11 Things I Know Now I Wish I Knew When I Was 20

Hi, my name is Tara and I’m no longer young.

Yes, I admit it. I’m almost 30 years old. In just a few short months, I’ll no longer be a “twenty-something” gal; instead, I’ll be at the starting line of a brand new decade, hopefully one full of many exciting adventures. And I’m set to embrace that big milestone with open arms and without an ounce of sadness … albeit with a bee venom-infused wrinkle-reducing face mask on. Ok, maybe I’m placing a bit of a positive spin on my feelings about this impending birthday. But hey, I can do what I want. I’m a grown adult. Yes, that’s right – I’ve already pulled that card. Seeing as I can no longer get away with the “I’m a carefree and silly youth” line I may as well use the “I’m a grown adult and can do what I want” one.

I am 20 years old with nine-and-a-half years of experience.

Many of you reading this are still in the “carefree and silly youth” category. It’s a good place to be, so make the most of it and enjoy. It’s a wild ride,  and one in which you will learn a lot. And I feel it is my duty, as someone older and wiser, to share some of the things I learnt during my 20s with you. Ok, considering I  still sometimes walk into closed glass doors, I may not be wiser. So, from someone who is simply o … ol … older (sigh) than you, here’s comes some advice to take note of. Or not. #whatevs #lol #fomo or whatever it is you want to hashtag.

11 Things I Know Now I Wish I Knew When I Was 20

1. Regret can be a heavy burden to carry in life. Minimise your load by taking control of situations you are able to now and making choices that deep down you know are the right ones.

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2. Eat well and begin a fitness routine. Keep at it until it is second nature. I know it may not be very appealing right now. But trust me, you’ll be thankful for it later when your body’s metabolism starts to slow down and your high energy levels go on strike.

3. Staying until the end of the night does not necessarily mean you are going to have more fun. You should:
i) Arrive, dance, laugh and be merry
ii) Leave at the peak of the night, before the coach turns into a pumpkin and stuff gets messy
iii) Wake up the next morning sans stray kebab sauce on your pillow

4. The only rule to wearing clothes is confidence. If you feel great and wear it with confidence, you can pull off any outfit.

5. Get hands-on experience relating to your degree during your time at university. Take the time to internship, build up your experience and résumé. Whether the field work is an ongoing arrangement or just a short stint, it really is worthwhile and will hold you in good stead in the working world.

6. Great friendships are extremely hard to find. Invest time in them and make the effort to stay in contact always (and that means more than an occasional comment on a Facebook post!). As much as you may not realise it now, time seems to move much more quickly as you get older. If you’re not careful, you’ll blink and three years will have gone by. What do you want the memories from those three years to be?

7. Surround yourself with diversity and always be open to making new friends with people from all walks of life. Who cares if someone doesn’t know a certain band, or hasn’t been to a trendy hotspot, or only wears green stripes with blue polka dots and yellow top hats? The most important thing that matters is this: do they make you feel good, do they challenge you and do they bring the best out in you? If yes, they’re a person worth hanging out with.

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8. Travel, travel, travel! There’s no greater place to learn and grow as a person than on the road. So, get out there and expand your horizons and step out of your comfort zone. You will not regret it.

9. For many, this is a time when you are at your most free and most energetic.  So, don’t get caught in a rut of monotony and routine. You have the rest of your life for that! Go places. Try new things. If you have an idea, follow it and see where it takes you. Dream big and pursue your passions. Nothing is ever going to happen sitting on your bum doing bugger all.

10. Never be embarrassed to do things that bring you joy. It’s normal to want to be liked and accepted by others, but if this causes you to stop doing what makes you happy it’s not worth it. As long as it’s safe and doesn’t hurt anyone, do it.

11. Declutter every year. Ten years of crap equates to a lot. Trust me.

Must-reads for twentysomethings:
F*ck, I’m in My Twenties – Emma Koenig
 The Defining Decade – Meg Jay, PHD



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