22 Lessons I’ve Learned Now That I’m 22

22 Lessons I’ve Learned Now That I’m 22

This post contains affiliate links, which if you choose to purchase from, Diary of a Toronto Girl receives a commission. As always, I only ever endorse products I truly believe in.

Remember all those age milestones we used to get excited about? At 18, I¬†was happy to¬†finally be considered an “adult”. At 19, I went out and drank alcohol just because I could. At 20, I was thrilled¬†to be entering my twenties. At 21, I was excited to be legal in the U.S. despite not even being a drinker.

There aren’t even anymore age milestones for me to get¬†excited about anymore! According to Blink,¬†nobody likes you when you’re 23, and¬†my friend who recently turned 25 described it as “turning a quarter of a century”.

Now that I’m 22, graduating university, and seriously making plans for¬†my future, I feel¬†like life¬†is going by so much faster and there just isn’t enough time in one day. Time seriously flies by as you get older. I did a post when I turned 20 about things I’d learned, and I thought I’d do an updated version of it now that I’m 22.

1. It’s okay to fall off track

In grade 12, I had it mapped out in my head that I would go through 4 years of media school, do another year and a half for¬†my Master’s, and move straight to Hollywood to become a film editor. Unfortunately my plans fell through and I wasn’t able to do¬†my Master’s immediately after graduating, but I decided to make the best of it and take the year off to focus on my plans for the future and my application¬†for my Master’s.

2. You don’t have to have your shit together

I used to dream of being a film editor. Heck, it’s the reason why I went into media school in the first place. As I went through university, I began to realize that I wasn’t as amazing¬†at editing as I thought I was.¬†I honestly still don’t know what I want to do “when I grow up”, but that’s why I’m taking time to seriously think about it.

3. Your degree doesn’t define you

I went to an academic high school (it was the 3rd best high school in Ontario at the time), and there was this stigma against not going¬†to university. After going through university, I’ve realized that degrees aren’t everything. I have friends who are working or planning on working in completely different fields than what they studied in university. I specialized in video production while in school, and I’m not even in that field anymore. Almost everything I’ve learned about digital media is what I’ve taught myself or what I’ve learned from internship or work experiences I sought outside of school.

4. Try to be more open-minded

It’s important to see things from all points of view and¬†to not close your mind off to other opinions or facts just because you don’t agree with them.

5. Don’t be too trusting of people

There are crappy people in the world, and that is the reality.¬†Don’t put up a wall against people, but don’t give them your full-fledged trust either until they’ve earned it.

6. There are good people in this world

While a lot of people suck, a lot of people are great as well. Don’t close your heart off to the world just because of people who’ve wronged you.

7. Surround yourself with good people

It’s normal to be influenced by people you’re around. For a period of time, I was surrounded by people who talked bad behind each other’s backs, and I started to become like them. After realizing how shitty I was being, I took a step back and realized that I should’ve been surrounding myself with positive people rather than negative people.

8. Sleep is important

When I was a teenager, I enjoyed¬†staying up late and waking up late. Now that I’m older, I feel like sleeping early and waking up early makes me so much more productive.

9. If you matter to someone, they’ll make time for you

“I don’t have time” is just BS for “I don’t want to make time for you”. If someone really cares about you and wants you in their life, they’ll make time to see you.

10. You shouldn’t have regrets

Everything that happens to us shapes who we are. There are a lot of things I want to wish never happened, but I know I had to experience them to become who I am today. Learn from your mistakes.

11. You have to put yourself out there

There are so many talented people in the universe and it isn’t always easy to stand out, especially if you’re an introvert.¬†I’m¬†slowly teaching myself to put myself out there.

12.¬†Don’t do things that make you uncomfortable

You don’t have to do¬†anything¬†that makes you feel uncomfortable. If a person makes you feel uncomfortable, don’t feel pressured to do anything.

