5 Life-Changing Lessons I’ve Learned At 22

1. Instead of trying to change or fix myself for whatever reason, I build a life that works best for me.

I used to be so terribly insecure that I constantly thought there was something lacking or wrong with me. I was always too much, too little, too big, too small but never enough. Soon I realized it was a shitload of rubbish in my head which was, frankly, basic as fuck to humanity — nothing personally reflective whatsoever.

As I found my value and built my confidence, I was able to take the focus back on myself and shut the nasty inner voice. I changed how I saw myself. I actually believed I was enough. I stopped needing approval or validation from anyone because I had it from myself already. I know who I’m. I’m comfortable with who I’m. This is my life. This is the way I live it.

I accept myself, my flaws, my quirkiness, my bad habits, my anxiety, depression, mood swings, and I’m not going to (unable to) compromise on my basic needs and what’s in my nature. While I’m trying my best to improve myself, I’m aware many of these things are likely to follow me through life and I’m happy to let go of people who can’t accept them. We both deserve better. Fair play. 

2. The two most important things I need to figure out at any stage of life are my priorities and values.

I’ve made bad decisions. I’ve been extremely irrational. I’ve done things that made absolutely no sense. And I realise, for the most part, it was because I had no idea what my priorities and values were. Why are priorities and values so important in decision-making? When I know my priorities, given my time and resources are limited, I know what comes first and what can wait. When I know my values, I know what is right to do.

For example, personally, my first priority is my mental health, which means most of what I do is make sure I’m mentally healthy/stable. If I have a relationship with a dude and said relationship puts me through anxiety and depression, no matter what kind of big love or bright future I have with him, I will end it without second thoughts. It sounds like common sense but it’s actually not at all considering all the people who hold onto toxic relationships, e.g. they get hurt over a period of time but they don’t necessarily get out.

Plus, when I know my priorities and values, It’s easy for me to identify compatible people. Like, fundamentally compatible, not we-both-love-food compatible bullshit. 

3. There are things I don’t and will never understand, or have the answers to, but simply have to accept them the way they are and let go.

There are millions of things I want to know, and I want to know why they happened the way they did, but things aren’t always straightforward and I don’t always get what I want. Especially when it comes to people and relationships, they can’t be controlled or forced. There is only so much I can do. And even if I’m given some answer, I might not believe it and keep holding on my own version of truth anyway. Well, maybe the truth isn’t the truth after all because people can be irrational, unsure of what they want, change their minds within seconds. Nevertheless, it’s all okay.

I think learning to accept and let go (of people, of bad memories, of anything, really) is so important. It shows you have enough maturity, love, and respect for yourself and others that you let things be and move forward with your life. After all, accepting and letting go is the only way you can move forward and make room for greater things to come in. Dwelling on things you don’t understand or never have the answers to is just like digging yourself into a rabbit hole — it’s pointless, time-wasting and self-destructive. It doesn’t solve anything. And frankly, it doesn’t deserve your time and attention. What matters is what’s now, what you have and the people who choose you. These are the things that will add value to your life. 

4. Living in the moment is overrated. Though some things only stay in the moment and it’s okay.

Don’t get me wrong — I’m not against temporary fun or people who have it. One-night stands, casual relationships, you name it. Because yes, it can be fantastic to dive in the moment and forget everything else, to have that one magical night or month that feels like forever and never see the people involved in it again. But I’m into my twenties now, I’m taking ownership of my adulthood so I’m not throwing any day of my life away — I have tomorrow to live too. I want to do things that build towards something substantial and meaningful.

I might still have that kind of fun — who knows, but I wouldn’t choose it if it’s at the expense of other things, especially my mental health. I think it’s overrated because it can never be completely “in the moment” — there’s always some emotional spillover (at least for me personally). It takes the right mentality which is hard to adopt right on the spot. That being said, if it happens, it’s okay. I accept it and I move on with my life. I believe everything is meant the moment it happens. It’s all fun and fair. 

5. I will never have full control of anything and I really don’t need to. 

I hate to say this but “going with the flow” might be the best strategy for well-being in the long-run. I’ve recently read the book “Stumbling on Happiness” by Daniel Gilbert and was especially impressed by one study mentioned there about control. It was conducted on old people at a nursing home. These people were divided into two groups: high control and low control. The high control group could decide the time and duration of the student’s visits whereas the low control group was decided for. At the end of those visits, the residents in the high control group were reported to be healthier and happier. However, when the visits stopped altogether, shockingly, more residents in the high control group died compared to the low control group. As it turned out, having control was good but losing control was worse than never having any control at all. (Cue: Psychology arguments — I know, I know but hey, let’s keep it simple for now)

It makes sense though. I often find myself wanting to have control of everything in my life and feeling so great having it, yet when I lose it — even just some of it, I spiral right down into anxiety and depression. It’s bad, really bad. But it doesn’t have to be. Wanting to have control is a matter of the mind so ultimately it all comes down to adjusting my mindset and approach to life. For sure, I should proactively take chances and opportunities and make things happen but not religiously force their outcomes in my head. I need to embrace the unknown, to learn to live with uncertainty, with unanswered questions, with unreplied texts and missed calls even, and trust that things will work out and people will get back to me eventually (even if they don’t, it’s not the end of the world — shit happens to the best of us). Again, for the millionth time, it’s all okay. I’m strong. I’m resilient. I take what comes.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply