Monday, January 23, 2017

20 things I've learned in my 20 years // IT'S MY 20TH BIRTHDAY WHAT

IT'S MY BIRTHDAY. Ahhh, I really cannot believe I'm now 20 and no longer a teenager :o I started blogging back in 2014 (on YA Midnight Reads) which is pretty wild to me. I'm growing up but honestly I still feel quite young.

I suppose it is that feeling that has inspired me to write this post. I am going to make it my goal; to craft one of these posts every single year as I grow older. In this way I hope to see a concrete representation of  growth and also to see if anything about me has changed. If nobody else reads this I honestly think it'll just be interesting for me to see personally and it's something I'm quite excited about. LOL I suppose it is one regular post I will guarantee on this blog. 

Now onto 20 things I have learned over the course of my 20 years on this lovely planet Earth. Some will be deep, some more silly but irregardless things that I find relevant and important. This list is in no particular order and please do ignore typos. I'm literally spilling my brain directly into this and I'm sure there will be a shit ton of errors and run on sentences. 

1) The importance of learning to be okay with be alone, how to deal with loneliness and the fact you're never truly alone. Loneliness is something I have most certainly experienced and I would say this feeling was really highlighted in the past two years of my life specifically. With highschool friends moving away, attending a University over 30 000 (lol not sure how big this is compared to the rest of the world but it's large to me okay) and not originally knowing anybody there, and some big friendship/boyfriend breakups AHHHH. There have been some times where I have felt completely alone. This is not a nice feeling and because of the frequency of it lately I have had to learn how to deal with it. I have learned to appreciate the time I do spend alone with doing activities that do make me feel happy. Whether it be reading, watching tv or even writing to express how I'm feeling, there is something to usually occupy my mind. Furthermore I have learned that you're not truly ever alone. This is something I've partially learned from this community in fact, that you can reach out to others online who have gone through similar experiences and lean on each other. You can feel this genuine support and new ideas you may have not even considered that will make you feel so much better.

2) Family matters.  I'm 20 and to say I have had my fair share of disagreements with my family would be quite the understatement. We all have very strong personalities after-all that tend to clash. However if I have learned anything in this past year due to unfortunate circumstances is that the bond family shares is something to cherish, is so special and important. We must value the time we spend together as (excuse me I'm going to be really frank) we don't have forever. Nobody is going to have our backs in the end more than our family and despite any tough arguments/disagreements we must remember that there is so much love present. It's also important to realize (and this may be obvious to some) that yes our families are indeed human. They have their own shit going on, they're not just roles in your life but people.

3) Stop being petty and just fucking talk about it. LOL this is something I struggle with. I really do tend to be quite passive aggressive and drop hints when I'm upset. I honestly thing sub-tweeting was invented for people like me. Clearly, this is not a healthy way to deal with my anger/sadness and it will avoid a lot of unnecessary build up of conflict if I avoid being petty. As hurt as I've been I have found it so much easier to directly address the source of the pain I'm feeling. Yes this can be pretty nerve-wracking but it really does save time to cut the bullshit and get to the root of the problem. I've found it removes the unnecessary drama component as well and usually leads to a more successful resolution. 

4)  Stop saying ‘Sorry’ or ‘It’s okay’ when you don’t mean it. #Canadianprobs You don’t realize how frequently you say it until you do and sometimes you don’t realize how much power those words actually can give people. You give power to other people and in some cases it can excuse their behavior and the hurt it has caused you if you just simply say it all the time. If you’re not sorry or you don’t feel okay, don’t say it at all and say something else. If someone is apologizing but you don’t forgive them yet? Don’t say ‘it’s okay’ when it isn’t or else this could end up with you just getting more and bitter in some circumstances. 

5) Try not to let jealousy overpower you. I'm naturally a really jealous person who tends to especially so in cases of friendships and relationships. Ooops. But I'm working on it. Remember you are  awesome and amazing and are not going to get replaced. Jealousy is going to cause you a lot of problems inevitably but don’t give into it. We need to stop comparing ourselves to others and find happiness in our own selves.

