20 things I’ve learnt by 20: Part 1

I don’t know if I can accredit it to the departure from my teens, but turning 20 has made me feel incredibly old. When I was younger, I thought that 20 years olds were so grown up and had their lives together. Turns out, they really don’t. I have, however, learnt a couple of things during my 20 trips around the sun that some of you may find useful. Part 1 (this post) contains 10 general life lessons that I have learned over the years. Part 2 are more ‘learn from the mistakes of my early teens so you don’t have to go through the same embarrassing ordeals’ suggestions that I shall post later in the week.

1)      “There are three types of friends in life: friends for a reason, friends for a season, and friends for a lifetime”

I was recently introduced to this quote, and I think that it perfectly epitomises the realities of friendships. It can be really tough to let go of a friend, especially when you thought that friendship would last. But as you grow up and change as a person, it’s natural to drift apart from people… and that’s okay. Some friends are there because you need them. Others are there for you during a certain time in your life, but maybe that was all it was meant to me. And some are there to stay. There is no ‘one-type’ of friendship.

2)      You are not going to get along with everyone that you meet

In an ideal world, we would all get on with everyone we come across in life. Unfortunately, this doesn’t happen. University is a perfect example of being thrown into the friendship deep end, and personalities will naturally clash (this certainly happened in my case, as delightful as I tried to be). Of course you should try to be civil where possible, but don’t expect to click with everyone you meet.

3)      Make sure you look after yourself

It’s so easy to get caught up in making sure everyone else around you is okay, that you can do this at the expense of your own happiness and wellbeing. Take the time to look after yourself. Whether that’s eating healthier or having an hour a day to read a book or watch TV… it’s so important to remember that how you feel in yourself matters and should be a priority.

4)      Making an effort with your friends is important

Good friends are hard to come by, so make sure you take the time to build on and maintain those friendships. I’m sure we have all used the excuse of being ‘too busy’ to go to things, when in reality we just can’t really be bothered to make the effort (guilty as charged). Text them, message them, call them, meet them. Good friends and solid friendships are worth investing in, no matter how old you are.

5)      Cut out those fake friends and negative influences

The older you get, the more relevant this becomes. You will come across so many people that want to drag you down in your life time. These people are not worth your time or your energy, so cut them the fuck out.  You will feel 10000% better for it, and can then focus your attention on those people around you who are actually worth your time.

6)      Hard work does pay off

I’m a firm believer in working hard to get what you want. I remember during GCSE’s that so many people who put in 0 effort did far better than me (no, of course I’m not still holding a grudge), but this doesn’t last forever. Eventually, their laziness will catch up with them. It is the people who put in the work- into anything in life- that will reap the rewards long term.

7)      It doesn’t cost to be kind to people

Kindness is such a basic personality trait that so many people blissfully ignore or view as unimportant. We live in a really messed up world. Now more than ever, it is vital to remember that a small act of kindness can make such a difference.

8)      Treasure your family

Family is something that, I’m sure, we have all taken for granted from time to time. Whether you are part of a small close knit family, or one that is vastly extended with multiple second cousins twice removed… make the most of them while they’re there.

9)      Push yourself outside of your comfort zone

Doing something that you wouldn’t normally do can be terrifying. I’ve really been trying to push the boat out in the types of clothes I wear and the things I say ‘yes’ to doing over the past year, and I feel so much better for it. Yes, it’s scary. But I don’t want to miss out on doing things any more, just because I’m afraid of this, that and the other.

10)   Live each day to the fullest

As dumb as it may sound, I ask myself on a daily basis “If I were to die tomorrow, would I be happy with how I spent today?”. We think we’re invincible, but we’re not. So if a friend invites you out, go meet them. If a relative wants to see you, go visit them. If revision is getting you down, go and spend some time with friends. If recent events in the UK have taught us anything, it’s that life is incredibly short and you just don’t know what tomorrow will bring. So make the most of today.

Those are my deep and meaningful life lessons, keep an eye out for the “don’t do what I did in my early teens” lessons later this week!

Ellie x


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