21 Life Lessons I Learned Before Turning 21

By Sunita Singh Hans, Storyteller for RU Student Life

  1. There is only one person in this world that will complete you, give you validation you desire and the love that you need. That person is yourself.
  2. Be kind. Be so kind and loving that it startles people, and they wonder why you love so much.
  3. The best three things you will ever invest in are travelling to feel inspired, concerts to feel alive, and a good leather jacket to feel like a badass.
  4. The anxiety is lying. Everything is going to be ok.
  5. Never throw out the memories even if they’re connected to a bad time. Put them in a box and keep them for later in life. You’re going to want to remember it all someday.
  6. The books you read as a child will have the biggest impact on your life.
  7. When it all gets too overwhelming, go to the beach. There is nothing like looking at the endless mass of water and sky that will make you realize the enormity of the universe, and that will help you move on.
  8. The best part about leaving home is the feeling you get when you return.
  9. No matter how much regret you have about the past or how much anxiety you have about the future, it won’t change a thing.
  10. Technology is amazing. It will entertain you, educate you and connect you. But learn when to put the phone down, to be present and to appreciate the moment for what it is.
  11. Forgiveness is the best thing you can do for other people and for yourself, but also know when to let the toxicity go. Trust your gut instincts.
  12. Calling your parents should be a priority, not an obligation. They’ve given you everything you have, try to give them something back.
  13. You’re not going to have it all figured out by 21 like you thought you would. You’re going to realize that not knowing what comes next will be the best part of your life, not the worst.
  14. Be the person you needed when you were at your worst.
  15. Sometimes people are as iridescent as the colours of a sunset. They will burn for a moment then change and fade away. It’s ok to let them go. Only the good ones can stay.
  16. Whether it’s a book, a TV show or a song, don’t ever let someone tell you you’re a lesser person for liking it. If you like it, it’s not stupid.
  17. Gratitude is the most important quality to possess. Learn to be grateful for your education despite the stress. Learn to be grateful for the heartache despite the pain. Be grateful for all the experiences because you are growing from every one.
  18. You are entitled to any emotion, but don’t let the negative ones make a home for themselves inside of you. It’s ok to be sad, or angry, or ashamed. It’s not helpful to stay there.
  19. Find an escape, whether it be your faith, friends or your fitness. Find something that will give you a release from the world around you and that will make you a better person.
  20. Don’t ever compare yourself, whether it’s to someone else’s success or how popular someone may seem. Social media presents illusions and the comparison will kill you. Nobody’s life is perfect.
  21. You are made of the dust and stars of the universe. You have a purpose. You always will. Even when you’re crying on the bathroom floor, cursing yourself for every wrong thing you’ve done and when the weight of the world is too much, you are loved. You are so loved. But you have to love yourself first.