22 Things I've Learned In 22 Years

There really isn’t anything cool that happens when you turn 22, so I decided to make a list of important life lessons I’ve learned so far.

22. I will never be done learning

Yes, these are 22 lessons I have learned. They are not the only lessons and there are more that I learn every day. My favorite hobby is learning and so I will never quit learning and I hope you chose a similar route as well.

21. People are only mean when they feel threatened

Enough said. If they’re being mean to you it’s their way of trying to pound you into a lesser person so they will seem bigger and therefore win. Turns out life is not a competition. If you combat their hate with love, it may not diminish their hate, but everyone around you will see them as the horrible person instead of you and their plan will have backfired.

20. You can always do something

I hear a lot of conversation revolving around how people “these days” are apathetic. That is, in my opinion, because the problems we’re presented with seem so large we become overwhelmed and take a nap instead. There is always something you can do, no matter how small, to help. Pick a cause you really believe in and do something to make the problem smaller. If your cause is animal rights then foster animals, volunteer at shelters, stop eating meat, etc. You don’t have to take down the whole establishment to make a difference.

19. Nobody is right

Unless you’re an expert, which I personally do not believe is even possible until at least age 70, you are not right about anything. Not 100% at least. Life is not black and white. A simple statement like “the sky is blue” is not technically right because there are a million different ways to prove that statement wrong. We may make some valid points on subjects, but we are never fully right.

18. Everyone wants to feel important

The one common thread that ties everyone together is that every single person wants to feel important. Knowing this is power and you can do a lot of good with it. Everyone wants to feel special in their own way, so make people feel special and you have just won them over for the rest of their lives. You now also know what motivates people. Do you think people work hard to earn loads of cash because they enjoy stress? No. They do it to feel important.

17. You can be as many different people as you want to be

Try out different personalities throughout your life. I’ve tried flower child, career-focused, goth, stoner, workaholic, and more. All of them together made me who I am. Remember to be genuine with each one. I wasn’t a hippie with black eye liner, I was a cocoon that was undecided. If you like who you are great! If you don’t, change. Find inspiration and try it out.

16. Everything is temporary

Extremely temporary. College feels like it lasted 3 days. Whenever you’re in a stressful situation just remember that it’s temporary and will be gone soon. This really helped my anxiety, too. I think about this a lot, actually. I hope you will too.

15. Be genuine

People flock towards genuine people, trust me I know. And they cling to them. My theory is that people want to be figured out, they want their actions to be justified, and they want to feel like they belong. I remember in high school a friend of mine had this book that explained your complete zodiac through your birthday. It took about 5 minutes of pulling it out for there to be a line of people waiting to hear their birthday’s traits. A person who knows who they are does not need a book to tell them, in fact they would be the person like me who sat and listened to all of the readings. The beauty of being genuine is that it can’t be broken. It is such a strength that I point to for any success I may have.

14. Enjoy alone time

Everyone is different. However, everyone needs some amount of alone time. You need time to get to know yourself, alone. I preach this like it’s my religion. You are never alone. You always are with yourself. Tricky concept, but give it some thought. How much alone time a person needs depends on where you are on the spectrum. I am on the halfway mark. I need equal amounts of alone time as social time. My sister is on the far left, she probably needs 1 day of alone time per 100 days of social interaction. The only way to know where you are on the spectrum is to test it out. I recommend pushing your limits because alone time is where you discover who you are. My senior year of high school was spent almost entirely alone and I’m so grateful for it. I realized what music I liked and what MY opinions were of it. Going to the movies by myself was the best because I was allowed to have my own, independent thoughts about the movie without hearing other opinions. I found out who I was (for the most part). So during the half of the time I’m spending alone, I’m constantly learning about myself. THIS is how you become a genuine person that people gravitate to.

13. Your life is not about you

You don’t walk at graduation for yourself, you do it for your circle (your parents, friends, children, etc). Making a lot of money will mean nothing if you are not using it to make other people’s lives better. If you’re not empowering others you’re weakening yourself. It’s other people’s image of you that’s real, specifically your circle’s image of you. If you die in a car accident it doesn’t matter to you, you’ll be dead, but your circle will never be the same. Walk through life with this mentality. Your purpose is your circle.

If a person lives alone in a forest and never meets another person, are they real?

12. Stop apologizing for your emotions

Especially to yourself. You have a right to feel every single emotion that you do and you need to really take time to focus on them. Our society has us believing that emotions are a sign of weakness. On the contrary, they are your strength. If you know exactly who you are, and you have empathy, and you feel things deeply and recognize that, then you’re already much more evolved than many of the people in our society. Consider it a superpower that you can feel things at all. Do not take it for granted, you would be surprised at how difficult it is for some people to feel.

11. Stop buying stuff

If it does not ignite inspiration or passion within you and it is not essential for your survival, do not buy it. Go to Disneyland or Fiji instead.

