5 Life Lessons I Learned In My 20s

By Cathy H - 10:45 PM

1. "Sometimes love is not enough, and the road gets tough I don't know why": This line of Lana Del Rey lyrics have carried me through for the past few years, what a realization this is In my personal life and experiences of those around me, I understand now that love is much more beyond our control than we think. We have bad days, we grow differently, bad decisions get made, trust is broken. That doesn't mean love disappears. Love is there, but that is not enough to keep it together.

2. Fairness is Not Guranteed: I'm going to quote my favorite terminally ill Youtuber, Claire Wineland in her end stages of Cystic Fibrosis (is it weird that she is one of my thought idols?)

  • “I think it’s important to say that just because something’s supposed to be what you’re doing, doesn’t mean it’s going to feel good. It doesn’t mean that it’s going to be easy. It doesn’t mean that it’s going to feel like fucking rainbows and butterflies. It doesn’t mean that it’s going to feel decent. Like it might actually be the most painful thing you could possibly do. 

  • And I think that’s where everyone gets it wrong. I think we are kind of raised to believe that the best thing to do is the easiest thing to do. Or that the best thing to do is the thing that’s going to make you happiest. And I think it’s actually backwards. I think a lot of times the best thing to do in life is the thing that’s going to make you miserable. Or is the thing that hurts and is difficult, and is hard to do, because it actually DEMANDS something of you. Right? Like being happy in a certain sense, is such a flaccid emotion. It’s so passing and fleeting and weak, you know what I mean? It comes at the most random times, sometimes because of nothing, and it’s just dopamine in your system you know? 

  • But fundamentally, like giving something of yourself and showing up for life, that actually takes a lot out of you. And anything that takes a lot out of you.

  • “None of this is easy. Getting things threaded in my wrist while I’m like starving and like half asleep and have a migraine and nearly like passing out on an operating table is not easy. But that also doesn’t mean that it’s the bad decision. It also doesn’t mean that it’s the wrong decision. I think that a lot of times, the things that are worth doing in life are gonna require a lot of pain and a lot of suffering. And I think that’s what makes them worth doing. You know? Like nothing that’s lasting and nothing that’s real is easy."

And this got me thinking about my own attitude towards life. In my 20s I always hoped for the easy way out. Just date someone nice and get that man to support me (I thought like this when I was 20). What else could go wrong right? Just leave the country for a bit, maybe forever and start fresh. Than right now, as I'm typing this after 14  hours of straight work a little voice in my head is screaming "everyone shut up!! Do you know how I feel?? I'm dying inside!!"

 Taking a breathe feels weird because there are so many things I have to do. I feel like a iPhone running on 5% charge when the screen starts dimming. But underneath all this, I realize how much I've accomplished so far. This week alone I've went through my first official networking event and I now that 5 industry leads. I'm basically completing 80% of an report all alone, when the work was supposed to be split between 4 people. I've moved out, distanced myself from my narcissistic mother, and continued my 14 hour days for the past 5 months, on top of this I paid my entire tuition. Nothing I've done this year is easy or convenient. And when I look back at every notable moment, those were the ones that materialized after hours or months of frustration. So yes, life is unfair and what I'm beginning to realize is that it is perfectly normal to struggle and that life is HARD. 

3. Success is Not Linear: Success if not linear because we are not given equal opportunities since birth. And everyone grows up in a different environment. More often than not, people do not have their finances or career goals set all the way into their 30s. I always envisioned a straight timeline when I was younger, but now from speaking to people my age and double my age, this is not the case. 

4. Nothing is Bad as Expected: As a hypochondriac and anxiety driven person, I always imagine the worst possible outcome. Like I could envision myself frozen in fear, getting lost, failing, being reprimanded for hours on end. Actually I learned that just going into anything and being in the moment, nothing is ever as bad as the "what if".  I showed up, I tried my best, I'm reaching out, I'm just going for it. Nothing more, nothing less.

5. If You say Nothing, the answer is always NO: If I don't stand up for myself, no matter the issue, the other party will always assume I'm fine with it. If I don't ask, the answer is 100% no. That goes hand in hand with giving my best, because what else is there to do beyond that? And as for rejection, somehow this doesn't impact my self image as much as before. I know what I'm worth, what I stand for, what I have to offer. If I put this is marketing terms, I know my own unique value preposition. No is still not nice to hear, but its easier once you know what you want, and what you stand for.

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  1. I wish I've learned this when I was younger too. I guess experiences come differently.

  2. Love reading your post. Well written and I can relate to it so much. I guess many of us experience what you are experiencing too.Thank you!

  3. I love how you express your life experiences. I read the whole post and its so inspiring. Keep writing!

  4. I love reading your blog somehow I can relate to it. Thanks!

  5. Wow,you've learned a lot. I wish I did too.

  6. This is a beautiful blog that a lot of readers can relate to it.

  7. Not everyday is a happy day we can experience a bad day, but be thankful always, everyday is a new day! Amazing post!

  8. Everyday is a lesson, everyday is a blessings.