Rounding the corner from twentysomething to thirtysomething can be a little overwhelming, especially as it seems to be the norm to make THE. BIGGEST. DEAL. about turning that big 3-0. It’s almost as though if you don’t obsess about turning 30, you aren’t doing it right.
However, leaving your twenties behind is still an important milestone – one that’s essential to acknowledge and pay attention to. But instead of freaking out about no longer being able to check off the 25-30 bracket in questionnaires, maybe we should just reflect on how we’ve grown since we left our teenage years behind and headed into “real” adulthood.
With that in mind, here are ten things we learned in our 20s:
1. Who > What.
Who we are as human beings – how we speak, treat, and care for others, and ourselves – matters more than what we do professionally. It’s kind of like the saying, “it’s quality, not quantity.” It’s not really what we do that matters, but who we are as we do it.
2. This is Chapter One.
It’s easy to think that our “real lives” or our “real careers” need to start the second that we graduate. But, truthfully, college was less of an ending point than it was a launching pad. The years after college are there to learn and grow and figure it all out. No one expects a 22 year old to have her sh*t together completely, and that’s okay.
3. Moments Matter, and memories are worth more than material goods.
Dinner conversations deserve our undivided attention and morning walks merit our focus. While appreciating the past and preparing for the future are both important, the present is where the magic happens. Each decade carries its own unique experiences and we never want to look back feeling like we rushed through or overlooked this time in our lives. Additionally, when given the choice between a plane ticket or a piece of jewelry, we’d choose the ticket every time. Memories are everything.
4. Perfect is Overrated (and Exhausting)
Real is beautiful (and relatable). Life is a lot more enjoyable when we’re not so hard on ourselves and others. Accepting our flaws – and the flaws of others – ultimately leads to a lot more happiness. It’s more effort to be a perfectionist; it takes way less effort to be chill.
5. Productive Weekends Have Their Place.
Trust us, we’re all about Friday night Happy Hour and mimosas at brunch, but Saturday and Sunday mornings don’t have to be solely reserved for a hangover. There are other ways to spend our time too, like checking out the local Farmer’s Market or apple orchard. Or, let’s be real, sitting on our couch and binge-watching Netflix.
6. Respond, rather than react.
When a situation is frustrating, to take the time to let it diffuse and to reply once we’ve had the chance to let our feelings settle. It’s so easy to react in the moment, or to let emotions fuel the response. If there’s something our dramatic college relationships taught us, it’s that our head sometimes makes more sense than our heart.
7. Value Health Over Physical Appearance.
Looks aren’t everything and they’re certainly not the most important thing. We’re happy to leave the unhealthy habits of tanning beds and fad diets behind. We’ve learned that we feel better when we prioritize our insides as much as we do our outsides. And, the bonus of eating well and drinking your green juice? You look better too. It’s a win-win.
8. Moderation Is Key.
No one ever succeeded in life by depriving herself of Oreos. (We think Plato said that.) Balance may seem difficult, if not impossible at times, but it’s worth the effort. An all-or-nothing approach has never been our style to anything – saving, spending, work, play. We like to have it all, so we do. Plus, life’s too short to beat yourself up for indulgences.
9. We’re All Just Learning As We Go.
Some might call it the “impostor syndrome” – the feeling like you don’t really have your life together ever, or that you’re pretending to be something you’re not when you go to work at the thing you’re actually really good at doing. But here’s the thing – we all start somewhere, and we’re all still learning. Even Meryl Streep makes mistakes (no seriously, google what she said about the Oscars recently.)
10. Age is just a number. Seriously.
We may be closer to the 30-35 age bracket at this point, but if we want to shop at Forever 21, listen to Justin Bieber, or play old school Pokémon, then dammit, we’re going to do it. We refuse to feel weird for doing things we love, and we refuse to give into the notion that we’re “too old” for something. If grandmas can enjoy Disney World, we can listen to One Direction with the windows down. After all, you’re truly only as old as you feel.
Tell Us: What have you learned in the past decade?