20 Things I’ve Learned in my 20s So Far

20 Things I’ve Learned in my 20s So Far

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Please take what I say with a grain of salt. I do not claim to be a spiritual guru, these are just 20 things I’ve learned in my 20s so far.


1. Stop caring about what anyone else thinks and do what you love.

I talk about this a lot on my blog and that’s because I cannot tell you how much I believe in following your passion. I graduated college with a computer science bachelors degree and let me tell you, those were the most miserable 5 years of my life. I did not know anything about programming whatsoever (I figured they’d teach me). I did it for the sake of my future (“computers are the future”), for the money, and to make my parents proud (what every child aspires to do). It all seems impressive on paper, but in reality I did not love it. I started to doubt and compare my work to those who showed their love for programming through their exceptional work.

Long story short, if you’re not happy doing what you love, then you might just end up becoming one of those rude people who feel the need to give attitude for asking where the coconut oils are stocked — we’ve all encountered “those” people. If you’re not happy with what you’re doing, it shows through your work.

“Think big and don’t listen to people who tell you it can’t be done. Life’s too short to think small.” — Timothy Ferriss


2. The world is not as scary as you think, get out there and explore it.

Growing up, my parents were quite protective with me. Don’t get me wrong, they weren’t strict or anything, just very careful with the things I was getting myself into — just typical parenting. But it wasn’t just my parents. My teachers, friends’ parents, neighbors, news, etc. that always warned me about the bad things out there. There is a fine line between being completely trusting and using your common sense. But with those things considered, the world isn’t as bad as we think. Go see for yourself.


3. Everyone makes mistakes, own up to yours.

Stop making excuses or blaming others for your mistakes. JUST STOP IT. It’s okay to make mistakes, everyone makes them. Just own up to it and move on. No need to explain or try to justify it. Know what you did, accept it, apologize if you need to, and take it as a lesson for next time.


4. Just let it go already.

Life is rough. It’s not meant to be fair. It’s okay to feel sad/angry/hopeless or whatever it is you need to feel to let those emotions out, but at some point you need to just need to accept and let go. What’s done is done, life moves on.


5. Imperfection is what makes you, you. It’s beauty.

When we can’t accept ourselves for who we are, we become defensive, shameful, hateful, and just overall unhappy. When you’ve realized you’re different, embrace it and use it to stand out from the crowd.

“Be yourself, everyone else is already taken.” — Oscar Wilde

6. Love yourself, period.

When you’ve got no one else in the world, who else will love you? Loving ourselves is the the root of our being. When you have kids and don’t love yourself first, how can you love them unconditionally? If the love for yourself isn’t there, how can you expect to give love or better yet, receive love?


7. “Look good, feel good” is bullshit…most of the time.

Confidence comes from within guys. If you cannot learn to accept yourself, flaws and all, chances are you are not confident. I know so many people who rigorously work out and get in top shape just to look like photoshopped models in magazines, yet still have so many insecurities. I’m not saying to not work out, god I love working out, but I also know having the best body in the world will not make me confident with myself. If you wanna feel good about yourself, start from within.


8. Travel isn’t for the rich.

We are living in the era of Couch Surfing, Airbnb, working holiday visas, Uber, Lyft, house sitting, etc. There are resources out there that will help you travel for almost free. I am not rich at all. I don’t even have a real job, but I love traveling so much, I make it happen. Google is your friend.

Read my post about 10 ways to get cheap airline tickets.


9. Growth is painful, suck it up.

I hate sweeping things under the rug and suppressing anything that I wish didn’t happen. And when the thought randomly pops in your head, you make that constipated “ugh get outta my head” face. It’s a pretty funny thing, I know you’ve felt it before, everyone has. If you want to grow as a person and learn for next time, just let yourself feel that embarrassment and pain. Chances are, the next time it happens, you won’t even think twice about it.


