Today I’m thirty years old. It’s hard to believe because most of the time I still don’t feel like a real adult. But really, who does? We’re all just winging it, doing the best we can, even if we think everyone else has it all together.
The recovering perfectionist in me wants to focus on what I’ve yet to accomplish rather than how far I’ve come. Lately, I’ve been carrying the heavy weight of “I thought I’d be married with kids by now,” “I thought I’d be more settled by now,” or my personal favorite, “I thought I’d know what the hell I want by now.”
My twenties have been a rollercoaster ride of figuring out who I am, accepting who I am, and loving who I am. I’ve had to learn to let go of people pleasing, perfectionism, fear of getting hurt, fear of commitment, self-hate, and so much more. I don’t think I’ll ever stop learning how to do these things.
In any case I thought I’d share my list of 30 life lessons I learned in my twenties as a mini “time capsule” for myself but also in the hopes that you’ll get at least one nugget of inspiration for yourself, too.
So here goes!
30 lessons I learned in my twenties:
- You don’t owe anyone anything. And vice versa.
- Don’t take advice from people who’ve never been where you wish to go.
- Weird is a matter of opinion, and who says weird is a bad thing?
- You always know what to do, even if you don’t think you do.
- It’s not anyone’s responsibility to make you happy and vice versa.
- If it feels right, do it. If it feels wrong, don’t do it.
- Follow the signs.
- People will judge you regardless. Do what makes you happy.
- If someone makes you feel wrong for feeling your own emotions, run. Emotional manipulation is hard to spot at first but this is a red flag I never ignore anymore.
- It’s never too late to start over or start something new. There is no shame in quitting something you hate, either.
- Resting and taking breaks doesn’t mean you’re lazy. It means you’re a human.
- You aren’t alone, you aren’t the only one, and you’re not crazy for feeling what you feel.
- There’s a lot of good in this world. Stop watching the news for awhile if you start to feel otherwise.
- You’re worthy. You’re enough. You’re beautiful. Just the way you are.
- Crying and expressing your emotions isn’t weakness, it’s strength.
- Buy good quality shoes.
- Create your version of success rather than pursuing someone else’s.
- Surround yourself with real friends who stick by you through the hard shit, tell you the truth, and love you even when you feel totally unloveable.
- Give when you can, without expecting anything in return.
- Receive help when it’s offered (or better yet ask for it when you need it!), without feeling like you owe anything in return.
- Smile at strangers for no reason. It makes you and them feel really damn good.
- Listen to people’s stories. You can learn something from everyone.
- You won’t miss out on anything that’s truly meant for you.
- Setting and honoring your boundaries doesn’t make you a bitch.
- You can’t make people change. You can either accept them as they are or move on.
- There’s nothing quite as healing as a walk by the water or in the forest.
- Tell people what they mean to you. Do it often.
- Magic is real. You just have to open your eyes to it and track the evidence.
- Your mind isn’t you. You’re the observer of the mind, and you can think new thoughts any time you choose.
- Don’t take life too seriously. Laugh until you cry. Cry until you laugh. A good sense of humor will save you.
After writing this list, I feel like I need to print it out and put it somewhere I’ll see it daily. It’s so easy to forget how much wisdom we already have inside us, isn’t it?
I’d love to know – what did you learn from being in your twenties? Or if you’re in your thirties already – what are you learning now?
Let’s have a conversation in the comments!