21 things i’ve learned in 21 years

I originally had something else planned for this week, but I felt compelled to share this first. Partly because of a new video I watched from this YouTuber named Trinity, but also because I’ve been learning a lot of lessons that I wanted to share. Since turning 21, I’ve been met with a lot of changes in my personal life and I guess I just needed a space to talk about them. Hence the birth of this impromptu blog post and eventual podcast episode.

As per usual, make sure to tune in on Wednesday on any streaming platform of your choice or on YouTube. Totally up to you. In the meantime, feel free to check out any of my old episodes. They need some love too.

And if you’re a self-published author who wants a free book review, head over to the tab on my website to sign up.

Let’s get into it, shall we!

#1: Being humble doesn’t mean disrespecting your accomplishments

I’ve spoken about this before in the past, but being humble is one of my greatest strengths and one of my biggest downfalls. I have this notion that in order to truly avoid being arrogant, I have to be humble to the point of downplaying my own success.

I have a difficult time talking about the things I do and I often find myself saying it casually or never mentioning it at all unless someone asks me. Or even worse, I dim my own shine in order to make someone else feel less intimidated.

It’s not right. I work hard for everything in my life and I deserve to be celebrated, even if that means doing it by myself. Being humble doesn’t mean making yourself small.

That’s something I’m trying to work on because how can I expect to get to where I want to go in life if I’m not proud of how far I’ve come.

#2: When someone shows you who they are the first time, believe them. Never fall in love with an idea.

This is a new one that came to me after I was having a conversation with my mother about my last relationship. You guys probably don’t know this because I didn’t really delve too deep into the situation on here or on my YouTube channel, but my apartment flooded in August of last year. It wasn’t too bad, but of course, I needed a place to stay because I couldn’t stay there. I had already stayed with my friend for three days, so I didn’t want to impede by staying again. You’re probably thinking: why not stay with your Mom? I could have but it would have taken me an hour to get there and I had classes and work in the morning, so that option was kind of null and void.

I didn’t have any family around that I could stay with and my other two friends hadn’t moved in, so that left me with two options: stay with my boyfriend or get a hotel. Of course, I go with the first option because it’s a free place to crash and I figured he would be okay with it once he learned the situation.

Nope. I call him and the first thing out of his mouth is that he hadn’t spoken to his roommate yet. He followed it up by asking how long I would have to stay if I did crash.

Okay. Fair. It’s your place, your rules, but I just remember thinking that I would never ask him for shit again because when I needed you the most, you were more worried about how that would impede on your schedule instead of helping someone that you claimed to really like. I just know that I wouldn’t have done that to him so it was hurtful to know that he didn’t give me that same respect back.

Needless to say, I ended up getting a hotel and everything worked out, but that was a pivotal moment where I should have known that he wasn’t the right person. And that pattern of not showing up when it mattered continued throughout the rest of our relationship. It was always centered around him and his happiness. His boundaries. His schedule. More often than not, my wants and needs weren’t considered the way they should’ve been, especially in the places where they mattered the most.

That moment showed me exactly what type of person he was along with every subsequent one, but I ignored it. I fell in love with an idea instead of paying attention to the little things. I fell in love with the need to be loved, even though I deserved better.

So when someone shows you their true character, believe it. Nine times out of then it’s not going to change and it’s going to keep showing up in different ways.

That doesn’t make them a bad person, but don’t let your need to see the good in people all the time blind you from the truth.

#3: Still waters run deep

You can thank my mother for this nugget of wisdom.

She told me this the other day. She said to be careful of people who are abnormally quiet, and who are hard to read. Still waters run just as deep as ones that flow, so be mindful of those people because they can be dangerous. They know how to hide, how to convince you that they’re a certain type of person when in reality, that’s not even who they are.

#4: Live in the present. Accept the moments that come to you and leave them in the past.

Another nugget of wisdom from my mother.

I struggle with living in the present. Maybe that’s the writer in me. Or maybe I just have a hard time letting go and living in the unknown. Either way, being present is something I haven’t truly mastered yet. Sometimes I wonder if I ever will.

But I wanted to put this on this list because I feel like this is a huge step to mastering the art of accepting things as they are and not letting them hold you back. To keep you from holding grudges and perpetuating your trauma onto the next person. To healing.

It’s also a huge step to leaving behind expectations because more often than not, they just lead to being disappointed. People aren’t going to be who you expect them to be. People can’t live up to some imaginary standard that you’re holding them to in your head. People will be people and the sooner you accept that the better.

It doesn’t mean to be bitter. It doesn’t mean to stop loving. It doesn’t mean avoiding disappointment by not living your life, but it means accepting the good and bad moments as they come and letting them stay in the past. It means not expecting more than what’s in front of you from someone.

