Have you ever been overwhelmed by someone’s generosity or kindness? A thoughtful text from a friend last week nearly brought me to tears with joy and it made me sit back and reflect on some of the wonderful friendships I have made and life changes that have happened since I moved to Austin.
I find it funny that after years of giving advice to my younger sisters on how-to-do-this and what-to-expect-at-this-age, they are the first people I turn to for answers and advice in moments of need. They may be younger but now that we’re all in our twenties, we’re adults on different life journeys carving our own paths. We can help each other see things the other didn’t see. And isn’t it nice to say what you’re feeling out loud and have someone understand what you mean? And understand you as a whole?
As I approach my thirties and the beginning of motherhood, I’ve been reflecting a lot on the events and things I have learned in this last decade of my life. My twenties were a time for discovering new possibilities, learning tough lessons, and ultimately “finding myself”. I traveled to many neat places. I found my first full time job and moved into an apartment in the city. I found independence through supporting myself and choosing who I would spend my time with. I met at a boy, fell in love, and got married. I made friends. And I lost some. I realized some of my shortcomings but I also discovered some of my talents.
There were ups and downs and a few surprises, but mostly, the ride was a whirlwind of fun.
Here are 20 lessons I’ve learned in my Twenties…(and some that I’m still learning…)
Family is Forever. This was actually something my parents instilled in us at an early age but didn’t really resonate with me until after college. We were always told that people would come and go in our lives but our family would always be there. So we had to look out for each other. As an adult I realized that the values my parents taught us forged the closest friendships between my siblings and I and I’m so thankful to have people I can turn to for anything.
Face to Face Communication Always Wins: Remember how you approached people and situations before you had a smart phone.
Reading is never a bad idea... It’s kind of cool when you realize a hobby of yours is pretty good for you too. Reading is an opportunity for learning. Reading lets you escape. And reading requires brainpower. If you ever face some down time, pick up a good book or read the newspaper.
Be Present: Sometimes you need to put your phone away, your tablet in your bag, and tune into the people and things that surround you.
Exercise… will never not be important for a healthy life.
Call your Grandparents. Just because you might not see them every day (or even that often), they care so much about you. They have loved you since day one and have always been there for you. And someday your grandchildren will hopefully call you.
A Budget is your Best Friend… Especially if you’ve just graduated from college and are navigating a new world of independence. It ain’t always rainbows and butterflies my friends, so make sure you’re putting some cash in that 401k and maybe waiting to buy that Kate Spade bag…
“Comparison is the Thief of Joy”- Teddy Roosevelt… Nothing rings more true in a world where we post our highlights to social media and document our daily lives. It’s so easy to be a voyeur in someone else’s life and assume that they’ve got it all together. Or that they know what they are doing. This is also a lesson I have learned through blogging where it is so easy to compare your success in numbers to other bloggers (more follows, more likes, etc). Just remember that nobody has it all figured out and you bring something different to the table. Embrace your uniqueness.
Dream Big, Work Hard… A dream will never be more than merely a thought in the clouds if you don’t take action. The initial leap is the hardest: trying something different or putting yourself out there… But hard work and dedication pay off.
Some women never lose their cattiness… High school may be over, but some things never change! Be the bigger person.
Learn how to Say No. This is something I still am working on. I am a people-pleaser and I really don’t like hurting feelings. It’s hard for me to turn things or people down. But it is so important to stay true to yourself. And let’s be honest, we can’t all do everything.
Sing Out Loud in the Car… I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again… life is too short not to sing out loud with the windows down to your favorite song! Celebrate life.
“Sometimes the hardest thing and the right thing are the same”- The Fray… Ever had to give someone or something up? Or do something you didn’t want to do? Life isn’t always fair. But sometimes certain things are for the best.
People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel” – a timeless lesson from Maya Angelou. Be kind. Spread love. Be loyal.
There are Two Sides To Every Story… Unless you’re separating a battle between your two children or maybe refereeing an argument between your friends, you most likely won’t receive both sides of the story. Remember this before you place judgment on someone. You don’t know everything.
A Smile Is Always In Style… And that’s that.
Learn Your Love Language… Understanding yourself and your spouse/partner/boyfriend/girlfriend will only make for a better relationship. Know what things make you feel loved and know what makes them feel loved. And maybe go the extra mile. Especially on a day you might not want to. Sometimes we have to for the ones we love.
Forgiveness is Freedom… It really is, isn’t it? Although the person I find hardest to forgive is usually myself. Deep breaths. Embrace your humanness. Realize you aren’t perfect. Learn from your mistakes. Say sorry even when it’s the hardest thing to do. Learn to let go of the past.
“Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it” – another wise statement from my favorite poet Maya Angelou…
Loyalty is Everything… Remember the people who have been by your side through thick and thin and have helped shape the person you are. Be there for them.
Practice Gratitude… Every night before bed I pray. I’ve done this since I was seven and learned the Lord’s Prayer and I find it’s a good way to unravel and remember all my blessings. I don’t usually ask for things unless something is pressing. I just list many of the things I am grateful for. I find that practicing gratitude is a wonderful way to end the day and see life in a different way.
*Photography by Brandon Hill