What I learned in my 20s

as someone who just turned 30

I turned 30 last December 13, btw.

Being 20 and free. What a time to be in.

The 20s are basically the free pass of life, I think.

I mean, I’m only 30 years old now but I do believe a lot of good, fun things happen in your 20s that are so different than in later years when you have so much more responsibility on your plate (especially if you’re planning to have kids).

So what did I learn?

When I was 20 years old, I was still in college. It was just right before this time when I had my first boyfriend. That lasted for 6 months. But it was a… nice experience.

At around twenty-one, second and current boyfie came into the picture. And he definitely added to much of the story in my 20s. Our 20s were composed of the years we spent both together and apart.

Here are some of the things I learned:

I learned to figure out what I wanted

Career-wise, I explored much. I worked as a secretary, pre-opening restaurant manager, saleswoman, marketer, customer service representative, receptionist, and ultimately, a nurse. That’s a lot of jobs before actually proceeding to the job that I got educated in for four years in college. I didn’t want to become a nurse. So when I graduated, it was a free pass for me to now do what I wanted. But countless jobs later, I realized I wasn’t cut out for office politics or corporate schedules. I wanted a job that was flexible with time. On the side, I also wrote part-time, which was one of the highest paid gigs for me. And I found that writing was something that I liked because it was both flexible and creative. When I look back even before my 20s, I figured I’ve always liked writing and coding and creating digital stuff. Hence, this blog and all the other content I’ve produced in 2019.

Figuring out what I wanted didn’t end when I turned 30. I believe there are still so many things in life I’ve yet to learn. But throughout the past decade, at least, I got the chance to learn AND experience different jobs from different industries. I’m grateful for my past no matter if they were positive or negative experiences because they’ve all helped me learn and molded me to who I am now.

I learned to completely stand on my own

When you’ve just graduated, the next problem becomes the anxiety of finding a job. But if you’re in that stage, I will tell you to go for the job that you want but learn to love the job that you get. This means, set goals but if your goals don’t turn out the way you expected, learn to accept the job that’s available to you. It was meant for you for a reason and, in the future, you might not see it yet but it’s bound to teach you a couple of things.

When you’re able to provide for yourself because you now have a job, you learn to stand on your own feet without anyone needing to give you anything to survive. You become fully independent. And this is a lesson in itself. When you stand on your own and you know where your means of living is coming from, you become much more appreciative of the money or the income that’s coming your way. You start to realize how difficult it is to earn an honest living.

I learned to design my life

Later on in my 20s, after quitting from probably half a dozen jobs, I learned to start designing my own life. It’s different when you’re trying to work/ live just to get money in your wallet or survive versus when you’re truly aware of what you think will make your life more meaningful and designing ways and strategies to go after that kind of life. That’s what I mean by learning to design your life.

After all the experiences from your 20s, you’ll have a grasp of knowing what it is that you want to do for the next probably 50 years of your life. And that’s still a long way to go. But having kids and/ or marriage in the picture now, you start to get serious about the word, responsibility. The days of unlimited trials and errors are numbered and, now, it’s all about pursuing what matters for you, whether that’s a hobby or an income-generating venture that’s tied to your interests (aka a business).

You learn to start to make time for the things that bring you joy. Time seems to slow down just a little bit for you and you find yourself wondering why it’s becoming harder to catch up with younger adults. It’s because you’re not trying to fit into anyone else’s standards anymore, you’re trying to truly live your own life according to your standards.

I learned that life isn’t just about me or my feelings

This is another lesson that I think isn’t simply due to the fact that I turned 30 but also that I had a child when I was 28. It’s quite ironic that, just when you start designing your own life and living it for you, you simultaneously learn that it’s not just about you.

When you have a child, you will appreciate this all the more. And that’s not to scare you. It’s to empower you.

Life is beautiful because it’s shared. No matter how you try to design your life, things happen that will throw you into a curve ball. But that’s what makes it more beautiful. When everything only happens the way you expect, you won’t learn anything new. And it’s by learning new things that we get to discover the many more beautiful things in life.

Conclusion

In all these learnings and as a new parent, I have to say that the number one thing I have yet to master is patience. Really, when you’re at the stage when you know what you want to achieve in the long term, you have to be patient.

You have to realize that there are a couple of things you can’t control but you do have the power to choose your own response. Your own actions and steps towards your goals. It’s important to note also to catch yourself when you’re simply endlessly talking about your goals as opposed to actually executing on them. I think the trick is to not overthink things. Just do what you can, deliver on your promises as much as you can, and keep learning along the way.

Photo by Pineapple Supply Co. on Unsplash