20 Lessons Before my 20s

Tomorrow I will mark the start of my second decade.
This is what I have learned so far.

I have just turned 20 and I feel very motivated, quite intrigued, and slightly old. Motivated because there is so much to do and accomplish in this world. Frustrated because there is so much rubbish. Old because I am more aware that my time is not only limited but gets shorter every single second and I have already spent a significant chunk of it.

Anyways, tomorrow will mark the twentieth anniversary of my birth. I have “a whole life in front of me”, as they say.

Here are 20 lessons that I have learned so far:

1. Never dream too small

you have so much time left. Anything is possible. I can become surprised by achieving goals way earlier than expected and that’s just because (1) I was not ambitious enough and (2) I underestimated the power of “being passionate”.

2. Life is short, and we don’t squeeze its full potential

It might sound ridiculous that a 20-year-old kid tells you that “your life is ridiculously short”. But it is all about perspective. Every simple human being that is born, will at some point, die. And no one really knows when.

Now, I am not saying that you should just leave everything and spend all your savings to move to Costa Rica right now; having a long-term vision is important too. However, how many times do you hear “I can’t believe that XYZ was just 5 years ago, feels like earlier!” or, “well, I am still 20 (or 30, or 40, or 60), I have plenty of time”.

Many 80-year-old people tell me that they feel as if they were 40 yesterday. For me, finishing school feels very recent, and I am due to finish my university degree.

3. We value more what we don’t have than what we have

Humans just always need more. Or at least this is especially tangible in the most developed societies – not to talk about hedonistic and capitalistic ones… How can someone be happy if he/she needs more?

“You’re not richer for having more, you’re richer for needing less.”

4. Failure is perhaps one of the greatest assets one can have

Because once you’ve reached the bottom, the only way you can go is up; the difference is that you have already met many of the obstacles. They act as vaccines in the sense that they will prevent future potential hazards. If life is that short, why being so afraid of failing?

Samuel Beckett quote: Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter ...
Source: https://www.azquotes.com/quote/21917

5. Thinking differently will make you unique, but have a reason to think that way

Sometimes I feel like way too many people think and act in the same way, as in the so-called “individual/crowd”. and, even though many of them might be aware that they belong to the herds, they just stick to what is easier

6. Constant (little) progress is the most lethal weapon, at least towards long-term goals

Just start reading half a page per day. Just start with one push-up every two days. Just learn one new word per week of that new language. Then start building on that: it is not about having a short-term win, it is about embedding that new habit that will change your life – and eventually other people’s lives – in the time span of months and years

7. Knowledge is power

The more I know, the more I realise how ignorant I am; and the more thirsty for the knowledge I am too.

8. Every human life should have the same value

Too many people deserve more opportunities that they won’t receive. I am incredibly privilege. I was born in a democratic country – specifically on a paradisiac island.

I always had high-quality food and education. I have been to different continents, and I spent over three months in Tanzania during my “online degree”. It was an eye-opening experience that made me reflect quite a lot: so many passionate, talented people, that would thrive even in the hardest conditions, even better than a big chunk of top-grade students in top universities, but have not got a single penny, documentation, or quality education.

“If prisoners have access to food and shelter, why don’t we give the future doctors, engineers, and leaders the same resources?”

9. Its sometimes too easy to dehumanise in the modern world

That’s why one has to take a step back and be alone. To take a break from masses. To read and travel. To remain close to art. To rehumanise. To escape the routine. To be alone without feeling lonely – which is underrated.

10. Anthropogenic Climate Change will always be there

My life span will completely coincide with dramatic consequences. And I will see how the worsening of its detrimental effects for my whole life.

Natural Disaster Hotspot: Preparing For The Unexpected ...
Source: http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2016/11/17/natural-disaster-hotspot-preparing-for-the-unexpected/

11. Politics is not just about old people making-decisions

Too often young people feel like if they couldn’t – or shouldn’t – contribute to creating politics. In fact, the minimum age to become a president in most countries is 35. The more I have learned and worked in my field and in intra-university representation, the more I realise that policies are simply regulations to make a change.

They should aim towards the “most beneficial outcomes”. Now, I don’t want to enter into the philosophy of politics and ethics, but in my opinion, the captain of Plato’s boat doesn’t always have to be the oldest and most experienced.

12. You don’t get to choose where you are born, but you can choose where you die

I wouldn’t mind dying – and I’m not in a rush, though – in a position where I have contributed to improving the lives of many others.

13. It’s not about being more humble, but less hypocrite

Every person has his/her own values, and in many cases, we act opposite according to them. For instance, I am passionate about advocating for the climate change crisis, and yet I have taken so many flights lately – yes, flights provide significant contributions to the global CO2 emissions even if they represent 2% of it.

14. He who gets out of his/her comfort zone will eventually have the power of moving mountains

The most powerful habit is to get out of the comfort zone. You start seeing instant results. A nice example is The Alchemist.

15. Sometimes, less is more

It is quite fascinating how this phrase can be extrapolated into so many scenarios. Give it a try when it comes to “needing” anything that “should” get you closer to happiness.

16. More philosophy is not only needed in schools but in lives too

The concept of alienation is one of the most intriguing to me, and I always come back to the need of questioning our surroundings and taking a moment to think

17. Social media can be rubbish

But I keep using it. Why? Because it feels almost like a need. I believe that the power of super-inter-connectivity can do wonders, but I feel quite concerned about the overall impact on people’s lives nowadays. In my opinion, we should aim at using SM as a tool to share perspectives in a constructively way. And not just posting a picture of those new Nike shoes to show that you like wasting your money

18. Most of the people in the first world live boring lives because it is easier

Every person is a world: it might sound better in Spanish… but each of us have our very own experience, circumstance, genetic code, predisposition, family and friends, influencers, space in the world… we are unique! And it is fascinating when you open your mind and hear from others.

19. Some friendships are more valuable than diamonds, rubies, or any precious stone in the world

You can multiply anything you do – both in the right and the wrong direction – with the right company and, beyond that, they should help you go beyond your wellbeing…

20. Even today, as of 2021, people are not paying enough attention to climate change.

And I include myself. It is just the biggest threat humanity is facing, and yet we have been avoiding it for so long. It is like if we were about to crash our plane and our response was to grab paper and a pen to start designing more resistant aircraft models.

I have been learning quite a lot about climate change.

Proud of delivering my first workshop about Climate Change and Sustainable Development!


Now, these are the things I have learnt. I might have a different idea about life next decade, year, or week. But I think that many of them will be quite consistent in my life.

Sometimes, to learn, one must unlearn. Thinking of a different question instead of a different answer.

What are your life lessons? Have they changed throughout time? What advice would you have given to yourself in your 20s?

Many thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed my first blog!

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