I recently turned 20; this has caused me to reflect on the past two decades. That’s crazy!

I have been on this Earth for 20. Whole. Years… so I must have learned a few things, right?

The following are 20 lessons, pieces of advice, etc. that I have learned & am now happy to share:

  1. Take the time to say thank you

I always dreaded writing thank you notes for birthday and Christmas gifts, but it’s important. Saying thank you is a simple gesture that shows someone you really appreciate what they did for you. Receiving a physical thank you note is also becoming extinct in our digital age, so sending thank you notes is extra special.

  1. Don’t count the days, make the days count

By now, you have probably noticed that my pieces are super cheesy, but this is so true! I’m guilty of counting down the days to a special event, vacation, start of summer, holidays, and end of the semester. Instead of wishing away the days, try to be present every day.

  1. Do one thing a day that makes you happy

This sort of goes with number 2, but don’t let yourself end the day without doing at least one thing you enjoy. This could be as simple as listening to one of your favorite songs before bed. I find that it is a lot easier to cope with the bad days if you know you did at least one thing you enjoyed.

  1. Eat the cake

We are all so concerned about health/wellness, which is great and all – to a certain extent. If it’s your birthday, eat the cake (or your dessert of choice) because life is too short not to enjoy a treat once in a while.

  1. Travel, travel, and travel!

My family has always taken road trips, but I dreamed of going to France, and I did! Traveling abroad allows you to learn about not only other cultures but also, yourself. Surviving in France for a month taught me more about what I’m capable of than any other experience I’ve had. If you get the chance to travel, take it.

  1. Keep old friends

For some reason, people think they have to throw away their old friends when graduating high school as a way to start fresh. This is absolutely not true. I have two amazing friends from high school that I talk to weekly and other old friends that I keep in touch with regularly. Sure, there will be friends that you will grow apart from, but never think you have to lose friends to make new ones.

  1. Make new friends

Just as important as keeping old friends is making new friends. You never know when your best friend might come along, so always be open to new friendships.

  1. Try new things

From food to sports to classes, it’s always good to keep an open mind, and let yourself experience new things.

  1. Sing

Singing has always been a stress reliever for me, so when in doubt, sing it out!

  1. Listen to music

A fire playlist can really improve a study session, so remember that music is there for you when you need a pick-me-up. Spotify is my favorite way to listen to music for free.

  1. Get good sleep

This can be really hard to do, but instead of cramming all night for a test, I’ve found getting good sleep is more important. You won’t do well on the test if you’re tired.

  1. Be honest with yourself and others

Honesty is the best policy!

  1. Laugh

Surround yourself with people that make you laugh. If you could use a good laugh right now, go on Netflix and watch the “The Office.”

  1. Cry

Sometimes crying it out is the best way to feel better. Crying can also relieve stress.

  1. Read books

Books are a great way to escape and enter another world for a little while. For me, books provide a more immersive experience into the characters’ lives than watching a movie or television show. Also, the more fun reading you do, the better you will get at reading, so you can speed through those English assignments.

  1. Take a leap of faith

Life is too short not to tell someone that you like him or her. I rarely take this advice myself, but I’m trying to change that. This isn’t just for romantic relationships though. If you feel a connection with someone, try and pursue it. Maybe, you will make a new best friend!

  1. Have dreams and chase them

Goal setting can help you turn dreams into reality.

  1. If you really want something, try to not let money be an obstacle

I’m not advising going into debt; just don’t throw dreams away because you don’t have the money at this time.

  1. Don’t be quick to judge

You never know what someone is going through.

  1. Life isn’t fair, so live it to the fullest without expectation

Life is a gift, so take it with open arms, and try your best.