One of the many reasons I love having a blog is because often it prompts penning reflective posts like today’s. Tomorrow I turn 33 and while the birthday itself feels anticlimactic, it also allows me to look back on age 32 which was a pretty darn great year.
With recent events in our political climate, in pop culture and within the circles I operate, I’ve been thinking a lot about your 20s vs. your 30s. I am not where I thought I would be at 33. But the great thing is that I’m 100% ok with it. There’s a peace I feel in handing over life to God and his plans and not being able to control the outcomes. (This was not always the case, of course.) And so, for today’s post, I thought I’d pen a letter to my younger self. Firstly, in the hopes that one day I’ll come back to this post and smile fondly at it and, secondly, in hopes that someone reading this will be inspired or uplifted by what I share.
I also love how these photos from London turned out. I think the smile on my face captures the spirit of how I feel these days: sheer contentment. Not every day, no. But the last two years I’ve felt better than ever which makes me so excited to see where 33 takes me.
You can plan all you want but life will always take you by surprise. As Mom and Grama always said, “if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.” Life will be hard and parts of yours teens and 20s will be brutal. You will have battles you endure that make you feel like you’re totally alone and that nothing will ever improve. Embrace the surprises and relish the challenges because they will make you stronger. Know that the hard times do not define you but do play an instrumental role in shaping your perspective on life. You’ll come to look back on those hard times and be grateful for the support you had getting through them.
Stop comparing yourself so much to others. Tune out the noise. Hone in on the relationships and experiences that make you feel fulfilled. That make you feel content. Focus on you and realize you will excel when you work on being your best you, not trying to emulate others. Find opportunities to grow and share your talents and heart with those that will benefit.
Remember that while you are facing battles and challenges and feeling alone and like no one in the world can relate, everyone has a cross that they bear. We are all fighting battles – some publicly but many silently. Seek help when you need it and remember that these battles will shape who you become and make you appreciative of the days, years, moments that are filled with joy. Know that if life were easy, it would be boring.
Prioritize your relationships above else. Continue to work to be a good friend, daughter, sister, colleague. Your meaningful relationships – the ones you cultivate and put effort into – they will be more beneficial than anything else in life. No bag, shoe, vacation, meal will ever give you the feelings that friendship and family do.
Prioritize working hard. Your work ethic and drive will bring you into a chapter of your career you didn’t know were possible and you will feel rewarded for the efforts and the hustle. Always go the extra mile like your parents taught you.
Embrace what you’re not good at. We can’t all be good at everything and it’s ok to admit defeat in some things. Face challenges head on and ask for help when you need it. Don’t be afraid of accepting your weaknesses. We.all.have.them. Complain less and instead find solutions.
Save more money. Take the time to figure out how to build savings and build your financial acumen.
Know that age is but a number. Your age doesn’t define you and life gets better with every year. Some years are of course harder than others, it is to be expected. Don’t let others make you feel inferior if you haven’t checked boxes they’ve decided you should have checked. Know that happiness is above all the ultimate goal and everyone’s definition of success is different. Remember that other people’s expectations aren’t the reason to do anything and you do not need to feel you must make excuses for where you’re at in life. Do what you want to do because it is, in fact, what you want to do.
Don’t let your anxiety get the best of you. Embrace the power of positive thinking instead of snowballing things that don’t go as planned. Breathe and reboot. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Don’t spend so much time thinking about what other people may think or say.
Take risks! Life is short. Say yes more and listen to your gut instinct. Explore the path less traveled. Open your eyes to new experiences and know that there is always more to see, do, taste and hear. Revel in new opportunities and never forget to be grateful.
Your 20s will be hard but they will shape you. Your 30s will be for finding comfort in your accomplishments and embracing new experiences. Your 30s will allow you to put some of the bullshit you’ve spent too much time worrying about behind you. You’ll look around and feel so lucky.