Living in the moment is the way.
17. In a world where you can be anything, be kind.
Cliché? Maybe. But it’s so true. In a world where darkness runs rampant and oppression is fierce, kindness is valuable. It’s the salt in a tasteless world, the light in the darkness. The city on a hill. Your flame and your voice are crucial, and there is never enough kindness in the world. Until every person knows that they are valued and loved by God, there is not enough kindness in the world. Keep pouring more out.
18. Embrace nostalgia.
Look back at photos, re-read your journals and reminisce on the days of the past. Re-reading journals is my favorite of these. It makes me remember the good times as well as see how far I’ve come from the hard times. I have journals from all the way back in elementary school that let me see all the growth so far in my life. I also keep all the things. Letters, cards, trinkets, old pressed flowers, pieces from the past. All of these things let me reminisce and appreciate all that life is.
19. Humans screw up every day but you can always count on God.
He’s there for you. Always. Even when he feels distant, he’s there. Often times when he feels distant it’s a condition of our own hearts that is causing us to lose sight of him. If you feel as though you can’t hear Him speaking, go to the one place he is speaking 100% of the time, 24/7- His word. It’s full of God-breathed wisdom that is there to teach you more about His heart with every word. Humans are going to fail you, but God has got your back.
20. When life feels chaotic and you don’t know where to start, clean.
There’s nothing that feels better than a clean space. We’ve always called it “going on the warpath”, but whatever you call it, it’s a great start. Decluttering your space causes your mind to feel decluttered as well. It brings peace and clarity. It also makes you feel (and be) productive, so that’s always a win.
Hopefully, these little bits of wisdom from my 20 years spoke to you in at least one way. I’ve got more ideas for fun new posts, as well as more vulnerable style posts coming very soon. Stay tuned y’all (: