Since I’m a few months into my 30’s, I’ve had time to sit down and really think about how life is different now than it was when I was 20. We all go through changes at various decades in life and that’s one of the beauties of it – it’s ever changing. And as we have moments and experiences, we change with them into someone even better than we were before – or into someone new. Over the past ten years of my life, I’ve gone through some amazing ups and downs that makes me the person that I am today. Although, I might change the way I’ve reacted to some of those events in those 10 years, I wouldn’t change the experiences at all.
When I was 20, I was struggling with who I was; trying to figure out where I wanted to go career-wise (as well as geographically) and what college degree would get me there. I dabbled in chemistry pre-pharmacy, but after a professor sat me down for some “real talk,” realized that I’d fare better doing what I was passionate about and switching to English-Writing. It did take me some convincing of what I could do with an English degree since I didn’t want to become a teacher, but so far it has paid off. During this time, I was also struggling in my love life and trying to make sense of coming to terms with who I was and how that changed things – while also battling some physical insecurities.
As I dove farther into my 20s, I was finally unleashed from my small college town life and launched into the real world to really grab it by the reigns and to figure out where I wanted to go and what the heck I wanted to do. It was terrifying, yet freeing, as I was able to leave a toxic and unstable relationship behind and move on into a new stage in life. It allowed me to close the door and it’s been one of the best decisions of my life.
Moving allowed my heart to finally heal, to find my own place in a big city, make new friends, drop some weight, and even helped better situate myself in a career where I discovered a hidden passion – in Human Resources. Everything in my life has truly happened for a reason and contributed to who I am now as I’m two months into my 30s. Yes, those physical insecurities are still there – but I’m less focused on killing myself trying to fit into a perfect idea of what a woman should look like and more focused on bouncing back from what I don’t like about myself and working with what I have.
I have learned the value of good friendships versus having friends to party with. I’ve also learned that I can’t drink anyone under the table any more and I’d much rather prefer a quiet night with a glass of wine than dancing til 2 am at a local club. I’ve learned to stop worrying about things that I can’t change – that I’ve put too much stress on myself in the past because of this and to just let it go and move on. I’ve learned the value of supportive family and to spend time with them because life is too short. I’ve learned to be outgoing and do things that push me out of my comfort zone because I need that experience and I don’t want to miss a chance doing something I might like. I’ve learned it’s important to be a good person, to be kind, to forgive, to big the “bigger” person.
I’m grateful for the lessons learned and for the experiences I had in my 20s. I hope the next decade of my life brings even better experiences and I look forward to what’s ahead.