Hi I’m back! There have been a few valuable jewels of wisdom I’ve picked up along the way from my 20’s, as I close the door to this fundamental chapter in my life. While it pains me a little to finally realize that I am no longer an adolescent anymore, it does give me solace to know that I’ve progressed through the growing pains of my 20’s and finally figuring out what I want in life, better late than never!
1. The biggest failure is not taking the chance at all.
Why not? A great question to start with when making any major life decision. If I listened to my fear of the unknown, and never taught English abroad, went out to be part of an amazing all-girls dance group, gone back to to school, or attempted stand up comedy, I would have missed out on such monumental experiences. No experience is wasted, only choosing no experience will be the biggest regret of all. When we’re old, looking back on the montage of our life, we will never regret those chances, even if they turned out to be failures. Sometimes, you just gotta go for it! Failure is inevitable, it’s impossible to be successful at everything so why run away from it? The least we get is a valuable life lesson.
2. Progression isn’t linear.
I’ve learned this the hard way. After I graduated I had this fairytale notion that I would just work in a large company and stay there, naturally progressing up the ranks and that would be that. As long as I was a diligent hard-worker and had a great attitude, I would be set. Boy was I in for a wake-up call. I left my first job after I was offered a new job months later that was more money and responsibility. I asked myself “why not”? When one door closes another opens right? I did my job well, just passed probation, and then I received the dreaded news, “we are restructuring and today is your last day here”. Let’s just say I was taken back, shed a few tears, and sank into a shroud of confusion. There was no closure, no reason why, just that I wasn’t needed anymore. That was a reality check for me I’ve had to come to terms with that day. You can do everything right, and it still won’t be enough, but it was just a small detour. Everything truly happens for a reason, and every setback helps lean you forward to somewhere better! Looking back, I can guarantee that’s true.
3. I’ll be happy when/if I…. Is the biggest myth
Perspective is everything. In fact, it can be a survival tool. When we focus on obtaining exterior things instead of focusing on the interior, it will only be temporary and our insatiable wants will never go away. If we ground ourselves in gratitude for not only what we have, but what we are and have achieved already, happiness will no longer be this unattainable far away thing. We got it in the palm of our hands already! We can see this lesson with the rich and famous, a lot of them are not happy. Money evidently doesn’t buy happiness. There’s nothing wrong striving to be better, but being grateful for what we have has the best personal return of investment.
4. Self-respect is #1. A.K.A. boundaries.
Ah boundaries, what a necessary and beautiful word. Personal boundaries are necessary because respecting yourself comes first. Self-respect is #1 and that comes with being true, kind to yourself, and most of all being authentic. This one has a continuous learning curb, especially if you value being liked and people-pleasing (guilty). But as long as we’re going through life adhering to this value, we will set up for success.
5. Talk is cheap. Action is valuable.
“People show you who they are.” Maya Angelou’s words could not have been more truthful. It’s one of the most powerful lessons that resonated with Oprah when she talked with her many years ago. People can also tell you things, and make promises. But at the end of the day, if there is no follow through with action, their talk is worthless, zero, all smoke and mirrors. This lesson sometimes has to be learned the hard way, but listening to the gestures that others do or don’t do speaks more volumes than any word can.
I can proudly say I’m 30, thriving and thankful as I’ve officially opened the door to this next decade! What are some lessons you’re grateful you learned in your 20’s?