This Sunday I will be entering my 28th birthday. It sounds a little crazy to me that I’m this far into my twenties. As you age, years start to mean less because you collect more of them. Two years just doesn’t seem as long as it did when I was a teenager. It’s sort of mind blowing and it really is true what they all say, “time flies”.
In spirit of this, I wanted to write a post to reflect on all the things I can say I have learned in my life thus far. I know we are always evolving growing (or at least should be!) so it was nice to sit down and write down what I am sure will be a foundation of beliefs for me in my life. I’m naturally a big self reflector and have always analyzed and meticulously examined my life and decisions, which can be a good and also bad thing, but of these 27 things (by 27) I am sure…
- Saying “No” is a necessary adult skill. Sometimes I am still in awe at how peer pressure is still so powerful while we push father into our twenties. I never have had an issue with saying no and have been reminded that this is an exception to the rule on many occasions and that’s fine. But as we venture further into adulthood, saying no and not apologizing for it is one of the best skills you can take with you in life. It applies to everything from the simple decline for another party, to another drink, to relationships or careers. No is a good word.
- We don’t have to like everyone and not everyone has to like you and that’s okay. It’s human nature to want to be liked. No one should be actively seeking out enemies BUT it is okay to just not prefer some people and for them to feel the same about you. That’s life. Occasionally people just don’t gel. Being comfortable in this knowledge will allow you to release any anxieties or aggravations on the matter. All you can do is be you. Forget the rest. I’m not a huge advocate for being fake, best to be authentic always. My mom always says this to my sister and me as well, “what other people think of you is none of your business” and it’s true!
- Practice Gratitude. Being grateful and constantly being mindful of all your blessings and fortunes help keep things into perspective, particularly on those gloomier days. It also keeps an air of positive energy around you.
- Expectations ruin everything. Expectations are just setting yourself up for disappointments. That doesn’t mean to not have standards and this is a confusing, stressful balance I think most people struggle with, particularly in your twenties. I am sure that building up expectations and setting your heart on them is detrimental because life simply doesn’t go as planned and people don’t always do what we want them to. Instead, going with the flow is better. (I struggle with this constantly though).
- Quality over quantity. People, clothes, food, cosmetics, furniture, everything from the deep things that matter to the frivolous things that don’t as much. Quality is always better over quantity.
- Forgiveness sets you free. It’s unbelievably difficult from time to time but holding a grudge and anger only poisons you at the end of the day. And note: Forgiveness is not the same as liking someone or accepting them into your life. Toxic people and situations need to be extricated regardless of forgiveness. You can forgive and also remove. Remember: forgiveness is not about thinking a person’s behavior is acceptable, it’s more of an art of accepting that it happened, letting it go, and moving on.
- Acceptance is key. If you accept your mistakes, decisions, other people, or whatever your current situation is, it makes the harder things in life more manageable. Don’t try to change what can’t be changed.
- Starting small is the key to success. Starting from the bottom is character building and the only way to learn. Skipping your way to the top, getting the lucky break is simply not something to depend on. You really do appreciate your successes more too when you start from scratch. Don’t let your ego ruin your momentum!
- Live in the moment, don’t plan too much. Plans never work out anyway. You are wasting your time. A nice rough outline is okay, but don’t depend on anything and prepare yourself for a potentially windy road.
- Do set goals though! Confusing right? I know! I’ve definitely learned the key is to have goals and consistently try, just don’t be particular on every single detail, like timelines for instance.
- SAVE your money, and also spend it. Save, save, save! My dad is a Financial Advisor and I grew up with a good conscious on the value of a dollar and the benefits of being wise and saving. However, it’s good to live a little and enjoy your money too! Treat yourself, just learn the limits!
- Fear is the opposite of love. You’d think it’s hate but it takes caring to hate someone. I’ve heard it’s indifference and in a more direct way, that could be true. But, as I look at the world’s problems, it seems like people create hate and there is discord when they fear someone who is different that them.
- Don’t worry about feeling stupid. You have the power to define what’s cool. Get over yourself and get silly. Acting like you’re too cool to be yourself or like your dorky hobby or love should be a secret or being too scared to try something new is so yesterday. Get out there and forget about the rest. Odds are the shit talkers are just jealous anyway. Courage can be intimidating! Go Gryffindors! (See what I did there? I love Harry Potter and I quite frankly give two shits if anyone thinks that’s lame!)
