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8 Things You Learned As A Teen That You Should Remember As A 20-Something

Life pushed me out of my childhood years ago. I fell rapidly into my early 20s, and then more quickly than I could imagine, I found myself in my mid-20s.

While my childhood and teenage years were tremendously eventful, things around me, including myself, were shifting. A lot of changes took place — mentally, physically and emotionally.

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As a result of these changes, I not only learned many lessons, but I also learned a lot about myself, others and the exceptional world around me.

I’ve gained a good amount of wisdom with time — most certainly more than I had in my younger years. And so I’ve compiled a list of all the important things I’ve learned throughout the duration of my quarter-century life that I hope to hang on to forever.

1. Be honest.

I can’t stress enough how important honesty is… not only with others, but with yourself as well. It’s the glue that binds successful relationships. Sure, honesty isn’t always easy or painless; however, without it, there’s no solid foundation for a flourishing relationship.

The best relationships are honest. If you’re in an unhappy relationship, be honest with yourself about it. The truth ALWAYS comes out.


2. You are not the sun.

There’s something you need to come to terms with: You are not the sun; the world does not revolve around you. The sooner you realize this, the better off you’ll be.

You’re only making your life harder if you believe you are. Adjust your ego and realize that the older you get, the less and less the world revolves around you.

As a child, you get catered to by your parents and loved ones. As you grow older, your responsibility drastically increases and being waited on drastically decreases (at least, it should).


3. Social media and magazines are deceiving.

Models and celebrities in magazines and on social media are false advertising. We live in the age of extreme digital editing.

Beauty, as a construct, has become so manipulated that people question themselves and their self-esteems because they can’t look like what they see on TV and in movies.

If we had an around-the-clock makeup artist, a personal trainer and a personal chef, there would be no doubt in my mind that we could reproduce this image. However, this isn’t reality for the vast majority of us.

Our perceptions have been drastically skewed. Why would I buy that mascara you’re selling on TV when I know the model is wearing FAKE eyelashes?

Unfortunately, people are still willing to buy these products because companies either use popular celebrities and models and/or falsely enhance their products.

You can’t look like those models because those models don’t even look like that in real life. So stop trying.

You can’t look like those models because those models don’t even look like that in real life.


4. The internet is your best friend and worst enemy.

On one end of the spectrum, the internet is a marvelous tool that helps connect people across the globe; it provides access to information on just about any topic in a matter of seconds.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, the internet — and social media in particular — can be a cruel, malicious place. Teens, who should be in their prime, become depressed over what they see on the internet, even if it doesn’t accurately reflect reality.

The internet is destroying us; however, it has the magical ability to provide us with wonderful things and make us miserable all at the same time. It’s addictive, and it’s sad.

It can make us feel good, enlightened, excited, raged, angry, depressed and sad… depending on the day. Take a step back from it! We’re wasting our lives scrolling for miles on our phones daily. Spend your time discovering the world, life and love.


5. Mom is always right.

Over the course of my life, my mom has managed to give me an earful of her opinions on how I should be managing my life.

It wasn’t until my 20s that I was able to recognize she had my best interests at heart; however, as a bratty teenager, I would have preferred to watch paint dry than to listen to her “motherly advice.”

As much as I originally loathed to admit it, she has been nothing but… right the vast majority of the time. Let me be the first to tell you to drop the attitude. Your mother is probably going to be right from the start.


6. Not all childhood friendships last.

Don’t be alarmed by this! Unfortunately, not all of your childhood friends will make it into your adult life. Instead of moping, you should recognize that they comprised an important chapter in your life, but you’ve grown up, moved on and have learned a lot from it.

Your life should look completely different than what you thought it would when you were a teen. And it’s a good thing.

People grow apart — that’s just how the world operates. Being happy with your life, and what you have, is all that matters.

Negative “friends” are a waste of time. You can’t hold on to people just because you have a history with them; it’s toxic.

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: If you’re not losing friends, you’re NOT growing up. “I’m sorry” gets real old, real quick. Childish antics also get real old, real quick.

If you’re not losing friends, you are NOT growing up.

Be content with the handful of great friends you do have.

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7. Dream big, but be patient.

Hard work pays off.

Today, it’s more difficult than ever to find full-time employment. When you apply for a job, you’re going head to head with ~50 qualified individuals all fighting with everything they’ve got for that position.

It only takes one amazing characteristic or qualification on your end to put you in the lead, however.

College graduates feel a tremendous amount of pressure to find jobs immediately and move forward with their lives after they collect their diplomas.

As soon as I graduated from university, I went to post-grad. Immediately after I graduated from post-grad, I got a full-time job. What’s the rush though? You will get there eventually.

Your dedication and hard work will pay off, just don’t panic when the results are not immediate.


8. Always ask for help.

Never be afraid to ask for help from others.

As a perfectionist and somewhat of a control freak, I can absolutely admit asking others for help used to be one of my least favorite things to do.

As I got older, I started dealing with things I could no longer handle myself. As a result of this, I had no choice but to reach out to others.

It takes a powerful human being to ask for help from others as societal norms dictate that people who ask for help should be characterized as weak.

This is far from the truth.

You can’t go through life alone. Your friends and family should be more than willing to lend an ear, a hand, a squeeze and even some guidance. Just extend the olive branch!


Your teenage years were probably some of the best years of your life. Truthfully, you needed those years to make mistakes so that you could understand who you are, what you need and where you’re going.

Take every lesson you’ve ever learned as a teenager, and grow from it.

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Ally Bongard

Contributor

Ally was able to recognize her passion for writing in university, and was a "Lifestyle" writer for Wilfrid Laurier University's newspaper, The Cord. Her writing bares all things to do with relationships, feelings, entertainment and life. As a ...
Ally was able to recognize her passion for writing in university, and was a "Lifestyle" writer for Wilfrid Laurier University's newspaper, The Cord. Her writing bares all things to do with relationships, feelings, entertainment and life. As a ...

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