Whether you’re past your 20s, getting there soon, or in the middle of them, we can all agree, it’s a fun, confusing, and interesting time to live through.
Being in your 20s means you’re an adult (but not quite), mature (but not always), and confident (most of the time).
I just turned 30 this year and, looking back, I realize how far I’ve come in the last 10 years.
I learned so many incredible lessons about life, partnership and myself and I’m incredibly grateful to be able to reflect on it now!
Here are the most important lessons I learned in my 20s, and hopefully you can relate!
1. You can’t change people
Deep down, we all know this, but sometimes we still hope!
No matter how much influence, control, kindness or anger we throw at people, we have NO control over anyone except ourselves! And the more we try to change people, the more exhausted and resentful we become.
I learned that I need to accept people as they are, and work on controlling my OWN emotions to bring more calmness into my life.
2. Happiness starts from within
In my teens (and the majority of my 20s) I hadn’t figured out that other people aren’t responsible for my happiness.
I never took responsibility for my feelings. I held boyfriends and friends to high standards and had expectations that I SHOULD have placed on myself instead!
Now I understand that no one can “make” you feel a certain way. Every feeling I have and action I take is my own choice, and I can choose happiness regardless of what’s happening around me!
3. It really doesn’t matter what people think. Like, really.
If I could go back and tell the “teenager me” ONE thing, it would be this.
Caring about other people’s opinions is an absolute waste of time!
Not only does it not matter what people think, but years from now, you probably won’t even remember 3/4 of the situations that had you worked up about people’s opinions in the first place!
Never EVER let somebody else’s opinion stop you from being you.
4. You need to be your own biggest fan
It feels awesome when friends and family cheer us on and give us encouragement, but depending on that encouragement is not can be harmful.
In my 20s, I learned to develop the confidence I needed to be my OWN biggest cheerleader.
When I started blogging, no one in my close circle understood why, let alone how it could be profitable! Finding ways to encourage and inspire myself to keep going was the best thing I ever did!
5. Being single is ok (and kinda fun!)
Of course I love my fiance dearly, but in my 20s, I realized it’s actually pretty fun to be single!
Even simple things like cooking for myself, paying bills on my own, and keeping myself company really taught me how to be a peace being alone.
Being single can also do wonders for your confidence! As soon as you realize you don’t need somebody else to complete you, you’ll be a much better partner when the right relationship comes along!
6. Health is everything
It wasn’t until I turned 29 (yes, it took me 9 years of my 20s!) that I realized I need to get serious about my health!
I started to understand that, without a healthy body and mind, I couldn’t be available to serve other people.
I thought I was doing a good thing by sacrificing my workout time for my family or bringing home donuts as a treat, when in reality I was sabotaging myself and everybody around me!
Now in my 30s, I take fitness and nutrition much more seriously (plus I have a bullet-proof morning routine!).
7. It’s ok to make mistakes
Not only is it OK to make mistakes, it’s crucial!
The best life-lessons come from making mistakes, falling, and getting back up to try again.
During my 20s, I learned to accept failure (because, trust me, I had a ton of failures) and use it to build up my resilience and character. I allowed myself to try everything and not let setbacks hold me back from chasing my dreams.
8. Relationships take work
On the subject of relationships, I realized (for the happy ones at least) they take work! Like, a lot of work. And not just paying bills and running a household, but work on yourself.
I realized that order to have a happy, fulfilling relationship, I have to be the best version of myself I can be.
I had to work on my mindset, my confidence and my ability to be emotionally present for my husband-to-be.
9. Energy matters
Energy is everything! The energy you allow around you and the energy you give off will dictate your entire life.
It sounds a little dramatic, but I promise, it’s not.
We have an incredible way of creating for ourselves what we think we deserve in life, so if your energy is low, uninspiring, and negative, you’re probably attracting similar people into your life.
Once you’re surrounded by low, uninspiring, negative people, your life starts to become (you guessed it!) low, uninspiring, and negative!
In my 20s, I learned that in order to be successful, I HAVE to protect the energy around me.
10. When people show you who they are, believe them
This is one of my favorite quotes from Maya Angelou because it’s spot on!
As a teenager and 20-something, I always identified as a “saviour” and I wanted to help people, usually at my own expense.