I’m still learning this one so I’m not coming from a place of ‘oh yeah I figured it out.’ I’m coming from a place of realization, of clarity even, and I want to share this with the hope that someone might figure it out faster than me.

#5: Some people are pints, some people are gallons

I think by now you can tell my mother is a being full of wisdom because this is one of the first lessons I remember her teaching me.

This means that some people are pints, so they might have so much love that they can express. Others are gallons, meaning they have a lot of love to give.

For example, I’m a gallon and I’ve started to realize that my father is a pint. I used to feel some type of way when he didn’t show his love the same way I did because here I am pouring every ounce of me into you and you’re not reciprocating the effort.

It wasn’t until I realized that he was giving all he had that I started to look at our relationship differently. I know he loves me, but just in his own way, and even though I might need more than that, I can recognize that he’s giving me all that he’s capable of giving. Of course, this is still a work in progress even as I write this, but I just take what I get from him in those moments and I let that drive our relationship instead of letting resentment keep us from being communicative with each other. It doesn’t mean I don’t wish that there were things that he could do differently, but I’m more at peace with it.

This doesn’t mean you should accept mistreatment or that you should continue a relationship that doesn’t serve you, but if someone is trying to love you the best way they know how (and it’s positive), just try to have a little extra patience. Things like this take time.

#6: Don’t accept less than what you deserve

Again, I’m still learning this lesson and I’ve been reminded of it over the last couple of weeks because people keep testing my patience.

I’ve accepted less than what I deserved from romantic relationships and friendships. And I feel like this is a common theme in my life because I’m always trying to give people the benefit of the doubt, always trying to help them if I can because that’s just who I am, and each time they give me less and less in return. I’m not someone who does things to receive something back, but I shouldn’t accept less than what I deserve because I wouldn’t do that to you.

I’m not sure if I’m going to share the situations that have been going on, but I will say that I’m disappointed in people taking me for granted and I’m disappointed in myself for letting them. There’s no reason why I go out of my way to make them happy and they can’t do the same for me when it matters. It’s fucked up and I’m tired of it.

I don’t deserve to be treated that way so I don’t want to accept it anymore. It’s a work in progress like everything is, but the more I see people for who they are, the less I want to be around anything that doesn’t serve me.

#7: Find people who align with who you are

I think this is an important lesson because it’s imperative that you find people who align with who you are as a person. Not interests. Not hobbies. But morals and values and how they would treat someone. If they would treat you the same way you would treat them.

So if someone is doing something that doesn’t align with who you are at your core, you have to ask yourself if they’re worth keeping around. There have been many moments in my life where I should’ve thought about that and I didn’t. And then I end up feeling worse off because I think that everyone would treat me how I treat me, but they don’t. And that goes right back to not dealing with shit that you don’t deserve.

#8: Feel your feelings. Emotions don’t make you weak. But that doesn’t mean you should let them control you.

Surprisingly, this conversation about emotions has been a prominent thing recently. I just watched a video from this YouTuber called Lynette Adkins and she spoke about how we don’t always have to name our emotions and that we’re just observing them, but we aren’t them if that makes sense.

And recently, my friends and I have been having this conversation about emotions and how people seem to believe that it’s a bad thing to express yourself. And I think this comes from the fact that it makes them uncomfortable and there’s this common misconception that being emotional makes you weak.

But emotions don’t make you weak. And it’s important to feel your feelings when they come instead of trying to push them away.

However, that doesn’t mean you should let them control you either. Indulge in your feelings, but eventually, you have to let them pass.

I know when I was going through my break-up I cried it out for a couple days, but eventually, I got tired of being sad. Of crying in my car. The world was still moving on, even if I didn’t feel like it. So I picked myself up, I started going outside, and I just started taking it one step at a time. Now I’m okay. Sometimes it still hurts, but I don’t try to make it stop. And I don’t force myself to stay there either.

#9: You have the power to live the life you want

I’ve said this before, but you are the creator of your own reality. You can create whatever life you want when you want it. Sometimes that’s easier said than done, but if there’s something you want to implement into your life, take the time to do it. I’m trying to work on that now because one thing I want to implement more into my life is going out and just having experiences. I’m only going to be 21 once so I might as well enjoy it.

#10: Make memories

This kind of goes hand in hand with #9 because, in order to build the life you want, you have to get out there and make memories. That’s something that I cherish because you can buy me a thousand gifts, but I’m always going to remember the little moments, the way you made me feel. So quality time is a big thing for me and I’m starting to realize that it’s not something I can do without. Especially if you’re important to me.

#11: You aren’t a bother: if people make you feel that way that’s on them, not you

“I don’t want to be a bother.”

