20 lessons I learned in my 20s...

As I write this it is July 21st, the last day of my 20's; tomorrow I turn the big 3-0, closing volume 2 of life according to Laura and stepping into a fresh phase of the unknown. If my 20s have taught me anything it's that you never know what life has in store for you next and so, these big milestone moments are full of mixed emotions - did I do enough? did I take the right risks? did I make a difference? have I learned anything at all? will anything really change as I move forward? 
Those questions are hard to answer, but what I do know is that I learned a lot in my 20s and that there is always value in sharing those lessons. So, with that in mind and a touch of emotion fuelled nostalgia, I give you (in no particular order): 20 lessons I learned in my 20s...

  1. No one has it all figured out - if you think you’re the ‘only one’ who is not on track with your five year plan (or that doesn’t even have a five year plan), don’t worry, because everyone is really just making it up as they go!
  2. You don’t actually need a five year plan - if you have one or want to make one, great, but the reality is that you might not know now what you want in five years time and that’s okay too.
  3. Don’t compare your ‘beginning’ to someone else’s ‘middle’ - we all grow and progress through life at different paces and that means we can’t ever compare where we are at with where someone else is, especially if they already have more experience in something than us.
  4. Everyone has a story, so don’t be so quick to judge - that anger, that passive aggressiveness, it probably has nothing to do with you, so don't take it personally and remember that behind it there is probably a story that they may not be ready to share yet. 
  5. You don’t have to do it alone - being independent is great, but there is no shame in asking for help when work, life or love suddenly feels overwhelming. 
  6. Don’t say “I’m fine” when really, you’re not - share your feelings because carrying them around will only hurt YOU more.
  7. On that note, feelings always come out - if you bottle them now, they will build and spill out in a moment when you probably least want or expect. So say out loud how you feel, write about it, journal about it, express it in some way, but don't bottle things up.
  8. Speak your truth! - don’t water down your thoughts, feelings or ideas for the sake of what someone else ‘might’ think
  9. Not everyone is going to like you... and that's okay, because you won't like everyone you meet, work with or find yourself around either. 
  10. You're stronger than that mean voice in your head! The way you speak to yourself matters, and you have the power to change what's going on in your head. 
  11. Your thoughts are not facts. They are just your brain trying to process what's going on around you and what might happen next; just because you think it, doesn't make it true.
  12. Feelings are not facts. Again, they are just part of your brain processing what is going on around you, they are sensations in your body and they will pass however...
  13. Your feelings are valid & matter! If you're feeling a certain way about something that's going on in your life and those feelings are becoming too much to manage alone, it's important to get help in understanding what they are about and what your body and brain are trying to communicate to you through these feelings. 
  14. Your brain isn't built to keep you happy, it's built to keep you safe - our brains are always working to keep us safe, but sometimes that hyper vigilance can turn into fear, worry, anxiety and even depression. It doesn't mean there is something 'wrong' with you, it just means you need to work a little more on yourself and helping your brain recognise that you are safe. 
  15. Do the things that bring you joy - life is hard enough without denying yourself the things that bring you joy. Love gaming? Do it! Want to paint after work? Do it! Want to start small business selling hand made crafts? Go for it!
  16. Follow your dreams, but also know that it won't always be easy - just because you're working on your creating your 'dream job' or life, does not mean that that journey will be an easy one. Remember that there will be challenges and sometimes the fact that it means SO much to you already, will make things more challenging along the way... but it will pay off. 
  17. The distance between your dreams and your reality is called 'action' - you can't manifest your dream life into reality simply by sitting around and thinking about it, you have to take action towards the things that matter most to you.
  18. Everyone has advice to offer, but only you really know what's right for you - listen to the advice, take it on board, but also take it with a pinch of salt because advice comes from a place of experience and everyone's personal experience is unique to them. Sometimes you have to make big decisions based on what you feel in your gut is the right move for you, despite what anyone else might think.
  19. Mistakes will happen! You're not going to get it right all of the time, but that's okay. Mistakes and 'failures' are only a waste if we fail to see the lessons in them or how we can learn from the experience. Don't let mistakes, or even so called failure, stop you from trying again. 
  20. Just be you. Not the version of you that you think other people want you to be, not the version of you that you think will make people proud or like you, just YOU. Unapologetically, authentically, you.
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