20 Things I Learned In My 20s

Happy Belated Birthday to me.

I recently celebrated my 29th birthday. A bit late in posting, but I took sometime to really appreciate turning one year older.

My birthday was different from all of my other birthdays because the only thing I wanted to do was relax, and spend time with my husband and son. In my golden days it was important for me to go out with friends and party. But this year, I just wanted to appreciate the little things in my life.

I've matured and changed so much when I think back to the person I was in my early 20s. I've had a lot of growth and failures, and confusing moments in my life that I'm still working through. I can unashamedly admit that I am not where I thought I would be by 29, but I'm thankful for all that I have and all that I have learned.

Next year I will be 30 and even though I still have lots to learn, I can say that I'm glad I've gotten to grow from my experiences below.

1. Think Less, Do More
I overthink things. I would tear apart the finest of detail until there is nothing more, but dust remaining. Being this way often caused a lot of unnecessary worry and even ruined some fun I could have had. Get out of your head and just do it.

2. Screw a 5 Year Plan
I was constantly told that I needed to create a 5 year plan. I struggled with creating a vision for 5 years out when I couldn't even get my current year figured out. Don't stress it. Go at your own pace. Set goals according to what you can achieve.

3. Travel More
I would hear this a lot and didn't think it was a necessity. But now that I am older and my son occupies a chunk of my free time, I wish that I explored the world more. Trying to coordinate a trip between work and taking my care of my son is challenging. I wish I took advantage of the days where it was much simpler.

4. Your Circle Will Get Smaller
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I always thought those girls I knew in high school and college would be around forever, but the older I got the smaller my circle became. I outgrew a lot of people. It was initially hard to let go, but I had to accept that if I'm moving up I couldn't take everyone with me in my journey.

5. Invest in Retirement
No one taught me about a 401k in high school or college. I always knew how to save my money, but saving for retirement was something I didn't begin to do until recently. I was always told that I had plenty of time to begin. Which is true. I still have 30 some odd years before I even need to think about retirement. But I always think about what I could have had if I started when I got my first job.

6. Stop Explaining Yourself
I will admit that this is something I still struggle with, but I've learned that I don't have to ALWAYS explain my actions. I do what I want because I want to. I shouldn't have to clarify my actions or what I think in order to make others comfortable.

7. Trust Your Gut
If it doesn't feel right, don't do it. I've lost track of how many times I felt in my gut that something wasn't right, and I did it anyway. When things didn't work out as I expected, I would be kicking myself in the ass wishing I had just trusted my gut. So trust it.

8. Be Humble
I am so thankful for everything I have in my life because I don't even want to image what my life would be like if I didn't have it. I've had so many experiences knock me on my ass and it has truly humbled me to be appreciative of the little things in life.

9. You Can Quit
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I once stayed at a job for over a year because I felt I had to. I would wake up each morning sick to my stomach knowing I had to force a smile on my face in order to make it through the day. Life is too short for all of that. You have time to figure it out. You can quit.

10. Stop Comparing Your Life To Others
I once used to think that because my closest friends and peers had the new car or amazing job that it signified where I should be in my life. But truth is, I learned that not everything is always as it is portrayed to be. You do not know the struggle that person had to endure to get the things they have. Therefore, stop comparing your life to others and assuming you should be where the next person is.

11. Speak Your Mind
I hated coming home and replaying an incident in my mind where I wish I said what I really wanted to say. I would be kicking myself in the ass replaying the conversation over and over again, thinking of how I should have said it. If you're going to do this you may as well get it off your chest.

12. College Is A Great Experience, But...
I was always told that getting my college degree would be my golden ticket to my future. But truthfully, it took all of seven years after receiving my degree that I finally figured out how to use that damn Mass Communications major. Finding a job after graduation was HARD and it wasn't a fun period trying to convince recruiters to hire me.

13. Be Proud Of Who You Are
I used to be ashamed that a Starbucks gift card and a trip to Barnes and Noble is exciting to me. I am probably the truest form of an introvert and I am OK with that. I don't like crowds. I need time to re-energize, and I think a lot. Don't allow anyone to make you feel that there is something wrong with you if that is who you are. Be proud of who you are.

14. Who is "They"
I hate it when someone says, "Well they said this" or "Well they said that". Who in the hell is "They"? "They" are a bunch of people passing along what is likely incorrect information. I used to reference "they" a lot and found that "they" was wrong a lot of the times. Research for yourself. Read a book. Investigate whatever it is that you need so that you aren't relying on "They" to keep you in check.

15. Live Alone For a Bit
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Lord knows I love my family, and I can't imagine a day where I'm not waking up to my husband laying next to me. But I truly value that period of time where I lived in my own one bedroom apartment. It taught me to be independent. It taught me to understand money management. It taught me to know me.

16. You Will Fail At Something
It will suck when it happens, but in order to grow you will fail at something. The best part is getting back up to try again and learning from that failure. It may happen several times before you get it right, but you will learn from it.

17. Step Outside Of Your Comfort Zone
I may be an introvert. I made that quite clear in #13. But sometimes I've learned to step outside of my comfort zone and try new things. You will be amazed at what you learn and what you gain when you take a different approach from what is your "normal".

18. Spend Smart
I know that in your 20s credit doesn't really seem like that much of a big deal. But my husband and I recently purchased our first home, and some of those old spending habits from way back when definitely came up. Credit may not seem important at the time, but eventually it will be. Spend smart.

19. It's OK To Need Help
I lived with my parents until I was 24. I needed their help to get on my feet. In your early 20s you want to believe that you're an adult so badly to the point that you'd rather struggle instead of asking for help. Don't be prideful. If you need help, ask for it.

20. Do Not Judge

I am a firm believer of judge and be judged. I have truly had my moments where I've judged someone without knowing the full extent of their situation. Months later, I find myself in a similar situation to that person I made assumptions of. You never know someone's story. You never know their history. You just NEVER KNOW. Plus, I refuse to judge someone knowing damn well that my story isn't all peaches and roses. Beware.


  1. This is great! The circle getting smaller is so true, but honestly, so incredible. I have made some of my closest friends in my later 20s. Also, love the travel more. Absolutely experience so many parts of the world!

  2. I agree with all of these! Especially with your circle getting smaller. Happy Birthday! Hope you had a fabulous one!

    Belle | www.OneAwesomeMomma.com

  3. This is such a great list. I especially love the reminder that you can quit - I stay in things way too longer. Thanks for sharing (and happy birthday!)

  4. Yes, we learn so much as we go through our 20s. These are great points to point out for others your age. I feel the same way about my thirties, we learn so much with new perspective in each decade of life:)