Ever since I turned 25 almost 5 years ago, I’ve dreaded turning thirty. Some how being in my late 20’s felt like death march to 30. Within the last few months, that’s changed. I”m not dreading turning 30, In fact, I’m embracing it and slightly excited. And it’s not just because I’m having an awesome 80’s-themed birthday party Saturday night.
As I have been thinking over the past few weeks, I’ve done a lot of reflecting as I close the chapter on the decade of my 20’s.
Here’s 20 Things My 20’s Have Taught Me:
- Grandparents are a treasure. Having lost all three of my grandparents in my 20’s, I treasure every minute and memory with them. Get to know them as more than just your “grandparents”. Know how they first fell in love over a bottle of Coca-Cola or that funny story about the time a drunk guy rode a horse into the bar.
- Work hard but not too hard. It’s great to be driven and have goals, but don’t get lost in the rat-race to “success”. I’ve lost my self a few times, but having people in your life to remind you what really matters is important. I am a human BEing not a Human DOing.
- Friends come and go, but hold tight to those who stick around. Some friendships are a matter of a convenience and circumstances (same major in college, same team at work), but those who love you no matter what and chose to do life with you are rare treasures! You need a close friend or two who will you call you out on your crap and be there to listen to the deepest wanderings of your heart.
- Deal with it. Life happens and you’re figuring out who the “real” you is. If you are “stuck” with yourself or you need help dealing with things, don’t be embarrassed to see a counselor and work through whatever it is.
- Your faith is will be tested and stretched, but it will grow. God is big enough to handle your doubts, your questioning, and your wanderings. Don’t give up – keep searching and you’ll find a stronger and purer faith on the other side of the desert.
- Pursue your dreams. The only person standing in the way of your dreams is you. Don’t be scared – go for it! You can do anything you set your mind to.
- It’s a really awesome thing when your parents become your friends. They’re smart – way smarter than you realize. And better yet, it’s a beautiful thing when they can become your “friends” and you enjoy hanging out with each other.
- Life isn’t always fair and every day is a gift. It sounds cliche but it’s true. There will be people taken from your life suddenly and you too soon, but always look for the beauty and signs of hope in each day. Don’t take people for granted and always let them know how much they’re loved!
- Give back. Learn how to live generously on whatever you have to give – not just money, but your time, energy, talents!
- Learn how to let go and forgive. People will hurt you. People will disappoint you. They’re human after all! The quicker you can forgive and move on – the better things can be.
- Out of our deepest pains, beauty and growth emerges. Not easy to swallow or see in the moment, Some of the toughest situation offer you the opportunity to grow, if you allow it.
- Forget the 5 year plan. It’s great to have a game plan and goals, but don’t get so caught up in the “what’s next” you forget the “what’s now”. Enjoy whatever season of life you’re in and be open to the “life lessons” you’re learning.
- Your spouse is an introvert. It took me a few years to realize this as an off the charts extrovert. Give him his space and “me time” to re-charge and don’t be insecure or think something is wrong.
- Social media is awesome, but be conscious of your social-foot print. It’s more permanent than a tattoo. Don’t post or say anything you’d be ashamed of for a future employer or grandchild to see.
- Be quick to say “I was wrong” when you really were. You’re not always right and don’t know everything. When you’re wrong – own it and learn from it!
- Babies are easier for some people to have than others. I always thought (see #12) I’d be done having kids by 30, but things just haven’t worked out that way!
- Love is more than a feeling; it’s a choice and a commitment. Some days you don’t “feel in love”, but in the end you can always choose to find your way back together. Don’t buy into a Hollywood notion of love and romance. A real love story is way more messier, but also so much deeper and beautiful.
- Life isn’t all about you. Invest in others and their success. When you want what’s best for others, it brings out the best in you
- Learn to love yourself. Find out who you really are and embrace it. Put away the negative self-talk and embrace every aspect of you. If you’re not good to yourself, how can you expect anyone else to be good to you? If there are characteristics and habits you really don’t like, decide to change them.
- It’s more about your perspective and attitude than your circumstances. You can’t always choose your circumstances, but you can always choose your attitude. This makes the difference in life!
And with that my friends… I’ll toast to the next decade of my 30’s! Grateful for every bit of life and lesson I’ve learned.