20 things I've learned in 20 years

Jacinta Neal is nearing the end of her teenage years. She reflects on what she’s learned in her 20 odd years of existence.

Now that my teenage years will be behind me in one month, I wanted to reflect on everything I’ve learnt in the past twenty years. It’s been a wild ride and yes we did need another one of these lists on the internet..

1.     No one really knows what they’re doing

Ah, life—I don’t think anybody really knows what they are doing. But it’s all about the ride, isn’t it?

2.     Sometimes you have to say goodbye

No matter how much it hurts. Sometimes things just don’t work out. Whether it’s a friend or a relationship sometimes the best thing is to say goodbye. Doesn’t mean it doesn’t suck.

3.     The simplest moments are the best moments

Whether it’s at Maccas at 3am or just laughing with your friends in the car, these are the moments that are so beautiful and simple but make up the best times.

4.     It’s okay to have really embarrassing moments

You drunk texted your ex and re-followed them on Instagram. Eek. You embarrassed yourself again at a dinner.  These moments may not be the finest but that’s okay because we have all been there…

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5.     Speak now

It’s so important to say what’s on my mind.  Don’t hold back. There nothing worse than somebody not knowing how you feel…like truly feeling deep down. One of my biggest fears is not saying the right thing at a crucial point in time but what if that time passes and I don’t say anything at all? I think it’s better to say what you truly mean even if you get burned because at least you were honest. The words you don’t say are the ones that keep you up at night. Tell that person you’re in love with them, that you miss them, that you need them. At least they know.

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6.     Do something out of your comfort zone every once in a while

Whether it’s skydiving, travelling by yourself or just embracing who you are (even if that makes you feel slightly uncomfortable), it’s so good for you and teaches you the best lessons about yourself!

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7.     It’s okay to be doubtful about yourself (sometimes)

Sometimes we don’t always have it all together and that’s okay. Nobody is perfect. Every once in a while you can doubt yourself and it’s even better when you prove yourself wrong.

8.     A healthy mind and body

I think society portrays a very narrow expectation of women’s bodies and sometimes it can feel like you’re not good enough. Every body is beautiful no matter the shape. I used to stress so much about the way I looked and my body—but it’s totally not worth it!

9.     Reading books more!

Some of the greatest lessons are in the pages of Austen, Bronte, Hardy and Du-Maurier. Although disguised as fiction it’s amazing how the worlds of these books connect to reality so perfectly.

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10.  Holding a grudge doesn’t make you feel any better

It’s better just to move on and forgive and forget. Let go of the negative energy and embrace calmness.

11.  You’re the key to your own happiness

Do things that make you feel good! There’s a million different hobbies and interests to pick up out in the world and do whatever makes you the happiest.

12.  You know when you’re ready  

You know when you’re ready with anything – don’t let anybody convince you otherwise. Its your body, your mind and your gut and you know you. Sometimes it just takes time and everyone moves at their own pace but you know when you’re ready for whatever it is.

13.  Day to day is the best way

No one really knows what going to happen tomorrow or the next day. Why worry? With the climate crisis and the lack of action is easy to feel really overwhelmed but the best way is to live day to day and take things as they come.

14.  Listen to the music that you want to listen too

If its opera or a particular artist—you do you. People are always so picky about other people’s music and I think you should listen to what YOU like.

15.  There’s a positive in everything

No matter the circumstance, I think you can find a positive in anything and everything. It’s really easy to think only negatively about somethings but it’s important to look for the bright side as well.

16.  Exercise exercise exercise!

Time and time again studies have shown that even 30 mins of exercise a day can make a big impact on your mental health and body. Find something that suits you whether its yoga, swimming, Pilates or gym—its one of the best things you can do for yourself!

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17.  Hard work and success go hand-in-hand

It’s really easy to look at someone and think they have it all. The millionaire living a life of luxury but what we didn’t see was the 60hr weeks and countless hours of working hard that got them there. Nothing happens overnight if you want something and you want it badly you’ll get there.

18.  Timing is a funny thing

Time is a funny thing. It can grow people apart but it can also bring them together. Never underestimate the importance of good timing in life. Sometimes things work when the timing is right and other times it doesn’t.

19.  Most of the biggest problems in life are caused by lack of communication

As stated before in number five speaking your mind truly is one of the bravest things you can do. What I’ve found is that some of the biggest fights are caused by people not being truly open in their communication. If you just sit and chat it out I think that it can solve 98% of problems.

20.  Begin Again

I view life as chapters and sometimes we have to close them and start a fresh page. Recently I’ve been re-reading a chapter of my life that was particularly sad. But gradually over time that chapter will fade and a new one will start. That what I’m so excited about for my twenties—the start of so many new chapters but I’ll always remember the old ones.

And that’s the end of my cheesy life lessons here’s to new beginnings, new times, new adventures and most importantly new memories.

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Jacinta Neal is a second year Journalism student. She is an aspiring TV news presenter, who loves reading, coffee and is always counting down the days to her next travel adventure.