13. Surprise, you’re not always right

You know those people who constantly think that they’re right even when they’re wrong or when there is no right or wrong? I admit, sometimes I can be that way. It’s important to recognize when you’re wrong and to admit your mistakes.

The Power Plant Gallery - Kapwani Kiwanga

14. Stop caring what other people think of you

Why does it matter what strangers think of you? All that matters is the people you love.

15. Keep the space around you organized and clean

I tend to stall a lot when it comes to cleaning, and I know it’s not a good habit. When everything is clean and in its place, I feel like I can breathe better and I feel much more relaxed.

16. Think before you speak

I tend to not think before I speak, resulting in me saying a lot of stupid things or annoying people. I like being able to speak my mind, but I’m working on keeping the stupid things from being said aloud.

17. Arguments with the people you love aren’t about winning

I tend to get very defensive when I get into arguments with people I care about, and I always have to remind myself that it’s not about who’s right or wrong ‚Äď the ultimate goal should be to come to a solution together.

18. Take breaks

For a long time, I felt like a robot, forcing myself to keep to my blogging schedule and to post on Instagram every single day. My blogging schedule is less strict now because¬†I don’t want to force out content for the sake of posting. I also post on Instagram only if I feel like it, rather than because I feel like I have to.

19. Learn to be well-rounded

I pride myself in knowing a little about a lot of things.¬†If I don’t know how to do something, I teach myself how to do it.¬†I’m the type of person who doesn’t like to depend on other people, and being well-rounded allows me to do things without needing anyone’s help.

20.¬†You don’t have to do favours for people

I used to do favours for people because I wanted to be nice, but then I got angry about it later. I get asked at least once a week to go for coffee, talk on the phone, or even just DM not because people want to get to know me, but so I can help the person build their brand or Instagram account. To be honest, I do get annoyed about it.

21. You don’t have to explain anything

You can say no to someone and not have to explain a single thing. Why? Because it’s your life and you can make your own decisions¬†without having to justify it to anyone.

22. Never hurt yourself because of other people

Several months ago I wanted to seriously hurt myself because of a really dumb reason. NEVER EVER let anyone make you want to hurt yourself. At the end of the day, you’re nobody to them ‚Äď don’t let anyone have that control over you.

What are some things you’ve learned in your twenties? Can you relate to any of these things? I’d love to hear in the comments!

If you liked this post, be sure to check out my friend Laurel’s post on 22 things she learned at 22.

22 Lessons I've Learned Now That I'm 22

Photos¬†by Adam G. featuring Kapwani Kiwanga’s ‘A wall is just a wall’

Jessica Lam

Jessica Lam

22-year-old lifestyle blogger and social media addict. Follow me + keep updated with my latest posts on Bloglovin & Facebook.
Jessica Lam
  • Mikayla Kuehn

    Loved reading this post, Jessica! So many great lessons xo

  • You’ve learned so much and I know you will carry these tips many years to come!

    xoxo Candice / candicenikeia.com

  • Yes to “Your Degree doesn’t have to define you.” I got a degree in English Education and now work in HR. For a while, I had a hard time because I thought I HAD to teach English since I spent all that money on getting a degree in it. But, turns out, my degree could still be used in other types of jobs!

  • Mary Duggan

    Saying no to things that make you uncomfortable is so often frowned upon (especially that quote “life begins at the end of your comfort zone”), but I agree that there is nothing wrong with it! It means you know yourself, and are strong enough to stand up for yourself. Good point, glad you added it on here!

  • This is so well written Jessica and has so much insight! I felt like I was nodding my head and saying “Yes!” the whole time reading it!

    Laurel – http://www.laurelmusical.com

  • Anna Hubbard

    These are all so true! I love #12 and #14!

  • Kristina Wiggins

    how inspiring! kuddos to you for taking the time to reflect on your lessons learned and perspective gained.

  • So many great points in this! The most important (a lesson I’m still learning) is to not care what others think. The minute you master that a lot of the other lessons won’t apply.

  • Amy

    Happy Taylor Swift year!! Such great lessons, especially #14! I’ve slowly stopped caring what others think!


    Amy | Pastel N Pink

  • These are all such valuable lessons – I just turned 23 ands I learnt a lot of these things when I was 22 and they really help you on your journey <3


  • Love the post girl!!! You have learned so many helpful things!!! enjoy being 22!!!

  • I love this. Definitely important lessons to always keep in mind ūüôā

    Enclothed Cognition

  • I loved reading the lessons you’ve learned. 22 was a really big year for me (difficult but GOOD), I hope it’s monumental for you too! I definitely agree that your degree doesn’t define you. After getting a history degree I worked in fashion and I;m starting law school in a couple of weeks so it’s good to be flexible!

  • thesophiadiaries

    I am a big fan of “live a life of no regrets” especially because life is too short for you to live regretfully and then no making good decisions after…
    although I’m sorry that you went through such a painful period…I don’t know what that period was, but I understand where you’re coming from 100% (been there, done that) so it’s very brave of you to talk about it
    And you should not have to do favors for others, especially if it makes you unhappy, I’m glad you realized that ūüôā

    Thanks for sharing, as always <3

  • Britt K

    You have some great points here! I’m 31 and many of them still apply. As for the ‘having everything together’… I just went back to school for a complete career change at 30, so there’s that hahaha ūüėČ Just go with what works for you, and don’t worry about where anyone else is. This is your journey, no one else’s!

    Britt | http://alternativelyspeaking.ca/

  • Amanda Moring

    I’m 42, and eac h of those is still relevant! You are wise at your age. Hold on to that tight, and don’t let go! Great blog post!

  • Definitely being open-minded is crazy crazy crazy important to learn. Your 20s (and sometimes 30s) are when you truly develop into who you are. Don’t be afraid to try new experiences and BE WRONG about what you did think/said/did, etc. Also, something I am trying hardddddd to practice (and I write about it on my blog) is letting go of what others thing. HUGE lesson to learn. I am 27 and it is an every day struggle.

  • I hope you had an amazing 22nd birthday celebration, Jessica! I espeically looooveee this post and everything you mentioned above. Although I am older than you, I feel that you are so mature and resposinble which makes me feel incredibly proud of you even though we barely know each other haha But reading through these 22 lessons of yours, I feel that they’re similar to my very own as well if not more or less. Thank you for sharing boo! Happy belated birthday <3

    xo Tina
    IG: @tinasweetheart

  • Hope you had great birthday, and those are some quite similar to my lessons, i must stick with 14 and 21 xo


  • First of all, Happy birthday! 22 was a fun year for me and I hope it will be for you!
    Secondly, these are all excellent lessons. I learned the hard way about trusting people and not only that, expecting people to react in a way I would.
    In any case, I wish you nothing but the best for age 22 :]

  • I wish I had learned all these lessons by 22! You’re definitely wise beyond your years!

  • Lyndsay Burginger

    It’s funny, when you are young being 22 sounds so old! And yet when you turn 22 you realize you are still young. I mean I’m 25 and I don’t feel like an “adult” at all!

  • After I turned 22 all I had to look forward to was turning 25 which meant I could rent a car (still haven’t done that yet) and then 32 because I can become president of the U.S. hahaha. So exciting, right?


  • Tiffany Meiter

    I can totally relate! I have learned these things, but still struggle with not repeating them.

  • Love this post! All of these are so spot on, you are very intuitive! Growing up has it’s negatives but so many positives too! It’s nice to be mature enough to know when to just let things go!

    Casey // adolescentadulthood.co

  • Love this post, and completely relate to a lot of these! Although, I do still think I’m always right – perhaps that’s what you learn when you hit 24 ūüėČ
    – Lorna (www.thedaychaser.com)

  • Kimberly Hsieh

    Loved reading this post and my favorite one is definitely number 13. Takes a lot to admit that you are wrong – signs of maturing!!