Turning 29: Lessons Learned From My Twenties
reflecting back on my 20’s
Lessons I’ve learned during my twenties (so far)
October is a beautiful transitional month between Summer and Winter that has this super crisp fresh air, beautiful colours, cozy scarves and obvi...pumpkin spice everything.
But in recent years, October has been a time of personal transition and reflection as well. It has become a time to set yearly and future goals (professional, emotional, financial, physical) for myself. Mostly because it’s my Birthday month (any other Libras out there?! ♎️) and becoming another year older always puts things in perspective and motivates me to be better a version of myself when it rolls around again next year.
Speaking of… next year I’ll be turning the big 3-0, so that time of being a twenty-something year old is officially coming to an end. And surprisingly enough, I’m totally ok with that. I have a much greater appreciation of what age can bring: experience and growth and a bedtime of 10pm 😆. I have a lot to be thankful for, have a lot to look forward to and can’t wait to see what kind of adventures and opportunities this year will bring me!
I’ve complied a list of things I’ve learned throughout my 20’s so far via personal experience and friend’s experiences. I’ve attended multiple health, motivational, creative and wellness-related workshops and talks throughout this year that helped me come to some of these realizations. I’ve also read books, listened to some great podcasts and read articles about self-development and psychology that also challenged my way of thinking, which I love and totally recommend trying out!
But yo, don’t get it twisted. The self-help/motivational industry can be a bit… cringe-worthy to me at times because of its over-cliched BS that these so-called “experts” feed you (i.e: “Be yourself,” and “open your heart,”…oook yes, but wtf does that even mean?! #vaugeAF). However, there are people I follow online that I have so much respect for and who’s content aligns with my values, attitude and overall view on things. So this is kind of a curated set of things that I’ve learned along the way 😊 hopefully some will resonate with you!
Vulnerability & Open-mindedness
I legit used to think that vulnerability was a sign of weakness… boy was I wrong. When I think about it, it is the exact opposite of weakness as there is SO much courage and strength in putting yourself out there. Voicing your concerns, thoughts and feelings in anything you put out into the world is effing hard! Sometimes we (myself included 💯) have trouble being vulnerable because we’re afraid of being perceived as weak. But the weakest are those who cannot be vulnerable; they’re a closed book and they never put themselves up for pain or for hurt. Instead this kind of pseudo-strength is created where they put up walls around themselves as a form of protection. Whether it’s out of fear of judgement or rejection, they never end up taking risks and thus, never opening themselves up for possible opportunities.
And to everyone who has rejected you… none of them are going to matter in your life long-term. On 👏🏻To👏🏻The👏🏻 Next. We have to create moments, take enough risks, create enough opportunities for interesting and special things to happen. A lot of those moments may not produce what you want immediately but will lead to it.
I also think that you have to lead with the energy you want people to have. If you want people to be vulnerable or open, you have to be both of those things. You want people to give interesting answers to questions? You have to provide answers that will be interesting as well.
I have so much respect for people who stand up for what they believe in, voice their opinions, and let their feelings be known. Putting themselves out there, throwing some punches and accepting that they may get hit along the way too. Having that trust in yourself to know that you can heal from those wounds and admitting that you can be wounded and move forward anyway is not a sign of weakness. IMO, it’s a pure sign of strength. And when I think about, it’s the people who are not afraid to share their talent or their truth or have the hard conversations that are the most successful people out there. BE VULNERABLE!
Value Relationships & know when to walk away
If you’re lucky enough to have found someone who celebrates your wins as if they were their own - HOLD ON to that person and never let them go. These people deserve to be in your life and you should really take the time to nurture that relationship. This applies to all types of relationships - a friend, business partner, significant other, loved one - it really doesn’t matter which label they fall under. Love, support, celebrating wins, comforting failures, compromising, willingness to have hard conversations, motivating you to be your best self… these are all things you wanna look for in a relationship.