6) Your self-worth is not determined by others. Stop caring so much about what others think because their opinions do not matter as much as how you see yourself. If you love and value yourself, that’s enough. If someone talks bad about you, who cares? We need to stop putting so much care in regards to what the media perpetuates as the norm (especially in beauty standards) and accept ourselves. guess what?! The perfect person/woman/life/job/social life/anything does not exist. Dealing with this highly ingrained social and cultural norms in a healthy way is a zillion times easier said then done. Baby steps.

7) Trust your gut instinct. I tend to second guess things which just leads to me overthinking and then going with my original idea. This could really be easily avoided if I just followed my gut in the first place. It's vital to have faith in yourself because you are the one in charge here. Trust yourself and it will make decisions a whole lot more simple. 

8) Acknowledge other people's opinions AND feelings.  This is something that may seem like common sense but sometimes when we get caught up in our own way of thinking it is something that can be overlooked. Acknowledge that different views may exist even if you do not agree with them, they are still valid to the person who holds them. Also you must importantly acknowledge a person's feelings. For example, if they are offended by something and you're not? Fair enough. Don't just toss aside their feelings as being null/void/wrong. That is going to do absolutely nothing and usually ends up derailing any positive and important discussion from occurring.

9) Live a little. Take some risks. Break from routine.  #YOLO hahahaha. As cheesy as it is, I've found this really true. I tend to be somebody who enjoys the comforts in life and usually doesn't stray to far from the norms of day to day life. But what are some of the best memories of my 20 years on this planet? The times I've taken risks. Clearly this should tell you something. The most fun adventures that are to be had will not be occurring during your daily routine most likely. This is why you should really mix things up. However, I must recommend NOT to try the ghost pepper. Yeah... that was a risk gone wrong.

10) Don't be shy. Be active. Alright, by this I am not talking about being active as in physically healthy (lols also important and I need to work on that), I'm talking about being active in terms of sharing your voice. Don't be shy or scared to share your views. Take an activist role by sharing your thoughts/values/beliefs because that is how you learn and grow.  Advocate for what you believe in and you'll undoubtedly find a community with similar thoughts which will allow you to truly have meaningful conversation. If you never speak up then you'll be severely limited and that will impact your growth in the long run. 

11) Educate yourself and know the facts. If you are going to be engaging in some sort of meaningful discussion as previously mentioned or just any sort of conversation about controversial issues it usually helps if you know what is going on. By this however I don't just mean what is going on in your life/your personal connection to the issue at hand. Be worldly and diverse in your thinking. Think about others and how SO many different factors may come into play. I think knowledge is so important and research is crucial to really getting a better understanding of the world, as is listening and truly trying to understanding the experience of others. Never stop trying to get a more cohesive view and keep on learning. Question everything, it's how you learn and grow. 

12)  Learn when to stop caring/ one sided friendships suck balls. Recognize when you care more than the other party, you need to know when to pull back. In the long run you have to stop caring and realize some people will never feel the same way you do- time won’t change that. This is something I really have realized in regards to one sided friendships this year. Despite all of the effort you may pour in there will come a point when you'll realize you're getting nothing in return. This isn't normal nor is it okay. Friendships are a two sided thing and if you're the one constantly trying to make it work while the other person is cruising/only there when it's convenient? So not worth it. Cut the strings and you will feel so much relief. 

13) HOLY DLKASJDALKJDA IT IS EXAM TIME AND I'M GOING TO FAIL WHAT IS EVEN LIFE OMFG I CANNOT BREATHE.  (HOW TO DEAL WITH STRESS) Life can be all sorts of stress at times and it can be so so so so overwhelming. This is why finding stress relieving techniques will save your life. I think I have some sort of a system down?? For me I love baths. I used to be the type of person who could not stand them but now I'm obsessed. I think Lush deserves some of the credit for this, their bubble bars/bath bombs smell so great and are so fun. They make bath time even more relaxing and fun. Other than baths, another thing that helps me is to totally take a day away from studying as counter-productive as that may sound. This requires not only taking a break from studying though, but also from anything that may remind you of it. So your phone buzzing with constant panicked texts and reminders? Bye. Try to completely disconnect from everything. Food, ugh don't underestimate the power of good food.  This is what works for me but I know everybody has different techniques. I'm still perfecting mine. 

