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Reflecting on 30: 14 Important Lessons I Learned in My Twenties

14 Important Lessons I Learned in My Twenties

Striped shirt dress (size down!) // Similar hat // Lipstick 

GUYS!!!! It feels soooo good to be back! I’ve missed you so much during my 2 week posting hiatus! (Probabbblyyy more than you’ve missed me ?) Italy was an absolute dream and taking the time off was much needed. I hope you got to follow along on Instagram and Instagram stories (if not, I have a highlight called “Italy trip” saved on my stories that you can catch up on!) The above photo was taken on our first night in Praiano, on the Amalfi Coast. I can’t wait to share the rest with you!

Today though is actually my birthday! I spent all morning writing this post so hopefully you don’t mind that it’s going up late. (Also thank you in advance for your patience as I get back into the swing of things over here!)

The truth is, I’ve never really been a big birthday person–not because I don’t like getting older–that doesn’t really bother me–but I always feel like birthdays are just like any other day! (I think that’s part of my mother in me!)

Tonight Neal and I are going to dinner at my favorite restaurant, Le Colonial and then next weekend we’ll be having a small get together with whatever friends are around! (I’m boring, I know, haha!)

In today’s post, I thought it would be fun to reflect on the past decade of my life and everything I’ve learned in my twenties. To be honest, I never really thought they’d actually end–30 has always seemed so far away–but I don’t think life really changes too much with the change of one little number, either! My twenties were so good to me, and I don’t think I’d change a thing, even if I could, which is a pretty great place to be going into the next decade!

Anyway, here are the most important takeaways I’ve learned in my twenties–I hope they help inspire you too!

1. Embrace the law of repel and attract

I think this lesson has probably been the most influential for me–especially when it applies to building a brand, but also just life in general.

It goes something like this: be unapologetically yourself. Don’t try and change your personality or act a certain way just to make everyone happy. “Watering yourself down” to please the masses isn’t going to serve you. This can result in attracting the wrong type of person, client, energy–whatever–into your life. Plus, none of the relationships with these people will be that fulfilling. They might be nice, but they won’t be the kind of relationships that make you want to jump out of bed in the morning.

By being yourself, you’re going to naturally repel the people who shouldn’t be in your life anyway, and attract the ones who are the best fit for you–creating much stronger, meaningful relationships and resulting in an extremely fulfilled life filled with people who really get you, mean something to you, and love and appreciate you for who you are.

2. “Done” is better than “perfect”

I find that in general, a lot of people put off what they really want because of fear, and this is something I did a lot in my earlier days. This can apply to timing, it can apply to acting on dreams, setting goals and deadlines–whatever. It’s easy to want everything to be perfect, but the thing is, nothing is EVER going to be perfect. There is never going to be the “perfect” time to do anything. Stop “waiting for the right time” or “taking the time to really get it right.” By waiting for perfection, you’re putting off your dreams. “Done” will always be better than perfect.

3. There are no new ideas

If you really want to do something but think “it’s already been done,” “there’s so much competition” or “I need to think of something new and out of the box”–guess what? There are no new ideas. Stop using that as an excuse.

This piece of advice is something I learned from one of the senior executives at an ad agency I worked at in my mid twenties. He had won tons of awards, helped launch Bud Light of all things, and I always hung on any tidbit of wisdom he was willing to dole out. He taught me that the best ideas are old ideas, just with a fresh, new spin–I found this perspective to be extremely liberating and it gave me a lot of creative freedom.

Just because something has been done doesn’t mean that you won’t make it your own. YOU are the only thing that is going to make an idea unique and different.

For example–how many bloggers do you know? There are an estimated 30 MILLION BLOGS out there (according to a google search. Honestly, this seems low to me)–yet, you’re here reading mine. Why? There’s nothing unique I bring to the table other than my personality and personal spin on style, life, beauty, etcetera.

If I can do it–so can you!

4. Learn your personal balance between saying yes and saying no

Saying “yes” too much can lead to over-exertion and exhaustion. Saying “no” too much can lead you to miss out on amazing opportunities that may only come around once in your life. Learning the balance is imperative, and it’s something that you constantly have to exercise.

Boundaries are a good thing, and only you can decide what boundaries make you the happiest–you don’t have to accept every social invitation if a packed schedule is going to cause you stress. (You can suggest next week instead!) Also, you don’t have to say yes to a project you are less than passionate about. (You can bow out gracefully!)

If you find yourself feeling pressured to say “yes”–ask yourself, “is saying yes to this going to serve me and better my life?” if not, politely decline. Also, if you feel like saying no to something, ask yourself why. Is it because it will push you out of your comfort zone? (If so, you should probably say yes!) Or is it because it will cause you unnecessary stress? (If so, say no!)

5. Timing is a thing

I wholeheartedly believe in timing. You have to trust the process. People come in and out of your life at specific times for specific reasons. Had Neal and I met earlier in life, I don’t know that we’d be married right now. We both needed time to grow up, become the people we were going to be. I now have best friends that I knew for years before we became close–it just hadn’t been the right time.

Things happen in life that make you say “why now?” and “why me?” and while it might seem like horrible timing, at the end of the day, it can be the one thing that changes the course of your life for the better.

6. Take calculated risks

Everyone has a different level of risk that they’re comfortable with, and I’m definitely NOT advocating not having a plan, but there are responsible ways to take risks. Save your money, have an action plan, prepare yourself as much as you possibly can, and THEN jump. This is so important to do, ideally before you have the responsibilities of kids or a mortgage–there is no reason to not take some calculated risks to chase your dreams. This brings me to my next point.