It took me several years to realize that I can’t assume I know peoples’ true intentions. Instead of trying to excuse people’s behavior, I learned to step back and only hang out with people who were positive and had good intentions.
11. You don’t need to have it all figured out
My teens and 20s was the beginning of the social media era, which meant the beginning of FOMO.
Yup, I had a major fear of missing out.
And not only FOMO for parties and gatherings with friends, but also for life events like getting married, having kids, and landing a high-paying respectable job.
I had to learn that it doesn’t matter what my friends are doing, I need to figure out life at my own pace. We’ll all get there at some point!
12. Not everyone will like you
For all my people-pleasers out there, I know you’ll understand how hard this one is!
The truth is, it doesn’t matter how nice and accommodating you are, some people just aren’t going to like you.
In fact, they may not like you BECAUSE you’re so nice and accommodating. Frustrating, right?
Trust me, I get it! In my 20s, I had to learn to STOP trying to be something I’m not and just be myself. Whoever likes me, amazing! Whoever doesn’t, that’s ok too. I don’t spend any time worrying about it anymore.
13. Self care isn’t selfish
This is a big one, especially for my ladies and moms out there!
Not only is self care NOT selfish, it’s mandatory.
I learned throughout my 20s that the best thing I could do for the people I love is to take care of myself so I can be there for them. Instead of giving myself an “out” by putting other people first and never having time for me, I started making myself a priority.
14. Parents are right about a lot of things
Ahhhhhh, I sound so old! But, seriously, parents are right about most things because they’ve had the experience we lack as young adults.
So every time your parents tell you that a problem won’t mean anything years from now, or that Billy is a jerk and you shouldn’t date him, chances are, they’re right.
15. Teenagers are naive
Again, I sound super old, but it’s true. And it’s totally not a bad thing! But looking back, I realize how much I THOUGHT I knew, but didn’t
Being a teenager and young adult SHOULD be that way! It’s your time to take risks, try new things and learn what’s acceptable as you make your way in the world.
16. The world needs help
As kids and teens, we have a tendency to think our problems are earth-shattering. And I’m not trying to down play suffering, but as I grew up, I realized how important it is to have perspective.
There is so much human, animal, and environmental suffering in the world, that I started to understand, anything I have is an absolute privilege.
I started to feel that, because I was fortunate enough to be born in Canada and have bucket-loads of opportunities, I also had a responsibility to help and give back wherever I could.
17. It’s ok to set boundaries
Once I understood how important energy is, I realized it’s my job to maintain positivity. Not only through my own actions, but by eliminating the negativity around me.
Sometimes we feel obligated to keep relationships with friends and family even though it’s hurting us and stifling our growth.
I realized that, in order to succeed, I needed to set boundaries with the loved ones who didn’t have the same energy as me.
18. Try everything
I’m so grateful that I was able to spend my 20s (and let’s be honest, I still do it my 30s) experimenting.
I’m not talking about sex, drugs and rock & roll (unless that’s your thing). I mean discovering what I love and who I am.
I discovered environmentalism, veganism, and I tried tons of different jobs.
I also discovered entrepreneurship and fell in love!
I started a blog in 2015 and I was hooked. I started making a full-time income and never looked back.
All this was possible because I took the time to experiment and try everything.
19. Time is precious
Looking back , I realize I never really appreciated time during my teens and early 20s.
I wasted it on a lot of things that weren’t productive and I let other people waste my time when I shouldn’t have.
I realize now that time is the most precious resource we have! It’s the only thing we know for SURE in life. We all have the same 24 hours in a day and it’s important to protect your time the same as you would your mind or body.
20. Life hasn’t even started yet
A few weeks before my 30th birthday, I was freaking out.
“I don’t have it all figured out yet!”
“I thought I would be in a different place by 30!”
“I feel so far behind!”
All these thoughts ran through my head right up until the day I turned 30. And then, something funny happened.
Nothing changed. I was still me. I felt the same and life wasn’t over. Everything was ok. I still had time to learn and grow.
Even though time is precious and limited, I realized that, in your 20s, life hasn’t even STARTED!
Your 20s are a time for learning, experimenting and growing as a person. It’s a time to discover who your truly are.