14) Life is not some super romantic movie or some typical YA romance novel. Hah. This point is a little cynical but true for me. Growing up I've constantly been immersed and actively consuming romantic material. Which yeah, I'm not crazy- ......of course I realize that books/movies don't = real life. But I suppose some of those tropes are harder for me to shake in terms of my expectations which are admittedly at times unrealistic.  I had some pretty grandiose notions of a relationship that definitely has sprung from these over the top romantic forms of media. Now, I'm not saying do not have standards but it really is important to go into things open minded without any preconceived notions of things will be. Or else yeah, you'll end up pretty fucking disappointed. Yes, you'll fight with your boyfriend/girlfriend and it won't be pretty. Yes, there probably won't be any huge grand gestures. Appreciate the little things :)

15) Be money smart. Hahahaha. Okay! So with student loans and all of that bullshit it’s probably time for some finance planning. Yes, we can still splurge and have fun. But, perhaps buying food all the time isn’t the best (……BUT IT TASTES SO GOOD). Work on budgeting and allotting certain amounts of cash for certain treats. Value your job, it really is so important despite what you may rather be doing. I'm really realizing this now as I recently lost my job /: which leads me to my next point...

16) Don't give up. In regards to my previous point, which deals with me not having a job there has been so many times I've felt completely hopeless. Times are super tough where I live right now, to the point where 94 people are applying to a part time retail job. You have got to keep pushing to see any results though. I applied to so many places and finally have received an interview (which is actually tomorrow haha) so I hope that all my attempts will eventually amount to something.

17) Fake it till you make it. For me I have always loved dressing up in fancy clothing, doing my make-up, fixing my hair and trying new looks. I found it easy to slip into the mask of confidence while doing so and it made me feel good. Then there came a day when I was applying red lipstick when I realized something- I was not faking confidence anymore. I was sincerely confident in myself and getting dolled up was just an extension of that- no longer was it the basis of that feeling. It really did take some time but looking back at my 16 year old self I really think I've grown so much. Do I still have days where I'm not 100% feeling it? Yes totally, I am human. Nevertheless I have made so much progress in terms of self-confidence and that is growing with each passing day. 

18) TRAVEL TRAVEL TRAVEL. I have not traveled a lot recently and it's killing me :( However, the next chance I get you bet I will be getting my ass on a plane. Travel to me is something so rewarding and such a learning experience, and not just in the ways you expect. Yes, you'll undoubtedly learn/develop a new appreciation for different cultures and different ways of life but you'll also build essential life skills. Planning, language, navigation, packing, new foods....the list goes on and on. There are literally no cons, I mean besides the lighter feeling in your bank account. 

19) There is no better medicine than some girl talk. There is nothing that beats crying/ranting phone calls or late night car rides where you just leave everything on the table. I appreciate these so much. You really do feel a weight lifted off your shoulders after these sessions. I also find them to be the true friendship builders. See if you can stand to see me crying with mascara all over my face and then we can maybe be real friends [; 

20) I don't have it all figured out. LOL I'm no where near close to having everything in life figured out. I have so many more mistakes to make and learn from. I have so many more opportunities to learn what I adore and cannot stand. I have time to change my mind and start fresh. I am able to make new friends and learn new perspectives. I may loose people I may have thought would be in my life forever or at least a very long time


  1. Happy birthday, Larissa! Hope you have an amazing day and bright year ahead. And welcome back to blogging! This year is certainly the year of 20th birthdays all around - growing up but feeling young = accurate. But I also feel old, so there's that. Don't forget my greys... I love your 20/20 learnings that you've shared - so many truth bombs here. <3

  2. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, my dear! You are wise beyond your years. I have basically nothing figured out, even though my list should be much longer ;) I feel like I need to take your advice on so many of these, too. Like, things I probably know logically, but can't follow through on? Like the risk taking, and the toxic friend thing, and fine, like, all of them. I know this past year has been so, so hard on you, I really hope that this year treats you much better. You deserve nothing but the best, love. ♥♥♥

  3. Happy belated birthday Larissa! I hope your day was as amazing as you are. ♥ And thank you so much for sharing all of these points - they're things I definitely agree with and want to work on. Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous post!