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What my twenties have taught me so far …

When writing this I kept thinking of me at 20.  Life has changed so so much since then.  If you would have told me at 20 that I would be married to a man I knew when I was 5 and travel the world and live in foreign countries together, teach high school, have open heart surgery, teach college, road trip with my best friend, sell photographs I took, graduate from grad school, and start my own wedding styling and coordination business by 28… well, I probably would have believed you.  I am nothing if not hopeful.  Still, I would have thought – “that’s a whole lot better than what I had planned, God”…

so without further ado, what I’ve learned in my twenties … in no particular order.

Of no surprise to anyone I am a touchy feely mushy to the inth degree. It wasn’t always like that. I remember my friend Crissy asking me if I had always been a romantic?  the answer is no.  most definitely not.  My heart has softened since 20 into more of what it was like when it was 12.  Sometimes the heart  has to break in order to mold into something a whole lot better.  I hope God does this kind of refining of my heart for my whole life.  even when it hurts.  

I coached a softball team with my dad when I was teaching high school at age 22.  We did not win a single game.  My dad was a major league baseball player. and is now a coach who wins despite his team year after year.  to not win a game in a season… well this had never happened to him (: !  But watching teenage girls that have no relationship with their father, and seeing how my dad impacted them by just consistently showing up, giving generously of his time, and remembering their names – that touched me to the core.  My father shows he loves me in so many different ways – he made breakfast for me every day before school, he would post sweet notes all over my car, he’d pray with me when i couldn’t stop crying, he’d sneak notes in my lunch box, his heart broke when mine did, he has supported my dreams, most of all – he has shown up.  But sometimes i’d compare my parents to other parents.  i’d  say – Why don’t mine do that?  say that?  Don’t.  Allow your parents to love you in all the ways they can and do.  If you have parents that show up consistently in your life, thank your lucky stars and love them right back.  lower your crazy high expectations on them to be perfect.  parents are human too.   

You don’t have to be a lemming.  it’s okay to do your own thing.


Here’s something I’ve never shared over here.  My major(s) in undergrad were Pre-Law, Political science, History.  I thought I’d go onto be a lawyer.  that statement literally causes me to laugh. out loud.  Oh sweet 21 year old Sarah, you’re still making me laugh.  During my summers in college I  worked in New Orleans, at an incredible law firm.  I am so grateful for that experience, because without it I would have actually gone to law school.  and I don’t know if I’d be serving myself or others well, because it’s not me.  not me at all.  Your major doesn’t have to define what you do for the rest of your life.  

No matter what people portray, life is not perfect for anyone.  Everyone has their bag of crap.  Sometimes it’s obvious, and sometimes it’s hidden away.  We’re all dealing and working something out. Remember this when you want to be unkind.  Show Mercy.  Have tact.  it has never worked out for me when I don’t.

I’ve learned that Gossip makes you feel bad.  Physically and mentally.

i’ve had the same best friends since 20!  it has made life so good.  make good girlfriends.  it is so worth every effort.

I know this is said a lot.  But seriously.  if someone is nice to you, and rude to the waiter – they are not nice people.  

In my early twenties, I just wanted to be liked.  Of course I still want people to like me, but if they don’t – they don’t.  not much I can do about it. i’m certainly not going to pine for their approval anymore.  Other peoples opinions of you should not dictate your opinion of yourself.  

I’m naturally withdrawn.  An INFJ to the hilt.  It’s always been easy for me to do something by myself.  Whether I was 5 or 25.  But I’m not an island.  Close relationships with family and friends are not optional.  Still, I will always choose quality over quantity.

You are a thousand times prettier than you think.  I look back at pictures of my twenties, and aside from the constant hair color change, I’m like – wow, I was pretty darn good looking!  Why didn’t I think so at the time?  This is what I need to remember now.

I am generous to a fault.  I would literally give you the shirt off my back if you said you wanted it.  In my early twenties I was much more attached to possessions.  I had designer everything.  Now I couldn’t care less if anything I own is designer.  I’m not saying I’m totally zen about it now, but I have learned that giving is way better than hoarding.  it makes you feel better too.  it’ll come back to you ten fold. maybe not tomorrow, but it will eventually.


being vulnerable is a good thing.  people who make fun of that are no friends of mine.


if you have a choice between getting rich or  being poor and traveling.  be poor.  travel.  


Forgive.  period.

Be grateful for everything.  each new day.  that’s the bulk of the wisdom i learned when i was in the hospital bed.  life is too short not to be thankful.


When I was 21 I had my heart broken.  Shattered into a million pieces kinda broken.  I was cheated on.  And that’s an especially awful kind of pain.  As much as that flat out stunk at the time, it makes me even more grateful to have found my husband.  if you are in love with a man with integrity, don’t ever let go.  


I realize I turn a lot of people off because I talk about my faith over here from time to time.  Trust me when I say I’m no saint.  I’ve messed up more times than I could ever count.  I’ve also been given grace a thousand times over.  So if I could offer one piece of advice to twenty somethings it is this:  Pray for vision.  My great uncle was an angel on earth.  He ended up becoming a well known and loved pastor.  Anytime with him was precious.  One of his favorite verses was “where there is no vision, the people perish” .  For me this means His vision, not my own often twisted one.  His way is what makes life so good, what makes you come alive, what touches other people.



