Twenty Things I’ve Learnt in Twenty Years

Last week I celebrated my twentieth birthday, woohoo! So to mark it, I thought I would share twenty things I’ve learnt in the last twenty years. As you can see I was always keen to learn!

1. Sometimes you just have to grin and bear it.

This has been a tough one, but sometimes you just have to take a step back and accept that you can’t control every situation. And sometimes you will get blamed for things that aren’t necessarily your fault, but if they’re just silly little things then it’s best to just grin and bear the situation. Don’t make my mistake and make a scene.

2. Friendships change.

Growing up, I so often thought people would be my ‘best friends forever’, and whilst that is the case for some, many friendships have changed over time. Even close friendships over a number of years can drift apart as life changes and maybe you don’t have the same things in common any more. It’s sad, but it’s part of life.

3. Someone always puts more into a friendship.

I like to think that I’m a loving, caring person, but this often leads to me ending up a lot more invested in friendships. This can be hard, as you feel like the effort you’re putting in isn’t being matched by the other person. I think this comes down to personality types more than anything.

4. Do things for yourself, not to please anyone else.

It should go without saying but it’s important to prioritise your own happiness over the happiness of others.

5. A quality pair of shoes is worth the investment.

Some of the best purchases I have made were when I made the choice of quality over the cheaper price tag. As much as I’m a fan of Kmart shoes that cost $10, they just never last as long and are usually uncomfortable.

6. I’m lucky to live in a place with a reasonably sized airport.

Before moving to Wellington I didn’t realise how convenient it was to live in a place with a large airport, the flights are so much cheaper than the regional towns!

7. Be grateful for your health.

You never know when things may change. My mum’s leukaemia last year was a shock to us all, you never know what’s around the corner. I am very grateful to have lived a mostly *touch wood* healthy life.

8. Appreciate the little things in life.

Sometimes when things aren’t quite going according to plan, it’s important to appreciate the little things like perfectly poached eggs or a sunny day. It can make the whole situation a lot better.

9. High school isn’t the be all and end all.

I was totally guilty of putting far too much stress upon myself during high school. Whilst it may seem like it; high school is not the end of the world. Whilst yes, it is important to do well so you get into university or set yourself up for your desired career, nothing about high school really matters once you leave.

10. Those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.

When times are tough the people who are important are the ones who are going to be there for you. If people can’t understand your situation, then those people shouldn’t take a priority in your life.

11. Music is powerful.

I’ve always loved music but it’s only recently that I’ve realised the profound impact music can and has had on my life and my emotion at any given time.

12. Sometimes you need to have a cry.

I’ve certainly done my fair share of crying in the last twenty years, but sometimes you need to let it all out. Recommended crying position: cuddling your mum.

13. Express your thanks.

It’s so important to let people know how grateful you are for something they have done, even for small things like holding the door open for you.

14. Be kind to retail workers.

As someone who has worked a number of retail/customer service jobs, I can tell you that it really can make our day if you are kind and courteous. On the contrary there is absolutely nothing worse than rude customers.

15. Sometimes good things come out of bad.

My life for the last few years hasn’t exactly been smooth sailing, but some unfortunate situations have led to great things happening; the opportunity to meet awesome people and do new things.

16. Platonic love is important.

I have so many incredible friends in my life that I couldn’t live without whom I love with all my heart. I think too many young people get fixated with the search for romance that they fail to acknowledge the platonic and family love that surrounds them.

17. Online communities can be just as valuable as those in the real world.

Amazing online communities have helped me in a number of ways; feeling supported and not alone, cheering me up as well as teaching me new skills.

18. Meeting people from all around the world is awesome.

Through high school and university I have met people from all around the world. Not only do you get the opportunity to learn about another culture first hand, but you have lots of people to go visit on your future travels!

19. For me, success is helping others succeed. 

It took me a long time to see that what makes me most happy in the world is seeing someone succeed and knowing that I played a part in their success. Here’s hoping I’ll be able to do that for a career but we’ll have to check back in a few years.

20. Being tall is great at concerts.

A light one to finish, it’s so great to be tall when standing at a concert. Sometimes I feel a small amount of guilt then I remember there’s nothing I can do and go back to enjoying myself.


I hope you’ve enjoyed these life lessons I’ve learnt in my two decades on earth, I’d love to hear your biggest life lessons in the comments below.



  • Oh gosh. So many lessons over the year. I think one would be to not get too fixated on what you want to happen, and planning things, without considering what could be other than that

    • So guilty of that. I had such a set plan of my life and pretty much had a quarter life crisis when it all collapsed.

      • Me too, it’s honestly taken me a year to get over the fact that the life plan I made at 18 is NOT happening. I don’t have the man or the career, but life is good still!!

  • Great wisdom! I’ve learned (in my 30+) years that it doesn’t matter where you start, just make a start.

  • Great lessons! I still need to learn some of these … and it’s been twice as many years.