22 Life Lessons I’ve Learned at 22
And there’s still more to learn!
1. You’re not invincible.
Nobody is immune to the side effects of life, so if you go on thinking nothing bad will ever happen to you, you’re sorely mistaken. I used to think I was living on cloud nine, until I got slapped in the face with reality at a younger age than I should have.
2. Cherish the time you have at home.
Going away to college changes everything, in good ways and bad. Nothing is the same anymore. I don’t care how much you wanted to leave home and have your freedom; you’ll miss it when it’s gone. The comfort of your parents, a place that’s entirely yours, a place to go and get away from the trials of life when the going gets rough. I used to wish my life away, but now I’m constantly wishing I could get it back. Never take your home for granted.
3. Nothing lasts forever.
The fact of life is that people and places and events are always temporary, and no matter how many times you think something will never end, it always will, and sometimes you’ll be heartbroken when it does. But something else is always around the corner. Live each moment to the fullest, and be mindful of everything you do.
4. “Best Friends Forever” isn’t real.
Your best friend in second grade, eighth grade, even freshman year of high school, will inevitably not be your best friend for life. The sooner you can accept that, the happier you’ll be.
5. One of the hardest things you’ll have to do is grieve the loss of someone who’s still alive.
To say that losing someone you were in a relationship with, whether it be romance or friendship, is painful, would be a gross understatement. You’re going to spend many late nights wondering what you did wrong to make them leave, and you’ll go through stages of hating them, missing them, hating them again, and eventual acceptance and moving on. Even after you’ve moved on, there will always be a part of you that will think about them from time to time. Don’t waste time thinking about that because it’s detrimental and counter-productive. Deal with it if the situation ever happens. Stay in the moment.
Grieving a loss? Here are some helpful insights.
6. Not everyone you lose is a loss.
It’s going to take you a few years and losses to realize this, but once you do, you’ll feel a weight lifted off your shoulders. You’ll realize that one “friend” that always tore you down was not worthy of your time, and that other “friend” who talked about you behind your back was nothing but negativity in your life that you didn’t need.
7. Time heals almost everything.
It’s going to hurt, and it’s going to hurt for a while. But even the hardest experiences will fade with time. Remember this the next time you think you’ll never make it past something.
8. People are going to disappoint you and not live up to your expectations.
There’s practically nobody in the world that’s as caring and kind as you are, and you need to accept that. People are going to react differently than you wanted them to, people aren’t always going to be there when you need them, and people aren’t all like you are. Diversity is wonderful, but can also be frustrating if you don’t know what to expect.
9. You’re going to make a million mistakes the rest of your life.
You’re going to think about all the ones you’ve made, and you’re going to think you have to hate yourself for them. The reality of the situation is that you can’t hate yourself for mistakes because everybody makes them on a daily basis.
10. But your mistakes don’t define you.
And don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise. People will try to dwell on something insignificant that happened years ago, but you need to just let it go. If someone can’t see past their own mistakes and always judges you based on yours, they’re not worthy of your time.
11. You can’t get back yesterday, so don’t let yesterday get to you.
One day you’re going to wake up and realize the past is gone for a reason, and it will make all the difference.
12. You are nostalgic, but you are also strong.
There will be days when your past will weigh you down to the ground, but you know you are stronger than that. Look what all you’ve already gone through, and know you can handle much more.
13. True friends are not only people with whom you can be yourself, but also people who stand by your side in the worst times.
It’s taking you literally 22 years to realize this. You’ve gone through negative experiences with people you thought had your back, but you are finally ridding yourself of these people. You feel liberated knowing that not everyone completely sucks, and there are actually people who care. Struggling to figure out who’s really a good friend? Click here.
14. Stop trying to figure out the meaning of life and why you’re here.
There’s a reason nobody has been able to figure out why we’re all on this planet and in this universe. But you are, so you have to make the best of what you’ve got and live life to the fullest each day. Why bother wasting time wondering when you could be chasing your dreams and making something happen?
15. Comparison will kill you.
You will still struggle with this because it’s natural to compare yourself to others, but you’re getting better at not doing this. After all, what good does it do to compare yourself to someone else? You are you, and that’s all you’ll ever be. So focus on YOUR goals, YOUR achievements, and what YOU can do to make this world better.
16. Your parents are ultimately your best friends, because family is forever.
You’ve always loved your parents, but you appreciate them even more now that you don’t see them everyday. They are your rock, your support system, your shoulder to cry on, your motivation, role models, and constant source of love. And the best part is that they’ll always be there for you because they’re family.
17. It’s your life, and you have to do what’s best for you.
Even if this means letting go of something or someone you thought you needed. Your health and well-being come before anything else.
18. Don’t ever let anyone undermine your self-worth.
People will try all they want to bring you down and tell you that you’re not worthy enough. You used to listen to them, but now you realize it’s their own insecurities that drive them to say these things. And that’s not your problem.
19. Choosing to go on when you wanted to give up shows how strong you are.
Always remember this, because there will be moments like these when you think you can’t make it. Look how far you’ve come and take a deep breath. You can handle anything.
20. Let those who don’t believe in you be your main sources of motivation.
Plenty of people throughout your life will doubt your capabilities. Rather than letting that cause you to retreat to the fetal position, let that inspire you. Nothing is more satisfying than proving someone wrong.
21. Respect others’ opinions, but stand firm in your own.
It’s really obnoxious when people don’t understand that everyone has a right to their own opinion, but it’s even more obnoxious when people try to dissuade your own opinion by telling you you’re wrong. If everyone would learn to respect and appreciate differing opinions, this world would probably be less polarized all the time.
22. Loving yourself is the hardest, but most important skill to learn, so do it.
After all, there’s only one of you. Might as well love that person. Need inspiration? Check out this website.