22 Things I Wish 21-year-old Kenneth Knew

I’m 22! That’s… really old. I honestly feel like I’m 12, and the past year has gone by in such a blur. I was reflecting on my life some time back and I realized I have changed so much in the past year and a half, it’s pretty insane. Looking back, there are so many lessons I wish I had learnt earlier and how much differently I’d have done things if I’d known them.

  1. Mental health is so important; please take care of yourself.
    In the last year, I have had too many, too many breakdowns, episodes and attacks. I wish I knew to identify them and to seek help earlier. Maybe if I did, I wouldn’t be in as bad a state as I am now.
  2. You are not alone.
    I feel I have really fallen to the rockiest of bottoms in the last year and so many people have left me. Evidently, I was not in the best mental state to keep up with others. But still, a handful of people reached out and bothered to ask how I was doing when I’ve been silent for a bit. And it’s these people that I really cherish now and every time I feel alone, I will remind myself that I have these people, and it’ll cheer me up a little.
  3. Don’t be afraid to cut people off.
    Everyone fears being alone, but 4 quarters really is better than 100 pennies. Spending less time with people you don’t like as much means you have more time to spend with people you do like, and you’ll enjoy yourself more.
  4. Take a breather.
    Sometimes, you have to stop whatever you’re doing, step back and really take a breather. Things can get overwhelming sometimes and it is so important to remain calm so you can make clear-headed decisions.
  5. Surround yourself with only the best company, not who happens to be around at the time.
    I found that I was friends with a lot of people who happened to be around and it was hard to keep in touch after we lost the common schedule, like school or work. So, I find that now, even at work, I only get close to people who I genuinely trust and like spending time with, and not whoever just happens to be there. And these friendships are the strongest and most gratifying.
  6. Have open and honest conversations.
    Be truthful about what you feel, to yourself and others. And you’ll find the rock on your shoulders a lot lighter. Others may come up with solutions for you instantaneously even if its their first time hearing of your problem. And often, they’ll reassure you and point out how many of your insecurities are invalid. And you’ll feel better.
  7. Make sure to spend emotional connection time with your friends.
    It is important to spend time connecting to you friends and confide in them when you’re down, and support them when they are down. It really feels much better when you have someone to talk to when you are sad so try to reciprocate the effort if you can. Sometimes, you need to make special arrangements to schedule some alone time to talk to them and check in on them emotionally to make sure they’re doing okay, and so they know how you are doing as well.
  8. Running away actually might make things better.
    In the past year, I haven’t been home very much and I feel like that has actually helped because I don’t spend as much time with the people who make me unhappy. While usually, running away from your problems is the opposite of beneficial, I actually feel better when I stay out. Not the right thing to do, probably, but it still turned out to be helpful and kind of mentally healthy.
  9. Don’t take things to heart.
    Don’t be so uptight about the things people tell you. When you hear something from someone, take a moment to reflect and see if that really affects you, or if you really believe it. Sometimes people say things they don’t mean, so don’t take offence to everything, especially comments of people who don’t even matter to you.
  10. Don’t think or read too much into things. 
    So many times you’ve crumbled because you’ve thought too much about something. It’s important to remind yourself that just because someone isn’t replying your text, it doesn’t mean they hate you. Just because someone isn’t free to meet you, doesn’t mean they’re avoiding you. Learn to keep your mind in control and not think too far out of the box and you’ll be so much better.
  11. 22 is a huge number, don’t be overambitious.
    I’m halfway through the list and struggling lol. but its okay I’m sure I can think of more.
  12. Break the cycle.
    The more you’re feeling tired, the more you need to push yourself to break the cycle and do things. If you’ve spent the whole day laying in bed, push yourself to get out of bed and exercise. If you had a panic attack today, make the extra effort to go run. You’ll find that by breaking the cycle, it actually makes you feel so much better.
  13. Force yourself to do the things you enjoy.
    Even now, I have no motivation to do the things I used to enjoy: read, write, cook, bake, watch shows, listen to music. But I force myself to incorporate these activities into my days so that it will cheer me up and I don’t lost ALL life’s purpose, and it reminds you that feeling happy and carefree is possible.
  14. Appreciate the people who have stuck by you.
    Whatever way it is, show them that you’re grateful for them sticking by you through the lows. And acknowledge the effort they put in to try and understand & help you. Nobody really understands what another is feeling, but the fact they are willing to try is really telling of their character and you need to point it out to them because it will serve as encouragement. Similarly, be open with them about what they’re doing well and how they can help you more.
  15. Be more confident in yourself.
    Self explanatory, but in the past year, I have received so much validation, encouragement and support from the people around me, that it makes me realize that I am actually not as bad as I think I am.
  16. Make better choices on the things you spend money on.
    Treat yourself when you’re feeling down, and reward yourself when you’ve picked yourself up, and spend money on things that bring you gratification > satisfaction.
  17. Don’t be so emotionally reliant or dependent on people.
    Learn to stand by yourself. People will be there for you but they can’t be all the time, they have their own things to do. So, learn to be okay on your own; if others are there, its a bonus, but don’t see it as a necessity or obligation.
  18. Don’t panic about things you cannot control.
    Cannot emphasize this enough. Spent too much time panicking about things out of my control and then I can’t even console myself because I can’t even fix the situation. Try not to think about them and look for ways to work around them rather than focusing on how they affect you.
  19. Learn to be more optimistic, and look at the brighter side of things!
    It’s funny how you can look at something one way, and then you tell it to someone else, and they instantly say something that dissipates the dark cloud above your head. And you kind of laugh to yourself and say hey why didn’t I just think of it this way this whole time. Try to be more optimistic about situations and you’ll find your problems a lot smaller.
  20. Be yourself and you’ll be truly respected.
    I used to put a lot of effort portraying myself as someone I thought others wanted me to be. But it was only when I started being myself that I found myself living my life more genuinely and finding true joy in everyday situations.
  21. Sometimes, you need time away from life and that’s fine.
    Isolate yourself for a few hours. drink some tea and listen to music, if it helps. Sometimes you need time to think through the thoughts in your head and some time alone to breathe. And that’s perfectly fine. Realize that, and practice it.
  22. Things will get better..
    It’s hard to convince yourself of this at times but I’ve seen this come true time and time again. Things will get better, just keep your head up and fight on. 🙂


#nowplaying | Follow Your Fire – Kodaline


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