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Enioluwa Adeoluwa: 10 things I have Learned Being 20

One thing you discover upon graduation is that no one really has life figured out – people are just doing the best they can, but still harbour doubts – even when they’re doing well.

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No one will love you more than you will love yourself, so love yourself completely because you’re the best advocate you have. Life is short, spend it loving who you are.

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I am 20, and you may think it is too early to write this but I have learned some basic things in life. One important thing to note is that there is no guidebook to life. Life lessons are gained through time and experience, and many of your beliefs and perceptions would gradually change from when you were younger.

Often, the picture of the life we imagine for ourselves and the life we end up living is quite different and in most cases, that’s just fine.

Does my life look exactly like I pictured it would be? Actually, in some ways, yes. I have learned that much of what I expected from life would either never come, or would come in different ways than I thought.

You’re Going To Feel Lost

One thing you discover upon graduation is that no one really has life figured out – people are just doing the best they can, but still harbour doubts – even when they’re doing well. After the glow of graduation, adulthood will be a rough transition – harder than you imagine it will be. You feel so energized after graduation and you’re excited and ready to hit the ground running, only to be halted by a variety of roadblocks. Try to find healthy ways to manage it. You would get confused about a lot of things, fall and stand again – and then fall over and over again. However, note that it is all part of the process.

You will lose touch with friends

Friendships have always been important to me and I was fortunate enough to have met a great group of people in secondary school, university, and in my early months of work. You would lose contact with some people you once saw all the time. Sometimes, you might not even have a fight; it just happens.

Hard work is not always rewarded

Sometimes, you will try your best to no avail but have your hard work overlooked, taken for granted, or – in the worst-case scenario – taken away from you while someone else claims the credit. In many cases, the reward for your hardest work is merely that level of commitment and effort establishing a new baseline.

There is never enough free time

Prioritize things in your life carefully because you will not have time for everything. If you have a hobby you want to constantly practice, set aside time for that. If you love to travel, plan your trips well in advance. Each new phase of life means less free time. And time is the one thing you can never get back, so use it well.

Start Taking Good Care Of Yourself Now

The earlier you start managing your diet and start an exercise regimen, the sooner you build the foundation for a healthy mind and body. Not only does exercise make our outlook on life more positive, but it also makes us more likely to engage in positive things — thereby having a better social life and achieving more. It helps prevent depression and manage anxiety.

Dreams Require Sacrifice

You will consistently have to make short term sacrifices to achieve your long-term goal. It will be lonely, but only the people willing to go the extra mile achieve their goals and realize their dreams. Nothing in life is handed to you, and if you have big dreams, those big dreams will demand big sacrifices – putting in the time and the work other people are simply unwilling to put.

Stop Caring What People Think

For whatever reason, people will root for you to fail. It’s not because of anything you said or did. As a matter of fact, it has nothing to do with you at all. It’s not your problem, it’s theirs. Their reaction to you is likely not something you said or did, it’s their own issue. So don’t take their negativity to heart, just keep working. Those people are not worth agonizing over – you’ll waste time that you’ll never get back. Every successful person has been told they can’t achieve their goal. So don’t listen – just keep working.

Embrace Failure

Everyone fails. Failing is what success is built on, so embrace it and do not fear it. Failure means you’re doing things – the more you take risks and make hard decisions, the closer you are to success. Immature people do not take responsibility for their actions. Professionals take responsibility for their mistakes, so don’t make excuses and move on.

Don’t Give Up

The one thing all successful people have in common is they never, ever give up. You never know how close you are to the next opportunity or the next breakthrough – so keep grinding. The most wildly successful people are not geniuses or prodigies, they’re just regular people who work incredibly hard and refuse to give up on what they want – even when every odd was against them and to keep going was unbearably difficult for them. So don’t give up. Rejection hurts at the moment, but it also means that the right opportunity or person is still out there.

Don’t Compare Yourself To Others

Athletes who swim and run are instructed by coaches not to look to the side to see the competition because it slows them down. The same is true in life. Someone else’s success does not determine your failure, and someone else’s stagnation does not determine your success. You should be the only person you’re competing with. If you are working as hard as you can every day and improving every day, that is all that matters.

No one will love you more than you will love yourself, so love yourself completely because you’re the best advocate you have. Life is short, spend it loving who you are.

No matter what you do, you will disappoint people in your life, and often those you love the most. You can’t be all things to all people. You can’t even be all things to yourself.

I have learned cruel and crucial lessons and I am super excited to learn more. I hope you will learn these lessons well before I did and I hope you can avoid some of the pain and failure that I experienced from my mistakes.

Enioluwa is a Growth Analyst at Bamboo, and Curator of #Dear20Something, he graduated with Summa cum laude in Media and Theatre Arts. He works to inspire young adults to achieve whatever they set their mind to do, as well as breaking the rules that may have bound them.

2 Comments

  1. Seanam Bamigboye

    February 21, 2020 at 5:50 pm

    Great piece. Quite insightful.

  2. Chioma

    March 27, 2020 at 6:22 am

    Beautiful piece

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