Y’all, I turned 30! After I turned 23 I panicked at the thought of turning 30, but when I turned 28 my perspective completely changed. I realized that I went through a transformation during my twenties due to many experiences (good and bad) that helped mold me into who I am today. I made a lot of mistakes during that decade (a ton of them) so if you’re in your twenties, or even if you’re not, here are just a few life changing lessons I learned in my twenties. Hopefully one or two will stick with you!
I used to be really materialistic. Super vain. I’ll admit it. I always felt the need to buy expensive purses, clothes, etc. Years later, I learned that it’s smarter to invest my money in things that matter. There’s one important thing you should invest in and that’s investing in yourself. Invest in your education, your passion, your retirement funds, and a business you’ve been wanting to start. Those are things you won’t regret spending money on.
The absolute biggest lesson of my life, you guys! I was never “religious”. I knew OF God, but I never REALLY knew Him. When I was hurt, struggling, and failing at life, I didn’t reach out to Him. I relied on my feelings to make major decisions in my life. I was constantly feeling confused, unfulfilled, and bitter. This is a topic that requires an entire post alone, but for now, I’ll let you know that there is no relationship of greater importance, than to know and be in relationship with God. God, the One who created us wants nothing more than to have a personal relationship with us. He wants to help you walk through life by walking with Him.
I used to believe that marriage was something that was on everyone’s “to-do” list and that healthy marriages didn’t exist. I didn’t believe in fairytale endings or happily ever afters – not until I learned that Christ-centered relationships lead to the healthiest marriages. Your relationship with Jesus determines the kind of relationship you will have with your spouse. When you know how to talk, relate or respond to life according to His will, you will know how to do same with your spouse.
I won’t tell you about the time I was applying foundation while driving which resulted in 2 slashed tires and a broken rim because that’s just too embarrassing. I mean, who does that? *mhmm. Ok, next lesson!
I didn’t own a face wash for most of my life – in fact, went to sleep with my makeup on pretty often. In my late 20s I learned the importance of proper skin maintenance including applying sunscreen every day and investing in a good face mask. I didn’t experience my first facial until I was 27 because I thought a facial was only a way to pamper yourself, but there are different facials for different skin issues. So to my young peeps: The more you take care of your skin now, the healthier your skin will be and the less wrinkles you have to worry about later.
For the past several years, I had always wanted to start a blog. I put it off for the longest due to fear. Fear of failing, fear of being judged, fear of not meeting my own standards, fear of not being good enough. Don’t let fear stop you from doing what you love. Taking risks and conquering your fears is going to help you grow and get you where you want to go.
Deep question here: how many friends do you consider your real friends? The kind of friendships that you can be extremely authentic with? The kind of friends that will give you the ability to be yourself, offer you biblical advice, and keep you accountable with authenticity? I joined a biblical community and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. The relationships that I have with my community group are far beyond surface level conversations and happy hour meet ups. These girls accept me, lovingly point out my shortcomings, and are actively concerned with my well-being and helping me grow. I believe in quality over quantity when it comes to friendships.
If you know me personally, you know Winston is basically my life. No secret there. Owning a dog changed me! I’ve become more responsible and more selfless since becoming his mommy. He’s taught me patience, loyalty, and unconditional love. I’m not a mommy to a human, but he might as well be my real child.
I’m a perfectionist – with everything. I have really high standards for everything I do in life including work, my photography business, and my blog. I realized that although it’s great that you always strive to be the best, it’s also harmful because your best never seems to be good enough. I’m a social media manager for small businesses and I pushed back on launching my website for so long because I wasn’t 100% happy with it. I kept making changes to it daily and honestly, I still don’t think it’s perfect, but I launched it anyways. Give yourself grace. There’s a sense of freedom that comes with knowing that everything in your life doesn’t have to be perfect.
When I went to Cuba I didn’t carry my phone around. It was so… freeing. We’re so consumed by our phones and technology that we aren’t ever truly present. I’m the worst. I carry my phone around like it’s glued to my hand. If I’m not on my phone, I’m on my laptop. If I’m not on my laptop, I’m thinking of work. In a world full of busyness, we need to train ourselves to forget our phones, to not always have our business on the forefront of our minds. Enjoy the little moments – you close your eyes and you just might miss something important.
I believe in celebrating every tiny victory in your life. You finally decided to quit your job to pursue your dream? That takes a lot of courage! Celebrate that! Your first day back at the gym? Good for you! The first couple of days is the hardest! Everything is worth celebrating. Life in general is worth celebrating.
I didn’t start having my life together until… wait, I still don’t. You are constantly growing, life happens, unexpected events are going to be thrown your way. Don’t let that discourage you. It’s ok to not have everything figured out right now.
I never really knew what people meant when they said, “you need to love yourself”. Like, how? What does that really mean? Loving yourself means being unapologetically you. You’re quirky, and weird, and an introvert, and a crazy cat lady. Love every single aspect of what makes you, you. When you love yourself, you respect yourself. When you respect yourself, others will respect you. And if they don’t, you learn to let them go.
Don’t settle for an okay job, an okay relationship, an okay (fill in your own blank). Know who you are. Know what you want. Mostly, know what you deserve. Settling for something you know deep inside your gut that doesn’t feel right is a sign that you’re lowering your standards. Sometimes we don’t close one door because of the uncertainty of what’s on the other side, but know that God wants what’s best for you. He has a plan, a job, a relationship much more beautiful than what you could ever imagine. People around you may tell you that your standards are too high, but who cares what they think? If you stay single for 35 years but are finally in a relationship you KNOW is right for you, will make waiting so worth it.
Man, pride was one of my biggest sin struggles. Forgive quickly and be the first to say you’re sorry even when you may not be at fault. It’s humbling. Besides, why let anger or pride weigh you down?
The events in my life haven’t happened when I wanted them to happen. I graduated in my late twenties when I should’ve graduated in my early twenties. I’m 30 years old without a ring or kids, but I trust that God’s timing is perfect. I’ve looked back at events in my life and understand why God didn’t give me what I wanted when I wanted it. He knew it wasn’t good for me or knew it wasn’t the right timing for me. This wait that you are currently in is meant to prepare you.
I could list several more lessons that I learned in my 20s, but these cover several of them. After 30 years, I’m finally at a point where I feel proud of who I am and where I am in life. I know what’s important and what isn’t. I know that the next 30 years will hold some really beautiful things and honestly, I’m really excited!
What is one of the biggest lessons you’ve learned personally so far?