21 Life Lessons I Learned In 21 Years

Hello Lovely Humans,

On June 19th 2022 I will be 21 years old! Every year since I was 18 I liked to reflect on the lessons I’ve learned over the years because I find it important to acknowledge and reflect on the experiences you’ve been through and see how you’ve grown as a person over the years. Every day you’re learning new things and having different experiences, often times people don’t take the time to acknowledge those moments and don’t realize how much they’ve learned so I definitely recommend everyone to take time to appreciate yourself and be proud of the lessons you’ve learned.

It’s wild to think that I’m going to be 21 next week, life has thrown me in so many different directions and you never truly know what you’ll be doing in the future which yes is scary but everything happens for a reason and I am grateful for the experiences I have had good and bad because they are what make me who I am today and have helped me be more of a humble and understanding person.

  1. We all have our own journey We all have our own journey in life and sometimes it’s not what you plan or expect and that’s okay, I had set goals and was sure that was the path I wanted to follow but once I started to get those goals accomplished I realized that it wasn’t necessarily for me and that’s okay, sometimes life will throw you in a new direction and you will be much happier with a new journey.

2. You are the most important person This is still something I struggle to accept but I know for a fact that it’s true. People will come in and out of your life but you will always be by your side, you need to realize that putting yourself first is more important than putting others before you, I am a people pleaser and want to make sure everyone around me is taken care of before myself but that’s not healthy, I am working on focusing on myself and making myself a priority because I know that I’ll always be in my life.

3. Be open with your friends Another thing I struggle with from time to time is being open about my life with my friends, the best way to strengthen a friendship is to be open and honest with your friends, don’t be afraid of telling them about your struggles because once you do they’ll support you and help you get through those hard times and if they don’t then they were never truly your friends.

4. Slow down I was always under the impression that I had to do things as fast as possible in order to be efficient and impress people, but when you do everything at a quick speed you tend to miss the small details which are important. Often times doing tasks at a slower pace will make you more efficient in the long run and you’ll find a deeper understanding of whatever is you’ve been rushing.

5. Take that opportunity One day you might be offered something, something you never thought you would be good at or enjoy so you decide not to do it in fear of failure or missing out on something you already enjoyed doing but if you hold yourself back from being able to try out a new career or type of education you might just be missing out on something you turn out to love, don’t be afraid to jump into a new role and see where it takes you, you can always go back to what you used to too but don’t let that hold you back from trying something new.

6. Set boundaries It’s so important to set boundaries with people, it’ll help keep you comfortable and show mutual respect between you and the other people, be vocal about what makes you uncomfortable or triggers you, there is nothing wrong with putting your foot down in order to protect yourself.

7. Cut people out I have mentioned this before and I will mention it again, I use to think I had to be friends with every person I talked to and that got me into some pretty toxic friendships down the line. If someone isn’t good for you don’ be afraid to cut them out, at the end of the day you’re friends with people because you both care for each other, friendship gives and take and if the other person is not being supportive or respectful cut them out and you’ll realize what a weight was lifted off your shoulders.

Holistic health concept of zen stones / Concept body, mind, soul, spirit

8. Self Reflect I mentioned this is the start of my post but I love to self-reflect. Taking the time to acknowledge your growth and emotions is so good for your mind body and soul, you’ll overall have a better understanding and appreciation of yourself.

9. Take in the moment Life feels rushed sometimes and you might feel like you’re incomplete without getting places fast but if you focus on the future and goals too much you’ll miss out on those moments that are happening now, take advantage of that sunny day, make time for your friends and family, let all these little moments sink in a take a minute to appreciate it no matter how big or small it is.

10. Express your feelings Feelings are always valid, never hold back what you’re truly feeling, if you’re upset tell someone, maybe you have feelings for your friend go ahead and tell them, we can’t let our fears of showing our true feelings get in the way of expressing our emotions, let yourself cry, scream if you have to, be vocal to people about what you’re actually feeling good or bad. Our friends and family are here to support us and there’s nothing healthier than sharing your feelings.

11. Be spontaneous Yes having structure and making plans is great for balance but sometimes you need to let yourself be free and do something spontaneous! As long as whatever you feel like doing doesn’t hurt anyone (or yourself financially) then go for it! Take that trip to Japan, go on a road trip, explore and make new memories and try out new experiences! We need to allow ourselves to have fun and break structure and schedules from time to time.

12. Take up a hobby Hobbies are so much fun, the best part is that you don’t have to be good at them! I personally love playing/writing music and gaming. Hobbies are a great way to enjoy yourself and destress while doing something you enjoy. There are so many hobbies out there some physical like sports others educational like reading, I love the self expression in hobbies and they’re great to do alone or with friends.

13. Gratitude Taking time to appreciate the small things in life is so refreshing, I like to journal about things I am grateful for big and small, sometimes I just think of one thing in my day that I was grateful for and that helps put me in a healthy and happy headspace. When you start noticing the things you’re grateful for around you it’ll help make you a more humble and understanding person, you’ll find a deeper appreciation not only fore yourself but the world around you.

14. Don’t let other people hold you back I mentioned this earlier but I am a people pleaser and care a lot about what people think; that is not the healthiest way to think because you shouldn’t let people’s thoughts define you. Why would you let someone you don’t even know hold you back from being yourself or enjoying things they consider ‘weird’ as long as you’re not hurting anyone their options on you shouldn’t matter.

15. Ask for help Never be afraid to ask for help, this can be applied to the simplest of things and the more complicated things. If you need help with something ask, most people are willing to offer a helping hand maybe you’re struggling with a project and are scared to ask your collages for help in case they think less of you but that probably isn’t the cast, people don’t want to see you fail they’d be happy to help and guide you, or if it’s something more complex like mental health seeking help is always the best choice your friends are willing to listen and there are professionals out there who will do their best to help you.

