Thought for the Week: Twenties

We had an early birthday celebration for my sister this weekend, and it got me thinking about what I would tell myself at 20.  As I approach my last year of my twenties, I'm struck by how much change occurred in 10 short years.  From little things like changing a college major or roommate to big life events like getting married, buying a house, and going to graduate school, my twenties have felt like a time when nothing was certain or settled.  Though I still can't claim to have it all figured out, there are certainly a few things that I've learned along the way: 

*See this decade for what it is - a time of growth and change.  Enjoy it.  No really, enjoy every day. Though time creeps in the micro, it flies in the macro.  Your twenties will be over in the blink of an eye, and you can't go back. 

*Invest time and energy into your friendships.  Your friends will become like your family when you move to that new city far from your hometown.  

*Don't forget about your family.  You're going through lots of changes, but they are too as you make your way into the world without them.  Call your mom...she wants to hear from you, AND she really does have decent advice.

*Go on dates.  Take an opportunity to get to know someone - it just might surprise you what you can learn from dating different people.

*Know that your first job isn't necessarily your last.  It also doesn't have to be the perfect job that fits exactly into the plan for your career path.  All jobs teach you something, and sometimes if a job pays for your rent it's worth it.

*Understand that your dreams may change.  Embrace this and don't see it as a step backwards.  This is the time to figure things out.

*Know your own value.  Don't let anyone walk all over you - in a relationship, a friendship, or a job.  You deserve to surround yourself with loving and supportive people, and if something isn't right - change it.

*Keep in touch with mentors, bosses, professors, etc.  If you find someone older and wiser who is willing to invest in your future hold onto that relationship.  If nothing else you just might need a recommendation for graduate school or a new job one day.

*Be willing to ask for AND listen to advice.  In this era of technology, it seems like things change at warp speed, and no one older could possibly understand your personal goals, struggles, or dilemmas.  While there are plenty of things older generations haven't faced first hand (#selfie), there are plenty of fundamentals that remain the same from decade to decade.  Find someone you trust, ask for their advice, and really take the time to listen to their response.  

*Travel.  It doesn't matter where you go or how little money you have to spend - just go.  As you get older, responsibilities will increase, and your tastes will require a larger budget to travel comfortably.  Go now, learn something, and enjoy.

*Put down your phone every once and a while.  Take time to invest in the people around you - the ones that are actually right there liking you (and not just your edited and carefully cropped photo), listening to your 140 characters in real time, and creating the memories that you will post on your wall.  The other people you are "connecting" with can wait.  Spend time with the people physically present.

*Pick up your phone every once and a while.  Nine times out of ten, a phone call can resolve an issue more easily, with more clarity, and with less angst than any text or email.  

*Don't put things into writing you wouldn't be comfortable with the entire world knowing now and in fifteen years.  This applies to social media outlets and emails.  And always, always check to make sure you didn't hit "reply all" before sending an email.

*Stay in shape.  What they say is true - getting older stinks.  Your knees will hurt more, your shoulders will get that hunched look from hours at a keyboard, and your metabolism will slow down.  Enjoy your late night cheeseburgers while you can but establish a fitness routine that you can tolerate... and keep it up.

*Have fun.  Go out with friends and dress up for theme parties.   There won't be many other times in your life when wearing 70's disco gear is socially acceptable.

*Learn to appreciate low-key nights.  We all need a chance to relax, watch a movie, and recover sometimes.  Every night does not have to be the best night of your life.

*Understand that at times life may be hard, may be boring, and may feel totally out of your control.  This is just a phase, and it will get better.  Discover what makes you feel grounded and seek that in the tough moments.

*Say yes.  If an interesting opportunity is presented that doesn't compromise your morals, safety, or values, pursue it.  You never know where it might lead.

* Surround yourself with people who inspire you, challenge you, and make you feel valued.  You are the sum total of the five people you spend the most time with - choose them wisely.

*Take a deep breath and relax.  You don't have to have all the answers right now.

What lessons have you learned along the way?  I'd love to hear from you!



  1. These are all so true Annie. I found myself nodding along with each one and thinking how I wished I'd known some of this when entering into my 20's. The 2nd to last bullet is my favorite!

  2. And... you can cut and paste this when you are entering your 40's-- it all holds true... or even truer!!! You are a wise girlie, Annie Bryan!

  3. Wonderfully said! I'm already in my 30s...but I think some of this stuff still rings true. AND - the whole "reply all"...boy do I have some doozy stories about that tip! Thanks for sharing, they really are all great points!

  4. Incredibly wise and well said... All truth is timeless. This captured every decade of life that I have experienced. xoxo

  5. Thanks for sharing this post. :)