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20 Thoughts As I Turn 20 Years Old

1. Plastic never goes away.

I try to use less single plastic. It helps to think three generations ahead and consider whether the materials will still be around.

2. You only get one body. Nourish it.

Eat your vegetables and fruits, drink water and go sweat. It helps me to remove stress from my body when I run, hike, surf, or do yoga.

3. Free time is valuable.

Travel, sit, breathe and read whenever you can.

4. Introduce yourself to someone new everyday.

It helps when stories are shared and feelings are expressed. Relatability is beautiful (check out the next one).

5. Everyone wants a friend.

And everyone is somewhat insecure. We can relate to one another if we're open to conversation.

6. Write down your thoughts.

It is so fun to see the growth and progression within your life.

7. When buying new clothes, think sustainably.

Will you wear this piece for the rest of your life, or will it eventually get tossed aside?

8. Jump in the ocean. Jump off waterfalls.

9. Sometimes you will not appreciate the food in front of you.

But it’s food. Be grateful that you have options and the choice to eat. When I was traveling through Guatemala, I only ate peanut butter and tortillas. After a month, it ended up being my favorite thing, and to this day I look back on those memories fondly.

10. Study.

If you are in school, take it seriously. Build professional relationships with your instructors. They will support you and be your mentors.

11. Friends can come in seasons, and relationships can end.

12. Say yes.

Go have that lunch or get that coffee.

13. Hike new trails.

Search for how to explore where you’re living in order to stay connected to this planet.

14. Volunteer for projects in your local community.

You don’t have to travel around the world to make change.

15. Eat from local farms.

Start by visiting your local farmers' market .

16. Walk barefoot sometimes.

Feel the earth’s vibrations.

17. Choose joy.

It is not contingent on owning material items.

18. Stop comparing how people are treating you to how you would treat them.

19. Stop comparing your life to the lives of others.

Choose to spend time away from social media.

20. Love your life for what it is in the present, and live in the moment.

If you want a new environment or a new hobby, go do it. Go for it. You’re so capable. You’re so worthy.

Alex Balbontin is a rising junior at James Madison University. Currently studying dietetics, her dream is to become a registered dietitian, working alongside health professionals and learning within a diverse environment. Alex aims to raise awareness on the importance of an abundant and sustainable lifestyle. You can read more of Alex's story in her past Sprouting Forward feature here and follow her adventures on Instagram!

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