I celebrated my 20’s by moving clear across the country from California to Virginia; embarking a new and exciting adventure with no clear plan in place. Before that instance, I had not traveled so far east as Reno, NV. I was born in California, traversed up the pacific northwest to Washington and later moved back home by my late teens. In the course of 18 years, I had only trekked 4 states.
When I turned 18 years old, I immediately started working, moved out, and became “responsible” over night. With no additional financial support; I single-handedly created a stable environment, fully furnished with all the perks of independent living. But as fate would have it, when I turned 19, I fell in love and followed my now ex-husband clear across the country to his hometown. I fearlessly headed steadfast without any work prospects, sold all my furniture, and packed two suitcases to voyage into the unknown without an inkling of what would ensue.
I was fearless, senseless, naive, stubborn, and in my own little world.
In a few weeks I will be turning 30 years old. Upon reaching this glorious milestone, I decided to reflect everything I have learned these past 10 years. If I could give my 20 year old self words of wisdom, this is what I would say:
- Find yourself. Take the initiative to find out who you are, your core values and beliefs, and the six facets of wellness that fits your overall personal and professional dreams. And when you slowly find yourself (which in itself can become a life long pursuit), stand tall and stand firm. You may find adversity in this personal pursuit from environmental circumstances, but stick to your guns and know that you know that you know. You are truly unique. There isn’t another human being in this world identical to you. Love and embrace that. Do not compromise yourself. Because the truth of the matter is, there is no other person on earth that can ever love you as much as you love yourself. And it is then when you find yourself and unconditionally love you for you; you can then start wholly loving others.
- Once you traverse into the direction of self awareness, start mapping a plan. Because there is no other person like you on earth, no one can live your life for you. Find your purpose (even if temporary), make a plan and work towards small goals in accomplishing them. Create a list, make a vision board (one of my favorite things since I am visually inclined), construct a trajectory timeline; whatever strikes your fancy for a daily constant reminder. You may need this encouragement when the going gets tough and you feel you’re in the trough. These visual aids can help facilitate any reinforcement and assurance when reaching goals. Once you peak one goal, start climbing down that mountain to hike another. Conquer your dreams and take responsibility/accountability. Only YOU can make them happen!
- Take a chance and try new things out; you just might surprise yourself. I have tried my hand at a plethora of pursuits. Having failed and succeeded; unequivocally, I have developed my own repertoire. Life is essentially about trials and errors; no one truly has the RIGHT answers. We are all muddling along, trying to find our place in this vast universe all awhile enjoying the journey. Find things that make you happy and you will enjoy your every day life. Even when the going gets tough, certain endeavors can relieve pressure to allow you to preserver.
- When you stumble, which I promise you will at some point; pick yourself up, dust the dirt off, and try, try again! Our attitude truly defines our altitude. The higher your attitude, the higher you raise. Even in the face of trials and tribulation; this too shall pass. There is always a silver lining with every cloud and after every storm a rainbow soon appears. Keep the big picture in mind, reflect on your goals and get back on the bandwagon. Life may disappoint, but the only thing you can control is yourself. Seize control and start again.
“Our lives are not determined by what happens to us but by how we react to what happens, not by what life brings to us, but by the attitude we bring to life. A positive attitude causes a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events, and outcomes. It is a catalyst, a spark that creates extraordinary results. ” -Anon
- Along the way in achieving your life’s pursuit, remember to make a conscious effort to be aware of what type of people you interact with. Keep your eyes open on purpose because there will be people who want to sabotage your dreams, others who don’t care, and if you are lucky enough, others who genuinely love and support you. Don’t give anyone the time of day if they prove undeserving. However, if you do encounter those who are authentic friends; love them with all your heart and open your self wide open to them. If you encounter those who are sincere; it is, in my opinion, the best gift in the world. Love and cherish them with all your heart. YOU ARE TRULY LUCKY!
- Discern that no one is perfect. Learn to see their faults and accept them. The biggest wake up call was conceding my parents were human too! It was the toughest thing for me to accept, yet, this is necessary in maturing. In my 20’s, I placed certain people on elevated pedestals. When they falter from the platform I gave them; I became hurt. This self induced miffed mindset was under the assumption certain people were perfect. Recognize we all flaws and do not chastise those who do not live up to the expectations we place upon them. In fact, refrain from placing expectation upon anyone except yourself. I guarantee your family and friends will inadvertently hurt you; but recognize it isn’t their malicious intention. And if it is; then take inventory of your relationship and decide if it is worth your time. Remember you cannot control anyone but yourself! If a relationship is toxic; it is your choice of their presence in your life.
- Life is all about the journey; not the destination. You can reinvent yourself! In the event you take a path which is not what you expected/intended/or no longer interested in; have no fear! We can always go back and try another route. I must confess, I have moved 12 times throughout the course of 12 years, possessed 14 jobs since becoming an adult, worked in 6 different professional industries, and changed my college major 9 different times! Whew! I experimented a lot! And then I found myself too. I am so happy I struggled 12 years in trial, success, and error figuring out what I wanted to do. Because life doesn’t come with a guaranteed manual, give yourself permission to change. It’s okay to fail (Lord knows I’ve had my share), but don’t give up and find another path. This can be achieved by taking a chance and mapping out your next route. Don’t be discouraged by the check list of things to accomplish, we all have a never ending evolving mission. I leave you with the words from Joyce Meyer:
I’m not where I need to be, but thank God I’m not where I used to be. I’m ok and I’m on my way!
Keep on Keepin’ On!!~!
Me at 30 years old.