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20 Lessons I Learned In My 20s

Updated: Sep 10, 2021

My big 3-0 is approaching and it's time for me to dig deep - what truths did I discover in the past decade?

“If I have learned anything in this long life of mine, it is this: in love we find out who we want to be; in war we find out who we are.” ― Kristin Hannah

Ah twenties, an intense period of a roller coaster of emotions and blurry nights... I mean yeah teenage years were also hella confusing, but at least there wasn't any pressure of having your whole life figured out!

As I turn the big 3-0 this month, I've decided to reflect back on my messy twenties and put together a post to celebrate what I’ve discovered in the past decade. I know as a woman I should apparently be afraid of growing older (as if getting wrinkles is the worst thing in the world?!), but as each year goes by, I learn more and more about myself and I f*ckin love it.

Although leading up to 30 brings me the happiest mental state I’ve ever been in, the past decade didn't always feel like a jolly ride, and there are still times where I'm not particularly comfortable in my own skin - but hey, it's all part of the journey as I continuously find myself.

Here is a list of the top 20 lessons that I've picked up during my 20s. Whether you're in your early twenties, late twenties or not in your twenties at all - I hope there are some points that you’ll be able to relate to!

So here goes. Dear me, from me...

1. Listen to listen, not to respond.

Listen to others with curiosity instead of rushing to respond. This means focussing less on what you want people to think about you, whilst being more open-minded to what they want to say. Taking the time to digest someone else's words and thoughts might mean you'll learn something new. Never assume that the way you think is the same way others think.

2. No one is too important to be kind.

Remember that hierarchy is only a social construct. You’ve found many twenty-something year olds to be driven by their statuses and then lost their compassion as a result - don't let their false egos influence you. The world doesn't need more successful people, it needs more kind people. Integrity is everything.

3. If you think you deserve the job, then prove it.

Stop being a self-entitled millennial. If you really want the role and truly believe that you've got what it takes - then get off your lazy ass, advance your skills and put the effort in.

4. Use fear to your advantage.

Hate your job? Leave it. In a miserable relationship? End it. Staying somewhere that makes you unhappy is never “easier” - don’t kid yourself honey. If you fear that you are living an unfulfilling life, then use that fear to encourage you to take action. You might be scared but you can handle this - avoid falling back into your old patterns just because they are familiar!

5. Do it for you, not for anyone else.

Your family and friends being proud of you feels great and all, but being proud of yourself is the ultimate win. Avoid being a people pleaser, it can cost you your authenticity and stray you away from your true goals. Don't allow other people to let you believe that they know what is best for you, you know what is best for you - trust your intuition.

6. Don't take your body for granted.

When you're in your early twenties and hangovers don't merely hurt as much as they do in your late twenties, it's all too easy to say "meh, I'll be wiser when I'm older". Living off chicken nuggets, tartar sauce and super sweet wine (ergh Kay, what were you thinking?!) during university, whilst banking on the occasional crash diet in hopes that you'll lose weight quickly is definitely a lifestyle that should've ended sooner. Take care of your body by doing it the right way - regularly cooking healthy meals and raising your heart rate 30 minutes a day instead of watching Netflix. Which brings me onto lesson 7...

7. Stop over-indulging to distract yourself from how you really feel.

Stop relying on things that are objectively harmful to your health in order to deal with life's emptiness. Partying and drinking alcohol shouldn't be used as a go-to method to kill time whenever you're bored - the problem isn't that you are bored, but that you are disconnected. When you are connected to people or a passion, addictions to short term pleasures fade away. Face your emotions and be honest with yourself - unlearning bad habits is difficult but necessary.

8. Wear sun cream!!!

Eyelid burns are a legit thing and they hurt like a b*tch. Not wearing sun cream whilst sizzling in the sun will make you burn quicker and can put you at risk of getting skin cancer. Slap that factor 50 on girl!

9. Make meditation non-negotiable.

When you’re operating at a low vibration - whether it be gossiping, acting out in jealousy, throwing a tantrum or yelling, remember that you can learn how to stop yourself when you’re spiralling. It requires a lot of patience and can be super uncomfortable, but you just have to be willing to learn to bring your awareness within. Connect with your spirituality and don't be afraid to be vulnerable. When we're quiet, we can hear more #zen

10. Be grateful. Always.

Daily gratitude really does go a long way. You can't wait for happiness, you have to reach it within yourself right now. Attract the reality that you desire by thanking the universe and finding something extraordinary in each and every ordinary day.

11. Find time to create and be inspired.

It's never too late to explore new things and challenge yourself. Read more books, watch inspirational videos, write often and keep your imagination active. Humans are meant to create - make sh*t happen.

12. Stop limiting your identity.

Who you are doesn't have to be restricted. You are not your thoughts and feelings - they're forever changing. You can identify yourself as a social extravert or a stay-at-home book worm or a magical flying piglet (pigs are awesome) - there's no right or wrong answer! Be who you want to be and don't let your mind limit itself.

13. Things are not important. People are.

When you've reminisced back to your happiest moments, they've always involved people - people who are good for you, good to you and good for your soul. Remember that it’s not how many things you have that gives you meaning - stop chasing materialistic shiz and focus more on your loved ones.

14. Sometimes friends drift apart, and that's okay.

You’ve met a hell of a lot of friends in your twenties and you can’t always keep up with everyone. Drifting from friends is normal as you get older - no one is a bad friend because they've been busy focussing on themselves or their interests no longer align with yours. Sometimes people grow apart and that's just life. Be grateful for the memories that you've had with them and what they’ve taught you.

15. Forgive and move on.

Remember that hurt people, hurt people - those who carry negative energy are in pain. Don't blame people when they've wronged you, blame ignorance. “They should’ve known better” is easy to say but everyone has had different life experiences and you need to comprehend that. Also, holding onto grudges ain't no fun anyway. Choose to forgive people not because they deserve forgiveness, but because you deserve peace.

16. Love yourself intensely.

Stop seeking validation from people who don't deserve your body - you are perfectly whole and complete on your own. Love yourself incredibly well and make your healing a top priority. Notice all the qualities you love about yourself everyday - you don't want to look back on photos of yourself one day to finally realise how beautiful you really are.

17. Play often!

All grown-ups were once children... but only few of them remember it.” - Ah, the best quote from The Little Prince. Basically don't take life too seriously - embrace your goofy personality, have fun and don't let growing older make you believe that means becoming more boring. Let that inner-child be free!

18. Travel, travel, travel.

The world is a huge place - there's still so much you're yet to see. Get to know other cultures and try all the yummy cuisines across the globe. Life is too short to not see a panda in real life :)

19. Protect the planet.

Listen to your boy David Attenborough when he tells us that the world will cease to exist as we know it for the generations to come. Reduce meat and dairy from your diet, cut down on plastic usage and be mindful of environmental concerns. The biggest threat to our planet is believing that somebody else will save it.

20. Surrender to all that life has to offer.

Trust that the universe has a plan for you. Look out for the signs and don't be down when things don't turn out the way that you expected them to - from past experience, you now know that it was always because something better was in line! Keep manifesting and have the courage to live your truth.

And that’s it folks… obviously turning 30 doesn’t just miraculously mean all my problems will suddenly go away, but so far my 20s has made me proud of who I am, what I’ve accomplished and what I've learned. It feels good to shout it out to the world!

I can’t wait to see what my 30s has to teach me. Here's to another decade of loving myself :) #Goodbye20s #Hello30s

Did any of these lessons resonate with you?

You can find me on Instagram @mindfulmonkay :)

#Mindfulness #Growth

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