A week from today I will 30. And I couldn’t be more excited. For so long the idea of thirty sounded, well… old. So grown-up if you know what I mean. But I don’t feel old or really grown-up. I feel healthy and strong and content. For the first time in years I am thankful for who I am, how I look and where I am in life.
My twenties were characterized by questions, moving and lots of change. Internally and externally. If you’re in your 20’s- hold on. I don’t think it always feels so unknown, so turbulent, so exciting, and confusing all at once. I’ve spent a lot of time this past month thinking about my twenties.
In no particular order, here is what I’ve learned:
- Comparison never helps you make friends or feel better about yourself. Don’t believe it. Don’t listen to it.
- And that break-ups suck. no way around it.
- Some point after college I learned to view food as a source of nourishment and pleasure, not something to be counted and kept track of.
- Know how you like your eggs* (Figure out what YOU love, before you find the Love of your Life.)
- How to have an adult relationship with my parents. This is an ongoing process for me and probably for them.
- That whole business about rejoicing with those who rejoice and mourning with those who mourn, is really, really hard. I think I need to keep practicing.
- I’ve learned to be thankful for what my body can do, not what my measurement are.
- Counseling is worth the investment. Seriously. Counseling has helped me know myself better and learn how to ask for help. I would easily spend an hour with a physical therapist to become physically healthy, so why not spend an hour with a counselor to become emotionally healthy? One of the best decisions of my twenties. hands down.
- Be the kind of friend you want to have.
- Ladies, HEIGHT is not everything. It took me 27 years to realize this. Stop waiting for some dreamy, Mr. 6’5 to walk by. You could miss out on the LOVE of your life. Give the short men a chance : )
- What it means to be surrounded by people and yet feel alone.
- Be able to laugh at yourself. One day I’ll write about how I ended up in the ER with a broken nose, on a “first” date.
- Invite the new person. If you see someone by them-self at church or a birthday party or in the corner at an awkward work function, invite them to sit by you or come join your table. Because if you’ve ever moved or been the “new-girl” you know how much you appreciate those people.
- “Everything happens for a reason” is a load of crap. I’m sorry, but at some point in my twenties I realized there are a number of things that I had heard about or had witnessed and there is no good reason or explanation. Best perspective on pain and loss is Rob Bell’s here
- I’ve learned the world is a better place if we just give people the benefit of the doubt. Oh, that man who just flipped you off on the free-way, you ask? Don’t worry he just had a bad day. It’s not personal.
- I learned how to make room for doubts and difference, and be ok with it. My faith is strong enough to not have it all figured out.
- Expectations can be hanging on too tightly to your own idea of the future. But I’ve learned that unlike expectations, HOPE gives freedom to dream, change and be flexible. I’ve found this even more true in marriage.
- If he doesn’t call, and doesn’t respond to your text…Then he is probably not that into you. I am not the exception, I am the rule.** Repeat.
- Feeling lonely is a universal emotion. Somehow I never knew this. I was shocked in college when I learned that married women feel lonely. And when a friend who is a mom of three told me she sometimes feels lonely, too I was floored. I thought only single people felt lonely. I was wrong.
- Jesus is not a white middle-class American.
- Loving someone doesn’t mean making them more like you.
- Some people will be your friends because you just click and it’s easy. Other people will be your friends because you chose to work at it. And I think we need both kinds in our lives.
- Having roommates is one of the best preparations for marriage.
- Pay attention to the kinds of questions people ask you or the kinds of things they invite you to, these are probably the things they want to you do for them.
- You don’t have to change the world or be anyone extraordinary. Sometimes I think the most radical thing I can do is acknowledge the stranger on the street, pay attention to the men who pick up my trash and leave my husband a smoothie in the fridge without expecting anything in return. Those ordinary things become extraordinary.
What do you remember learning in your 20s? or What was the best part of your 30s? Do share.
*Run Away Bride…in case you missed it.
** He’s Just Not That Into You (wished I had seen this when I was 21, not 27. )