Seeing as I am closer to 30 than 21, I can speak to this pretty clearly. The last two to three years of your 20’s is kind of odd. Old ladies that don’t know how to mind their business still tell you how young you are and love the phrase “when I was your age.” You can’t help but roll your eyes and think, “Ok, Barb, when you were my age, you were already knocked up, didn’t have a career and your only sense of purpose was your husband that you later divorced when it was socially acceptable.” Or “I am so sorry, Karen, that you have not seen a world outside of New Jersey, but I do enjoy traveling and the world is not the news.” Then, you see these 21-year-olds, and you think “was I that sloppy of a mess?” The other day, I was walking behind two, what could be 16 or 17-year-old girls, talking about their lives and the boys they were dating. I felt so old. I wanted to chime in and be like “I promise he is not worth it and you will date so many other boys after him.” When did I get so old?
Since I am somewhat finally figuring out the beginning of adulthood at 28, I figured I’d give some lifestyle tips for friends in the same boat. I also reached out to above 30-year-old friends and asked what they felt was good advice/lifestyle tips. Peep below:
Find a hobby
I am serious. Find a hobby that you don’t turn into a side hustle. We need escapes that don’t include substances. We need an escape that doesn’t turn into a financial opportunity. You don’t want your hobby to become stress. Leave those for other work moments. You can make hobbies into businesses, but it’s always nice to have one thing that is absolutely pleasure. Your hobby could be scrapbooking or snowboarding or reading. Find your outlet. Make it yours.
LOL OK NATALIE. I know, I need to get on this one, too. But seriously, save. For just in case moments, for travel, for not living paycheck to paycheck. Advice was being thrown at me at every angle but almost everyone said the same thing; stop wasting money.
Don’t be afraid to start over
I have friends experiencing the divorce side now. And, as sad as it is for young couples to get divorced, it is also seriously going to be okay. If we’ve learned anything from the generations before us, it’s that your happiness is worth everything. The only way to promote healthy love and happy homes is if you have that. Even if you aren’t married; don’t stay at jobs that don’t align with your morals and values. Move forward when you feel undervalued and under appreciated. Be bold enough to start a new career, live in a new city, travel to new places, and fall into a new love.
Quality vs Quantity with your friendships
If you knew me in high school, you knew I had friends from all walks of life. My mom always made a joke that I had a new best friend every week. She would always say she couldn’t keep my friends’ names straight. Living in a few different cities, traveling and with the internet, I’ve managed to make friends all over the world. Social media has allowed so many of us to keep in contact way longer than any other generation. However, I learned I cannot nurture myself and a huge percentage of these relationships all at the same time. I’ve also learned, just because we’ve been “friends” for a while, people grow and it’s okay to not accept the ‘new’ version of them. Or honestly, coming to terms with that they were always that way.
Now, I’m not 30 yet (2 more years!) but this one scared me the most. This is still something I struggle with. Yes, I know how to be in my house and not hang with friends. I often find my alone time spent on the phone or the internet – being present but not present. I have started to force myself to really take moments being absolutely alone and indulging in things only for me – without taking the time to snap them to social media.
30 doesn’t mean you’re dead.
Many of my friends kept saying they felt like their 30s was just the beginning. I think we think responsibility = death. But I kind of think understanding yourself and not being so involved in teenage drama sounds like it’s going to rule. A friend recently told me that she expected to wake up feeling older on her 30th birthday. In reality, it was just another day. Nothing changed. Don’t let this number scare you; you’re in charge, not the number.
Leave all your personas behind
Get comfortable with being you. We created defense mechanisms in our teenage years, and in our twenties, we were just figuring ourselves out. I am looking forward to this piece of advice given to me to use from now and into my thirties. Get rid of your “personas”. Stop showing out for other people and show out for yourself.
Don’t waste yours or other people’s time
This has been said in so many different ways. This is the advice I wish I would have given to myself at almost 20, let alone almost thirty. If it does not make you happy; move on. Put the karma out there to get the good karma back.
Pay off Debt
This should go hand in hand with saving but sometimes it’s hard to do both. Consolidate your credit and go hard on paying it off. I told myself before 30 I would be debt free. I think by 29 I should be. I’ve been really going in on paying off my card (I consolidated it onto one) and not carrying my cash with me.
Make a five-year plan
I am a terrible planner, but I like envisioning things. I used to do five-year plans, short-term and long-term goals often. I used to make a vision board yearly/bi yearly. I decided I am going to start a vision board immediately. I see a blog coming in line for this one.
There’s my ten things to start focusing on before thirty. What type of advice would you give to your twenty-something self? If you’re still twenty-something, like me, what advice would you give to your younger self?