20 things I learned before I turn 20

I know that there's a lot of posts out there that are similar, if not the same, as this one but I wanted to write something like this because personally, I feel as though I'm a naive person. Being an almost-20 year old in this kind of society and world has taught me numerous things and I thought I'd share this with you, as kind of an advice thing?

So without further ado, these are 20 things I learned before I turn 20.

01: Exam results do not reflect your knowledge

Basically, I used to hate sitting exams. I would dread it whenever the timetables came out in November and April and I always wished I could have an identical twin so they could do it for me (just to clarify, I don't have a twin/sister, I have a brother). I'd always be pessimistic regarding my results and think that I would fail regardless if I did well or not because it leaves you more happy when you're surprised with a pass and less disappointed if you fail (I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who does this either).

After time and time again of resitting my GCSE maths exam (guess what? I'm almost 20 and still haven't passed it), I was told by both my mother and nan that exam results don't actually define or reflect our knowledge - it reflects or defines how well we can remember things.

02: If you're having a bad day, remember it only lasts 24 hours

I used to let negativity get the better of me and be paranoid that if someone didn't spend time with me, that it was because of something I had done or they just simply didn't want to be around me anymore. It used to bother me so much and really upset me and to be honest, it sometimes still does. Also, I'm the kind of person that who gets in a relationship, I'll go in with my heart on my sleeve and put my all into it and if we don't hang out I kind of just mill about and wait to see them again. This can be good (as in going in with a heart on your sleeve) and also backfire because you need to learn to function as two different people rather than one, otherwise it gets messy.

There are different things I have done in order to stop myself from feeling negative, like reading a book, listening to music with my eyes closed, reading different blogs, watching YouTubers, playing games on my laptop and more. These things do help especially if you're the kind of person that gets bored when they have time to themselves like I do. I mean, I do like a good day or two to relax and stuff but then after that I just want to socialise and do things with people because doing things like that make me happy and give me a sort of positive euphoria.

The best thing to remember about feeling negative, down or depressive, that a day only lasts 24 hours and not every day is the same.

03: Cut toxic people from your life as soon as you possibly can

The last thing we all need in our lives is toxic people. They don't help out in our lives whatsoever and they are just a dark footstep in the light of our lives. I've dealt with quite a few of these toxic people in my life and having them as part of it wasn't good at all. It was difficult because they were acting as if they were my friends but being toxic about me behind my back which I eventually found out and I cut them from my life. It took a good while to do it because before I found out what they did, I didn't want to cut them from my life because I thought they were my friends and I'm also the kind of person that hates hurting other people's feelings.

It's better to cut the toxic people from your life as soon as possible because it's just going to bring you down and you don't need that. Each and every one of us deserves a carefree and worry free life, although sometimes problems arise and worries will crop up, but the best thing to remember is that you're never alone.

04: If something is bothering you, speak out

No matter how big or small, a problem is a problem and it can be solved - whatever it may be. I'm the kind of person to bottle things up and keep it to myself because I don't want to bother people with my issues or problems and I feel as if I can handle things myself. Thinking that way is alright for a tiny while, but then it can get out of hand and bring a dark cloud over your shoulder and drag you down.

There is nothing wrong with trying to handle things yourself, as some things can be dealt with quite easily... However, other things can be more challenging for one person. It's hard dealing with some things as one person because you feel trapped in a glass box whilst everyone goes around in their day-to-day cycle. Never be afraid to speak out if you're struggling - no matter how big or small the problem is. I can promise you that once it's out in the open, it gets better from there and easier to solve. Like the common phrase, a problem shared is a problem halved.

I also know what it's like to share personal and upsetting issues with people and it's difficult to take that first step and tell someone, but if talking to someone face-to-face is a bit daunting for you, there's two places I used to go to when I was feeling down and didn't want to talk to family or friends, and these things are: blahtherapy and 7cupsoftea. For the most part, these two websites are free of charge to use and allow you to chat to strangers about issues and to get some advice (although please note, these people are not professionals but both services do provide sessions with professionals but these are costly). Blahtherapy is essentially a one-to-one online chat, whereas 7cupsoftea does have this feature, there are also chat rooms for various different issues which you can join and chat to people about what's going on.

05: Never be afraid to express yourself

No matter who you are, never be afraid to be yourself. I know that in society nowadays, there are people who will judge, but who cares what they think? You are your own amazing person and deserve your time to sparkle. The people who point fingers and laugh or judge you are the ones with their own issues and insecurities who feel that making someone feel bad will make them feel better.

There's a mantra which I read a good while ago which I adore and I found it whilst reading RuPaul's book, and the mantra goes like this:

"Don't take life too seriously.