10. Don’t settle for mediocrity

This one is huge for young people and especially for women. DO NOT drink bad coffee, read horrible books, watch mainstream news, stay in a boring relationship, settle for bad sex, etc. When others are being mediocre, like when your uncle is being a bigot, call them out on it. Don’t settle for mediocre people. Shake intelligent people who are wasting their potential. Demand excellence in everything and everyone around you and don’t apologize for it.

9. Your soul is not limited

I once had a teacher who told me trust, love, and passion are like a piggy bank and the more of it you give out the less of it you have. This is completely false. Your soul does not have a limit. Fall in love with everything and everyone you can. Be so trustworthy that it’s suffocating. Be passionate about everything you fall in love with and everything you want to change. I could rant about politics, environmental issues, farming, injustice, etc. I am passionate about everything, and it’s what lights the fire in my soul and makes me more appealing. Don’t let passion burn you out, but rather boredom.

8. Be kind

If you don’t have anything nice to say DON’T SAY ANYTHING AT ALL. This brings me to my next point…

7. Shut up

You want to know what you learn while talking? Nothing. This world is so loud, and according to older generations it is especially loud right now. Stop talking and listen for a minute, a day, a week, whatever. Nobody cares about your opinions, what you had for lunch, or what happened in your dream on social media. If you’ve never done a day of silence I highly suggest it. Once you’ve done a day try a week. Once you done a week try two. They’re addicting because they’re life changing and the perspective you get about the world is invaluable.

6. Do not argue

Everyone who knows me is laughing at this heading right now. I do not mean do not have debates and intelligent conversations about your political, religious, and social beliefs and opinions. THAT is crucial to keep the society train moving in a forward direction. What I mean is, if someone thinks they’re right and you think they’re wrong, you need to shut up about it. Do not contradict people, you look like a jackass. Sometimes I’ll do this by accident, for example, someone will quote the wrong person and I’ll say “oh I think that was so-and-so, actually”. As soon as the other person says “no, I’m right”, you say “okay”. It’s not worth an argument. Even when you get to the point of googling it and you are right, you still look like an asshole to everyone else. So shhhh. PLUS... the less you say the less people can hold against you... there's a reason why quiet people are usually more appealing to others.

5. Drama

I learned this actually very young, I never cared for it. If someone brought drama into my life I dropped them from my life. You can decide what level of drama you want to drop people at. For me, it’s when the majority of conversations revolve around negativity and/or gossip. This would look like someone who during dinner spends 84% of the time complaining about their boyfriend or talking bad about a particular person. People are dying, I do not care about your hatred, and I’m better than that kind of negativity.

4. Network

All I need to say about this post is… the more people you know the more successful you will be. Life will be easier if you can call someone who knows how to fix a problem you have. Get contact or social media information from everyone you meet and keep in touch.

3. If people like you, you’re life is much, much easier

People do not go out of their way for people they dislike. I know I don’t. If you want people to go out of their way to help you with something, be their friend. For example, I worked in a sports bar for what feels like forever. I knew that I needed to make sure that my “outs” were completed ASAP because I had a 9am class to get to the next morning and I did not need to waste my night cleaning. Also, I knew that I could only work three days a week and needed to make as much as possible in that time frame. So what did I do? I paid the hosts $5 each for the night to bus my tables for me and I was always overly nice to them (unlike the other servers) so I would get the larger parties that would pay more and be sat first. When the other servers liked me they would do things like take out the trash and refill the ice when I asked (nicely). And the bottom line is, I was always out earlier than everyone else and made more than enough money because I had help.

2. People are not going to treat you like how they want to be treated

No, but really, I mean this. People are going to judge you much harsher than they judge themselves. If you forget to use your blinker, you’re a horrible drunkard who needs their license taken away and a bus pass. If they forget to use their blinker then they think “oops, well everyone knows I’m a good driver I just forgot this time”. And EVERYONE DOES THIS. Something that has made me a happier person is recognizing when I do this and adjusting. Like “No, Tyler, they’re not a horrible driver, you forget to signal too”. Also, it means I need to be on my game, and the best thing I can do is use my blinker every time. (This applies to other scenarios, obviously, but this one is relatable)

1. When life gives you lemons… be grateful

The universe doesn’t owe you anything, let alone fruit that is high in vitamin C, antioxidants, and is anti-inflammatory. Just because you didn’t expect life to give you lemons does not mean you should be rude and not accept the gift. I completely understand this metaphor is used to describe situations that are a lot more serious than just lemons. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that the coldest thing the universe can do to you is ignore you. Accept those lemons with open arms. Learn as much as you can about them. Make lemonade, and lemon bars, lemon meringue pie, and even some savory lemon pepper chicken. And don’t forget to say thank you.