7. Staying within your comfort zone rarely results in happiness

I’m sure there is SOMEONE out there that has always stayed within their comfort zone and is as happy as happy could be with their life, but I don’t know any of them, do you?

Most people aren’t happy being complacent, and if you’re one of those people who feels like something is missing, push yourself. 

Learn to be a little uncomfortable–putting yourself in uncomfortable situations will make you grow and prove to yourself that you are capable of doing just about anything you set your mind to.

Do your dreams scare you? GOOD. If they don’t, they aren’t big enough. Which brings me to the next point…

8. Take matters into your own hands and take action, always.

This is the one thing I think that most separates those with a happy, fulfilled life, from those who are negative, unhappy, and always complaining. If you don’t like something, do something about it. You can’t change something if you don’t change something. 

The universe owes you nothing. Other people owe you nothing. Take ownership of your life. You are the only one who controls your own happiness. Nobody else is in the driver’s seat of your own life. You have everything you need to build the life you want. Does that mean it’s going to be an easy ride? Of course not–but taking action and working hard always pays off. Doing something is always better than doing nothing.

9. You are the sum of the people you surround yourself with

Surround yourself with people who have similar drives, ambitions, and outlooks on life. If you find that the people you’re spending the most time with don’t have this in common with you, expand your horizons to make some new friends that do. I learn so much from my friends, and they are a constant source of encouragement and inspiration. If your friends aren’t supportive, encouraging and inspiring, you aren’t going to reach your full potential, either!

10. Never stop learning–and know that sometimes “doing” is the best education

“Learning” is a huge umbrella–and this doesn’t just mean going to grad school or getting your MBA–sometimes it can mean taking an online course, attending a conference, finding a new mentor–other times it’s simply just getting in there and getting your hands dirty. I’ve found that Google, Youtube, and good old fashioned trial and error are by far the best teachers I’ve ever had. Above all, never stop learning, growing, and bettering yourself. It might be related to business, or just a hobby–learning something new is always going to enrich your life–it’s a gift that keeps on giving.

11. Nothing comes easy to anyone else, either.

If you’re constantly looking at social media comparing your life to others wondering, “why does this come so easily to everyone else?”– let me be the first to tell you, it doesn’t. 

Remember, you only see what people choose to show you, both in person and on Instagram. Yes, of course, some people have had it harder than others, but nobody has it easy. Life isn’t easy, period, the end. Everyone has their battles, their lows, their weaknesses and vices–not just you.

Those beautiful, effortless lives you see on social media? Those are make-believe, calculated, more than you can EVER imagine. I speak from experience–both as an influencer and a consumer. I try as much as possible to keep things real and transparent on here, but truthfully, there is a huge (hard) chunk of my personal life and personal past that I don’t share–that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

12. Love languages are real

I highly HIGHLY recommend reading the book The Five Love Languages(there’s also a quiz you can take online!) It will help strengthen your friendships and relationships in the best way. It’s really helpful in having empathy when approaching situations and understanding how to make the people in your life feel loved, appreciated, and gives you helpful perspective on your own emotions as well.

13. If you can’t change the situation, change your attitude

This is one of the most important lessons that my mother taught me growing up.

You can control a lot of your life, that’s why taking action on creating the life you want is so important, as I mentioned above. But here’s the thing, there are a lot of crappy things that are going to happen to you that you can’t control or change. The one thing you can control is your attitude and your perspective–and that is going to make all the difference.

14. Stop trying to plan 10 steps ahead

I often get asked, “where do you see yourself in 10 years?” and I really hate this question. Who can know where they’re going to be in 10 years? I’ve never met one person whose life actually goes according to plan–and that’s the fun of it. That’s like being a child and knowing what your Christmas presents are going to be for the next decade.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t have goals–because you should! You should take the steps to be a responsible adult, to get to that next step in your career, to do what you need to do to be happy and fulfilled. That’s part of hard work and going for what you want.

BUT–there is a but–so many people get so caught up in planning out their life, setting timelines and deadlines–you want to be married by X age and have kids at X age. Live in X place, be at X point in your career, make X amount of dollars before you hit 40. Why are you tying your happiness to a checklist?

I have an issue with this for a couple reasons: 

First, it implies that happiness is only associated with an end goal and not the journey. Why is that? The journey is what it’s all about. How many times have you hit a goal, been happy for 5 seconds, and then set the bar higher?

That’s like saying, “I want to travel to 5 countries in the next year”–are you not happy until you hit the fifth country? Of course not! It doesn’t work like that, and you shouldn’t approach planning your life like that, either.

Second, you waste so much time planning 10 steps ahead, when in reality, something will happen at step 3, or step 5, that will completely change the course of the following steps, anyway. This is happened more times in my life than I can count.

Overall, I think your “life plan” should be tied to feelings rather than a checklist.

I want to be healthy and have fulfilling relationships with my family and friends. Furthermore, I want to be financially stable and have a career that always keeps me growing and evolving. That inspires me to get out of bed each morning. Honestly, I want to help people in one way or another.

I’m so fortunate to have all of that right now. And that’s enough. I guess you could say my life plan is to ensure that will always be enough. When I figured this out, it was extremely liberating, and if the whole “10 year plan” is something that has been giving you anxiety, I hope this perspective helps you too.

What are your most important life lessons you’ve learned thus far? I’m so lucky to have you along for the ride and can’t wait to see what the next decade will bring us!