Love yourself.

Very little is off-limits,

but draw the line at being unkind.

Do whatever you want, just so long as

you don't hurt anyone"

Personally, I think this mantra is beautiful and is all about positivity and being yourself. Life isn't about hiding away in the dark and being an outsider, it's about letting things go and having fun. You were born to be an individual, not a copy.

06: Prioritise yourself and things that you do

You can't do a million things at once, no matter how much you think you can. If you're feeling stressed from school, college, work or university, then take time to look after yourself Read a book, look for some new music to listen to, chat to your friends, go for a walk... Possibilities are endless, but don't allow yourself to get over-stressed or over-work yourself because you'll burn out. Pace yourself and you'll thank yourself later.

07: Making mistakes is okay

We're only human and making mistakes is in our genetic make-up. It's impossible to go through life without making a mistake at least once. There's always going to be 'what ifs' and thinking about the past is okay, just don't live there. Believe me, I feel as if I'm the queen of mistake making but hey, I'm only human... All I can do is learn from what I do wrong and that's what we all do.

Our mistakes don't define us though, they make us stronger because we carry on, rather than letting it get the better of us. Never be afraid to admit to mistakes because things never go to plan a lot of the time but that is alright.

08: Drifting from friends does hurt

Looking back, a lot of the people who I was 'close' to in high school... I actually don't speak to any more. In the past year I can say that I've spoken to only 2 people from my high school and that's it. It's difficult because things happen in life and friends will come and go. This can be painful to have to experience because the people you considered to be like your sisters or brothers or relatives will just fade away while you sit there.

In all fairness, I seem to be closer to my university friends than I did with my high school friends but the few friends I kept I still keep close to my heart. If you and your friends drift apart, don't automatically assume it's your fault. If you try your hardest to keep in contact, there's nothing you're doing wrong.

09: Allow your partner/significant other breathing room

This is really important to me because even though I love my boyfriend with every part of me, I know that letting him have his time to himself and his family is vital. It does hurt being away from him but it's better for both of us to function was two people than one person because that's when things go downhill.

If you're like me and love your partner/significant other extremely much, please let them have their time to themselves without you. Sure, both of you would like to be with each other all the time but the last thing you want is to get irritable with each other when you spend all that time together.

I'm not saying spend a million months away from each other, but a few days to a week will do you both good, I guarantee. Plus, there's always texting/FaceTime/Skype!

10: Never stop trying to achieve your dream

I have been discouraged a lot in my life and it's made me want to throw my ambitions away. Never do this at all. In life, we're all going to get knocked down off our feet for whatever reason, but we need to stand up and keep on going. Your dream is the biggest and most precious thing to you and pursuing it and getting to your goal is the best achievement you can possibly have. Don't let anyone tell you that you can't do something, or your dream is stupid or unachievable. You are a smart and amazing human being and you can do anything you set your mind to. Unfortunately, it doesn't come easy and you have to work for it but when you've achieved it, you'll feel so happy and good about it.

11: Growing up isn't as scary as you think

Admittedly, when I was younger, I thought growing up would be terrifying. I thought I'd be on my own and be clueless with the world and everything that's going on. However, now that I'm nearing my twenties, I've seen now that growing up isn't as scary as some people make it out to be. Sure, time is going fast lately, but before you know it you'll have blossomed into an amazing adult and the world is your oyster (as my gramps says to me numerous times). Sure, the idea of growing up and having to be individual can be daunting for some people but once it starts happening, it'll get better - take it from someone who hated the idea of growing up.

12: Family time is golden time

This is probably something which has been said before, but spending time with your family is golden. Regardless if you've got siblings (older or younger) or are an only child, family time is something which can get rid of negativity and make you feel happy. Whether you're just sat around chatting or watching TV or just eating dinner, it does warm the heart. Unfortunately, family aren't going to be around forever and neither will you with your future ventures and whatnot, so make the most of the time as much as you can because you'll regret it otherwise. Coming from someone who now lives away from home for 9 months of the year, I do miss spending time with my family and being away from them does hurt and upset me but they're always a phone call or an hour train ride away.

13: Be careful who you trust

This seems pretty obvious but being cautious of who you trust is vital. We've all dealt with snakey people in our lives before and unfortunately it'll happen in the future. It's hard because there's people we thought we could trust and when things go wrong, it all gets out of hand. It's a pretty simple thing, but don't go telling someone you met 5 minutes ago the ins and outs of your personal life or personal experiences because it'll come around and perhaps bite you on the butt. However, sometimes this isn't always the case, but being cautious doesn't hurt.

