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20 Things I’ve Learned in 20 Years

Updated: Nov 15, 2023

By Jordan Mclain

This year I turned 20 years old… but do I feel like I’m 20 years old? No. I don’t even feel like I’m 19 years old. But you can’t stop aging, so I might as well look at it as a positive thing. Despite not feeling my own age, over nearly 20 years of living I have reflected my age through growth. Here are 20 things I’ve learned over the past two decades: 

  1. Independence– I like to consider myself as an independent person. I love making friends and being social, but at the end of the day being by myself is one of the things I treasure.

  1. Intro-Extrovert– Like I said, I love making friends and socializing. However, sometimes I like to just sit back and observe. It really depends on my mood, but when it comes to being an introvert or extrovert, I’m definitely stuck in the middle.

  2. Adulting– Growing up, I’ve always heard people my age say something along the lines of being scared to “adult.” I can relate to an extent, however, I’m personally ready to transition to adulthood in the upcoming years and not have to rely on anyone except for myself.

  1. Sensitivity- Something I’ve definitely had to learn the hard way. I have taken certain actions toward me the wrong way and am learning how to not take those things too seriously sometimes.

  2. Positive Mindset– It’s not always the easiest to do, but whenever something stressful is coming up (like exams ugh) or something happens against my favor, I now monitor my thoughts and try to avoid negative thoughts by thinking positive things. It sounds cliche but it actually has worked for me and, because of that, I continue to do it.

  3. Helping– I’m lowkey that someone who my friends go to for help on things like schoolwork or advice, and I like to take pride in that. I realize in different ways that I am helpful and hope that I am appreciated.

  4. Music Taste– OK but for real, music is actually the best therapy. Whenever I’m on the verge of having a mental breakdown, listening to guilty pleasure songs really takes me to a different place and makes me feel nostalgic.

  5. Budgeting– I’m not saying this to be “quirky,” but I seriously need to stop spending money and start budgeting. I actually don’t spend too much and am pretty responsible with it, but I could dwindle down just a little…

  6. Managing Anxiety– Since the start of high school, I’ve unfortunately experienced social anxiety. However, with a better perception of how I view myself and building my confidence, it’s reduced and has gotten easier to deal with.

  1. Not Obsessing Over Grades– I’m the type of person who gets average grades, and I’m totally OK with that. I used to worry about getting higher grades, but now I mainly just focus on getting my overall work done the best I can. If anything, I focus on passing more than the “Dean’s List” or achieving a higher G.P.A.

  2. Focusing On The Present Rather Than The Future– I thankfully don’t worry about the future too much. I have the mindset of knowing that the future will fall in my favor, so I just focus on the present.

  3. Not Comparing Myself To Others– One thing I’m still learning is not to compare other people’s actions to what I would do. Some people might do things with the same intentions as me, but it could possibly come across differently.

  4. Keeping Busy– I like being busy and having something to do. With school and socializing, it makes the perfect formula for being on the go and having something to do 90% of the time.

  5. Importance Of Moderation– Although I enjoy being busy, I also love doing nothing and just relaxing. I like to maintain that balance of being social and being alone, so relaxing and settling down is something that is also necessary for me.

  1. Cooking And Cleaning– As Nicki Minaj once said, “Yes I do the cooking, yes I do the cleaning.” In all seriousness, I really do clean my dorm a lot and cook a good amount of times, so I’ll take pride in that.

  2. Contentment– One of the most prevalent things to me is not relying on other people for happiness. I know that a lot of people struggle with this, so I’m aware that I’m lucky to naturally be happy with just myself.

  3. Being My Own Best Friend– Tying into what was said above, I also view myself as one of my own best friends. I’m literally stuck with myself forever, so why not appreciate it?

  1. Self-Assuredness– This is something I’ve been working on for the past couple of years. In order to be confident in myself, I really have to push myself and go out of my comfort zone, and do certain things such as making plans with friends, taking pictures, etc., to maintain my confidence.

  2.  Mental Aches– Whenever I get really overwhelmed, I notice my brain will literally ache and hurt, which is sort of weird. It’s not like a migraine or headache, my inner brain just literally aches. However, I try to find ways to release the tension and purge out the negative or worrying thoughts by having inner conversations, napping, and talking to friends, and other random things. 

  3. Gratitude– Last but not least, not to sound stereotypical but I’m thankful and appreciative to live another year and continue to genuinely learn more things as I grow. The amount of opportunities and things I have makes me realize how privileged I am, and I should really show more gratitude toward my life. 


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