16. Everyone has their own struggles No one has a perfect life, be kind to everyone around you and don’t assume. Someone can seem like they have their life together but secretly they could have a rough home life, maybe that coworker that’s always late had a mental breakdown on their way to work. Give people the benefit of the doubt and treat them with kindness and respect no matter how they act, people handle their issues in different ways sometimes they’re really good at hiding it other times their struggles take over and they act irrationally. Just be supportive and gentle with everyone around you.

17. Failure is okay One of my biggest fears is failure. No one wants to disappoint anyone or embarrass themselves but at the end of the day you can just try again. I’ve failed at so many things in my life but looking back I realize that it wasn’t the end of the world, I picked myself back up and tried again, maybe you failed at something several times but each time you can think about where you messed up and learn from it. Most recently I failed my driving test, the written one. I’ve never met someone who failed it but I didn’t let that get to me, I just took more time to study for it and took note of where I went wrong and now I’m retaking it next month and have more confidence in myself to pass and if I don’t that’s okay I’ll try it again in another month or so when I study more.

18. Work-Life Balance It’s no secret I’m a workaholic, I’ve worked two jobs since I was a teenager, in college I worked two jobs and went to school fulltime. This takes a massive tool on your wellbeing, I was constantly tired and never had time to enjoy my life, I rarely got a day off and when I had one I was just exhausted and slept all day then felt guilty for ‘wasting my day’ I worked 20 hour days everyday I would go months without a day off but it cost me so much time for myself and my loved ones. I am finally at a place where I can accept the fact that I was avoiding giving myself time off in fear of my own thoughts and feelings, I made the choice to work one job to better myself and I am positive it will be the most beneficial choice for me physically and mentally to enjoy myself.

19. Go to therapy I think everyone should go to therapy even if they’re not mentally sick, having a space to just express your feelings judgment free or just someone you can talk to about anything going on in your life is healthy and therapists are happy to have a conversation with you whether it’s going through past trauma or just chatting about your week, the sessions don’t have to be deep and uncover your past they can help you with goal settings, boundaries, and overall just bettering your mindset. ALSO don’t be ashamed for going to therapy it’s one of the best things you can do for yourself!

20. Get a pet I have had many pets in my life from frogs, hamster, guinea pigs, dogs and currently cats! I loved (still love!) every pet I have ever had, having a pet is such a good feeling not only does it give you a responsibility and keep you in line but pets are always there to love and support you! Having a bad day? Your pet will comfort you, bored? Play with them! Just seeing my cats everyday brightens my mood, feeling their soft fur brush against my arms when I’m sleeping is comforting, watching them play and just enjoy their lives is refreshing and sparks so much joy!

21. Don’t stress about the future Last but not least is to not stress about the future. Yes it’s scary to think about where you’ll be 10 years from now, but we shouldn’t be worrying about that, like I said earlier we need to appreciate the days as we experience them and the future is never certain. I always thought by the time I turned 21 I would have a house, degree and partner and would be in the early years of the career I wanted but none of that happened. I never finished college due to finical issues, I have an apartment with my sisters and I am still single BUT I am not upset about that. I am grateful for all the experiences I had that got me here, I believe that everything happens for a reason and if it’s meant to happen it will and if it’s not then it won’t, we shouldn’t be setting goals that we can’t guarantee, now of course you can work towards those goals but don’t give yourself a time limit because in the long run you just might disappoint yourself. My school did get me the career I have and it’s not 100% what I thought I would be doing but I am happy about it! I love sharing an apartment with my sisters and if I didn’t live with them I wouldn’t have ended up getting my two lovely cats, I’ve met my closest friends thanks to the school and jobs I have had and I couldn’t be more grateful for everything I currently have going on in my life because I know this is where I am currently meant to be.

That wraps up 21 lessons I’ve learned in my (nearly) 21 years of life! I spent a few days writing this article as I wanted to be sure I got the most valuable lessons written down. I am so thankful for these lessons and I wouldn’t be who I am if I didn’t have these experiences that showed me these lessons. When I first started doing these lists at 18 I was so young and struggled to think of the lessons I have learned but it’s been 3 years and I have experienced so much more good and bad, I’ve made mistakes and learned from them, I’ve failed and I’ve succeeded, I’ve made the most wonderful friends and connections and everyday is a new journey, I am still very young and have so much more to learn about myself and I look forward to the new experiences and memories I will learn from.

Over the years I have become a different person and there is nothing wrong with that, I am still learning about so much and who I want to be and how I want to experience my life; I’ve become more aware of how my actions will affect people, I’ve learned to think before I act, I look for the small details, I take time to appreciate the people around me and I will always offer my hand to someone that needs help. I use to be very shallow and close minded, I would hide my feelings from people and put on a ‘perfect it girl’ image so people would like me but that wasn’t me, I am so much more than that and I am working on myself so I can be happier and be the best person I can be and be someone my friends and family can count on. I want to express my thoughts, feelings, emotions, and experiences with the people I love and not worry about what they’ll think because if I’m happy and know I’m doing my best then that’s what matters. I am a loud person, I like being alone and I love spending time with my friends, I love expressing myself through music and fashion, I enjoy astrology and journaling, I love dressing up and experimenting with my looks, I love playing videos game until sunrise and watching lame videos on YouTube, I love going on walks and taking in the moment, I love spending quality time with my cats and watching anime. I am happy with being myself whoever that may be and I want to help people discover who they are and not hold themselves back, and by acknowledging this I think it shows how much I have grown as a person and I look forward to seeing what else I learn.

xoxo Jaiden

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