11 Things I’ve Learned As a 20 Something
I’ve been told that the 20’s are the hardest years to get through as a woman.
It’s the stage where most women find their first love, go to college, and experience real autonomy for the first time. It’s the time in life where being on your own is both wonderful and lonely; exhilarating and exhausting. Being a 20 something can be downright complicated.
Each year presents new opportunities for growth, and no matter what decisions we make, they end up leading us somewhere we don’t always anticipate.
Here are a few things I’ve learned in my years as a 20 something.
1. Take care of your body and your mind will follow.
Ever since high school, taking care of my body has been important to me. I played sports and I ran and did yoga for years, but eventually that petered out. I stopped taking care of my body on a daily basis. Be it time, lack of motivation or whatever I let it slip from my priorities.
As I get older, I realize the power in listening to my body. Yes, it speaks to me. Our bodies speak to all of us.
What I put in directly affects what I get out of it, and when I don’t work out my mind starts to wander – I start to ruminate and feel all kinds of negativity surface from within me.
When I allow my body to tell me what it needs and if I give it what it is asking for, my mind is all the better for it.
2. Don’t track progress daily.
Starting my own business, getting freelance writing opportunities, and a stronger healthier me didn’t happen overnight. I worked hard to make things happen in my life. I wanted a different kind of lifestyle and I pursued it, and while I fail at remembering progress I have learned to not count on feeling proud of myself every single day.
Progress takes time. That’s why it’s called progress and not instant satisfaction – there’s another definition for that.
Tracking project based progress or progress in chunks helps us to truly see what it is we are striving for accomplishing.
Going back to working out, I think that a lot of people give up because they don’t see results after day one at the gym. Of course they don’t! It takes time. Reminding ourselves that all we want for ourselves takes time will make acheiveing those things a bit more doable because we are focused on the long-term not the short-term.
3. Invest in yourself.
This should be a gimme, but we have a hard time with this especially as 20 somethings. We want to please our friends, our partners, and pretty much everyone else.
We forget to give ourselves time and space to learn more about ourselves and figure out what the heck we really want.
4. Knowing when to be quiet is a skill worth mastering.
How many sitcoms have used this somewhere in the dialogue between husbands and wives?
Why is that? It’s because we don’t know when to either shut up or just stay quiet. Our egos want us to speak, to have that voice and to let everyone know where we stand.
It’s humility that shows us it’s ok to not speak – to remain a listening party and not an antagonist when it doesn’t serve anyone.
5. Let go of what you own so it doesn’t own you.
Learning to live with less can be hard. Our world is full of so many things and American culture tells us it is ours for the taking. But as the old saying goes, “You can’t do the same thing and expect different results.”
6. Don’t be afraid to take risks.
2017 was all about risk taking for Jeremy and I. We were newly married, tired of the city, wanting to travel and work on our own terms, so we bought an RV.
We moved to the coast, he started working as a park ranger, and I got a business up and running.
What we’ve done is not everyone’s cup of tea and while we may not do this forever we would have never known unless we tried. Here’s another 20 something couple creating a tolerance for risk.
7. Don’t fill your schedule.
As 20 somethings, the world truly is ours for the taking. There is so much life and opportunity within our grasp everyday. We’re still figuring out what we want and who we want to be. Why would we spend that time filling it with stuff?
I’m not talking about physical items either, I’m talking about activities.
When is the last time you spent the night with yourself? A glass of wine, a movie? Nowhere to go and nowhere to be. Just you and the life you live.
8. Find your community.
No matter your passion or line of work, we all need people in our lives who understand us and are pursing similar things.
It makes the day to day that much easier to handle when the going gets tough. Plus, you never know what new ideas will surface when you allow the ideas and inspirations of others to fill your cup.
9. Never stop creating.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat down at my computer with a blank mind. Nothing.
Sometimes, when I sit to write or design something I have no idea what it is going to be. Oftentimes, I won’t make anything. On days like that, I can feel something missing.
No matter what it is or what it isn’t, make it. You don’t have to share it, but be sure more often that not you are creating something. Keep those mind juices flowing.
10. Don’t forget to breathe.
Life will always present curve balls – paths we don’t anticipate or invite but they will come regardless of what we think or feel. It is so important to learn how to breathe through it on our way to the next step.
11. Love worth having is worth pursuing.
Being a 20 something female is one of the hardest parts of life to get through. I am 100% convinced.
It’s that crucial, but awkward stage between being a child and becoming a person outside of what everyone else has shown us and told us to be. And somewhere in the mix, we run into love of many different kinds.
But what I can say about love, probably in any stage of life, is that when it is worth it pursuing it makes so much more sense.
I listened to something recently that talked about how true love is the kind of love that makes you feel more whole – more like who you are. It inspires, encourages, and entrusts us with the kind of expectations that allows us the unique opportunity to pursue life itself and grow in the process.
This is truly a never-ending list, but it’s the list I have right now. I hope in some way you can relate or be encouraged by my journey. If you have a particular story or something you’ve learned you’d like to share, please leave a comment or reach out.