“Be ruthless in your actions.be kind in your tone”
On the other hand. If you're surrounding yourself with people who make you feel like you're stuck in one big echo chamber of negativity - yo. get new friends, you do not need that in your life! If your closest loved ones cannot be happy for you when you’ve accomplished something (big or small), then you really need to take a step back and reevaluate that relationship. This is where communication comes in and is so important. Have those difficult conservations now instead of six months from now. It will provide clarity and make the relationship 10x easier than letting something fester, lead to resentment and then the next thing you know… you’re in an explosive argument. But I’ve found that relationships would be so much better if we spent less time trying to win arguments (ego driven) and more time listening and trying to understand how our partner/friend/loved one feels.
A person who values themselves have no problem walking away from a situation in which they are under-valued. When you know your worth, it’s so much easier to reject the wrong people, because you start treating yourself like your own best friend. I’ve learned the hard way that people will treat you the way you LET them treat you. People get away with what you LET them get away with. And once that precedence is set… it’s going to be a hard time changing the way you’re treated in that relationship. If you don’t like something - communicate it, set standards in relationships and I guarantee the other person will respect you more for it. A lot of times, we’ll deviate from our standards for someone we really like and let them get away with things that we wouldn’t normally let people get away with. And that’s just not fair.
I follow a dating/relationship coach, Matthew Hussey online and while most of his content is about dating life, a lot of his advice applies to other aspects of life as well. In one video he talks about setting standards for yourself and said, “be ruthless in your actions, be kind in your tone.” So. much. truth. Watch the full video here (it’s only 5mins and has over 800k views). I love his videos, they’re super relatable, thought-provoking plus he’s hilarious and has a British accent 😍
Ok, despite my interest in holistic and alternative medicine/healing, yoga, etc. I wouldn’t consider myself a “woo-woo” or crunchy granola person, but something has to be said about divine timing. I think you should be open to the fact that there is a right time for everything and sometimes patience is the key for those stars to finally align. Whatever that “constellation” may look like for you 🌌 And you know, it's ok to accept that maybe something wasn't meant to be at a certain time.
“...fate will often put amazing people or experiences around us, but we have to do our part…”
Listen, I used be the person who would roll their eyes at the very notion that something is "meant to be," or that it's "destiny" yadda, yadda. I think my justification for this not-so-subtle eye roll was that there's no real metric to measure "destiny," no scientific studies, no real proof or written rule to know what destiny is, exactly. However. Now I realize that just may be a BS copout. Lol, stay with me here.
Sometimes the universe is a funny place. At certain times in my life I’ve thought about beautiful/random things that happened that cannot just be a simple coincidence. Try and consider all the tiny, little seemingly insignificant things that needed to happen in order to get to where you are right now at this very moment. Consider all the spilt-second decisions or even the time-consuming ones that really made a difference in your life.
It’s crazy to think that when you're young (when you’re older as well but especially when you’re young) your path can go in so many different directions, so many parallel universes could potentially happen for you. Go to university? Do that program? Move there? End a relationship? Take a year off? All of these decisions create this kind of domino or ripple effect into what your life will look like in the future. Endless possible future roadmaps based on these decisions. Overwhelming to think about? YUP 💯. Or when you randomly met someone special or when something wonderful happened by mistake. Is it just coincidence? What I'm trying to say - in some regard, I do kinda believe in destiny. I think fate will often put amazing people or experiences around us, but we have to do our part and actually be open to participating in these moments.
Fail Fast & Move On
Fail faaast. If you do fail, fail fast. Move on. Take sometime to reflect on what happened but go on to your next idea. Businesses fail. Friendships fail. Relationships fail. Sometimes you can't control these things, but you can control how you react to it and how you bounce back. With that said, I am a firm believer in acknowledging and taking time to reflect on those less-than-desirable feelings of sadness, anger or rejection because closure can be important. I think it is also super important to take that particular failure and use it as an opportunity to learn and grow from it. Deal with your feelings first, then it’s on to the next my friends!
Don’t Let the Tame Ones Tell You How To Live
“…Why judge someone if that’s not what they want?”
