20 things I learnt before I turn 20

I realized a lot of people have written similar posts, and I could also point out some common lessons which made me deduce that maybe some things, we all have to go through at some point in our lives. They may be things we cannot back away from, but that doesn’t mean we won’t grow from them. I’ll be turning 20 in a few hours so I’ll list some lessons down now:

1- People can appear nice to you but you’ll always never know what their true intentions are. Don’t be too naive, and sometimes you don’t have to see the good in people too much if it’s only going to make them step on you. Learn to be guarded and never reveal your soul to another so soon. At a workplace setting, it is important to respect and be very nice everybody so that you don’t get involved with the politics there. They’ll give you a hard time (half kidding, half not really) but you have to show that you can handle the workload or else they’ll backbite. Again, be cautious.

2- If someone’s draining too much energy out of you, don’t stay with them. Toxic relationships are the epitome of hell. Don’t feed yourself with excuses; that they’ll change for the better and what not. Maybe they will, but it may not be around you. It’s not your fault if separation happens. Perhaps you weren’t entirely good for them either. What’s important after being apart is for you to assess which areas you can improve on about yourself.

3- Things will fall into place if you put your trust in God, yourself, and the ones who genuinely love and support you. Work your way towards your goals–list them down and find a purpose in life. You have to stress this: you’re going to make sure your life in this world is pleasant in order to make the Next much much better. You will have to go through hardships, it’s a no-brainer, but try to see it from a different perspective instead of oh life sucks, things aren’t working out. I know it is difficult but please, hold on. Things will get better. You will get to say and thoroughly mean that in the near future.

4- Don’t rush. Take things slow. It’s understandable that patience can run out at times, but do not stop persevering. There’s a reason why people keep on saying that good things come to those who wait.

5- The hardest part is forgetting those you swore you’d never forget.

6- It’s okay to fail if it means you’re not going to succumb to such a situation again. Make your way back up. Study harder and smarter. Find your strengths; maybe you work better when you make notes and mind maps, or maybe you need to record yourself saying all the important definitions to the Psychology test. Everyone’s method of studying is different. It’s perfectly fine if it’s not part of the “norm”.

7- Confront your fears. It brings about a sense of achievement like no other when you overcome them. However, if people keep on forcing you to get over them (COUGHS), know to take a step back because they’re yours; you overcome them at your own pace.

8- Your mental health > everything else. Take a breather, learn what your coping mechanisms are and surround yourself with people who will only give you positive vibes. Indulge in hobbies that bring you nothing but joy. The stigma around mental health is still strong even in this day and age where you’d think it has lessened but do not give up. Educate yourself and those around you especially the ones who are insensitive towards this matter.

9- Explore. Don’t be afraid of the unknown so much. Sometimes these places may seem intimidating, but you’ll never know what you can find.

10- Create different playlists for different moods. Once you sing along to the songs that resonate with what you’re feeling, you’ll slowly start to feel better.

11- Don’t say his name unless it doesn’t hurt anymore. Even then, it’s really not necessary. Forgive, forget, (and move) forward.

12- Don’t think about death so much if you’re linking it to leaving this world. Remember that one time you were so overwhelmed with all the problems you were facing and you wished you could end it all then the very next day, you almost got hit by a motorcycle? It could have been such a tragic death. How did you feel moments after? You realized you weren’t prepared for death at all. Learn to forgive yourself.

13- You’re going to lose friends. Most of the time, it happens naturally: you stop contacting each other, you don’t ask what’s going on in each others’ lives etc. Your interests differ at various stages of your life and it’s something that can’t be helped as you move towards adulthood. However, if you’ve found some people you’d like to stay in contact with till pretty much the end of time or they’re what you can call “for keeps”, take care of them, keep a lookout for them, ask them how they’re doing frequently, grab lunch or catch up over dinner with them no matter how busy you are. Be there for them.

14- Put yourself first. It should not be to the point where you become extremely self-centered and do not comply to others (obviously), but more of attending to your feelings better.

15- I know how hard this is for someone who overthinks most of the time but do not compare. For God’s sake and your sanity, do not put yourself through that mess. People will have it better than you be it in terms of finance, grades, love and it is not your fault. Count your other blessings at all times especially the ones you have the tendency to overlook such as health; your five senses, your hands that can easily grip things, your legs that can bring you far and all that. Certain majestic things will happen when they’re supposed to. For now, enjoy things the way they are.

16- You will be given the chance to travel one day. Save up some money, work hard, keep yourself updated with offers and pray to God that He will make it easy for you. Make your intentions right.

17- I’ll give you a push: if it all gets too much again, take a trip to the doctor. Get professional help and seek treatment. Since you may likely freak out over the results, make sure to bring a trustworthy friend with you so that the process won’t be as intimidating.

18- Attend religious talks and be more involved with religious activities. For this year’s Ramadhan you did a lot–continue that.  Reach out even more. Do not stop giving back to the community.

19- Work out! Do not underestimate the power of exercising. You want to get back in shape, you want to maintain a healthier lifestyle, you want to be fit? Visit the gym more, and take advantage of the bikes they have now and put them to good use. Also, eat your damn veggies like how your colleagues (and pretty much everyone else) told you to.

20- Cut yourself some slack. You deserve some me-time. I said this last year and I’ll say it again. It’s okay to roam a mall alone, grab a cup of coffee, run some errands, treat yourself to the things that make you happy– the possibilities are endless. Remember to be nice to yourself.

In all honesty, I wrote about 8 of these back in August because I was so excited but then I made a promise to myself to continue it before I turn 20 because then I was sure I’d gain more experiences over the next few months and I sure as heck did. Thanks for being patient with me, everyone. And happy (soon) 20th birthday to me!