10 Things I Wish I Had Known Before I Turned 20

There are so many things I wish I had known before I grew up. I think most things that we learn throughout our early adulthood are universal {that is to say, everyone individually must learn them}.  But I think there are some things that need to be constantly reinforced by the people around us for them to really sink in. So, without further ado, here you go: the top 10 things I wish I had known before I turned 20.

 

  1. Many girls are inherently mean and catty. Nothing you do or say is going to change that. A lot of girls, especially in high school, I think, have a problem with other girls, regardless of whether or not they’ve actually done anything to deserve unkindness.  It took me a long time to realize {and, to be honest, I’m still realizing} that girls aren’t mean because of something I did, but rather because something is wrong with them. Maybe they’re jealous, or maybe they’re just confused about their lives. Either way, it doesn’t excuse their behavior, but it makes life so much easier when you let go of anger that other people feel towards you.
  2. Boys are boys. You deserve a man. You can’t change a person you’re dating, and I think we’re taught as young women today to chase after the boys who seem to need a strong female influence to make them “right” or “whole.” But come on—do you really need another person who needs you to do stuff for them? These are your formative years, and you don’t need some dude leaning on you to take care of him and make him whole.  Boys can’t help bugging you to let them copy your homework or asking to borrow a few bucks to pay for their movie tickets. And guess what the scariest part is?  Some guys never get much more mature than they are in high school {I’m looking at you, ex-boyfriend}.  But a lot grow up fast when they get to college, and become more interesting, kinder, and much better boyfriend material.  If I wish I’d had one piece of advice in my younger years, it would be: don’t bother dating anyone seriously in high school. Go out with a few guys just to experience dating and not be unprepared for a relationship someday, but focus on your friends. You don’t even know who you are yet.
  3. The mean girls really are just jealous. One of the hardest parts of my post-high school experiences with the people I had gone to high school with happened a couple years after I graduated. An ex-boyfriend texted to ask if a horrible rumor he had heard about me was true {it wasn’t}.  I told him that, but underneath my calm words, I was pissed. Who would say something like that? He wouldn’t tell me who said it {asshole}, but he did imply that it was one of the girls in high school we had always joked about for being jealous of me. I was nothing to be jealous of in high school. I was head-over-heels for a guy who treated me like crap, completely unaware of the fact that I deserved more. I was okay-looking, but going through the many awkward parts of growing up.  So I couldn’t understand why someone would envy me, especially not enough to make up some cruel lie about me.  But then I realized, people probably didn’t see all the hard parts of my life {because I choose not to display that on Facebook and Twitter, duh}, and maybe they thought my life was better than it really felt to me. To those “haters” I say: thanks for making me realize that I’m someone wonderful and special enough to make others jealous. But making up rumors {especially two years post-high school} is pathetic, and you need a life, come on.
  4. The first time you love someone will change your life, but might not last, and that’s okay. Your first love is going to feel big and earth-shattering. It’s probably going to change the way you look at every other man you ever date.  But it probably isn’t going to make you happy for the rest of your life, because you’re in such a formative, transitional period of your life.  You’re going to grow up and start to become interested in lots of other things, and people often grow apart as they get older. Maybe if you don’t start dating until you’re finishing up high school you’ve sort of figured out who you are {if you’re lucky—I still had a lot of growing up to do}. But if you start dating a person at fourteen or fifteen, you probably still have a lot of growing up and changing to do. Somehow, friendships withstand our personal changes better than relationships usually do.
  5. There are far better things ahead than any you leave behind. I wouldn’t say I had a particularly terrible high school experience, but I also can’t imagine wanting to go back to any of my reunions. Our generation doesn’t need that stuff: we see everyone on Facebook and we know what their college boyfriend looks like.  I don’t need to fly across the country to see them in ten years, because I honestly just don’t care that much. My college friends became my family to me. They saw me at my worst, and they loved me anyway. I met someone who made me forget all the losers I dated before him.  I fell in love like I was fifteen again, only this time, the guy treated me like a princess, and I didn’t want to break up.  If someone would have told me what was lying ahead for me when I was feeling my worst in high school, barely able to force myself to go to school because of the catty drama or the jerk I was dating, I would have felt so much better. But part of the beauty of life is the sheer mystery of what lies ahead, so just trust me when I say, there is always something better than whatever’s going on right now waiting for you, you just have to keep going and get to it.
  6. You won’t stay friends with everyone, and that’s a good thing. High school graduation is a great time to drop all the toxic friendships and relationships you’ve entered into.  Give yourself space for new friends. The person you are when you’re entering college is a lot more like the person you’re going to be for the rest of your life {although I assure you there will still be a lot of growth ahead for you}. You’re supposed to ditch the friends who talk behind your back. You’re supposed to let go of all the people who make you unhappy. You get to replace them with people who make you laugh and take you out for ice cream when you’ve had the worst day.
  7. Roommates are not the devil, and having one is not as difficult as everyone would have you believe. Some of my favorite friendships have been with roommates.  They are different than other relationships in some ways, but especially once you aren’t sharing a bedroom anymore {so basically any year after freshman year} having a roommate or two is really fun. They live with you, so you can ask them to hang out anytime, and if they’re people you’re genuinely friends with, you can ask them to watch a movie or go do something if you get lonely.  They’re just comforting to have around, and mine always provided entertainment and good conversation.  My college experience was unique because I had a serious relationship. My roommate also had a serious boyfriend, and our two boyfriends were roommates, so we spent a lot of time together, both at our place and at his. It honestly made us closer, and we’re still best friends.  She helped me get through all the tough parts of college, because she knew both me and my boyfriend so well.  And I was able to do the same for her.  Our third roommate hung out with us just as much, but got to bring along random guys. We both lived vicariously through her wild dating stories. I can’t imagine having any other two roommates, honestly.
  8. There will come a time when you have money troubles and you will have to ask your parents for help. I know, I know, nobody wants to ask their parents for money. For me, it was so stressful having to ask my dad for a check to help me eat and pay for my textbooks that I would practically make myself sick for it. But the more I talked to my friends, the more I realized that everyone had been through a similar time, and their parents had helped them as best they could. College is a transition period, you’re not financially independent, but you’re not living under your parents’ roof anymore, either {which means they aren’t paying your way}.  I recommend getting a part-time job. It’s not too hard juggling a job with school {I’m expected to do it in grad school}, and it makes a huge difference in being able to do fun things like go out to dinner or splurge on a dress for a fraternity formal or function. 
  9. You will make mistakes and regret them the next day, and later they will be the best stories you have from your youth. No real description needed here. Go places, meet people, have fun, and only regret things for a short amount of time before moving on and letting go.
  10. Never give up. There are going to be times {for the rest of our lives} where things feel difficult. There is probably never going to be a day from now until I die where I don’t feel a moment of fear or hesitation, or at least frustration with something I have to do.  That is called life.  Don’t give up, though, because there’s so much amazingness to experience if you’re willing to hang on, push through, and find it.  You can do it, and having a strong, supporting group of friends/family helps so much. 

