20 Things I Learnt at 20

I turned 21 last month! Woo! Adulthood! (Joke). For someone whose 20th birthday was spent in a huge existential panic, I've come a long way. Click through to read some of my advice for anyone else navigating this scary time!

I turned 21 last month, woo!!! I am finally a proper adult! (Joke). I spent the day in Rotterdam with my good pal Becca, and it was a WILD ride. (Another joke, we actually had about 4 cups of tea and took a mid-afternoon nap.)

20 Things I Learnt at 20

So looking back over the year, it’s been a real proverbial roller coaster. When I turned 20 I went into full on, sheer panic, existential meltdown mode. I mean, when you’ve been a teenager for what seems like forever, it’s really hard to be like “Oh my god. I’m 20. Do I have to start getting my shit together?” Spoiler alert: Nope. I don’t think anyone truly has their shit together! (Except Beyonce but she is exempt because she doesn’t exist on this astral plane)

20 Things I learnt at 20

Basically, I’m feeling super good about my age and prospects (even if third year of uni is DRAINING me) even if I do still feel like I’m running around like a headless chicken, and I want to pass on some little nuggets of wisdom to those who might be where I was last year…

…So here is a list of some of the things that I realised in 2015 that helped me grow as a human being.

  1. Always carry a lighter with you (and filters as well). I was at a gig just last night and I lent out my lighter twice and got asked 3 times for filters. Laugh if you will (“hahahaha Liz get your friends lighter out lol” – my friends, 2016) but my trusty ‘making friends’ lighter has done what it says on my metaphorical tin – made me some great drunken pals. (It’s even almost got me laid once which I think is hilarious to tell everyone after approximately 3 beers)
  2. Repeat after me: “Fuck it” Fuck it is more fun. That baby got me into a festival, and probably drunk about 50 more times that I probably should have but oh well. And now looking back I have some really really really good memories and embarrassing photos of my friends.
  3. Stop caring so much what people think of you. I can’t stress this enough! I’m still majorly shite at this, but I’ve got better at it. You, your opinions, wants, needs, emotions, creations are all valid, and if someone decides that they don’t like it, bitch slap them because you are Taylor Swift and no one can tell you what to do without facing the wrath of your squad and 10 grammies.
    “It’s not your job to make people like you if they don’t want to” – Taylor Swift herself (I heard this with my own ears Red Tour February 2014 big up)
  4. Love your body. Wear what the hell you want. Who gives a fuck anyway really? That girl on the street you’re never going to see again? Well isn’t she a bit unfriendly and judgemental for glaring at you for wearing leggings as pants? They’re fucking comfy okay?
  5. Get a planner. GET ORGANISED GIRL. If you’re gonna hustle your way to the top and be a BOSS then you need to stay on top of things.
  6. Learn to bake one thing REALLY WELL. I can make amazing vegan chocolate orgasm brownies just FYI. Sometimes they’re so good I sometimes eat half the batter before I’ve even baked it. It’s great because I can crack them out with minimal effort as treats, thanks, briberies and party favours. Last day of term? Bring in baked goods. Flatmates are being dicks? Baked goods. Want someone to do something for you? Baked goods. Thursday? Baked goods.
  7. No one should have the power to make you feel inferior. Not the boy who tried it on you when you said no, not his friends who make fun of you, not the people who treat you like you’re less then them, not the boy who won’t text you back. Don’t stand for this behaviour, stand up for yourself.
  8. Being an adult isn’t that scary because no one knows what they’re doing. We’re all sort of fumbling around trying to figure out what the hell’s going on. Who knows? NO ONE. I don’t think anyone ever really has EVERYTHING together. (Not even Oprah)
  9. Network in your industry. This is everything these days. Make friends, get jobs.
  10. Try and leave the house more often. I know if I stay in too much I get into a routine and end up being a sad sally and start cancelling all my plans with friends to watch NCIS. So even if you just pop to Sainsbury’s or go for a walk round the park, stay active and keep your brain engaged or you’ll melt into a cesspool of procrastination and laziness.
  11. Red lipsticks suits everyone. My friends jump up and down to say that red lips don’t suit them but sorry you’re all wrong there are 10 gazillion shades of red and you will find yours to make you look like a sophisticated biatch.
  12. Don’t try and be someone other than yourself. Just do what you do. Write what you write. Wear what you wear. Listen to Taylor Swift over and over, take selfies and post your starbucks on instagram. Who gives a fuck? Some old lady moaning about how this generation is so vain? Some creep on the internet complaining about how you’re shallow? Spoiler: You aren’t those things.
  13. Most things can be solved by talking. If someone is gradually texting me less and less or sending me mixed signals, I just ask them out right what’s going on. If someone has upset me, I plan out what I’m going to say (and send it to the group chat for approval amirite) and then say it, clearly explaining everything and making suggestions on how you want it to be dealt with. #adulthood
  14. You’re not devalued because you got dumped. Speaking as someone who gets dumped all the fucking time, all we can do is move on. Just have a little cry, reinstall tinder, go get a little tipsy and spend some time with your mates. (The ones who’ll tell you he’s a dickhead and you can do better).
  15. If you don’t want to have sex with someone, you don’t have to. No matter what they might say, no matter how angry or upset they might get, you don’t have to do it.
  16. Call your friends. On the phone. Make time for each other, have a weekly catch up. Group video chat is really really funny. Watch movies together online.
  17. Fake it till you make it. Confidence. Pretending you know what you’re doing (in work and life). I literally had my first day at my internship today and they just left me to it. I was like ‘oh well fuck better improvise something then’ and ended up doing mountains of work and they were super impressed. (BOSS)
  18. You have the power to JUST GO. Wanna book a flight to Thailand? Do it. What’s REALLY stopping you? Don’t think you can apply for that amazing dream job? Why not? Wanna be a famous singer? Commit, give it your all and you can truly do anything. It takes a while to believe it but it’s true!
  19. If people are treating you like shit, you don’t have to hang out with them. I have a situation where some people I was really good friends with early on in the year have lately started treating me like shit. I don’t know if they realise it, and I have raised it, but they generally just shake it off like I’m being stupid. You don’t have to put up with relationships like this, go somewhere you are valued.
  20. 20 isn’t old. You’ve got a long way to go yet kiddo.
20 Things I Learnt at 20 | Maps of Pangea
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Liz Wilson

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