With my 21st drawing closer and closer, I wanted to use the days leading up to it productively; reflecting on my time as a 20 year old with 20 things I learned in 20 years, the transition between adolescence and adulthood hasn't been the easiest mainly because I moved away from home and had to learn how to do everything myself from scratch (if you know me you'll know how hard that was). However I have learnt a lot about myself along the way, I thought by sharing some of my experiences they might help you too. 

So here are 20 important lessons that I have learnt over the years: 

You can't measure friendships with time, as cliche as it sounds I have friends that I have known for 5 months who have been better friends to me than people who I have known for 5 years. That being said, I have 3 great best friends that I have known throughout secondary school, college and uni and we're still really close (but I think that is rare). However, I have learnt that it isn't uncommon for friendships to cease as soon as you leave school or college so it is important not to stay too attached to meaningless friendships. 

I still struggle with this from time to time because I am the worse at comparing myself to other people, but I realise now that my biggest competition is myself. That being said, it's important to not be too hard on yourself when things don't always go right because sometimes they're out of your hands. More often than not a knock back can be a good thing because it can spur you on to do better and to become a better person.

Okay so maybe I only had my eureka moment a little under a year ago and maybe I have only just started going to classes properly in the last 6 months but I can honestly say that I have seen a noticeable difference in my character and my mood before and after meditation. A lot of the time I don't have time to meditate before I go to uni and I will be in a shitty mood all day long, and then I get back home and meditate later on in the evening and I am back to my normal self again. If you haven't already tried meditation out then why not? I mean what have you really got to lose?

At the core of my list of 20 things that I have learned in 20 years is self-care and spending time alone. It is crucial that you spend the necessary time by yourself, I love my own company so much so, that sometimes I would much rather be in my room alone reading/writing than sat downstairs socialising with my housemates. Some people hate spending time on their own, that is okay too. Not everyone is the same and you shouldn't feel guilty for preferring your own company to other peoples at times. 

I sometimes wonder if I listened to my parents a lot more when I was younger where would I be today? Would I be at a better uni? or Would I be working full time? Who even knows, my point here is that your parents are mostly always right, they know how to spot a fake friend from a real friend and they know whether your partner is right for you or not. I don't even know how they know to be honest, it's quite spooky. One thing I have learnt in my 20 years of life is that your parents always have your best interests at heart, even if you don't always see eye to eye. 

Okay, well if there's one thing that I have learnt over the years it is that my bedroom will never be spotless nor will I ever know where I put things. I often will buy something and I will have to repurchase it again within the year because I end up losing it. It makes my life 10x harder and 10x more expensive but I have accepted it. However, on the flip side to this, I am also really organised. 

For example my bag on a night out resembles that of Mary Poppin's I will put socks and gloves in my bag when I know its cold outside and I am wearing heels. I have an endless supply of gum at all times, I am always full stocked up with hand sanitiser and always carry big packs of tissues. I used to always wonder why my friends can't be as "organised" as I am and why they wait until they're at the night club to check and see if they have their ID (sometimes they don't). But then I realised that I will never be a tidy person and some people will never be organised and thats okay. 

It has taken me years to realise this but having straight hair really isn't the be all and end all. I have learnt that ruining my curl pattern and damaging my hair just to have it straight for a few days, really is not worth it at all. I am as of now trying to revert back to my curly ways, I have successfully undergone the "big chop" and I have installed braids in the mean time to allow my hair to grow. One thing I have learnt in my 20 years, is that I shouldn't listen to what other people think about my hair and make my own decisions for myself. 

Being sensitive is not always a bad thing nor is it bad to show your emotions from time to time. Sometimes you have to drop your guard and actually allow yourself to feel emotions like a normal person would, rather than bottling it up all of the time. 

Lets face it, I have never been a good drinker and I will never be able to keep up with my friends (most of them are raging alcoholics I swear!). When I was a lot younger I would try and keep up with them which never ended too well but since going to uni I have learnt my limits and I know to stick to my Bare foot rose and Caribbean twist for a guaranteed good night!

Another key lesson that I have learnt in my 20 years is that, things don't always work out the way that we want them too. People who we thought would be in our lives for a long time don't always stick around. This can also be a good thing because it means that you're getting closer to meeting the right person for you, the same rule applies when its a job opportunity. Maybe you didn't get the job you really wanted and have dreamt about for ages, but maybe if you had got the job you would soon realise that this is not what you want to do at all. 

From struggling to choose which chocolate bar to pick in the supermarket to struggling to choose which degree course I wanted to study at university, it can be said that I am a very indecisive person. This is something that won't ever change and it means that I won't ever be able to make quick, hasty decisions because I will probably change my mind a few minutes later or will live to regret the decision.

As I have grown up I have come to know that hangovers only get worse with age, its weird because I never used to get hangovers a few years ago but now they literally hit me like a bus and I almost feel as if I am dying. 

Pro tip: drink plenty of water after a night out before you go to sleep and when you wake up you honestly feel 10x better than you would if you didn't drink any.

For years I would always insist that red was my colour and maybe in clothing it is but in lipstick it definitely isn't. I have learnt this lesson the hard way through years and years of consistent red lipstick use that now I literally never wear it and cannot imagine myself wearing it. 

Tip: Stay away from the reds and stick to the nudes Leah!

I think it can be said that nearly every single girl owns a pair of black ripped jeans, they're a must have in every wardrobe and during every season. Whether you're going for casual drinks with your gals or going to uni you can never go wrong with a pair of black ripped jeans. 

I think this lesson is one of my favourites because it enables me to turn any negative situation into a positive one. Rather than dwelling on the past, I can fuel my anger and try to turn it into something good. There is always a good outcome to every situation, even if at the time it doesn't seem that way, remember that. 

No matter how you feel at this moment in time, that feeling won't last forever. You will get over that boy that fucked you over and you will get over that bad grade on your assignment, I promise.

Whether you look like you're dying from a late night on the sesh or you just look like shit; over sized sunglasses are always a look. They are my absolute go-to, even when its raining outside and I look terrible my sunglasses are always on hand to make me look that tiny bit more human. 

My family have actually said that they've seen a noticeable difference in my behaviour before and after I have eaten, if you deprive me of food you best believe that I will be the most hangry person ever. I will complain non-stop until I get the food I want and then I will be your best friend forever (be wary!) 

One thing I have learnt in the years leading up to being 20 is that it's okay to be different and you don't need to fit in with other people to look "cool". Stay true to yourself and as cliche as it sounds never change for anyone else.

You don't have to have it all figured out just yet, you have the rest of your 20's and even your 30's to get your shit together so don't worry. Everybody is programmed differently and we all achieve our dreams at different points of our lives. Some of your friends may own their own house at 21 and others may not own their's until they're 30. Time means nothing and life isn't a race, you will get there when you need to get there. 

All of these lessons collectively make my "20 things I learned in 20 years".

Have you read my latest blog post, a letter that I wrote to my future self? or my compilation of 16 things that I would tell my 16 year old self?

So what lessons did you learn in your 20's ? We're any of them similar to mine or different? I would love to hear back from you in the comments below

Love Leah x


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