One thing I can say about myself with certainty, I’m not the most conventional girl you’ll meet. I often take the road less traveled, literally and figuratively, and I’d imagine that many people, especially from older generations, don’t always understand my decisions. I mean, after you get an education, aren’t you supposed to find a job that you’ll have for the next thirty years, get married, and settle into a house you’ll grow old in? While that does sound lovely, I believe there’s more than one way to live your life. Some people want to move to a new city, some people want to travel, some people want to work towards promotions, some people don’t want children, some people start on a new path at 50, some people are happy to be independent and some people need more time to figure it out. And you know what, that’s all okay! In fact, it’s perfect if it’s what makes you happy. Of course, I fully support and respect people who have taken a more conventional path. I’m the kind of person that is happy to see others happy, no matter what they choose. Afterall, you only get one life, so you might as well make sure you find your own idea of happiness and stop worrying about what others think. One thing I’ve learned is that things don’t always work out the way you think they will, and that’s what makes life exciting, sometimes leading you to bigger and better things, or simply towards something that brings you to an even greater sense of fulfillment.
As I was approaching the next milestone in my life, turning 30 (oh, the horror!), I wondered why I was supposed to dread the big 3-0. Is it the age itself? Or the fact that I’m not married, leaving a permanent job and starting over fresh in a new city after a year of traveling. I mean, how incredibly irresponsible right? Cue eye roll. In case anyone is worried (which I doubt), I’m perfectly happy, I’ve had an amazing year and I will be just fine, which you will soon see when I start posting about on-the-way to work coffees and weekend avocado toast. Yum!
You see it on television, in movies, and read about it in books and articles: people struggling with the idea of leaving their 20s, joking about celebrating their 29th birthday three + years in a row. But why? Fun fact: there’s no rule-book in life. You don’t actually have a list of things you’re supposed to have accomplished by a certain age, whether its 30, 40, 50 e.t.c. Your life means your rules and decisions. I think there’s a lot of people who hate the idea of aging and what it may represent, but c’mon guys, isn’t that a little pessimistic? Memories and wisdom are worth the wrinkles in my opinion. When you’re young you can’t wait to reach certain ages and then suddenly you’re dreading your next birthday! That’s not cool. Don’t get me wrong, I completely understand. I’m definitely thinking about the fact that I won’t be able to say the word “twenty” when someone asks me how old I am anymore. It’s all about perspective! Think of all the people who would love or would’ve loved to reach that next birthday milestone but they’re sick or have been tragically taken from us. Life is precious and meant to be enjoyed. Instead of dreading my birthday because I’m “supposed to” have certain things accomplished at this point in my life, I’m going to tell you why I can look back on my 20s and feel perfectly content with what I’ve experienced, accomplished and most importantly, learned.
Throughout my 20s, I learned how to be independent by living on my own, starting a full-time job and buying my first car, which I named Beyoncé - the greatest role model a female could have apart from her own mama. I’ve made mistakes, learned from them, fell in love (a few times), fell out of love (every time) and learned to NEVER cut my own bang. I worked hard and earned three degrees, all while working various part-time jobs, maintaining a social life (for my sanity) and traveling from time to time. I’ve learned that everyone who crosses our path can teach us something, whether they are friends, family, coworkers, your partner, students, or even strangers, and I am grateful for each and every one of them.
I developed a passion for travel when I spent a semester studying in France which then blossomed as I embarked on backpacking trips with friends and went on to teach abroad in South Korea. I’ve traveled to 35 countries (and counting) and I’m so grateful for the experiences, culture, people I’ve met and all of the priceless memories.
I’m proud of these accomplishments and of what I’ve learned, and I’m also quite happy with who I have become. I think you evolve so much in your 20s as you learn and develop a greater sense of identity and self-worth. You learn more about your passions, morals, values, what you will and won’t put up with, how important it is to do what’s best for you, and the kind of people you want to surround yourself with. I’ve always valued my friendships and I am so lucky to have such a supportive and fun group. I am also very grateful for the children they have brought into the world (and for the ones on the way!).
Last but not least, a major part of the reason I can look back on my 20s with a sense of accomplishment is that I have had so much fun! That may sound a little insignificant but it’s honestly what makes me feel the most content while reflecting over the past ten years. I can definitely say that I’ve enjoyed each year and have made happiness a priority. I have countless memories that I cherish with my friends and family which include lots of laughter, road trips, coffee + a walk chats, festivals, traveling, dancing and sharing meals together. I’m no stranger to YOLO and FOMO, but I think I’ve also managed to find a pretty good balance between my social butterfly side and the part of me that enjoys crucial “me time.” I’m grateful that I have more happy memories than sad ones to look back on.
I truly believe that you learn so much about yourself and about the world with each passing year. I’m excited for the next chapters in my life and all that I will experience in this next decade and those to come. 30? Bring it on.
If you’re really dreading aging, then maybe you’re not living your life to the fullest or in a way that makes you happy. If you have regrets, it’s never too late to make some changes. Although I’m young and have much to learn, I will share some ideas I’ve found that work for me. My suggestions would be to try something new, travel, face a fear, indulge in self-care practices, volunteer, spend more time with friends and family, be healthy and active, and always be open to learning. Don’t forget, you’re as young as you feel, so embrace that next birthday and eat the cake. I wish all of you readers health, happiness and a positive attitude. And in case no one has told you lately, you’re absolutely killing it!