It is really strange how things just seem to work out sometimes. When I was very young, thirty seemed like forever away. I imagined I’d be married, have kids, and living a happy life somewhere warm. That was all I wanted. Then in high school and beyond, I pictured myself having a great career. I was looking for someone to settle down with but I kept pushing off the age at which I’d want to see myself completely settled down. As my 20s progressed, I became so lost searching for myself. Now, at 30, I realize all that searching pretty much lead me back to the start but after 10 years, I’m now less naive, more skeptical, happier, healthier, and feeling just as young as I felt in my 20s, if not younger some days!
I originally wrote a huge post on my 20s, taking you all through the years where I start the decade in a bad relationship, failing college, having bad job after bad job, layoff after layoff (and meeting Jason so the beginning wasn’t all bad!) to my later 20s where I find a few jobs I love, make lifelong friends through a Meetup group I started, get married, have an awesome kid, to now, the start of a new decade. I thought writing out and reflecting on those years would help me gain perspective on where my life has lead, and it did. But deleting it was much more powerful. I’m moving on. I am starting my life over essentially. My 20 year old self would never recognize my 30 year old self and that’s great. That means I did something with my life. I may not have met the goals I set at the beginning of my twenties but I actually reached the goals I had from the very beginning: I’m in love with my husband and my son and I’m happily living somewhere that’s warm more days than it’s not! I’ve worked hard to surround myself with the best people and that’s ultimately what has made my 20s a success. Things are far from perfect. But at least for the rest of April, I’ll pretend like things are and enjoy every minute of the beginning of this new decade.
And because I MUST remember these, here are a few lessons I learned in my 20s…
- There’s a reason for everything. Prime examples are the layoffs. While I would have loved to be able to say, “I’ve been with this company for 7 years.” That first layoff was the start of me learning who I really am and what I really want.
- Complaining is worthless. Counting your blessings is gold. I have learned that complaining is very unbecoming and try my hardest to curb it. I rant, yes, but I think everyone needs that. I just don’t think you need it every day or even every week. The easiest way to stay positive is to be thankful for your blessings.
- Don’t waste your time on people or projects that are not good for you. One of the greatest things I ever did for myself was clean out my Facebook friends. I know that might sound crazy but it was more about letting go from parts of my past that I desperately needed to let go of. Same applies to projects. My long to do lists contain those ambitious projects that sometimes are not going to get done. Dwelling on them creates some unnecessary stress and realizing that you either need to let them go or put them on the backburner, doesn’t label you a failure.
- Trust. Your. Gut. I wish I had learned to listen so much sooner than just the past year or so. My intuition has a very high success rate. I need to trust it!
- Stepping back doesn’t mean giving up. This kind of speaks to the letting go statement above. Sometimes it’s not the right time. Learn to recognize that and accept it.
- Say yes. You typically read about people having issues saying no but I have a hard time saying yes and I need to say it more. I’ve learned that most of my regrets come from turning an offer down out of fear, mostly fear of failure. I wish I had more of that FOMO gene.
- You really don’t know a person’s story until you hear it from them. Social media has a way of making you think you know someone. Unplug and have a conversation before pretending you know them because you don’t.
- You can say you want something for the rest of your life but until you actually do it, no one’s listening. Or in other words, talk is cheap. If you don’t like it, do something about it. Kind of goes back to the complaining.