5 Lessons This Decade Has Taught Me

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Here’s to 2020

At the start of 2010, I was 12 and, as we are approaching 2020, I am now 22 (that is how maths works, yes). This decade has spun an incredibly formative period of my life; with some insane highs and heartbreaking lows – the entirety of my turbulent teenage years and the beginning of my 20s. But I’ve made it out alive and I feel hopeful about the next 10 years. I guess this list is something I would have told my 12 year-old-self, if I could.

  1. Always remember the kindness of strangers
    As your life gets better, don’t forget where you came from and who helped you get to where you are. I feel like I owe a lot of who I am and what I have achieved to the kindness of strangers; whether it was letting me crash on their sofa during a particularly rough period of my life or giving me a job because they saw potential and gave me a chance, it’s all down to someone reaching down and helping me up. I hope to one day do the same for someone else. I truly believe that the kindness of strangers is what keeps the world going around.

  2. Sometimes love isn’t enough
    I was lucky enough to experience being in love over the past decade. I also learnt that love isn’t enough on its own, despite what fairytales lead us to believe. Love’s true kiss won’t turn a beast into a prince, nor will it wake someone up from a coma. For a relationship to work out, there needs to be commitment from both sides and a lot of hard work. Also sometimes the people we love just aren’t the people we’re meant to be with, despite how much we might love them, and that’s okay. Heartbreak is character forming.

  3. Let karma do its thing and don’t hold grudges
    When you’re young, it’s hard not to be confronted with the unfairness of the world. Why do some awful people seemingly get away with being so awful and still have good lives? Similarly, why do some good people have it so bad? As I got older I realised that everything balances out in the end, you just have to trust the universe to do its thing. Holding grudges is a waste of time and energy. Leave it alone and trust that everyone gets what they deserve in the end, otherwise you can waste your entire life being bitter.

  4. Push your luck
    Especially in my 20s I have developed a really bad impostor syndrome; I constantly feel like I’ve pretended my way into adulthood and that I’ve somehow managed to con everyone into believing that I know what I’m doing. The only way to overcome this has been to push my luck. Apply for jobs you don’t feel qualified for, ask for a pay rise even though you’ve been in the company for under a year, ask someone out of your league out on a date. The worst you’ll get is a “no”, but think of what can happen if it’s a “yes”. And it’ll be a “yes” more often that you’d expect; stop underestimating yourself.

  5. The sun will rise tomorrow and you can try again
    This is a wisdom my grandmother taught me when I was younger; no matter how terrible everything might seem at the end of a particularly rough day, it will always feel more manageable in the morning. The old trope about how the world will keep spinning no matter what is very true. A solid 8 hours’ sleep puts things into perspective and if today was shit, then you can always try again tomorrow. (This can be extended to: if you think everyone hates you, you probably need to sleep and if you think you hate everyone, you probably need to eat).

There you go; some profound life lessons from a 20-something. I wonder what I’ll think of this list in 2030 when I’m in my 30’s. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

As you look back on the past decade, do so with compassion. As you look ahead, do so with courage. Here’s to 2020.

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