The Most Important Lessons I Learned In My 20’s

Hey everyone! So recently I celebrated my… wait for it… 27th birthday! It’s a little daunting to know that I’m closer to my 30’s than I am to my teen years. None the less, I’m excited for what each birthday brings and the promises of new inspiration for the upcoming year. Everyone typically likes to make their New Year’s Resolutions, but, as per usual, I beat to my own drum and make them on my birthday. It feels way more personal to me this way.

As my birthday was quickly approaching this year, I was thinking about the past seven years of my 20’s and thinking about what I know about life and myself now, compared to what I didn’t know back then. I decided to compile a list of things that all 20-somethings can hopefully reflect on and relate to. Happy reading!

Money, Money, Money

While getting that first real paycheck may be the most exciting thing you have done yet in your life, you need to know how to save! I made the mistake time and time again of blowing away paychecks as they came in.

Am I financially smart right now? Far from it, but each day I am becoming more and more aware of where my money is going. If only Vineyard Vines, Lilly Pulitzer and Amazon could see how much money I have given them over the years.

My tip is to keep a log of your daily spending. At the end of each week, add it up, and I promise you, you’ll be shocked to see where all of your money is going.

You vs. Me

Theodore Roosevelt said, “comparison is the thief of joy.” When you’re just getting out of college, you’ll be looking around and seeing what jobs your friends have and even seeing some get married. If you are like I was, you’ll maybe feel a little ashamed that you don’t love your job, and that you are struggling to even find a date, let alone a boyfriend or fiancé.

It can become so easy to get down about your standing in life. Take a step back and realize how far you have come, and be excited for what is going to happen. You have no idea where the next hour is going to take you, so just be open to all new possibilities.

You Are Allowed To Change Your Goals

When I was in middle school I decided that I wanted to be a Physician Assistant when I grew up. What I didn’t know, was how hard college was and how easily I would be distracted from my studies.

After college, I had applied to PA programs and was rejected by every single one. I found myself sitting in a pool of rejection and immensely depressed. I even ended up going to counseling because I had no idea what to do with my life. I decided to go back to school in my mid-twenties and now am a few months away from becoming a nurse and am waiting to hear on acceptances to nurse practitioner programs.

I’m SO proud of where I have gotten myself and I fell in love with nursing and my future career path. Do I regret my first undergrad experience? No, because I wouldn’t be where I am today. It’s completely okay to change your goals and change them again. Be happy with what you are doing!

Life Is Harder Than Hard

Okay, that title seems a little dramatic, but it is the truth. I cannot believe how many times I have felt knocked down in my 20’s, but what I learn from each hardship is so valuable.

I learned that each day I wake up is a new chance to have a new mindset. I may spend a whole day crying one day, but that does not mean it has to translate into my next day. You have control over your mind, be good to it. And if you need to bake a packet of Nestle Tollhouse cookies and eat the whole package, then you do you boo!

We all have our own personal struggles, and you truly do not know what goes on behind someone else’s closed door. My suggestion is to keep a strong foundation of people around you that you can confide in whenever you need. I am very close with some friends from high school, college and now my nursing friends. However, my family support is priceless.

Whoever your people may be, go to them. You’ll need support when you just feel like things are crumbling all around you.

The Dating Game

Okay, so I am FAR from an expert on relationships. My 20’s have been nothing short of a whirlwind, and many (many) bottles of wine have been drunk and many tears have been cried.

What my early twenties have taught me is that I am going to be the only person who can guarantee my own happiness each day. My mom wrote in my birthday card this year “Don’t EVER settle!” (Let’s also keep in mind she bolded and underlined the word “ever”). I’ve been the person in relationships where I am giving 110% and only getting maybe 50% in return. I’ve been the person in relationships who is putting my significant other’s needs before my own. I’ve been the person in relationships that is crying while my significant other has no idea he even has hurt me.

It’s embarrassing to put out into the world how weak I have been in relationships, but I need to be honest with you guys about all of this (and plus now that it’s on the internet I have to hold myself accountable!). At the end of a Sex and the City episode Carrie Bradshaw says, “some people are settling down, some people are settling, and some people refuse to settle for anything less than butterflies.” Be the person who won’t accept anything less than to be treated like the royalty you are!

Okay, so that just got real personal, I hope you’re all still reading along! I hope that my transparency about these lessons relates to some of you and hopefully even helps you out.

What are some things you want to learn in your twenties, or lessons you have learned already? Leave a note in the comments below.

You can connect with me more on Instagram: @megsmitt