What I learned in my 20's

Among the multitude of articles floating around the interwebs these days, a few of the most common ones I have seen are about what people have learned in their 20's or the best part about being in your 30's. It wasn't until I read Mark Monson's article about his 10 life lessons about surviving his 20's that it really resonated with me. (Check it out if you haven't yet)

It inspired me to write down what I learned in my 20's, which just so happened to have ended about two and a half weeks ago. People have asked me how it feels to be 30, so far it's pretty freaking great. There's something about having the 3 instead of a 2 that changed something inside of me. I really thought I was going to have major depression issues turning 30 but it has been the complete opposite. Before I decided to accept that 30 kicks serious ass, I thought back to my 20's... ugh the 20's. 

1. Life (most likely) will not turn out how you planned - sorry kids, but no matter how hard you try there is only so much you can control in your 20's. I can honestly tell you there is no way I would have predicted my life today when I was 20. I never would have expected to spend my 20's going to far too many funerals for friends, but then celebrating the marriages of others, the dissolution of some and the pain you experience while watching your friends and family suffer. Granted, this is life.. it's so damn unpredictable but coming from someone who likes to have control in her life (shocker)... sometimes you just need to let go and let it happen. Accept that life isn't going to be like the movies... SERIOUSLY. It won't. Chances are, if you make a plan, something will go astray... roll with it. Sometimes it turns out pretty awesome. 

2. Friendships will change - no matter how much you would love for a certain friendship to stay, they will change. Why? Because you are constantly changing. It is a big part of life, we grow and change. It's something that took a lot for me to grasp over the last few years. I'm a huge advocate for keeping important people in my life, forever, but it doesn't always work out. As we start to grow as individuals our friendships may not line up the way they used to. We venture off into the world figuring out OUR life and focus less on relationships. I'm guilty of it, trust me, but I firmly believe that relationships/friendships/whatever you want to call them, take work and a mutual respect. Your priorities will develop differently than your childhood best friend -- if they are meant to be in your life, eventually it'll work it's way back. In my life now I'm much secure in my friendships and relationships... I continue to surround myself with people I truly trust and enjoy spending time with. Life is too short to spend time with shitty people. Pardon my french :) 

3. Eventually you'll figure it out - whatever you're meant to do, it will come in due time. I was the girl who went to college with every intention of being an elementary education teacher. I'm 30 and definitely NOT a teacher, but I love my jobs. A lot. There's no way I would have anticipated being a barre instructor, own a photography business and have a kick ass job in a real estate office. Would I rather be a teacher? Nope, I'm more than happy with what I'm doing. Would I love to make more money? Well.. duh of course, but that will come with time. I'm loving my life as it is right at this moment and that, to me, is worth all of the bumps and bruises of trying to figure out this crazy roller coaster life. Looking back to my 20's, specifically 25... I had a FREAK OUT moment because I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. How was I going to afford everything I wanted being _________ (fill in the blank). Passions didn't pay, there was no way I would be able to do photography and support myself... well turns out, you can do all the things you life and still live. See.. it all works out, it just may not happen when you're 25. 

4. Your parents really aren't THAT bad - this was something I learned QUICKLY when I went to college out of state. Once you step into the world where you are 100% responsible for yourself and everything you do... your world changes. Mom and Dad aren't there to rescue you, except for when your car dies in your parking lot and your dad drives 3 hours to switch cars and take yours to the shop. Minor detail. BUT... being away at college made me value my relationship with my parents, especially my mother. She became one of my closets confidants over the years and still to this day is one of my favorite people. Wish I could go back to my 18-21 year old self and remind her to be kind to her parents who, so generously, were paying for her college education... sometimes 20 something girls can be a real pain in the ass :) Sorry Mom. 

5. Love yourself and everything else will fall into place - one of the hardest things for me over the last ten years has been taking the time to focus on me. I am the person who puts everyone and everything else before myself, I actually enjoy it but I realized I was forgetting about the most important person.... Me. Sometimes it's a matter of not doing every single activity you're invited to and enjoy that night at home, watching a movie and doing absolutely nothing. Why? Because it's something YOU want to do. As I venture into my 30's I need to continue to remind myself to put ME ahead of everyone else sometimes. Whether this means taking an hour at the gym, sitting on the couch reading a book or staying in on a Friday night to work... I need to do me. First. The real people in your life will understand this and value you and your time so much more. It may inspire them to put a little bit of themselves first too. 

Growing up, the standing "joke" in my house was when my father said I wasn't allowed to date until I was 30. As I approached my 30th birthday, my mom said.. "Well at least you can start dating now." Very funny Mom. During my 20's, I had my share of relationship ups and downs, but each one of them gave me the opportunity to figure out more about ME and what I do/don't want. Maybe there was a good reason my father always joked about not dating until you're 30... because let's be honest, the girl I was at 21 is FAR from the woman I am at 30. 

So happy to say GOODBYE to my 20's and HELLOOOOOO 30's... so far you're treating me REAL good and I can't wait to see what else they have in store. 

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Ashley CohnComment