Next week I enter the last year of my 20’s, and I’m simultaneously going back and forth wondering where on earth the last nine years went, and also realizing I feel like I’m a completely different person than I did when I was entering my 20’s. This has been a decade full of incredibly high-high’s and some very low, lows.
Between learning to juggle a career for the first time in your life, to balancing relationships, to maintaining friendships, what a (sometimes crazy, most of the time incredible, a lot of the times rollercoaster-esque) ride it’s been. So before I enter my very last year of my 20’s next week, if I could borrow Hermione’s time turner and tell that girl just entering this life changing season of life a few things, these would be them….
1. It’s gonna get worse before it gets better. I’m gonna be honest with you, your early 20’s will be one of the most trying times of your life. You will feel like you can’t pick up the pieces, but I promise you, you will. There will be a light at the end of the tunnel. And you will come out on the other side.
2. Hard work will eventually pay off, but maybe not at the same time as other people around you. Remember to be patient, and realize that your path is your own. With that being said, remember to not compare your beginning or middle to someone else’s end.
3. Surround yourself always with people that support you. Underline, capitalize, emphasize. And one time louder for you, just in case you’re not listening. You will realize the people in your life that support you (and you support, in return) are one of the most treasured parts of your life. Nurture those relationships as much as you can, and say goodbye to the ones that don’t.
4. Embrace this season of your life. It will never come again, and believe me, it will go very quickly. Spend less time worrying about the future, and more time being present right now.
5. Don’t hold grudges. Those get you nowhere, boo. Forgiveness in someone else is a sign of strength, not of weakness. Let go of the things that are weighing heavy on your heart.
6. Money is not the key to happiness. Life is too damn short (as you well know) to spend a life doing something that doesn’t bring you joy. The money will always come and go. I promise, you won’t be eating ramen in your dorm room and worrying about rent forever.
7. Eat the pizza. Enjoy your metabolism now. Learn to embrace your body-it’s the only one you’re ever gonna get!
8. Remember you don’t have to be blood to be family. Your friends will become your lifelines, and those relationships will take you far. Also remember that as you get older, your circle will get smaller. This is okay, because the ones that are there are the ones that will be there for life.
9. Stop spending so much money at Forever 21. And in general on junk you don’t need. I promise you, you won’t remember it down the road. Save that money for experiences, they will stick with you so much longer than that pair of shoes you had to have (and wore once).
10. Let go of the fear holding you back from taking chances. It might not work out, but guess what? It’s much better to try something, than wonder “what if” for the rest of your life.
11. Broken hearts in all senses of the word are part of life. I know your 20 year old self will roll your eyes at this, but time heals all, and everything will somehow work out the way it’s meant to. If it hasn’t worked out yet? It’s not the end, girl.
12. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Because that’s all it is, small stuff.
13. Show up for the people in your life, in a way that means something. Call them. Send them a text to let them know you’re thinking of them on a random day. Write them. Send them a gift just because. There’s nothing more powerful than a handwritten card. Don’t let these small things fall by the wayside.
14. Your family will always be there to support you. When the rest of the world can seem chaotic AF, know that they will always be there. Cherish every single beautiful moment with them. Just as your friends become your family as you get older, your family will become your (very best) friends.
15. Oy with the timeline, already! At 20, you might think you’ll be married with kids and a mortgage by now. Spoiler alert: by now, that’s only 1/3 true, and guess what? It’s completely fine. In fact it’s better than fine, in a way you can’t even imagine right now.
16. Stand up for yourself. Your voice deserves to be heard. Whether it’s in a conference room of people much older and more experienced than you, or in your daily life. You’re there for a reason. And you deserve a spot at the table.
17. Don’t limit yourself on what you think you’re “supposed” to be doing. Be okay with throwing the rulebook out the window. You’ll quickly learn that life doesn’t go according to plan, and the road of your life might not be traditional. This doesn’t make it any worse or better than anyone else’s, it simply makes it yours.
18. Be okay with saying “no.” Your time is your most precious resource. When you’re burning the candles at both ends, it’s okay to say no to things. The world will not end if you miss one dinner, one happy hour, or one trip. I promise.
19. Go see the world. Start doing it as soon as you can. Don’t wait for “one day” because this life that you’re living is happening right now, not “one day.” It will help you realize your problems are much smaller than you thought, and you’re pretty damn lucky. You’ve got a roof over your head, a warm bed, hot meals, and clean water. When you see firsthand that many people in the world don’t have this, your perspective will change forever.
20. Forgive Yourself. You will make mistakes during these years (lots of them) but we’re all human. Give yourself both the grace and the compassion to be able to accept that (and remember it for the future) and use this tool throughout your whole life.
I’ve got one year left in this rollercoaster ride of a decade, and to be honest? I can’t wait. Bring it on, 29!