I sit here writing this on the verge of my 30th birthday. This birthday will mark the end of an era. An era that saw me grow up, live on my own, experience heart break, turmoil and question God for the first time. As most of you are younger, I thought it would be great to share some of the things that I’ve learned along the way, and even those that I didn’t learn, but I still think you should know. This is the diary…. haha totally kidding. This is a list of the twenty things that I’ve learned in my twenties.
1. Your friendships will come and go like seasons on a calendar, that’s ok. – This is one area I had a hard time getting used to and still do. But I learned that even the Apostle Paul dealt with this (go read 2 Timothy). Once I learned that not all friends are lifelong, I became completely ok with it.
2. You don’t have to have everything figured out when you graduate college. – I think it’s ingrained in a lot of us early on that we pick a major, graduate, instantly start a career and then retire between the ages of 58 ad 65. That’s no longer the case! Your twenties are about exploring and experiencing what it is that motivates you and gets you passionate.
3. It’s ok to question God, it will help you grow. – I went through some dark times in my twenties. I yelled at God (more than I care to admit). But, through that pain I came to understand God a bit more. You see, I never wavered on my relationship and God never did either. Through the turmoil and my questioning, God DID answer when I finally stopped to listen.
4. It’s going to be ok if you’re not married by the age of 25. – Another somewhat pre-conceived idea of life is that we meet our potential mate right around college and start having kids right away. It’s an idea that is so far from the truth! In fact, your generation (I can say that since most of you are 10 years younger than me #DealWithIt) are having kids later than previous generations.
5. Experience life through your own eyes, not through someone else’s. – Your twenties are a good time to explore the world, to hang out with your friends and to go to back-to-back concerts, even though you’re super tired. It’s a time to live. Don’t do it for the likes, do it for you. Do it so that you have fun experiences you can share down the road. This is the time where you have the least amount of adult responsibilities. Live it.
6. Develop healthy habits early on. – I can’t stress this one enough. It’s been said that a habit is formed just after two weeks of doing it. Work out, eat right and develop your spiritual health by reading The Word, daily. Not only will your body thank you, but your older, more spiritual self, will too.
7. Don’t pass up opportunities to learn. – In your twenties, there are endless opportunities to enrich yourself. Learning will come from mentors, continued education at your school or even from an internship. Your twenties are the best time to grasp that knowledge. Don’t let it slip by.
8. Learn to love yourself more and more. – As we grow more and more focused on our digital lives, be careful not to place your focus on pretending to be someone else. Love yourself more and more. Learn ways to avoid falling into the trap of comparison along the way. Your twenties are a time when everyone is focused on image. Don’t allow that to steal your joy.
9. Move around, but stay awhile. – I moved a TON in my twenties, not just in the same city either. I moved from Los Angeles to Nashville to Florida to Minnesota to Massachusetts (thank you auto-correct) and then to North Dakota. Why couldn’t I stay put? It was simply because I wasn’t sure about myself or where my community was. I never took the time to FIND community in any of these cities, which I now know was the problem. So my mistake, is now your lesson. It’s totally ok to move, but stay awhile before you embark on a new journey.
10. Trust God. – Your twenties will be tumultuous. Not that I’m trying to scare you or anything, but it’s the truth. There are so many ups and downs during this time period, so it’s definitely worth mentioning. However, what I’ve discovered through it all, is that we serve a God who loves us dearly and if we rest our faith in Him the blessings will be awesome. Trust in His timing.
11. Be ok with being alone. – Your twenties will be filled with community and so many new friends. But, the real you, needs to be ok with being alone from time to time. Learn to enjoy yourself, too. This life is about you, me, and we. Love the you.
12. See the world. – You know what? I actually didn’t get to do this one. I wanted to! I was just always occupied with other things. But that’s ok. I encourage you all to take advantage of this season in your life to see God’s beauty around the world.
13. Learn how to handle rejection. – You will, at some point, be rejected for something. It’ll either be by a crush, a job, or something else that you really want. Being able to bounce back from rejection is so important because it will help build your future self.
14. Be a giver more than a taker. – We are selfish beings. It’s almost our human nature. However, the Word of God states that we should love others BEFORE ourselves. As you develop new and existing relationships, evaluate if you’re giving more or taking more from the relationship. If you’re in the latter, you may want to reconsider your place.
15. Learn a foreign language. – You usually are required to take foreign language classes in college. Take them seriously! Trust me. Not only are we living in a much more connected world, but being multi-lingual will help you land a better job and will also make you sound REALLY cool.
16. Take time to be with your family. – If you’re single in your twenties, you’ll have a lot of time to spend with your family. Take trips with them. Go home once in awhile. A funny thing happens when you get to your twenties. Your parents actually become your friends. Hard to believe, but it happens!
17. Find a church that fits YOU. – In your teens, you tend to go to the church that your parents pick out. Now, in your twenties, it’s time to find your place to build community. It’s the place that will help you grow, so be sure to pick out a church that you actually want to attend.
18. Plan more get-togethers. – Later on in life, you’ll get really busy with work and family. However, in your twenties you’ll have a bit more free time. Use it to build community and to get to know people. Plan cooking parties, slumber parties, hiking parties, we-just-finished-our-finals parties, whatever it is, be in community with one another!
19. Less TV and internet, more in person time. – Maybe I’m pressing this one too much, but the older you get, the busier you get. Take time now to build those life-long relationships. First off, it’s better than any T.V. show, and secondly, it’s building a support system for you when you go throw tough times. No T.V. or internet website will help you during those times.
20. Save money! – This last one is a big one. We’re in a time where debt is high and very few people can afford to live on their own. If you find yourself living at home in your twenties, it’s ok. Take that time to start saving. Your older self will thank you!