I’ve said these words more times than I can count. Anyone who knows me in real life knows that this sentence is a part of my vocabulary.

I don’t know when this seed got planted in my head, but for as long as I can remember, I always felt like I was bothering people when I expressed my needs. So now I swallow what I want in order to make someone else comfortable.

I don’t think I realized it at the time, but after a lot of conversations and soul searching, I think I did that in my last relationship. I tried to act like it wasn’t an issue when we didn’t speak all the time or only hung out once a week. That was what he wanted. He was “busy” so even though I wanted to hang out with him more or at least call him, I didn’t. I adapted to his needs even when mine went unmet and I just convinced myself that was what I wanted. But despite saying I wasn’t a bother, I still felt like one. Like trying to go outside our scheduled time was wrong.

I feel this way with a lot of my friends too, but I feel like it always starts from not having my needs met in the first place so I just assume that they never will be. And that asking for it is a bad thing so I guess it just equals being a bother.

But if someone makes you feel like a bother (and you try to communicate that), then it’s not on you. It’s on them for not listening.

I guess this is something I’m trying to work on because this is so ingrained in my psyche. But I think that writing this down is a good way to start reframing my mindset because my needs do matter. I matter.

#12: Don’t let your fear keep you from experiencing what life has to offer: most of the time it’s your anxiety holding you back

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve let my anxiety and fear hold me back from experiencing the world. Yes, it’s scary, but sometimes it might work out. And sometimes it won’t, but that’s okay. You just have to keep trying anyway.

I struggle with this now, but I will say that lately I’ve been trying to and I’ve met a lot of nice people and I’ve done things that I normally wouldn’t do. So I guess it worked out in my favor. Some of them haven’t worked out (which I explained in my online dating post), but it is what it is. I’m not going to let that hold me back.

#13: Change is the only constant

I actually heard this from this YouTuber named Trinity (who I mentioned in the beginning) and she talked about this in one of her podcast episodes. It made the list because one of my biggest fears is change. Change makes me anxious. It frightens me. I dread change because I never know what to expect next.

But knowing that it’s the only constant, makes me want to embrace it more. Life is all about change and trying to fight it is only going to do more harm than good.

#14: Comparison is the thief of joy

I’ve probably said this a thousand times on my podcast and on here, but it’s so important to remember because we live in a world full of comparisons. The only thing you can focus on is yourself and what you’re doing. Sitting here comparing your success or your life to other people’s is only going to steal your joy away.

I’m not saying I’m perfect at it, but I try to remember it every time I start doing it. So I hope that you can do the same.

#15: Never judge a tree by the fruit it bears, but by the fruit it talks about.

I heard this years ago from my mother, who heard it from this motivational speaker named Les Brown. This quote has always stuck with me because it came to me during a time when I needed it the most.

I’ve talked about this enough, but I think we’ve all been through some type of toxic relationship in our lives. If you haven’t, shout out to you because they aren’t fun. But if you have, I’m sure you remember the constant promises of “oh I’ll change” and “I’m sorry” only to never see anything come of it. It’s just the same bullshit over and over again until someone gets tired of playing the game. I dealt with that. And what’s worse is that he knew he was being emotionally abusive and refused to do anything to fix it.

This can also apply to people who say they want to do a thousand and one things, but never actually follow through. Execution is a foreign concept to them. They’re all talk, but no action.

So when someone constantly does that and never shows any action behind their words, take notes.

#16: Love is a trick word, but that doesn’t mean you should stop loving anyways

I think this was one of the earlier lessons that I remember my mother teaching me.

Love is the purest emotion that humans can express to each other, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t come with its own set of stipulations.

Love is beautiful, but it can hurt. It can break you. It can change you. “I love you” can be a trick word because you never really know what people’s intentions really are. Words are just words. People can say that to you and not mean it. They can say that to you and cheat on you. They can say that to you and still hurt you every night.

I’ve had a lot of “I love you’s” thrown my way and I can’t say that I wholeheartedly believe that they did, because their actions never matched up to what they said. That’s why it’s so important to pay attention to how someone treats you so you’re not led astray into this notion that love can save you. That love is just contained in three words.

Love is much more than that. And I don’t want you to think that I’m just this bitter 21-year-old who’s completely apathetic to finding love. I’m not. I’m just becoming more mindful of who I share my love with and I want to start paying attention to what they do for me when it matters instead of the words they say.

#17: Never change who you are to make someone else feel comfortable

By this I mean, never change your essence to make someone else feel more at ease.

If it’s something that doesn’t align with who you are, express that even if it makes them uncomfortable. Like my mother always says: don’t live in chaos just to give someone else peace. It’s not healthy in the long run.