 

“Celebrate we will, ‘cause life is short but sweet for certain”

Why Everything In Your Life Can’t Take Top Priority

Today, I had a job interview. It wasn’t for anything too hard, just a simple part-time job. But balancing school and work and dating and friends and everything else expected of a twenty-something is overwhelming. Think about it realistically: everything in my life demands to be the dominant thing.

Your schoolwork screams out to be studied, scanned, reviewed, memorized. Everything about it is stressful. Exams pile up, pharmacy school looms. It’s all so big, and it’s all happening so fast.

Your parents say they’re the most important thing. Your mom wants to know why you didn’t call last week, and you give a generic “busy” excuse, but that doesn’t pacify her {call your mom, though}.

Your friends want to see you. They want to hang out and go to movies and go get a manicure or see a movie, and in all honesty you really can’t afford to expend the thirty buck for whatever it is, but you go along anyway because you know how much it sucks to be the only one to miss a get-together, only to hear about “THE BEST NIGHT EVER” for the next six months, the one night that you missed going out. And if you go, and nothing exciting happens, and it isn’t the best night ever, you still go the next time, because what if that time really is the best night ever?

The cute guy you’ve only gone out twice with demands your attention, too. He wants to text you, or he expects you to answer his phone calls or call him back swiftly after he calls you. Or you’re dating someone, for a while already, who you really like. He expects you to make time in your schedule to go out on Friday or Saturday night, to maybe cook one night for the two of you, to make it to the grocery store to pick up a bottle of wine, or to be awake enough by the end of the week to sit through a boring sports game of his favorite team {which you couldn’t care less about}.

Your grandmother sent you a card in the mail with ten bucks in it, so that demands a thank-you card and a phone call in a timely manner. If you don’t get on that within a few days you’re automatically a horrible grandchild {despite the fact that you have ten zillion other things going on}.

And then work on top of all that? How could anyone honestly be expected to manage all this at one time? Who in their right mind would tell a person that they’re supposed to put their job above their family, their friends, and even that hot guy. Let’s be honest: work, for most of us, is a means to an end. We work because we have to. The person who’s your boss is working because they have to. And their boss, too. The only people who are working because they “just want to” are the higher-up people at Disney, professional athletes, and people in the entertainment industry.

One thing is allowed to get top priority. Not all those things. You have to choose what’s the most important to you, and I don’t think anyone in the world would put their job ahead of their family {or their friends, for most of us}. Friends make all the work stories funny instead of awful. Friends are what matter. People. You can’t make it through this crazy life without them.

So job interviews are stressful and, in my opinion, a little unrealistic. You’re being told to put this job ahead of everything else in your life and I just don’t think that anyone going in there to interview for a job is going to do so when push comes to shove. I don’t think an interview is a realistic method of sorting out what kind of person {and potential employee} a person is. People say whatever they say in interviews because what choice do they really have? Say “no, I’m actually going to put my best friend’s wedding first even if it is the same night as the biggest company event of the year” and not get the job? Nope, we’re going to swear we would put the job first, and then pray like hell that the boss doesn’t schedule us for that day when the time does come.

Being a twentysomething is hard work these days, people. I can’t help thinking it must have been easier before technology took over. Now, within seconds, you can be reached by your boss, your coworkers, your mom, your boyfriend, your best friend, and anyone else who you’ve promised to make your “most important,” and that makes it impossible to truly “turn off” work when you want to be done at 5 o’clock on Friday afternoon. I think people should get a break from their jobs on the weekend, and I think that as a society of twenty-somethings going into the workforce, it’s our responsibility to say that we aren’t going to put up with being expected to respond to an email that comes in at 4 AM on a Sunday morning. That’s not in the job description, so why should we have to be on a leash? If I want to ditch town and leave my phone at home for the weekend, why should a stupid thing like my iPhone having my work email on it stop me?

Just a thought. More soon