Last month I turned 33 (shhh, don’t tell anyone) and it got me to thinking about what I have learned over my 33 years of life. I was going through some of my old pieces and I came across this dandy that I wrote shortly before my 30th birthday. Here are the 20 lessons I learned in my 20’s.
“The path to whatever your notion of success is will likely not be linear. Don’t take continuous personal growth for granted. Just because you’re older doesn’t necessarily mean you’re wiser. Your 20s will be full of failures — let them happen and learn as you go.” -Holden Desalles
20 Lessons I Learned In My 20’s
1. Start taking care of yourself now!
Do not waste time. The time to start taking care of yourself is now. It is hard to undo the damage you put on your body. The sooner you start a healthy way of living with your diet and exercise regimen, the sooner you start to build a strong foundation for a healthy mind and body for the coming years. Find healthy ways to cope with stress. Learn to not let it fester.
2. Be smart about the company you choose.
Be aware of the type of people you surround yourself with. Spend more time with positive people. The people you surround yourself with should motivate, inspire and respect you. It can be so easy to fall into a fun, but wrong crowd. The company you keep has the potential to affect you for years to come.
3. Happiness first.
Do not wait for happiness to come to you. You hold the power of your own happiness. Your happiness is determined by all the little choices you make each day and in the way that you choose to talk to yourself. You can’t live your life waiting for the future to happen. Learn to be happy in the now, in the moment. Life is too short. I truly believe that happiness is the first step toward success and reaching your goals.
4. You don’t know everything.
It’s true. I hate to break it to you, but you don’t know everything. Remember to keep your eyes and ears open. Ask questions and remember that it is ok to admit when you don’t know something. Learn something new every day.
5. Love is a choice.
Love is a choice. It’s not a fairy tale. It isn’t like the movies. Love takes a lot of hard work. You have to make the choice that you want it to work and then make it work.
6. You will feel lost.
Yep. You are going to feel lost. I thought I had my whole life figured out. I was married, about to graduate with a teaching degree, and we had just bought our first house. By the time 25 came around, I was divorced, decided not to teach, had our house on the market and was packing to leave the only state I had ever called home. You will feel lost and out of control at times.
7. Life is short.
As you get older, you start to see more and more clearly just how short life really is. I lost my MaMaw when I was 25 years old. She was such a huge part of my life and she played a huge role in shaping me into the person that I am. Life is short. Live it. When you’re young, you think you have an endless supply of time. However, you don’t. One minute you are graduating high school and then you blink and you are blowing out 30 candles on a store-bought birthday cake.
8. Dreams take work and sacrifice, but it is worth it.
Go for your dreams. I am promising you it won’t be easy, but it will be worth it. Chase your passion.
9. Small decisions often lead to big outcomes. Choose carefully.
Think. There is a time and a place for spontaneity. However, keep in mind that small decisions can often lead to big outcomes so choose carefully. Your life is going to be the sum of your small decisions. So think carefully even though it might only seem like one more drink before you drive home or 5 more minutes before you get up for work.
10. Learn to embrace change now.
Change will never be easy unless you are one of those lucky few who thrive on change. Try to learn to adapt as soon as you can because life will always be changing. Be secure in the fact that you will not be able to control everything. Failure is going to happen and it is ok. Learn from it, refocus, and move forward.
Never doubt your worth and never settle for less than you deserve. You are your best advocate so love yourself and know that you are enough.
12. Stop worrying about what other people think.
I would rather be weird than fake. Stop worrying about what other people think of you. Do not let the thought of what others think of you consume you.
13. Learn to apologize and let go.
Apologize and mean it. Forgive and let go. Life is too short for grudges.
14. Do not take your parents for granted.
Do not take your parents for granted. Call them and truly be present when you are in their company. You never know when you might lose them.
15. Work hard.
Working hard is good for you and it will pay off.
16. People change.
Friends come and go. People change and it isn’t necessarily a bad thing. This is when you are busy deciding who you want to be and sometimes you and your friends are going the same directions and other times you aren’t. Be grateful for the time you had with them and learn from it.
17. It is ok to ask for help.
Let people know what you need. It is not a sign of weakness to ask for help.
18. Truly listen.
It is so important to learn to truly listen. Have a conversation with a child because they have the power to remind you just how beautiful life is. Strike up a conversation with someone older than you because they have lived and have the potential to teach you so much.
19. Serve the Lord by serving others.
Give without expecting anything in return. Be humble and kind.
20. Becoming a mother is my greatest accomplishment.
Best thing I have ever done. My son will be my true contribution to the future.
In closing, time is precious and we really don’t have as much of it as we might think when we are younger. Be kind, learn from your mistakes, and buckle up because I think we have even more lessons to learn in our 30s!
“But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31