Lessons I Have Learned so Far in My Early 20s

It’s been almost 1 month since my 21st birthday, and honestly days go pretty normal even since. Until one morning I woke up and decided to open small colourful letters my best friends gave me on my birthday. I didn’t even count how many are them because they are A LOT. And my best friends had already given ultimatum, “Open only one a day”. But oh well, stubborn me couldn’t wait any longer until I decided to open them all one morning.

What’s inside is simple yet heartwarming on the foggy cold November morning. A lot of supportive and funny quotes that hopefully keeps me going through hard days. And then I came to the last paper that said, “Nothing will ruin your 20s more than thinking you should have your life together already”. And that was when the reality strikes.

I suddenly realised that, wow, I’m pretty young still. But at the same time I also realised that the 17 years old girl had been long gone, leaving me with this early-adult woman with messy hair and sleepy face, deciding whether she has to make coffee first or brush her teeth instead. And suddenly I remember things that had happened so far, bad ones and good ones, and how much that I actually could learn from those things.

So I got up, turned my laptop on, and started to gather most important lessons that I have learned so far in 25 brief points.

  1. You will find yourself lost in the middle of nowhere in life and have no idea what are you suppossed to do next. And that is totally okay. Yes that can drive you insane sometimes but dear, I’d rather experiencing hard times and becoming a hot mess than being settled learning nothing. If you’ve never experienced the sensation of getting lost, you will never be able to find chance to discover who you truly are.

2. Calling your parents seems not as easy as it used to be and you will find yourself crying from missing them so much at night. One thing that I have to learn the hard way is that as I grow up, I also grow slightly further from my parents. And no, that is not suppossed to happen, but if you by the chance having same experience than me, that’s okay. In between all these mess you have gone through, sometimes you will forget people or things. But one thing I always try to remember is that your parents hopefully won’t judge you by the mess you’ve made so far. So if you miss them, call and tell them to come over or ask them to go out for family dinner. Do it when they are still one call away.

3. Some people will ask your decisions on buying those expensive clothes and make ups or going to expensive coffee shop instead of making your own cheap coffee and that’s okay not to give them explanation. It’s your life, and if you really want that new pricey mocha latte and can afford it, then go for it.

Because honestly what does look better than sunglasses and fancy latte?

4. You will reject a lot of hang out invitations just because you want to spend the whole weekend with yourself. After tiring days meeting new people, it’s okay if you want to have romantic time just with you and yourself (and pizza).

5. Having to stay up at midnight or cancel your nap to talk with him on Skype and getting broke spending money for flight ticket to meet him. I am currently in a long distance relationship with my boyfriend. And yes, I will be lying if I say that it’s easy. No, it’s hard and even worse when you are having breakdowns and his absence doesn’t help at all. But I tell you, I will never want to do it any other way if I have to trade those fluttering moments at the airport waiting for his appearance and the feelings of hugging him after long time.

Weren’t we cute? The moments we knew so few about each other, almost as few as my Instagram likes back then.

6. You will lose friends. A LOT. But you will be thankful with yourself later for letting them out of your life for good. Those people telling you that your make up is too much or that you have bad music taste? Just leave them alone.

7. You will find bliss in speaking what is in your mind up and say no to other people’s opinion on something that is different than yours.

8. Your parents will ask about your future often to the level it will annoy you, and it’s okay to say to them that you don’t want to get kids before 30 or that you want to travel the world first before you get a steady job.

9. You will realize that some people give you less than what you are willing to give them and that’s okay. One harsh truth that you have to accept is that not all people have heart as big as yours. And you can’t just treat them with what they deserve by giving them less, your heart won’t let you.

10. World is cruel and if you want to buy those fancy car, you have to work your ass off. There is no shortcut in being a successful person, and this is what I remind myself with in the middle of never-ending essays and exams. Besides, you probably have already more lost than ever, so just take the normal road and avoid shortcuts.

11. You don’t need to ask permission from anybody to do what you want to do. Especially not from your best friend when you want to buy those pants that she wanted first but doesn’t look good on her as it does on you.

12. It’s okay to judge people in general at first, but don’t really stay away from them before you get to know who they really are. If they say they hate coffee then you have to be suspicious, yes. But who said you both can’t go to juice bar and have fun together there instead?

13. Go to that bar, order expensive shots that you’ve been wanting for so long, and dance like you will die tomorrow. Oh, and don’t forget to stop by at the pharmacy to buy aspirins for the morning after.

14. It’s okay to have fight with yourself.

15. It’s more important to have things that you need than things that you want. Unless what you want is one expensive Coldplay’s concert ticket.

16. Trying to be open with anybody, make strong connections, but don’t let them bring your guard down.

Jakarta-Miami-Jakarta-Cairo-Barcelona. The money cost of having them as best friends is real y’all.

17. If you don’t like what most people your age do, then don’t do it.

18. Read. A lot. you will thank yourself later in the future that you start doing it.

Honestly I’d rather spending time here than in a spa.

19. It’s a waste of time to compare yourself with those girls on magazine or those rich kids on their private jet. You are human, and you are consisted of more than just numbers and scales.

20. Cry a lot. After you shouted to your mom, after you made stupid decision in college, after your said hurtful words to your boyfriend, or after you forgot giving foods to your pet. Crying is easier than going to therapist and tears is cheaper than moisturizer.

21. Those vegetables are actually delicious and you can still eat pizza with them on it. Eat healthy, do work out, but buy chocolate and gulp that vodka once in a while to keep you sane.

22. Blood is thicker than water, but that’s okay if you feel like skipping mom’s dinner and spending New Year’s Eve with your traveler friends somewhere instead.

23. You will find out that sometimes, a home is not a house and you love the moments more than you love the people.

24. Forgive yourself and learn to let go.

25. The last but not least, those pairs of Converse are waaaay more comfortable than $1000 Louboutin’s heels. Don’t spend less, spend wiser.

After all, every new day is the oldest and the youngest that you will ever be. Make mistakes, embrace, learn new things, forgive, grow, enjoy the journey, and don’t forget to stop once in a while taking pictures!