I will be turning thirty next week – June first to be exact. I haven’t had much time to really dwell on it until now. This milestone leaves me feeling a sort of sadness and regret for wishing time to pass so quickly during some of my twenties; anger for not learning lessons as quickly as I should have; and hope for a better decade – one filled with adventures, love, mistakes and a desire to keep on living life to its fullest. So before the clock strikes midnight on May 31st and I transition into a new phase of life – here are the lessons I learned in my twenties:
- Rules were made to be broken. I spent so much time playing by the rules when I should have been trying to redefine them. I learned this lesson later in my twenties and I wish I would have learned it earlier. There are so many RULES – both spoken and unspoken. From trying to fit in at work – to who you’re going to invite to your wedding. So much energy is wasted trying to fit in and play by the rules. I give you permission – break the damn rules.
- Fall in love as often as you can. You’ll fall in love once and get your heartbroken. You may tread very carefully after that, but I am telling you to get back on the saddle. When we fall in love we learn so much about ourselves, the good and the bad. Work through those issues. Find out what you want. The qualities you want. You only can learn some things by falling in and out of love. Care less about virtue and more about finding yourself. I know women who’ve gotten divorces in their twenties and are ashamed – don’t be. You took a leap that some people never will and it takes guts to admit when something isn’t working. I know women who’ve never had boyfriends and are scared – don’t be. None of us know what we are doing – we’re all just trying to do our best.
- Follow your passion and don’t be afraid if it changes. As humans we are always changing. As often as we fall in and out of love with one another – we fall in and out of love with our work. I started a business and I fell out of love with it – I felt like a failure, but I realized ending something was only a new beginning. Passions change and when that business ended a new one was born. It’s important to follow your dreams – we only get so many spins around the sun – so don’t miss out on what could be your next big adventure.
- Flossing is a real thing. You can brush your teeth all you want, but if you don’t floss you will get cavities. P.S. – you’re welcome.
- Just because you can handle stress mentally, doesn’t mean you can physically. Mind over matter is a motto I lived by. Well, that was a poor motto. I was recently engaged, had two businesses and managed to be a full-time attorney. My stress levels were through the roof, but I compartmentalized my stress – I figured mentally I could handle it. My body gave me the big middle finger and I started losing my hair. When I finally went to the doctor to figure out the problem (which in my mind I contributed to vitamin deficiencies) she stated, “Wait so you’re telling me you have two businesses, a full time job and you’re planning a wedding? Do you think stress could be a contributing factor?” – sure enough it was stress and I made the decision that week to close the doors on one of my businesses. Your mind and body work as one – make sure you listen to both.
- Dogs are a huge responsibility, but also mini soulmates. All the responsible people in my life told me not to get a dog. It was too much responsibility and I would regret it. Right? Wrongo. I’ve had two major pet loves in my life and both of them were nothing short of a best friend. It was a shoulder to cry on, a smiling wagging face at all hours of the day, always up to exercise, always down to eat and they play like nobody’s business. Sometimes you just need someone who loves you at all moments of the day – good and bad – pets are DEFINITELY heart fillers.
- Pick your battles. A wise friend once told me this about relationships, but I think this rings true in all aspects of our lives. You can’t fight about EVERYTHING. Simply because EVERYTHING isn’t worth fighting about. You pick the battles you can win… just kidding. You pick the battles that mean the most to you. This is at home and at work. You have to remember no one is perfect – so letting some things slide is necessary.
- Starting a family and getting married is optional. GASP. The rooms goes silent. That’s right I said it. You DO NOT need to start a family or get married if those things aren’t right for you. This is by far the biggest societal pressure and I am just going to go ahead a rip the band-aid off. In your late twenties it will start to feel like the hunger games of dating. You’re single, you’re thrown into this dating arena with all these weird people and then one by one people start dying off. Okay, weird analogy. You get the point. Just because everyone is saying “I do” doesn’t mean you have to feel rushed to find the one. Same goes for having kids. Do it only if it feels right – not because of a long line of crazy tradition and pressure.
- Never and I mean NEVER be afraid to be yourself. This is the most important thing I’ve learned in my last 29 years. I spent so much time trying to fit in. Somewhere along the road I started to lose that sense of wanting to belong. It made me unhappy. I wasn’t going to sit down and shut up. I wasn’t going to “act my age”. I wasn’t always going to be responsible. Hell, I wasn’t going to always act like a person was supposed to act in their twenties – I hate day drinking and I don’t like choker necklaces – there I said it. Stop trying to fit in. Just be you. I know it sounds cliche, but there isn’t anyone quite like you and there is so much beauty in uniqueness. Be confident in who you are. If you aren’t quite sure who you are yet – then be confident that you’ll find out soon. A very wise therapist once told me, “Some people never question who they are or what they believe in – they spend their whole lives just doing what they think they’re supposed to do. Questioning is a good thing!” So question yourself – redefine yourself – just be yourself.
- Most lists end with an even ten items. Please see number one.
XX Come find me
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