20 Life Lessons I've Learned Leading Up To My 20s

 I can finally sing 20 something and fully relate (even though that song has been my life story) because I just turned 20 *enter all generic birthday and clapping emojis*. Typically birthday's don't really feel like much to me but 19 was a very interesting/stressful and an overall hard year but I made it out alive so I'm celebrating big. I took some time to do some self-reflecting and thought of the most important things I've learned throughout the year and just life in general. I'm excited to see what my 20s has in store for me and I know it's only up from here. 

 

There are no words to describe my college experience. I feel like I always have to clarify that I'm grateful to be here but you get what I mean if you're in school too. There's really no words to describe what college feels like to me. One second I'm about to declare a new major, next I'm admiring my campus but then I'm back to fighting with financial aid. There is no consistent feeling and I while I'm ready to just graduate, I'm still trying to enjoy being here because I was the one who made the decision to go to college. 

Health is Wealth. This past year I've been paying more attention to my physical and mental health (because both are equally important). Without it, you literally can't function. Don't wait until a health scare to take care of yourself. Go to your annual check-up, get tested, make a dentist appointment and lower your intake of ice cream because dairy is the devil anyways. The hypochondriac in me needs constant reassurance so doing these things makes me stress less about my health. As far as mental health, therapy is something I've been trying to start for months now but I haven't been able to find a therapist that's a good match for me. I try to keep a good headspace by distancing myself when necessary and sticking to my self-care routine.

I'm not for everyone and that's ok.  I've definitely learned to not give my energy towards certain people. I can be too nice at times which I still find myself doing but I'm learning not everyone deserves my energy. It can be for a number of reasons but I don't waste my time where it's not needed.

No one is going to save you.  This is the hard truth but it's really true. No one is going to fix your grades, no one is going to apply to those jobs for you and no one is going to hold your hand through any process. That doesn't mean you can't receive help but the bulk of things have to be done by you. You have to be self-motivated to get shit done or it won't happen. This is something I'm being stubborn about because I would love for someone to take financial accounting for me and reply to my emails but that's not my life until I can afford a personal assistant :).

I really really really want to be a UX Designer. So it's been little over a year since I've learned what UX design is and my interest in it hasn't shaken. Learning more about what human-centered design has only made me more excited to pursue it when I graduate it. 

God is Good. I'm not super religious but I do need to give this honorable mention.

Being A black woman is my favorite thing about myself. Being black alone means you have this natural ability to thrive and create dope shit so effortlessly. So add that along with being a woman and that really makes me feel undefeated, I love us. 

Keep some things to yourself because not everything is meant to be shared. I personally hate when I'm experiencing something and my first thought is to go to social media. We all do it but it bothers me that I've become so conditioned to want to share something online. I feel like it gives people the idea that they know you because they see your Instagram or Snapchat stories every day. That takes away from actually getting to know someone naturally. I sound like I'm 40, but I'm basically just trying to find that middle ground where I'm sharing enough but not too much.

I can do whatever I want. Realizing this was the best feeling. I think I realized this when I went to San Francisco last November by myself and didn't have any restrictions really stopping me. As long as it's legal (for the most part), there isn't anything stopping me from getting what I want. Once you truly believe this, you start acting differently, in a good way. 

I can't be put into a box. Yes I want to be a UX designer and I like tech, but I also have a million other interest that I will eventually pursue. I don't want to label or brand myself as one thing because that's not who I am, there's so much more to be done.

Controlling your consumption can go a long way. What you consume has an effect on your mood so being conscious of what you're looking at every day is important. Who I follow on social media is how I decided to have some control over what I see. I started unfollowing people who are always posting negative or pointless things and started following people in the fields I want to enter and people post things of substance like Will Smith.  

The best opportunities happen when you decide to just do that thing you keep thinking about. Pushing myself out of my comfort zone is extremely uncomfortable and it's full of cringe-worthy moments but if I decided to stay in the same place I was last year, I wouldn't be any closer to my goals. So even though this is a cliche statement, it's true and there is no other way to put it. 

Beyonce has taught me to show up and show out, always. Weeks later and I'm still in awe over Beychella. Not like I expected anything less from Beyonce because she never disappoints, but that performance is what I think of when I get the feeling of wanting to slack or quit. She decided to do something and executed it in a way no one else could and that is my mood towards everything.

There is no end result that will make you feel like you made it, enjoy the process. This was the hardest thing to comes to terms with because I wanted to believe this wasn't true. I started off by saying if I get accepted into my top choice I will be content, then it switched to if I can just graduate, start my career and get out of college I'll be content. It never ends because I always have new goals I'm trying to accomplish. Learning to just be happy with where you are is really an art form, and I'm still trying to master it. I'm beginning to understand that there is no happy ending where all your problems just disappear.

I love being by myself. This may not be the best thing for my introverted self but being alone has really given me time to fully understand what goals I want to accomplish in life. Too many opinions clouding my judgment and distractions get in the way of that. 

But I wasn't built to be alone. Meeting new people at a networking event or at a get-together is probably my favorite thing to do. I may be an introvert but I'm not antisocial, I hold value in relationships with people.   

Self-depreciating jokes aren' that funny. They're just allowing people to think of you in that way. The occasional my life is in shambles post isn't harmful but when you continuously make jokes about yourself being dumb, depressed or a loser, people will start thinking it's ok to associate you with those words even if they know you're joking. I had this habit of always joking about my "bad luck" or being clumsy and then I noticed the people around me would do the same and I couldn't really be mad at them because I allowed that. While I joked about those things, I never really thought of myself in those ways so when people started to really associate myself with those traits I wasn't having it. I stopped letting myself be a target for conversations around those topics.

Never get too comfortable. I can't even tell you how many times I've dropped the ball on a potential internship offer because I got a response from a different company and that ended up falling through and I was left with nothing. At least 5 smh. Don't drop the ball when you feel like you've got an opportunity because if it's not set in stone with your name on it it's not yours. 

Just show them instead of talking about it. This kind of falls under the same category as controlling what you share with people but it really means don't be all talk and not get anything done. We all know people who talk about all the things they're going to do but they never manifest them. That results in you not really believing them anymore. I've learned to not be that person and if I really want to do something, don't talk about it for months and then let the idea die.  

Everything is hard. This isn't necessarily a bad thing because good things are worth working for, but trying to obtain literally anything is hard. If it isn't, you should really think is it worth it. Every goal I've been trying to achieve was not easy. Every major/minor I have tried has been hard (lol). Trying to maintain a blog which seems so simple from the outside has been hard. So knowing this brings me back to when I say I'm going to do whatever I want because no matter what I do it's going to be hard. If you're going to be put through it, shouldn't it be for something you want and not something you're settling for?