I’m glad that there is a mini paradigm-shift/rebellion against social acceptance and what exactly it entails in 2018. More than ever, I think it’s becoming more socially acceptable to not yet have a house, a husband/wife, kids or “have your shit together” etc, etc at 30. However, these old-school “metrics of success” def still exist today 💯. I mean, obviously, these things are awesome and it’s amazing if you’ve accomplished all of the above if that’s what you want in your life. But why judge someone else if that’s not what they want? Who says they aren’t successful just because they don’t have 2.5 kids and a white picket fence? Who made up these unwritten rules? They are exactly that…unwritten. So you have the opportunity to write your own (cue Natasha Bedingfield’s song😜). To a certain extent, I think success is very subjective - it depends on what YOU want in life and what makes you happy and fulfilled, what ever that looks like.
What I’m trying to say is that if you find yourself stuck in the salmon stream of social acceptance, and want to get the hell out - you 👏🏻do👏🏻you. Do not, DO NOT worry about what other people may think about your life choices if you know in your heart what you want.
Instant Gratification = Long Term Grief
Often times, instant gratification = long-term grief. There are many examples of this but a simple example would be putting something off because you didn’t feel like doing it, but then having a minor heart attack when it needs to be done in T-10 seconds. It creates anxiety, more pressure, less-than desirable end results in most cases than if you had just dealt with it sooner. This could have been the title of my memoirs from age, hmmm, maybe 22-24ish. Man if someone could’ve just shook me and told me that in my younger 20’s. But no, no… I wanted things now. I wanted a great job now. I wanted this, that and the other thing - NOW. But I wasn’t necessarily willing to put in the hard work or have PATIENCE for things to unfold, therefore putting things off and still expecting results to come from it. Logic on point 🙄
Thankfully now I seriously laugh and shake my head looking back at this childish view and certain degree of entitlement I had during this time in my younger 20’s. I’m so glad I outgrew that stage and learned that things may take time, patience, consistency, hard work, failure, multiple attempts, trial and error etc before you reach your desired destination. And that’s only half the battle because it takes more hard work aka maintenance once you’re there. Legit.
Creating Micro and macro goals
“Intention is great. intention is not engouh”
Making little decisions that will influence your future; what can you do today that will make your future self thank you for it? Making decisions and taking action that will enhance your life on a micro-scale will 100% make your life better on a macro, or big-picture scale. Or better yet, things that may not be so appealing now, WILL pay off in the future. If you wanna be your own boss and start a business, you have to H-U-S-T-L-E. If you want to be a senior executive at your dream company, you have to start at the bottom. Drake did it, pretty sure you can too 😏. This may seem completely obvious, but a lot of people have dreams and aspirations in a theoretical sense…not in a practical sense; meaning they don’t want it bad enough to do the work required to reach their desired destination. Are you willing to do less than desirable things NOW in order to reach your future goals? Intention is great, but intention is not enough.
Embrace the Journey
One thing I've learned, and this goes for about EVERY 👏🏻 SINGLE👏🏻 ASPECT and context in my life: you have to embrace the journey and accept that patience and consistency are prob the most important traits you can have if you're trying to grow as a person. Bringing it back to health and wellness: I cannot stress enough how important it is to trust and embrace the journey. Try new tactics and stick to a plan that you can adopt long-term and create a lifestyle where you’ll be happy. Also, don’t compare your day one to someone else’s day 365! Sh*t takes time! Embrace your own journey.
Final Thoughts & Personal Goals going forward
Never stop learning! Absorb information and put yourself in situations that allow you to learn and consider new perspectives.
Be curious! When was the last time that curiosity lead you to an exciting adventure?
Invest in yourself - through courses, self-care, discovering new hobbies & talents.
It’s beautiful when we can let loose and be our true selves with certain people. But don’t ever let that stop you from constantly evolving into a better version of yourself. Too often it’s used as an excuse to never work on our selves.
Feel the fear and do it anyway. Scared? GOOD! Test out those waters
Guys, if I touch my phone in all the right places, pizza arrives at my door… It’s a beautiful time to be alive😜. Appreciate the time you have and take advantage of opportunities that are presented to you!
Be kind. Simple!