What I Wish They Had Told Me About Growing Up
As I part ways with my 20’s and enter into my very grown up, very polished, very elegant 30’s (or so I hope), I'm realizing there is very little we actually know about growing up.
When you’re a child, you think adults have it all together. Once you get to the point in your life where you have to start adulting -- doing things like setting your own appointments, giving the dog their heartworm treatment every month, buying your own groceries, paying your own bills, and generally deciding what the hell you’re going to do with the rest of your life -- it gets rough.
I wish people had warned me about some of the things becoming an adult entails, so I am here to soften the blow for you.
Realize that no one has life figured out.
I’m sad to report that you really never reach a point where you “just get it." We get on and off the struggle bus pretty much every day, but the difference is when you get older you feel a little bit more empowered to handle the strug. I hope I will feel much more prepared to handle life in my forties, even more so in my fifties and so on. Things just aren't as catastrophic and you learn that life goes on. This is why our grandparents tend have an attitude and look in their eyes that says "the petty drama and trivial problems don't matter.”
Lean on your family as a safety net.
This is something I didn’t really grasp until my late twenties. Having grown up in a fairly strict household where my parents wanted to know where I was and who I was with at all times, I craved freedom. As I moved away to college and got that freedom, I started to see that it wasn't all that it seemed. With too much independence comes loneliness and fear, often because you don't have or don't acknowledge you have a safety net.
Now that I am older I truly believe the words "you can jump so much higher when you have a soft place to fall." Making time and effort to hang out with your parents will become a lot more natural and enjoyable as you get older, and they are full of wisdom and fabulous advice. After all, they’ve already been at the stage you are in your life and will always steer you in the right direction.
Get your money in order.
Finances, like morals, are something you should learn early on and practice throughout your life. Your spending priorities are most likely going to stay very similar throughout your adult life - If you value saving money for emergencies, or value shopping and traveling, you will likely stay a saver or stay a spender.) Write down what those priorities are and make a budget that can work for you. Trust me, when you get married and your husband has totally different priorities, this will make your financial conversations A LOT easier.
Cut out toxic relationships.
Quality over quantity is something that really stands out to me as I get older and realize that my huge group of high school and college friends really aren't that great of friends anyway. You are better off using your (limited) emotional resources to invest in what my friend Jenn Sprinkle calls your "four quarters" -- four core people that have your best interest in mind and support you no matter what. Intentionally pursue healthy relationships with these close friends, but choose wisely. If they are a true friend, they will invest the same amount of emotional effort.
Get to know and fall in love with yourself.
One thing I’ve learned in my twenties is that we must not only KNOW ourselves, but LIKE ourselves, so that we can TAKE CARE of ourselves. If you are a highly sensitive person but you absolutely hate that about yourself, you will likely end up putting yourself in situations to change what you see as an undesirable part of you. If you try and erase the things you don't like about yourself, chances are you will end up miserable, depressed and with a sense of unworthiness.
Tailor your life for who God made you to be, and protect yourself against things that are unhealthy for you. If stress triggers anxiety for you, lead a low-stress life. If eating junk food makes you feel lethargic, make adjustments to that you can eat healthy diet most days. Learn who you are, love who you are, and protect who you are. There is so much value in that lesson.
Stay in your lane.
Growing up as a millennial is rougher than ever with social media and the internet. It’s a sea of comparison out there, and everyone is trying to outdo you in how much fun they are having and what they are accomplishing in their early twenties. It’s so easy to start feeling like you have to copy what others are doing in order to be successful.
Learning to stay in your lane means doing what you love and are good at, and not being distracted by the noise around you. This will ensure a happy soul and great success. If you don't stay focuse, and start jumping around to too many things that look so great on others, you will not be good at any of them. My mom always told me, you can do anything, but you can’t do everything. There is a great quiz about finding your true passion, and it will help you narrow down your focus.
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