Piano, Pageants & Politics

20 Things I Wish I Knew When I Was 20

Another birthday is here. I'm another year older, arguably another year wiser and have endured a another year's worth of accomplishments, mistakes and overpriced coffee.

Your early/mid twenties are a weird time. You have friends who still haven't graduated college with no idea what they want to do, while others have advanced degrees and are already few years deep in their careers. You have friends still living in their parents' basements while others are getting married. Needless to say, a lot changes in a very short period of time. Although I was 20 only a few years ago, at times it feels like a lifetime away. As I reflect on my birthday and everything I've learned in the past year, here are 20 things I wish someone had told me on my 20th birthday.

1) Don't settle for any place, anyone or any job

There is so much out there. There is so much more out there. Don't cut yourself short. It's ok to be selfish at 20 and take a chance or chase after that big opportunity. It’s more than ok—it’s encouraged. If it doesn't work out, all those things will still be there waiting for you...and if not, anything or anyone that can't get behind you pursuing your dreams isn't worth it anyways.

2) Don't be afraid to invest in yourself

Saving money is important. But money spent improving yourself, your career or your happiness in the long run is money well spent.

3) Your parents are often (but not always) right

9 out of 10 times, your parents know what they're talking about. They may be wrong for that final 10%, but don't let that discredit everything else they were right about.

4) Boys will come and go

There are a million cute boys out there. There is only one of you. Don't get too knocked down or change your plans because of what one said.

5) Degrees won't get you what you want

So, you're about to graduate. Great. Now you need to prove yourself. Outside of Boston, people care less about where you went to school and more about what you actually do with it.

6) Stop getting on yourself for "being fat"

Everyone thinks they’re fat. You're 20. You're not fat. Eating healthy is important, but don't torture yourself. And I hate to break it to you, but your metabolism isn't getting any better from here.

7) Social media is bad for you

I won't even get into the psychological effects, but it is a waste of time, it creates an unrealistic vision of what life really is and it deters actual human interaction.

8) Don't let good friends slip away

Throughout your life, circumstantial friends will come and go. Don't forget the few who have stuck by you through it all.

9) Get a credit card

Even if you don't use it a ton, start building credit and you'll have a decent credit score by the time you graduate college.

10) Learn how to do your makeup correctly

It is tedious and time-consuming, but this is a skill you will use for literally your entire life.

11) It will get worse; it will get better

I'm sure you've already encountered what you feel like is the worst day of your life and the best day of your life. Both will be outdone. 10x over.

12) Don't obsess over numbers

Weight. GPA. Savings account. You shouldn't completely ignore these assements, but they should only guide your lifestyle choices, not dictate them.

13) 4 ibuprofen, a vitamin water and plain rye toast

You're welcome.

14) Caffeine habits will spiral out of control if you let them

It will get uncomfortable and expensive if you're not cautious.

15) 21st birthdays are overrated

The intense obsession and regulation of alcohol in this country is weird and perpetuates an unwarranted fascination with turning 21.

16) Buy a quality winter coat

You're going to use it every year. Instead of accumulating a bunch of trendy jackets that only kinda keep you warm, spend the money on a solid winter coat.

17) Pursue things because you truly want to, not because of how impressive they'll be perceived

I'd like to blame this one on social media. Stop trying to live a life that LOOKS fabulous and start leading a lifestyle that makes you FEEL fabulous., regardless of how it comes across to your followers, friends and judgey co-workers.

18) Learn how to make a few go-to meals

No matter how terrible of a cook you’ve convinced yourself you are, learn how to make a basic dinner like any self-respecting adult.

19) Start investing

That compound interest tho.

20) The next few years will go by quicker than you even realize

A cliché, at best.
Thank you to everybody who reached out to wish me a happy birthday! Yes, birthdays are great and all, but the real big day is tomorrow: