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20 Things I Learned In My 20s

20 Things I Learned In My 20s

As my 20s are coming to a close, I’m looking at everything that I’ve experienced and learned over the past decade. These past 10 years haven’t been easy and there have been plenty of hurdles, but if I didn’t go through everything I have, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. I’m sharing 20 things that I learned in my 20s and hopefully they can help you.

1 - No Response Is A Response

You can’t force people to respond to you, but you can control how you act to the lack of a response. I unfortunately went through something last year that resulted in the end of a friendship that I thought was very important to me. I was betrayed by this friend and was lied to for over a year about what she had done. Once I found out that what I had been suspecting was true, I spent a whole day trying to put into words the hurt that I felt and went back multiple times to edit what I was going to say. For this situation, I had to write down what I was feeling and send it that way because I was hurt and angry and I didn’t want to lash out.

When I finally reached out and explained the hurt I was going through, she said nothing. Instead, she decided to respond one sentence to something that was a minor concern and that was that. There was no apology. If she had owned up to what she did that would be one thing, but she decided to completely ignore the matter. I decided that was my sign that I needed to cut ties with this person and as painful as it was, I did.

2 - If That Guy Ghosted You Before, He's Going To Do It Again

I am definitely not the person to ask about relationships. I am the most forgiving person in the world and try to see the best in everyone. All of my exes over the years I have been on and off with. I would be dating a guy and get ghosted or blocked and then he would come crawling back a few months later and I would forgive him and it would happen again and again. I was on and off last year with the same guy THREE times. He would block me and then come crawling back a few months later and even though there were red flags galore, I would decide to ignore them. Lesson number one: If they block you – they’re immature AF and a waste of time. Lesson number two – if they’re making you cry more times then they’re making you happy – it’s a sure sign to LET THAT BOY GO. I also say “boy” because no grown man would do anything of the sort – he would be upfront with his feelings and tell you exactly where he stands.

3 - There's More To Life Than Partying All The Time

Sure, I had my wild and crazy days in college. Back then, I would party 3-4 times a week and somehow managed to graduate Cum Laude and with honors. If mom and dad knew what I was up to, they wouldn’t have been happy lol. I also partied hard once my serious college boyfriend and I broke up to try and distract myself and would drag my friends along for the ride (sorry Ashlee and Alex, love you).

In college, my roommates and I would always try and piece together the night before and it was a hot mess. The older you get you realize that blowing money on alcohol and waking up feeling like crap the next day isn’t ideal. There’s more to life and rather than wasting your days away hungover all the time, make something of them.

4 - The Older You Get The Smaller Your Circle Becomes

People come and go in your life and it’s unfortunately something that you have to accept. I’ve had friends that I’ve simply grown apart from over the years, but I’m still rooting for them and hoping they’re doing well. The older you get, you have a general idea of the people who are meant to be in your life and who you can trust. I have plenty of acquaintances but there’s only so many people who know whats actually going on with my life. Friendships and Relationships aren’t going to always be a breeze – there will be highs and there will be lows. If you can only count your true friends on one hand, that’s not a bad thing. I’m the kind of person that will drop anything to be there for my people. If they’re going through a breakup or going through a rough patch, they always know they can talk to me no judgement and I will be there.

5 - If You're Having Serious Problems With Them Before Their Wedding, It Doesn't Mean You'll Be Friends After The Wedding

Read that title again. I’m an avid listener to the podcast Girls Gotta Eat and one of their episodes talking about weddings really hit home for me. (It’s the episode called “Always a Bridesmaid” if you want to give it a listen.) If you’re having problems with someone before their wedding, it does not mean you’ll be friends after the wedding. I was having this discussion recently with one of my best friends who was also in a wedding with someone he was having issues with prior. Guess what? They’re also no longer friends. This honestly happens more than you think! 

6 - Sometimes The Payoff To The Hard Work Takes Time, Don't Give Up

Sometimes it takes months – even years to see results. Don’t get discouraged. Wake up everyday with a purpose and stay focused. The 20’s are your time to work your ass off and figure it all out. It’s okay if you have no clue what you’re doing. None of us do. We’re just figuring it all out as we go.

7 - Always Pay Attention To Your Gut

If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. I’m actually pretty good at reading people and knowing when something is wrong or if they’re hiding something – sometimes it’s blatant signs, other times it’s not. (I can’t say I’m right when it comes to directions or business decisions – but hey to each their own). 

Let me give you one example – I went on a double date with a friend years ago and the guy she was dating. Throughout the course of the night I noticed a lot of red flags in him. One thing in particular was that when she would go to the bathroom, she would leave her phone face up on the counter. I knew that he was the only guy she was dating so she had nothing to hide. Meanwhile, he always had his phone down and would take it with him. After that night, I brought it up to her and just told her from my past experiences, that behavior is very suspect. She brushed it off and said that he kept saying she was the only girl he was talking to (YA, OKAY BRO). Unfortunately, she eventually found out he was lying to her and that he was in fact talking to other girls.

8 - Not Everything Has To Go On Social Media - Remember That

Since seriously starting my blogging journey back in March, I have been sharing a little bit more into my daily life than what I used to share but it only goes to a certain point. I want to be as transparent as possible with my audience in what I do share, but also there are things that I am not comfortable with discussing. I have seen people who talk crap about their partner or friendships on social media and that is something I will not do. I also don’t share every single thing of every single day. I know a lot of bloggers do, but that is not something I am personally comfortable in doing. 

If I’m having a rough patch with someone, I handle it privately and get advice from close friends. This also goes to posting on my personal accounts. Remember, not everyone that is a “friend” on your social media is actually a “friend.” There are people who follow you because they just want to see what you’re doing, but it doesn’t actually mean that they truly care about you or what you’re up to.

9 - Be Careful In Who You Trust

This goes hand in hand in the story about the previous friend that I was talking about in Lesson #1. This was a person who I thought I could trust with my life and who I shared so much with about my personal life and my thoughts. That ended up not being the case. Keep your guard up unless you know they’re trustworthy.

10 - Do Things Alone, It's Good To Be Independent

Growing up I was shy and was too scared to go out and do things by myself. In my 20s, I FORCED myself to feel uncomfortable and do things alone and that broke me out of my shell and allowed me to become the person I am today. I went to the movies alone to watch the Hunger Games, have gone to dinner by myself (in the US and abroad), explored Dubai alone on my 17-hour layover back from South Africa and have gone to places like the Panhandle and South Carolina alone and would explore.

About 8 months after breaking up with my college boyfriend, I planned a 10-day trip to California. Part of the trip I had planned to stay with a friend in Los Angeles, but I first started in San Diego where I flew in and got a hotel and rental car all by myself. Plans shifted a little bit because a guy I was dating for a couple of weeks who was an airline pilot ended up being off a few days and flew in and tagged along.

Yes, we literally were only dating for 2 weeks – so it was pretty wild for me to shift some of my travel to go around someone I just met, but I took the leap of faith. But before he got there I explored San Diego alone and did all of San Diego Zoo in a day (it’s huge and I was powerwalking to get it all done) and got some bites in little Italy and whatever else I found that looked good on Yelp. Once he landed, we ended exploring the USS Midway, Tijuana in Mexico because I thought it was a great idea (it was NOT a great idea – ask me about that story LOL) and then moved on to La Jolla and a couple days in LA. (I let him drive my rental from Tijuana to LA as I slept from exhaustion until we reached the hotel). Once he left I then went on to stay at my friends place, but since she had work during the day I took my rental car to the places I wanted to visit and did everything myself during the day and would come back at night and we would hang out.

I always tell my story about my visit to the Queen Mary in Long Beach alone. The Queen Mary is a famous ship that housed plenty of A-listers and political figures back in it’s day. Today, it calls Long Beach, CA home. I had been wanting to visit the ship for a while because it’s said to be haunted. (Side note: I believe in ghosts and I love ghost tours but they also scare the living crap out of me.)

They had a couple of tours you can sign up for where it goes to dark and haunted parts of the ship. (I went back in 2014 so it looks like their tours have since changed.) I expected both tours to be full of people…well I was wrong, only one of them was. The first one it was just me and the guide and the guides are in character and act creepy like the cast members on Tower of Terror.

Well, theres one part in the that tour/light show where you’re by the pool where it’s said that a little girl haunts (she ended up passing away there), and the lights went dark and the tour guide disappears for a few seconds. So here I was alone for what felt like an eternity at a part of the ship that is supposedly haunted. I cried. The guide laughed lol. I am so glad I didn’t sign up for the night tour where they try and talk to the ghosts, because there’s no way I could handle that lol.

11 - Go On A Long Trip With Friends

I’ve taken a couple of trips with girlfriends that I have plenty of stories from. The first was a trip with 3 girls that I went to college with after our internships were over at the Cannes Film Festival. We ended up exploring Paris and London. One of the girls had previously studied abroad in London and had been to Paris already, so we let her handle the itinerary and she planned the places we’d go. We ended up doing a lot of things that locals are known for, which I absolutely loved. This whole trip including my internship I was gone for a whole month. On my way back to the states, I stayed with one of the girls at her home in Massachusetts a couple of days and we took a day trip to Boston and she showed me around.

The second was a trip to Paris, London, Belgium and Amsterdam with my best friend about 4 years ago. That trip was one for the books and we did totally different things than when I first went to Paris and London. That trip I believe was 2 weeks long.

Both trips I have memories of RUNNING to the gate and barely making flights, getting separated from my best friend when we landed in Paris because my luggage was too heavy and I couldn’t pick it up and put it into the train in time before the train doors closed, food poisoning, you name it! I also have so many positive memories like seeing Versailles for the first time and falling in love with the history and design. I wouldn’t trade these memories for anything – even if I was throwing up and dying for 24 hours from food poisoning in another country. Fun fact: I had food poisoning when I went to see the Mona Lisa, so it was quite the experience let me tell you lol.

12 - Online Dating Isn't Ideal

I only know ONE couple who are married as a result of meeting on a dating app out of all of my friends. In the years past I have tried Plenty of Fish for a whole 24 hours, Coffee Meets Bagel, Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, you name it.

I’ve had better luck meeting guys that I’m good friends with now on these apps than finding potential partners. I hate the idea of having the same conversations over and over with people. I’ve been off the apps for a while and honestly I have no plans to re-download. I am more focused on my goals than distracting myself with small talk.

13 - If You're Lonely, Get A Pet

The best thing I have ever done is adopt my own dog. Milo has been there for me on my good days and bad days and has been there through it all. He’s always excited to see me when I come home and he is a great cuddler. I actually don’t like sleeping alone, so he sleeps with me every night and keeps me company. 

14 - You Come First, Remember That

It’s okay to cancel plans if you’re feeling exhausted or are overwhelmed and need to catch up with other things. True friends will understand that sometimes life happens. Just don’t make a habit out of cancelling. It’s okay to do it here and there, but if you always cancel then you’re considered unreliable and that’s not cool.

15 - If You're Upset About Something, Be An Adult And Talk Through It

I will be the first to tell you I was VERY immature when I was younger. When I would get angry, I would blow the person up through text or phone calls and say very mean things that I didn’t mean in the heat of the moment. I was and still am far from perfect, but one thing I know is that how I am now is a total 180 of how I used to be. I think of how I used to behave when I was younger and honestly it’s embarrassing to think about.

Today, I take a step back and gather my thoughts before I say anything and I will have a grown up conversation rather than yelling and will listen to the other persons thoughts and feelings. I prefer having serious conversations in person and if thats not an option discussing it over a phone call if possible.

16 - You're Not Always Right... Apologize And Be Aware Of Your Wrongs

This was definitely something that I had a hard time learning. I used to have a hard time apologizing and would actually refuse to apologize. Now, I won’t apologize for everything…but I’m much better about admitting I’m in the wrong and apologizing than I was when I was younger thats for sure. It really took me listening to feedback from my friends who were more mature than me at the time in order to realize this. 

17 - Material Possessions Won't Make You Happy, Experiences Will

I am a full believer in experiences and will always enjoy that over being given a physical gift. Now, not everyone is wired the same, but anyone who knows me knows that I value their time over what they “give” me. I will tell you that most of my positive memories have come from experiences and “adventures”, not that designer purse I had.

18 - Say How You Feel, The Worst They Can Say Is No

This is important in all facts of life (relationships, friendships, your career, etc.) and something that we shouldn’t have to worry about. If you still have feelings for that person, tell them. The worst thing they can say is that they don’t feel the same way.

If you’re needing a place to crash and they’re not exactly a bestie, still ask! This is actually how I became close with my friend Adam. He was more of a college acquaintance initially when I got my job at HSN and I reached out and asked if it was possible to crash at his place after my shifts and he let me! (In case you didn’t know HSN is located in St. Petersburg, FL. The training for my job was for a whole month initially and then I would have shifts pretty regularly after that. I made sure to throw money his way for allowing me to stay because I don’t believe in mooching.) We became super close as a result. We bonded over wine nights, movie marathons, Starbucks coffee runs, brunches, me making him watch The Purge Series lol and much more. We’re both in Marketing so I pick his brain often if there’s something I don’t know.

Most recently I tried my first pitch to a brand to work together (I got denied), but hey I did it!

19 - Whoever Is Meant To Be In Your Life Will Be

Read that again. As cliche as this line is, the people who are meant to be in your life will be. If you have some time apart and come back to each other (I’m not talking about those guys that play you like a yo-yo… kiss their asses GOODBYE for GOOD) then there is a reason. Some people need time apart to grow and mature. I actually went about a year and a half without talking to someone due to an immature falling out when we were younger. When I say it was a stupid disagreement, I literally roll my eyes thinking about the whole thing and how I overreacted over it. I knew that person was a valuable part in my life and that I missed them so I reached out and apologized for my behavior and we talked about it like adults and we’ve been close ever since.

20 - You Are More Than The Obstacles Put In Your Way

Yes, obstacles suck and I will be the first person to admit that. My career path and the way things have worked out is not at all the way I imagined it to be. I’ve seen people in my life get the jobs they want and already have the house of their own. Then there’s me who has done everything in her power to have that life but I’ve been laid off twice in my 20s and busted my ass for companies who didn’t see my potential. Here’s the thing though, I know what I deserve and I won’t give up until I get there. There are many days I’ve cried out of frustration, but I WON’T STOP TRYING. It’s fine if some people don’t think I can do great things, BUT I KNOW I AM CAPABLE OF GREAT THINGS.

As I say goodbye to my 20s, I am excited for what life has in store. The 20s were my lesson years and the 30s are where I will make something of myself. Did you relate to any of the lessons I’ve learned? If so, which ones? Comment below!

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