- Be authentic and don’t apologize for it. Be who you are and do not apologize who it offends. Of course I don’t mean go around and cause problems when you shouldn’t, but there is no need to apologize for things about yourself that are different. Embrace them.
- Learn to balance. Balance relationships, career, exercise, friends, family, food, alone time, social time- LITERALLY EVERYTHING! It is key to feeling happy and well-rounded. I always thought too much extremity in any form is detrimental so this is an important rule to follow in life.
- Read all the time. I love reading. It helps to release you from your own stresses, open up your mind, explore your imagination, learn to love characters/people different than you, teaches compassion, educates, improves grammer, and gives knowledge. The more you read, the better!
- Never take your health for granted. There are no guarantees in this life and things can go wrong at any moment. Take care of your body. It really is your temple and all you have so eat right, drink water, exercise, be mindful, and treat it well.
- Investing is good. Invest your money, in an education, in your relationships, in your friendships, in a craft, in a hobby, in your wardrobe, in your home, and in your physical and mental health. Investing is always good. Just be mindful that the things you are investing in are worth it. (That’s the tricky part).
- People aren’t always going to act how you want them to and that’s okay. This plays into expectations but before you get angry at others or impatient, just remember they are different than you. How other people handle situations differently doesn’t always mean what you think it does. Don’t take everything so personally.
- Doing things by yourself is awesome. When I first lived in LA, I made sure to do a few things on my own. I lived on my own for a year, I had dinner in a restaurant by myself, and I even saw a few movies by myself ( No one wanted to see the second Twilight with me). My point is is that it’s character building. It teaches you to be comfortable in your own skin and thoughts. You need to learn to have a relationship with yourself and be your own best friend. Being kind to ourselves makes life so much easier.
- The world is bigger than you. Someone would love to have your bad day. There are things going on that are so much bigger than your bubble. Don’t be ignorant and ignore it. Always acknowledge that there is someone who has it worse than you and see #3.
- Happiness is a choice. There will always be something that needs to be improved or that is casuing angst. Life is not perfect so learn to be happy even when there are storms. You have to choose it, there is no outside source that will bring it to you.
- Travel! It really does make you richer. It opens up your mind and introduces you to life outside your own bubble. It expands your horizons and teaches you about different cultures that is something that you can carry with you your whole life. The experiences and growth you gain from travel are phenomenal.
- Your thoughts are powerful. They are what you live with every day, so make them positive ones. It can help shape your life.
- Aditting your faults and shortcomings is a sign a of maturity. The jig is up. We aren’t perfect. Assess your faults and behaviors and work on them. The goal in this life is to continuously try and be the best we can be.
- Let it go. Odds are it’s not worth it anyway. Life is too short as it is.
- Smile often. It just helps.
I hope some of this is relatable and helpful. I definitely can see the differences in myself so far throughout my twenties. Jenna at 21, 23, 25 and 27 were all different in many ways. It’s been sort of fun to reflect and see how my goals, opinions, and thoughts have changed. I’m excited to see what else I will learn in the upcoming years.
27 though, I have to say was a great year. I moved homes, traveled a lot-this time exploring more of the US and Canada, went to weddings, celebrated bachelorette parties, went on family trips, learned more at work, developed my blog and worked hard to make it grow, continued to get closer in my relationship, visited with old friends, made new friends, explored more of San Francisco, and discovered and accepted more things about myself.
I know the next year is going to be full of even more wonderful things- I’ll move in with my main squeeze-finally making a home, watch more friends get married, my nephew will start kindergarten, more vacations, another family cruise, and probabaly a million other wonderful, exciting things I don’t even know about yet!
Though I love the way December Twentieth sounds when it rolls off your tongue. I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with the fact that I have a birthday so close to Christmas since Jesus is a big up-stager! However, I do love that I am pretty much one age for an entire year. It allows me to start fresh. I’m sure a lot of you will be doing this as you look back on your own lives this past year and planning resolutions, I hope you can relate, agree or find some sort of lesson in my 27 bits of advice that will offer some friendly guidance on your own journey!