30 Things I’d Tell My 20-Something Year Old Self

As the official last day of my twenties, I’m thinking back on all of the things I’ve learned in the last decade. At times, these lessons were learned the hard way and, for some, I’m still working on accepting and understanding them. Now I don’t claim to be an all-wise, all-knowing person now that I’m about to turn 30, as there’s plenty more to learn and I still don’t have it all figured out. But thinking back on where I was at 20 and throughout the past decade, here’s a few things I would’ve liked or needed to hear.

  1. Thinking about changing your major? Go for it if it’s what you really want.
  2. Studying is important. More important than bacon night at Wando’s.
  3. You don’t use the accounting & finance, there’s no need to cry after those exams. Just do your best.
  4. Don’t chase love, a great one is on its way.
  5. Travel as often as you can & go to that study abroad meeting. You can make it work.
  6. Think about your spirit animal before you blurt out “polar bear” again during an interview.
  7. Trust your gut – it hasn’t let you down yet. Especially when you feed it pizza.
  8. Live more within your means, you have many blessings and more things aren’t necessarily better.
  9. Find exercise and movement you love and that makes you feel good about yourself.
  10. Love yourself. You’re an amazing, kind, and beautiful person. Rinse and repeat.
  11. Cherish those that love you. Share that you love them and thank them as often as possible.
  12. Being best friends with people you’ve known since junior high isn’t embarrassing, it’s amazing.
  13. Be more open to new relationships and friendships though, make the world a friendlier place.
  14. Forgive yourself for your mistakes, you’ll never stop making them. Apologize and move forward.
  15. Quit being shy – allow people to meet you and don’t be afraid to let others in.
  16. Speak up! In class, at work, in life. You have great ideas that should be shared.
  17. It’s ok to be single. If you’re not ready to be loved, don’t pretend to love.
  18. Read more!
  19. Go ahead, watch Titanic again!
  20. Have fun, but all things are better in moderation. Except for cake!
  21. Never stop quoting TV shows and movies that you love.
  22. Wear what you want, don’t care what other people think. Own your style.
  23. Learn as many Beyoncé lyrics as you know Jay-Z lyrics. It’s about balance.
  24. If you have an idea, confession, gratitude, or affirmation, write it down.
  25. Be thankful for all of the moments with your family. Yes, even when your nephew pukes on you at 6am.
  26. Yes, always buy the concert tickets.
  27. No, don’t always buy the plane ticket to Vegas at A-bar. Be thankful for free cancellations.
  28. Always travel somewhere for Spring Break.
  29. Be present – don’t let life pass you by.
  30. Feeling stuck? Make a change. You got this.
  31. It’s your life and you alone are responsible for your happiness. You only get one so make the most of everyday.

Oops, that’s 31 but they’re all good messages and reminders, whether you or I needed to hear them. Life should be fun and since we’re all only here for a short time, it’s ok to not have it all together all of the time. Live in the gray areas and the in-betweens with confidence. I don’t have too many regrets and I don’t try to live in the past anymore, though I am thankful for the past 10 years because they have taught me a lot. Even in moments I wish I had a second chance at.

I’ve loved and lost. I’ve graduated – twice. I’ve quit a job I didn’t like without having another one lined up. I’ve loved my family and friends hard. I’ve shared many amazing memories with my roommates who I continue to call my best friends. I’ve welcomed new challenges and taken advantage of unfamiliar opportunities. I’ve put myself out there with not always the best results. I’ve made a lot of mistakes. I’ve also made a lot of memories I’ll cherish forever.

My twenties have been a time of learning, growth, responsibility, late nights, Badger games, adulting, celebrations, travel, and love. I wouldn’t mind if my thirties shared a lot of the same traits. Cheers to feeling 30, thriving, and fabulous!

xoxo,

Leena

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