20 things I learned at 20

  1. You can have only one best friend and that best friend can only be you. Because you may come across a dozen lovely people but the only one who can keep the forever promise is you.
  2. Family is the most important. This is the only love that is truly unconditional and absolutely pure. They love you when you’re 5 and when you’re 18. They love you in your failure and your success. Their love doesn’t increase because it’s already at its maximum right from the beginning, it’s already infinite.
  3. Having drinks may soothe your taste buds but tea soothes your entire body. It’s warm and calming and well, healthy.
  4. Your first kiss means nothing if it’s not with the right person. And the right person doesn’t mean your soulmate or someone who will never break your heart but someone who in that moment loves you as much as you love them.
  5. You’ve written over 350 exams and you’ve got a perfect score in some and scored miserably in others but do you remember your 9th grade math score? Do you even remember 9th grade math? Education is so important but not the stress and competitive grading that comes along with it. If you get a low score or even fail, not much will happen, you will get a retest. But if you get ill, mentally or physically, it will have undesired long term effects.
  6. Don’t build up a wall just yet. Let people in that want to help you in every way they can.
  7. You’re kind and admitting that doesn’t make you conceited.
  8. Goodbyes don’t always have to be dramatic. Writing an 800 words message won’t make it hurt any less than an 8 words one. Closure usually has not much to do with the ones who wronged you but with taking your time in dealing with all the stages of grief. Some stage like anger may take only a month but acceptance may take years and that’s okay.
  9. Jealousy is a basic human trait. They can be the closest to you and yet envy your happiness and life. Envy is something you too experience and you can be happy for them and be sad for yourself at the same time because so bitter it is to view happiness from someone else’s eyes. You aren’t a horrible human being if you feel like there are better shades of green your grass could be.
  10. Read at your own desire and pace.
  11. Read what truly interests you and take your time because reading was never a task, don’t make it one now.
  12. Money is important. Money can’t buy love but it can buy happiness. Money is honestly earned through hard work and dedication. That kind of money is good, that kind of money is required. You have a certain standard of living and if you want to maintain that after your parents stop financing you, you must make sure to earn the same. It doesn’t make you a snob or a spoiled brat, it only makes you a human aware of your wants, many of which have turned into needs by now.
  13. There are somethings you just never grow out of like bubbles and glitter and your mother’s hot chocolate and hugs. Those are the kind of things that make life bearable when adulting gets too hard. Those are the little things that matter the most.
  14. You cry. A lot.
  15. But you don’t cry in front of people for their pity. You don’t cry to manipulate situations. You cry because you accept the pain. You cry because you don’t reject or lock away your emotions. You cry because your mental, emotional and physical self are in sync and that’s healthy. That’s so lovely.
  16. Bake cakes. They don’t have to look pretty as long as they taste delicious. Paint canvases. They don’t have to be a master piece as long as all the paint in your hands and face and jeans makes you feel complete. Write more. It doesn’t have to a novel or even be posted online as long as it lets you breathe a little lighter and smile wider.
  17. Go for walks alone, sit on the beach without your headphones, look up at the sky without a lover, buy flowers for yourself. Nature is free. And it’s the richest thing that the world has. Let it bring you peace, let it help you survive.
  18. Make home feel home. Sometimes you won’t have your family to make it home. Sometimes you will have to make it home by putting a part of yourself and that means investing the time, energy and money in making it feel yours, in making it feel right. It may not be your ‘dream house’, it may just be a tiny room but it’s yours. Your surroundings play a major role in affecting your mood and vibe.

19. Energy is real.

20. Spend time with yourself. It’s some of the best time you will have. You need to unwind, you need it to re-energize, you need it to focus and you need it for peace. You can go to a cafe by yourself, write, read, meditate, talk to yourself out loud, dance in your underwear, cook and just be.

Remember: Take care of yourself when no one else can or no one else will. Drink loads of water, there’s a reason why more than half your body is made up of water. Sleep well because staying up all night isn’t something to be proud of, it’s stupid. Don’t skip breakfast because skipping breakfast makes you crave fatty foods for the rest of the day. Stay healthy not because you want to look a certain way but because you want to feel strong and energetic and have an active mind, body and heart. Staying healthy emotionally and mentally is just as important. So let those who want to go, go and never say yes to something your gut wants to scream ‘NO’ to. Love yourself. If you don’t love yourself you will look for other people to love you. If you don’t accept yourself, you will keep seeking other people’s validation and the moment they withdraw it or walk away, you will crumble. And you don’t want to crumble. You want to enjoy the one person’s company you have to live with forever — yourself. Work on being a person you’d love to spend your life with because let’s face it, you don’t have a choice. It’s a long term investment and the only one that will never fail you.

One more for good luck?

You laughed and thought it was very witty when you came across the quote, ‘Don’t take life too seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway.’

Most things you’re stressing over now won’t even matter 3 years from now. But good days will turn into heart-warming memories that will stay with you even 2 decades later.

Happiness and success are two different things but remember, they aren’t mutually exclusive. At least they don’t have to be.