On the verge of turning 30, it’s hard not to reflect back on the last 10 years. So many memories. So many lessons. So much growth. It’s almost hard to imagine the girl I once was.
There’s this big deal when entering a new decade, as if with a snap of the fingers you will automatically feel different and a new list of responsibilities and expectations will be handed to you. It’s perceived as this big dreaded event. However, life doesn’t end and the world doesn’t stop. I see it as turning a point and I eagerly welcome this new milestone.
Just like a fine wine, I keep getting better in all aspects of my life. I find the process of getting older beautiful. I’m starting to come into my own and shift my energy into things and people that matter the most to me. Most importantly, as I age, I look at each moment as an opportunity to learn. My twenties were filled with adventure, heartbreak, revelations, love, laughter, change, and letting go. Moments I’m proud of and not so proud of. However, I wouldn’t change a thing.
Looking back, here are the top the lessons I have learned in my twenties.
In my early twenties, I was so idealistic and naive about love. My heart was protected by a glass box, untainted and intact. I had this picture perfect vision of how relationships should be. Then the glass box got shattered and I saw how cruel love could actually be. It’s a sobering reality to realize that even the most meaningful person in your life could turn on you, taking advantage of your heart. I quickly learned that trust is the most important factor in any relationship. I also learned that no matter how bad you were burned, you have to let it go. Nothing good ever comes out of constantly reliving a negative experience or shutting your heart off. It’s painful and it’s scary but you must move on. Figure out what didn’t work from the last relationship and be selective the next go round. I believe it’s important to hold onto your expectations about love, never settling for someone who isn’t right for you.
Going into our twenties, we are forced to choose a career path during one of the most transformative periods of our lives. We are just beginning to figure out who we are and what we want. I felt the societal pressures during the majority of my twenties; choose a path and stick to it. However, I don’t think I am meant to have just one path or be defined by one career. It took a while but I have learned that it is perfectly ok to not have it all figured out. I’m currently a teacher but I still don’t know if that is my life calling. So many things interest me and I don’t believe that I should settle since that is what society tells us to do. I think it’s important to explore, try new things, and set new professional goals. If you want to write a book or learn a new trade, go for it! You should never feel fundamentally unhappy in your job, especially because this is where you spend most of your living hours.
On Letting Go
Even if they don’t want to admit it, every girl makes a timetable for life’s monumental moments: buying a house, getting married, and having children. Leaving college, I had all sorts of plans for myself. Married by 25 and kids by 28. HA. Then came 25 and I was no where near to checking those items off my list. Cue the disappointment and stress. Looking back, what a silly expectation to put on myself. There is no need to be upset over something I can’t control. I am more than happy with how things have panned out and know all those wonderful milestones will occur naturally, in good time. There is no such thing as perfect timing. I learned that it’s important to focus on the present, not what hasn’t happened or is yet to happen. Somethings we have absolutely no control over. What we do have control over is the present moment.
The abuse I have put my body through over the last decade is shameful. Too many late nights to count, too much alcohol, an unbalanced diet, recurring stress, and an inconsistent workout routine. Over the last few years I have become more in tuned and respectful of my body. There were a few defining moments that helped shake me awake: a loss of a friend, watching a family member’s health deteriorate, and feeling my own health slipping. I have learned that you are an advocate for your own body and health. What we do and put in our bodies today will impact our future. I’m not perfect. I still love chocolate and the occasional cocktail, however, I try to do everything in moderation. I am also proud to say I feel better, both physically, mentally, and emotionally, now than when I was 20. With age comes clarity and wisdom.
What are some things you learned in your twenties?
Also by Jess: Sweet Potato Chickpea Coconut Stew
Love Detox for a Year – Single and Loving It
Photo: tumblr via ashkittyy; Jess Davis