Happy July bibliophiles! I’ve been exceptionally busy during the past few weeks (which is obviously my favourite excuse) and my blog was shut down for a while due to some technical issues. However I am finally back and ready for action. I’m settled into my wonderful new home, loving my job and kicking into the second semester in full force this week. On top of this I am super excited to get back into reading, blogging and chatting with all of you over on my Bookstagram.

Now to the point of this post. Back in May I celebrated my twenty first birthday and came to the realisation that I am actually incredibly lucky and blessed. I have some truly wonderful people in my life and have already had countless opportunities to learn and grow into the person I would one day like to be. Though it’s a little late, I wanted to do a little something to close off that chapter of my life since I am now a supposed “official” adult.

I thought I’d try to do one of those “Twenty things I learned at Twenty” posts, but honestly that would be an inconveniently long list and patience is not one of the traits I have mastered at this point in my life.

Instead, here are thirteen things I learned when I was twenty.

  1. Saving money is harder than it looks

Especially when you like things. As we all do. I am not an overly materialistic person but if you’re honest with yourself, we all like buying things and having things and in my case – eating things. My boyfriend and I have come to accept the fact that we will probably never be rich because we like to eat far too much.

  1. You don’t need to chase people just because they’ve been in your life for a long time

Sometimes we need to accept the fact that some people come into our lives for just a season and that that’s okay. We don’t need to cling onto individuals who are no longer adding anything to our lives just because we have a history with them. Allow yourself (and them) to move forward.

  1. You have to make time for your passions

Or you will die of a lack of fun and creativity and happiness. I am not joking.

  1. Compete with nobody but yourself – and compete hard

People always say that you shouldn’t compare yourself to anyone but yourself and this is something that I have learned (to be perfectly honest I am still learning this) the hard way. It’s important to realise that everybody’s lives are different. The situations, talents, personalities etc. etc. and so forth of any individual are all variables that contribute to a their successes and failures, and trying to be better than someone who’s life is on an entirely different spectrum from your own is point-blank useless. Be better than you were last year, better than you were last semester or last week. Work harder than you did when you knew you could have done better. Try harder than you did when you gave up way too quickly. Push yourself to be better than you were, not to be better than Samantha who has had life handed to her on a silver platter.

  1. You’re seriously not adulting until you’re living on your own

GOODNESS. Working a full-time job and saving money and studying and driving your own car and making your own decisions and all that are all very daunting and grown-upish and all, but trying to do all of this whilst also running a household? Laundry? RENT? I want a medal for this.

  1. Changing your lifestyle can literally change you as a person

By this I am referring to the fact that between the ages of nineteen and twenty I went from being a person who was allergic to physical activity and quite literally lived off of two-minute noodles and butter on white toast, to someone who actually loves the gym and cares about what I put in my body. But the physical change did so much more for me than help me drop a kg or two. This is all very dramatic, but along with this change I learned to love myself and I found ambition and an actual passion for life. I stopped existing to lie in bed watching series and made sure I always had a reason to get up in the morning, even if I had to create that reason myself. Choosing to live a healthier lifestyle was definitely one of the best decisions I ever made, not at twenty but in my whole life.

  1. The people who make an effort for you are the people you want to keep in your life

Last year I met some people who I thought could have become friends, but unfortunately, it eventually became apparent that the only time they would ever bother to contact me was when they needed something from me. On the flip side, I have met some people who have done so much for me, physically as well as in an emotional sense. I’ve finally learned that allowing people to walk all over you is not worth the idea of “having friends”.

  1. What you do to your body and how you feel are 100% connected

This is very related to point number six – when I eat like crap, I feel like crap. When I sleep too much or too little, or don’t get in any physical activity, I end up exhausted. Makes logical sense? Not to 19 year old Caitlin, apparently.

  1. Nothing will stop your glasses from smudging your eyebrows

Just accept it.

  1. Removing yourself from negative people and situations is the best thing you can do for your mental health, even when it’s hard

Sometimes we allow ourselves to “get used to” a toxic environment and end up just going with the flow no matter how much it’s wrecking us. STOP. DOING. THIS. Take a step back and recognise what and who is not good for you and be strong enough to do something to remove yourself from the situation. It might be hard at the time, and may even feel like there’s no way out of it, but do what you can and you will thank yourself in the long run.

  1. Relationships take work

All kinds of relationships. Romantic ones, friendships, even your relationships with your parents. No matter how much you love someone or how well you click or how connected you are, you’re going to have to put in an effort. This is sort of the reverse side of what I mentioned about only sticking by the people who make an effort for you – it’s got to be a two way street.

  1. It’s great to work hard but academics are not more important than physical and mental health

Haha, fooled you! As if I’m capable of taking this piece of advice.

  1. There will always be more to learn and experience

When I started working full-time, I thought things couldn’t get any harder. When I started studying whilst still working full-time, I thought things couldn’t get any harder. When I moved out and had to juggle all of this on top of the working and studying, I sort of realised that at some point, it’s probably still going to get harder. But that’s okay because hey, look, I survived right?


Have you had to learn any of these lessons the hard way? What’s something valuable that you have learned in the past year? Let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear about it!


P.S. guys – I finally managed to sort out my email subscription list! It would mean the world to me if you all filled in the subscription form so you’ll always see when I post something new.


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  1. This is a beautiful post, wow. I’m 18 and I stress a LOT about the future, but reading what you’ve shared is so encouraging! And I totally agree with your points.

    Hope you’re having a great week 🙂

    1. thank you amy! getting older is tough but it’s always nice to be reminded that everybody goes through it 😘😂❤️

  2. This is great advice! I can relate to a lot of it as a 20 year old. 😊 The most valuable lesson I learned in the past year is that it’s okay to take mental health days and take care of myself even if I’m not as productive in other aspects of my life as I’d like. 😊

  3. I loved this post! It was so fun but filled with so many good points. Something I learnt this year that no matter how hard it gets, and its been the hardest year I have had to date that I can and I will get through it. As I look back on my life there have been times I thought I wouldn’t but I got through it and look at me I am still here!

    I have also learnt a lot from you from smoothie recipes to handling life like a boss. You keep me on my toes!

  4. So proud of you my Caitlin!! Mom definitely did something right. ❤️Keep on living, loving and learning my baby

let me know your thoughts!