Today is my 30th birthday and as excited as I am to celebrate and start out on a new decade of my life, it’s also a little bit bittersweet saying goodbye to my 20s. My 20s were life changing years!! The lessons I learned and experiences I gained over the past decade are going to be pretty hard to top, but I think I’m up for the challenge!
In honor of this milestone birthday, here are ten of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in the past ten years!
- Experiences are more important than things. This is at least true for me (and John too). I value making memories over buying new things and that’s just where our priorities are right now. I’d rather watch our circa 2009 TV and be able to afford trips and evenings out with our friends than spend the money to buy a new one!
- Sometimes it’s better to be nice than to be right. When I was younger, being “right” was very important to me. I have the temperament of a know-it-all and I love dropping knowledge on people. I’m also somewhat competitive, which means from time to time, I can be annoying. I’ve learned that there’s a time and place for being right and sometimes (actually, more often than not) being nice trumps being right because in the end, only kindness matters! (Do you like how I snuck those Jewel lyrics in there??Ha!!)
- Exercise is about more than just looking good on the outside. When I was 20 I joined a gym for the first time. I weighed probably 110 pounds and my “workout” was running on the treadmill exactly 30 minutes (there was a time limit…) a couple times a week to “tone” my body up. It’s funny to look back at that now and realize not only how much I really didn’t know about working out, but to know that future me would be someone who works out religiously 6-7 days a week. I think the biggest key to enjoying exercise has discovering that exercise does so much more for me than what it does for the outside of my body. Exercise for me is about seeing what I can accomplish, it’s about challenging myself and getting better. Sometimes I wish that I’d found my love for fitness at an earlier age, when I might have been more at a physical peak and/or capable of more, but I’m glad that I found it when I did so that I can carry the lessons I’ve learned into my 30s.
- Comparison is the thief of joy. Oh boy. If there was ONE huge lesson that I could impart upon myself at age 20, this would be it. In the past ten years, social media has only gotten bigger and bigger and with that, it’s ridiculously easy to compare yourself to other people. Sometimes people you don’t even know! If there’s one thing I would tell myself at age 20 (or really any age at all) it’s to keep your eyes on your own paper, because comparison isn’t going to do anything but hurt you.
- You only get one body, so you’ve got to take care of it the best that you can. I’ve come to the realization in this past year (thanks to some health issues) that my body isn’t just a floating orb that just kind of bobs around doing things…it’s a delicately balanced organism that actually runs better depending on how I fuel and take care of it. As stubborn as I’ve been about never giving up my love for junk food and being lucky enough to metabolize it fast, this all goes back to a similar point as #3…your body is so much more than what’s on the outside…what’s on the inside is even more important. If you’re not taking good care of yourself, making sure your body has the nutrients to function properly, then what are you even doing? This isn’t like it is with a car…you can’t trade in once yours starts performing terribly because you never got oil changes! You only get one body and you have to treat it right…or so they say 😉
- Invest your heart into good people. Forget about the rest. And also, in order to have great friends, you have to be a great friend as well. I spent a lot of my early 20s looking for love (friendship-wise!) in all the wrong places, so to speak. In my late 20s, I’ve become more selective about my friendships, but what’s funny is, that’s led me to more amazing relationships with more really genuine, kind people than I would have had otherwise.
- Just because something worked for you once doesn’t mean it always will. Be adaptable or get left behind! This is certainly true for my business, especially in this rapidly growing and changing industry, but it’s also a great metaphor for life. If you aren’t willing to change or grow, you will eventually stagnate and no one wants that! It’s important to be open to new experiences, trying new things, going a different way.
- Holding a grudge or holding onto anger doesn’t hurt anybody but you! I could write an entire book on this subject, but in order to not make this blog post 375 pages long, I’ll leave you with this thought: forgiveness is the most powerful thing out there and it’s important for you to forgive people not just for that person, but for yourself, because it’s too big of a burden to carry anger around for very long.
- Don’t be afraid to wholeheartedly love whatever it is you’re passionate about. Basically, forget about trying to be “cool”. I used to think it wasn’t cool to admit I was 20 something and went to see Pixar movies by myself sometimes or that I still really love 90s country music. But what I’ve learned is that the coolest people are the ones who are unashamedly who they are. So whatever you love, let your freak flag fly! Be you!
- Ain’t nobody got time for drama. Really though. If there’s anything that my 20s FLYING by has taught me, it’s that our time on earth is limited and it shouldn’t be full of drama, it should be full of champagne, sunshine, and as many bellyaching, tear inducing laughs as possible.
That’s just a little of what I’ve learned! What I gained over the last ten years in both knowledge and experiences could fill an entire Harry Potter sized series, but it wouldn’t be nearly as interesting to anybody but me. I am so excited to see what I’ll think about this list when I look back at the end of this next ten years. And I can’t wait to know what I will add to it. And as sad as it is to say adios to one of the most life changing decades of my life, it’s also really neat to be starting a new one because there’s just so much possibility ahead!
Before I go, I wanted to quickly share ten of the biggest moments from my 20s (in no particular order)
- 1. Running my first (and ONLY) marathon
- Moving in with John
- Marrying John
- Became a wedding photographer
- Started running my business full time.
- Seeing the world! Italy, Hawaii, San Fran, Florida, Vegas 4 times, Boston, Maine, Chicago, Mexico, and more!!
- Deadlifting double my body weight and climbing a rope…aka my fitness journey
- Finding Lucy in 2008
- I became an aunt.
- I’ve struggled with my fertility
Thank you for following along and for being a part of my journey! I’m so thankful to have the most fantastic friends and clients around. Thank you for making my 20s such an incredible time in my life! I’m excited to make tons more memories through work and my personal life in the next ten years and I hope you’ll stick around to be a part of that too!