14: Say 'yes' more

You may have heard this from Zoella if you guys watch her YouTube videos, but breaking away from your anxious barriers and saying 'yes' to doing more and different things will be something you won't regret. I know doing things you don't normally do may be terrifying, but once you do it for the first time it gets easier. Take me for example. Fresher university student, freshers week comes around, says no to going out at all and stays in every day.

Oh damn do I regret saying no to doing things with my flatmates and building mates. It'll be different this year because I'm going to do more things and say 'yes' more because it's the things you don't do that you regret.

15: Living in the past isn't good

Thinking about the past is okay to do now and again, but never live in the past. It's not healthy and thinking about things you can't change and it will eat at you. All you can do is push forward and focus on the now, not even the future. Focusing on what is going on right now this second is what matters and when I find myself thinking of what I'm going to do next week or something I did a few years ago, I instantly think of what I'm doing right now and that anxiously sick feeling in my stomach goes away and I feel better.

16: It's perfectly okay to say no to things

Never be afraid to say no. It's perfectly okay and within your right to do so. If there's ever anything you don't want to do, just shake your head and say no. It's simple but I  know it can be difficult for some people, especially me because I don't like letting people down or upsetting them. However, I've been told numerous times by numerous people that I can't live life pleasing others and not myself... It's not healthy at all. 

17: Putting yourself first is okay

I know a lot of people who think of others more than they think of themselves and that's not good. Don't let yourself become a doormat, because you'll be seen as a prime target for people to manipulate you and get you to do things you may not particularly want to do. You are your own person and in life, you should be your own first priority and everything else comes afterwards. 

18: Don't overwork yourself

I'm very guilty of this because whenever it's exam period or I have essay deadlines - I always push myself to my limits. Even though I work better under pressure, there is a time when I need to tone it down, or even stop for a little while to relax or have a break. Overworking yourself can be lethal, as it can increase stress, anxiety and depression levels and that is something you shouldn't allow to happen to yourself.

I let this happen when I worked really hard in my first year of university and as soon as I moved back home for the summer, I went straight into a full time job. For a few weeks, this was fine and I was keeping myself occupied and that was fine... Then I hit the wall.

Basically, I would start randomly crying whilst on shift and I could noticeably see that I was working a lot slower and finding myself to be so exhausted. What did I do? I hung up the towel and said I was done.

Even though it was my first job, I'm still very grateful for being given a shot at being employed and for being looked after by my co-workers and boss. It was a nice place to be, I just worked very hard and unfortunately burned out.

19: Not know what to do is okay

A lot of the time I do get confused on paths I want to go down, like what I want at the end of university as a prime example. If you don't know whether you want to go back to sixth form, have a gap year, go to university, want to get a job/leave a job and you're not sure... That is totally okay. Being clueless isn't all that bad, but the right decision will come to you one day like some amazing thing and you'll follow that path.

For me, I wasn't sure if university was for me when I was in the application process but I pushed through and convinced myself that it was the right thing for me. Once I had been accepted last August and was added into a group chat for my halls of residence building, things changed for me and I suddenly had crippling anxiety about going. Initially I said to my  mum that I didn't want to go, but she basically said "No, you're going". I appreciate my mum's little push into the direction of going because moving out from your home and away from your family is a huge step and I appreciate everyone who makes this step also.

I can remember being sat in my bedroom last August chatting to a few people from my university accommodation and one person in particular helped me so much with my anxiety that it is basically non-existent now, and this person is now my boyfriend. He helped a lot with the issues I was having regarding meeting new people and looking at myself now in comparison to last August - I am a completely different person.

All in all, shrugging your shoulders and saying you don't know what you want to do is alright. With guidance and research, the right decision will come to you and only you can make that decision which is right for you.

20: You don't have to explain yourself to anyone

You don't fancy going out clubbing? You don't want to spend a million pounds whilst out shopping with your friends? You don't feel like hanging out with family/friends? You don't want to get that particular job? University/college isn't for you?

That's okay.

You never, ever, have to explain yourself to anybody at all. As people, we shouldn't answer to everyone's beck and call. We are our own people and if we don't want to do something, others should respect that and that should be the end of it.

However, I don't really see this as an issue for me, but the amount of times I chat to my gramps about things and I begin reeling off this large explanation, he would cut me off and say "Chlo, Chlo, Chlo... You don't need to explain yourself to me".  I always feel like explaining myself just helps a situation and helps others understand why I'm doing something, but at the same time... Is the explanation really needed?

Feel free to follow me on Twitter: @chloemtommo, Instagram: @chloetommo and Bloglovin.
Have an amazing day!

No comments

Thanks so much for your comment! Note: Any anonymous hate will be deleted straight away.