10. Look in the mirror.

This is the ultimate lesson I’ve learned in my 20’s. Whenever you’re in bad terms with anyone, take a look in the mirror and try to see what you could’ve said/done to make that person feel that way. Were you being passive aggressive? Did you give a backhanded compliment? Were you being insensitive to their situation? Most arguments are just misunderstandings. Sometimes we forget to look at ourselves and automatically blame others when we might’ve been at fault.


11. Relationships are like retirement plans.

You can’t just expect to wake up one day with a ton of money. Sadly, it works that way for friends too. You’ve got to nurture and grow your friendships over time. The better you invest, the better the relationship, and the happier you’ll be.


12. No one really knows what the hell they’re doing. You’re not alone.

Yes, even adults don’t know what they’re doing sometimes. It’s okay to feel lost.


13. Never stop learning, ever.

If you want to be the best barista, you’ve got to keep yourself updated with all the new tools/methods/techniques/etc. even if you think you’re already amazing. The truth is, you will never know everything there is to know about your craft or life in general. Life is about moving forward; don’t get left behind by staying in the past.


14. There’s good in everything.

Stop focusing on the negatives. There’s always a positive, look for it.


15. Stop victimizing yourself.

We’ve all done it: “Wow she bumped into me”, “He totally hates me”, “They don’t talk to me at all”, “She did that on purpose”. Hate to break it to you, but the world does not revolve around you. Chances are it was probably an accident, a misunderstanding, or you resisting to socialize with others, etc. If you’ve done nothing wrong and believe you haven’t been a total b*tch, then that’s their problem. Don’t waste time trying to victimize yourself just for attention.


16. You have to start somewhere.

That book you’ve been wanting to write, that app you’ve been wanting to release, that online shop you’ve been wanting to open, the photo blog you’ve been wanting to start, whatever it is you’ve been wanting to do — just start, anywhere! It doesn’t need to be flawless, nor do you need to be exceptionally skilled at it at this moment. If you wait until everything is “perfect” you might be disappointed when you realize it’s never going to be. Instead, start in this moment and enjoy the progression.

“The expert in anything was once a beginner.” — Helen Hayes


17. Happiness is a choice.

Don’t fool yourself by thinking once you have attained certain things, accomplished your goals, or when your situation is different in general will you then be happy. Happiness is a choice you can integrate into your life right now.


18. Stop trying to act cool, everyone can see right through that.

In high school everyone had their “cliques”, needed to feel like they fit in, or felt like they were better than everyone else. The truth is, when you’re constantly trying to impress others, people can see that you are just trying to make yourself feel better about yourself. If you’re “too cool” to shop at a store or don’t hang out in a particular location, give it a break. You’re no better than anyone else and chances are, if you feel like you have that entitlement, then you are afraid of being you. You are afraid of what people might think of you.


19. FAIL.

How will you learn to get back up when you’ve never fallen? Failure is totally acceptable as long as you take it as a lesson.


20. Laugh

Don’t take life too seriously.



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  • June
    Posted at 19:31h, 02 March Reply

    “I figured they’d teach me.” SAME. I had a Java programming class last year and we were expected to learn Java by the first week. In lectures, we do theory. In labs, we do exercises but we were never taught Java syntax. We were just expected to know them. I got anxiety from this.

    Anyway, I love the positivity I’m getting from your blog!

  • Kerstin
    Posted at 14:40h, 03 September Reply

    ABSOLUTELY LOVE THIS! You’re so positive about everything – thumbs up! You know what, when I was younger I had a clear vision of my 20s in mind – and now that I am going to 22 I realize that I do not have my life together at all. One day I think I’m doing fine and then boom I realize I’m studying the completely wrong thing….. however, when I talk to my friends I realize that they feel the same! No one has their life together when they’re in their 20s and that’s not necessarily a bad thing 🙂

    Love, Kerstin

    • Carmelisse
      Posted at 14:52h, 03 September Reply

      Aww thanks Kerstin! I think the fact that people conform to society’s idea of “success” make them more confused about what they really want to do. Things we love like photography, art, music, etc. aren’t going to make you a lot of money…at least not at first. We just gotta follow our passions regardless of what people think, keep going at it, and the money will come later! Thanks for reading Kerstin! ❤️

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