Ten Things I Learned in My Early Twenties
I don't usually share lots of information about myself on this blog, just general events and happenings surrounding my posts. I thought it would be nice, since my mid-twenties are just under three weeks away, if I share some of the things I learned through this really tumultuous phase of life.
By the way, you can get all of the outfit details for this photo in this previous post.
1. People will always surprise you.
This is a huge one for me. Whether it was good or bad, I've realized that you can never underestimate or limit people, they will continue to surprise you. This was mostly a good thing; as I saw people pay it forward to my benefit, stick up for me and do things for me under no sense of obligation or necessity. I try to use their kindness as a guide every day, especially when people surprise me for the worst.
2. Now is always a good time to work towards your dream.
You may not wind up where you thought you'd be, your dream might look a little different than it did a couple years ago, but now is always the time to start working towards what you want. Even if you think you're in the wrong place entirely, begin laying the groundwork for your future. It'll be worth it, I promise.
3. You're going to lose some people, but two pop up in their place (unlike gray hairs).
You're going to lose some friends. Sometimes it'll be gradual, other times you're the one to forcefully end a relationship. Just have the guts to do it. By losing people that suck your time and energy, you'll meet people that will do nothing but lift you higher. Every friend (or best friend) that I've lost, two or more people have entered my life that remind me what real friendship is. At first it might resemble the end of Lauren Conrad and Heidi Montag's friendship, but I think we can all agree that Lauren is far better off now than she was on The Hills.
4. Don't say yes to everything, but say yes to the things that'll make you grow.
Sometimes you'll have to say no. No to the night out drinking with your buddies, no to the Sex and the City marathon with your roommate, no to the cruise that you're dying to go on but can't afford, no to the job offer that might look good at first.
That's okay, don't be afraid to say no. But if you have the opportunity, stretch your budget to go on an adventure, go to that wedding that you thought you couldn't afford, try something that you never thought you'd do in a million years, have the courage to start a new job in a new place. It will expand your horizons, and those are the things you'll look back on and remember years later.
5. Pay it forward.
I've seen people really struggle with lifting their peers up, but it's one of the most important things you can do. When you're working hard towards your dreams, always remember that there are people below you with the same dreams. If you can help them, do so. It'll not only forge a connection that could help you in the future, but you'll feel great being in the position to help someone out. People don't forget a favor.
6. The well-worn path isn't always the right path.
I wrote about this in my blog post for Gutsy Gals, but taking the path that everyone recommends isn't necessarily the right way. Going your own route will make the destination that much better to reach. Everyone is different, it goes without saying that everyone's path will be a little different.
7. You're entry-level job won't be what you expect.
Most people's first jobs won't be glamorous. It'll be a lot of copying, filing and spreadsheets; but you need the first job to get the next one. Suck it up and learn as much as you can from it, because it will help you down the road.
8. Saving money is one of the most important things you can do.
After moving into my apartment, my savings account looks abysmal, but I put money into a retirement account every paycheck. Does it suck to not have that money up front? Sure. Knowing I'll have it later, when I cant work, makes me feel a little more secure with my future. If you have money you can put aside instead of spend on new shoes, save it!
9. Relationships take serious work.
Relationships are hard, and they're hard for everyone. Continually making the decision to be with your partner no matter what can be really challenging at times. I've learned that only by modifying my own behavior can I expect any sort of real change, arguing with someone will only make them tune you out. This goes for a significant other, family member or a friend. Looking in the mirror and changing the way you react to someone can very often lead to being treated the way you want them to treat you.
10. Getting old is a privilege not given to all.
Many of the older people in my life have passed over the last couple of years, and while seeing them go fills me with a profound sadness, there's an acknowledgement that they lived their life and are making room for others to live. The tragedy is when someone young passes. When you see a friend die, that snaps you into the reality that life is short, no day is guaranteed, and you can't waste your life away. Live every day to the fullest, and never forget to always better yourself. You don't know what day will be your last.