Author: Lex Paige
Your 20s are a miraculous decade of the type of change that stays with you through adulthood. The lessons you gain along the way provide wisdom that is priceless.
Everyone has milestones they want to achieve by 30. We all have this vision of what our lives will be by the time we hit the big 3-0. There are so many life lessons as you navigate your post-education life and truly immerse yourself into adulthood. I have learned so many things I will enjoy bringing into my 30s.
Here are the 10 most important things I have learned in my 20s:
1. Relationships will take work. As an adult, navigating friendships can be extremely challenging. As we see photos of women with extremely large bridal parties, we wonder where is our girl squad? Friendships are about quality and not quantity. The question is: do you want friends who truly make you better or do you want friends who are just around? Learn how to apologize and be accountable. Friendships will expire. It will be tough, but you will find your tribe.
2. Your parents are human. Recognizing that our parents carry their own traumas and experiences can truly be a freeing experience. When you realize this, you are taking steps to reconcile with your childhood experiences. Their experiences shaped how they raised you and often they did the best they could with the tools they had. This does not necessarily mean forgive them, but it helps with potentially accepting an apology you may never receive.
3. Let go of the things you cannot control. The past, what-if scenarios, what other people think, etc. You cannot change any of it. The beauty of focusing on what you can control is that there are so many things you can control that impact your life. You can control your effort, how you manage your time, your attitude, your social media intake, how you treat others, etc. Focusing on things you control feels like taking your power back.
4. Practice Gratitude. Practicing gratitude has been linked to better sleep, positive thoughts, and more. I personally practice by saying at least 5 things I am grateful for each day. This often allows me to fall asleep in the right headspace. You can also keep a gratitude journal, make a gratitude jar, show others how grateful you are for them, etc.
5. Self-care is important. It goes beyond bubble baths and social media breaks. This is truly about your mental, physical, emotional, financial, spiritual, professional, and social wellness. Having boundaries is so important. It was not until I truly put myself first, did I realize there are so many more levels to self-care. It’s making sure you stick to your budget. It’s taking care of your body, inside and out. It’s saying no to happy hour because you are tired. It’s self-acceptance and not punishing yourself for your mistakes. It’s giving yourself the love you may seek in others.
6. Comparison is the thief of joy. In the world of social media, we have access to see so many different stories. For me, it often became addicting to watch my Facebook friends get married and have kids while I was single and suffering from post-grad depression. I learned that just like myself people only post so much of their lives. I stopped worrying about where I was in comparison to others and embraced my own journey.
7. Spend money on experiences, not things. You can still treat yourself, but the things you will truly remember in life are the experiences and memories. Experiences shape who you are and shared experiences can bring you closer to your loved ones. The happiness you receive is worth it in comparison to an impulse buy.
8. Ask for support when you need it. People are busy and often can get caught up in their own worlds. If you need support from your friends or family, reach out. Anyone who loves you will never make you feel like a burden. They may not always be available, but do not live in fear of being a burden.
9. Embrace the journey, not the destination. We are always counting down to our next big accomplishment. Try living in the present instead. Whether you are dreaming about your dream job or house, or just ready to get to Friday. Try living for today. What you do to get to the destination is just as important. You don’t want to look back and regret not basking in the little moments.
10. Lastly, you are enough. Who you are is enough and you do not need any single person to complete you but you. It does not matter what people think. Do not let people’s opinion of you or your dreams impact your personal journey. You are beautiful just as you are, mistakes and all.
Your 20s are ultimately when you can search and find your true identity. Live in the moment and embrace the journey.