This lesson is brand new to me because I’m used to changing big parts of myself so I’m more palatable to others. But I think it’s worse when it’s the little parts that are changing, the things you wouldn’t normally notice until you look back. And then you wonder why you compromised so much of yourself to make someone else comfortable. I don’t want to do that again because I’ve done it too many times in the past. So I’m going to try to remember this and if you’re going through the same thing, try to remember it too.

A quote I came across this morning that seemed to fit with what I was talking about.

#18: Boundaries are important: don’t be afraid to set them

Setting boundaries is important to protect your peace.

That can look like saying “no” to things that you don’t want to do, lightly checking someone when they disrespect you or choosing to love people at a distance.

I have set boundaries in the past, but I struggle with reinforcing them because there’s been a couple of times in my life where I would set a firm boundary and people would push past them regardless and I would relent. Maybe to avoid a fight. Maybe because I didn’t want to make them upset. But it always came at a detriment to my own sanity, so don’t be like me.

And if you’re constantly respecting other people’s boundaries, but they can’t respect yours, there’s a problem with that. Pay attention to moments like that too because those probably aren’t the right people in your life.

#19: Always be true to yourself, even if it makes other people feel uncomfortable

I feel like the people who judge you for being yourself are the type of people who never figured out who they are. The type of people who are too afraid to show their truest form. Those types of people don’t know how to nurture those who are unapologetic, so the only thing they know how to do is bring you down to their level.

Anyone who doesn’t like you for being you don’t need to be in your circle. And anyone who tries to change you into their image isn’t the right person for you either.

I remember dating this one guy a long time ago who always said that he wanted people to accept him for who he was. But when it came down to practicing what he preached, he couldn’t do that. He always tried to change me, to tell me what I should be and shouldn’t be. He was infatuated with this idea of me that didn’t exist and it kept him from really getting to know who I really was, even though I came into that relationship with as much authenticity as I could. It made him uncomfortable to see someone who was so at home in their skin because he had never felt that way about himself. Needless to say, it didn’t last long and I learned to stop hiding.

If you have a problem with it, then that’s fine. There are plenty of people out there who love and will love me for who I am. And they won’t try to box me in.

#20: Healing isn’t linear

I can’t remember where I heard this from, but it’s stuck with me for a long time. I know we always have this idea that you go through something, you might be fucked up for a while, and then boom, you’re magically healed until the next thing comes along. But that’s not how it works.

Healing isn’t linear. It might be straight one day and go in a circle the next. You’re going to have days where whatever tragedy you went through doesn’t bother you. And other days it’s going to hurt. It’s going to ache. But don’t think that bad days mean that you haven’t healed, because you have. It’s not something that’s going to go away, but it’s something that you learn to manage, to live with. You learn to make it a companion instead of an enemy. You guys come to an understanding. And I think that when you’ve made enough peace with whatever happened to where the bad days seem far and few in between, that’s the closest you’ll get to healing.

#21: Some people are here for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.

I think everyone has heard this at least once in their life, but it’s true. People come and go all the time. Some people are here to teach you a lesson or maybe you’re supposed to teach them. Maybe they’re there for a specific point in your life and then they’re not. And if you’re lucky, they’ll stay with you your entire life.

I guess I like this quote because it makes me remember that we’re all just individuals living a human experience and we can’t hold onto people or make them stay. As much as we wish we could, that’s not how it works.

It reminds me to keep moving forward, to keep loving anyway.

Final Thoughts

I appreciate everyone taking the time to read and listen and I hope that you guys take something away from this. And I’m sure that when I reach 22, I might not think that these lessons are as important, but right now they are. Right now they matter.

Share a lesson that you’ve learned over the years. I would love to hear them.

Until next time!

-The Writer Chick

Published by thewriterchick

Hey everyone! My name is Kae a.k.a TheWriterChick and I'm a self published author, business owner and YouTuber. I post writing, lifestyle and book content so if that interests you make sure to stick around!

7 thoughts on “21 things i’ve learned in 21 years

  1. My favourites from my parents are;

    Two ears and one mouth. Never let your left hand know what the right hand is doing. Charity begins at home. Beware the greener pasture. Trust your gut.


  2. I’m quiet. That doesn’t mean I’m dangerous. No, what are you talking about? I’m not cooking any plots. Who is telling you such things? Tell me their name, I… Have to talk with them, a deep… Nice… Talk…

    I do think I’m a pint. Mainly because too much interaction exhausts me. Congrats on writing this article. I tried to think of 23 things I’ve learned in my life, since that’s how old I am.

    And yet, I couldn’t remember a single thing. Guess that explains my situation right now.

    Thanks for a wonderful article.


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