What my 20’s have taught me.

Me and my twin a few years back!
Me and my twin brother a few years back!

Just about a month ago I took the dreaded steps into being a thirty year old.  I really didn’t mind it so much when it actually happened, but now that I’m thirty I blame everything on my age.  My neck is sore, nobody complimented my skin, I got bad service at the restaurant….You name it and I’ve blamed it on my new age.

To celebrate this accomplishment I spent a long weekend filled with cocktails and dancing in Austin, Texas.  This is a city I’ve been to several times, but never as an almost thirty year old.  It got me thinking about the differences in life at twenty and then at thirty.  At 21 I took a trip to Austin in my Chevy Malibu with my best friend. We both had the weekend off work and an extra hundred bucks so we packed up and went.   I remember getting there and trying to find a hotel, only to learn they were all booked up for an event.  We hadn’t thought to look into that.  We learned the hard way the importance of always having a guaranteed  place to lay your head.  To this day I insist on making the travel arrangements!   This time around we stayed in a nice (clean) hotel, Lone Star Court, and ate at some amazing restaurants.  (Check out Uchiko if you are in town) Things were certainly different.  With my new coming of age, I’d like to share a few things I’ve learned about life and more importantly myself during the last decade.

1.  Time is both your friend and your worst enemy.

When you are in your twenties you have a built in excuse for all your bad decisions.  You may have stayed out late and showed up an hour late for work.  Fortunately, you are in your twenties and waiting tables at a restaurant.  The managers there knew the risk when they hired a twenty something for $2.18 an hour.  Your twenties are a perfect time to take risks.  Your parents are way more okay with you changing your career path five times in your twenties than they are at thirty.  But don’t use this excuse for too long.  Eventually you have to grow up.  Yes, you have to!  Nobody wants it to happen but eventually you begin to realize your relationships are no longer only going to last a summer.  You begin to think about long term careers, relationships, and hobbies.  If you don’t you will miss some great opportunities.  But do use this excuse for as long as you can.

2.  Don’t take all criticism to heart.

In my twenties I worked as a model.  Sadly, social media was also a thing and my picture would be plastered on people’s pages.  It’s really cool to see someone using your image to promote their brand.  It’s not fun to see some of the comments people post about said images.  I will admit, it took a long time for me to learn how to cope with this.  But then I remembered that these people would never have said these things to me directly.  If they had I would have blown them off and not thought about it again.  People will always have something negative to say.  Consider if they have a point that you can learn from.  If not, move on!  You have precious time here on this earth.  Don’t spend it dwelling on someone’s mind that you cannot change.

3.  You are not the most important person in the world!

This is a hard one to learn .  Being young we see ourselves as being ‘special’.  We assume that we are different and we have something amazing to offer to the world.  We do have something amazing to offer to the world!  Your world is just smaller than you think.  You will have a tremendous impact on the people you interact with every day. If you are fortunate you will find a way to impact more people than most.  You will never reach everyone.

4.  Take risks and don’t be afraid to fail.

Being in your twenties allows you the opportunity to meet a ton of new people.  In your twenties you will be out and you will meet some interesting people.  Undoubtedly, if you are passionate and you are around new people they will offer you some great opportunities.  Take them!  Use your judgment and don’t put yourself in harms way, but jump at these risks.  They may not all pan out, but you have that built in excuse of being young.  You will meet some amazing people along the way and do your best to learn from all of them.  Even if your take away is that you don’t want to be like them.

5.  Nobody is perfect.

We all already know this, but we tend to forget it when we are younger.  We look at our friends, our parents, celebrities, and everyone else we come into contact with and assume they have it all figured out.  Truth be told nobody is an expert at life.  We all get one shot and we are figuring it out as we go. Certain people learn from their mistakes faster than others but we all make them.  Don’t be afraid to admit your mistakes.  Learn something new every day and keep on going.

6.  Decide what is important to you.

I have decided that at this moment in life travel is one of the most important things to me.  I want to see the world!  For you, it may be being the best parent, husband, or wife.  Opening a store or having a high profile career.  The thing is, it doesn’t matter, it is your decision.  This is a time where you get to do what YOU want.  You are young enough to do whatever you choose and you’ve lived enough to realize what works and what doesn’t.  Do what is right for you and own it.

This list is solely about what I have learned thus far.   I will admit there are things I have learned that I am ashamed to put on this list. (How do you pronounce that??? I’ve been saying it wrong my whole life?!) Each stage of life is different and I am a little terrified of being a real grown up but, also super excited to see what the next decade holds for me.  Cheers to being 30!