20 Things I Learned in my 20s
I’ve been in reflection mode for quite some time over the last year-my last year in my 20s. As I reflect on my life over the last ten years, I jotted down 20 things I learned in my 20s.
1. Boundaries are healthy. It is okay to speak up for myself, to say no, and to know my limits. I used to think that saying “yes” to everything was the way to get others to like me, and to accept me. I’m learning that boundaries are healthy.
2. See the best in people. Seeing the worst in others doesn’t do me, or them, any good.
3. Stop comparing. Letting go of comparison gives me freedom–freedom from what and who I think I’m supposed to be, freedom from feeling like a failure, and freedom from the lie that I am not enough.
4. Embrace the hard. We have to go through hard times in order to grow, and come out stronger.
5. Stop saying “I’m sorry.” I apologize for everything, and I’m learning to knock it off.
6. Know thyself. I am an ambivert. I need time to myself, and that is okay. It’s not selfish. It’s necessary.
7. The past is an excellent teacher. I am learning to only look behind me to see the times that God provided for me, but not to dwell on my past mistakes. I want to use the past to guide me to be a better person in the present, and the future.
8. Anxiety is real. It will probably always follow me around, but I’m learning how to conquer it and not let it define me.
9. I was made to be me. I was created to have influence right where I am, to love the people God has entrusted in my path, and to embrace the strengths and weaknesses that make me ME.
10. Choose style over fashion. Buy cheap, buy twice. Quality over quantity. A confident style is better than following the world’s ever-changing trends.
11. Let go of expectations. Expectations in relationships, and in myself. I’m learning how to give-and receive-grace.
12. Forgiveness starts in me. It’s more about me than it is about others. In the words of Shauna Niequist, I want to be an expert forgiver.
13. What others think of me is none of my business. Worrying about what others think of me has the powerful potential to ruin my life. When I search for purpose and joy, the answer is not in others. It’s in my Creator, and therefore in me.
14. I have a duty as a wife. To protect my heart. I never realized how much the media (and social media) could have the ability to impact my marriage if I let it. I want to protect my marriage from the lies that it’s too hard, or that someone else has a better marriage than me. It is an honor to love my husband and to pour into our marriage.
15. Life isn’t getting any easier. But it is getting sweeter. I’ve seen my friends and family go through really hard things. I’ve been through some really hard things. But I survived. And so did they.
16. Beauty is everywhere. The hard, and amazing, part is to choose to see it. I’m learning to see the beauty all around me.
17. Be brave. Sharing pieces of my story, and being vulnerable with others, has proven to be way better than keeping it all in. It’s been scary, yes, but so good.
18. Friendship takes work. We all want community. We want to be heard and valued. I want to have-and be-the kind of friend who listens and understands. Who accepts flaws and loves unconditionally. And I’m learning that it’s okay to be hurting in my time of pain, while at the same time, happy for my friends during their time of joy.
19. Steward well. I want to steward my life, my words, my energy, and my resources well.
20. Gratitude changes everything. My perspective on my life and circumstances are so different when I choose gratitude.
So here’s to holding on, and looking forward in faith and hope as I enter this new decade. With open arms, I welcome you, 30.
If you’re in your 20s, what are you learning? If you’re past 30, what else would make this list for you? I’d love to hear…
I'm Ali. I write about my journey of living a full and healthy life with food allergies, overcoming the comparison trap, and cultivating authenticity.