Holy longest post ever.  I’m impressed if you’ve made it here!

Missed a few posts of the series?

Diana
Jenni
Amanda
Bridget
Anna
Liz
Megan
Raven

a Huge thanks to Julianne Morlet for starting up a similar series, and sparking this one.

And now I invite you to link up below with what you’re learning / have learned!  I cannot wait to read yours.

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52 Comments

  • Reply Liz

    loved every single word sarah! you are wise beyond your years. thanks for inviting me to participate and thank you for imparting these wonderful lessons on us all!

    May 4, 2012 at 11:30 am
  • Reply Jenni@Story of My Life

    This made me tear up… Beautiful, beautiful post Sarah!

    May 4, 2012 at 11:43 am
  • Reply Candice

    I loved this Sarah! So much wisdom and things to be learned as I, myself, am navigating my 20s. You are truly a beautiful person, inside and out. I'm so blessed to know you! 🙂

    May 4, 2012 at 11:59 am
  • Reply Eloquent English

    I love reading about you! Such a wonderful post! xoxo A-

    May 4, 2012 at 12:25 pm
  • Reply Megan

    "We're all dealing and working something out. Remember this when you want to be unkind. Show Mercy. Have tact. it has never worked out for me when I don't. "

    AMEN TO THAT.

    I love ya, you beautiful soul you.

    May 4, 2012 at 12:54 pm
  • Reply Norah

    Beautiful, admirable, inspiring and thought provoking. Thank you for doing this series and for sharing your wise words.

    May 4, 2012 at 12:55 pm
  • Reply Denise Lopatka

    Loved every word. Beautiful post and beautiful advice. Thank you for your honesty.

    xox – Denise

    May 4, 2012 at 12:58 pm
  • Reply The Yuppie Files

    I love what you said about your major- mine was political science too & I had all these lofty dreams of being a top political operative. Which is 100% against my personality. Its hard to work out what you love to study with what you actually want to do.

    May 4, 2012 at 1:05 pm
  • Reply Marshall

    Amen, amen. I love you!
    Thank you so much for letting me be a part of this beautiful series!

    May 4, 2012 at 1:07 pm
  • Reply Blossom Lounge

    Okay, Sarah, you are unreal. I am only 21, and boy have I learned a lifetime through you so far! Thank you for the constant inspiration, wisdom and faith. You always give me that pick-me-up! Love you so much (and this picture of you).
    XO
    Steph

    May 4, 2012 at 1:10 pm
  • Reply Sonja

    this is wonderful!!! Such great advice and so well put! :o)
    I kinda felt like yelling out "you go girl" at times! hehe

    May 4, 2012 at 1:16 pm
  • Reply Blossom Lounge

    Never stop sharing your faith. Always be proud, no matter if it bothers the rest =)

    May 4, 2012 at 1:18 pm
  • Reply Bre Dale

    What a wonderful post! God has truly blessed you!!!

    xoxo
    Bre

    May 4, 2012 at 1:26 pm
  • Reply Lyndsay

    Sarah this is so lovely. Your lessons are so important. Thank you for doing this series. I have definitely learned a few things from it!

    May 4, 2012 at 2:07 pm
  • Reply Mackenzie {Design Darling}

    I have loved every post in this series and yours especially! It reminds me that at 22 I don't need to have it all figured out and I have a lot of adventures ahead of me these next few years! Thank you for the inspiration today and always. xoxo

    May 4, 2012 at 2:07 pm
  • Reply Ashley Blossom

    Can I write a "What My 20s have taught me" at 23? Too early? Perhaps I'll make a list a save it for later!

    May 4, 2012 at 2:12 pm
  • Reply Jenzie

    very moving post! I'm with Liz, every single word was truthful. All of them. I love this!!!

    May 4, 2012 at 2:54 pm
  • Reply Cal Says So

    Thank you for such a wonderful post – this has been such a great series, particularly for someone smack-dab in the middle of their twenties! xocal

    May 4, 2012 at 3:05 pm
  • Reply Andrea Voci

    omg loved your post! I'm an INFJ to the hilt too! 🙂 Totally agree about the pretty thing. I always look back and think "Why was I so self critical?! I would love to look that way now!" Also what you said about your parents… so so true… I came from a very abusive home and even then have had to learn to appreciate certain things I learned from growing up that way. God is good even in the midst of horrible circumstances. 🙂 Thanks for this series I absolutely loved it!

    May 4, 2012 at 3:32 pm
  • Reply Christine

    I loved this post so much. This is really inspiring to me, especially since I am in the beginning of my twenties. I'll be 21 in two months and I have just really been stuck lately. It's the only way to explain it and this post has really helped me clear a few things up. I know it will take time to get back on my feet completely but you have given me at least a few steps forward with these words. I loved what you said about friends and traveling, getting through heart ache. Thank you so much for sharing all of this. I know I can't be the only one if effected but I can definitely say that you have inspired at least one person with this post…me. Have an amazing weekend!

    May 4, 2012 at 3:56 pm
  • Reply Elizabeth

    "If someone is nice to you and rude to the waiter- they are not nice people." LOVE this one. You rock, Sarah, awesome series!

    May 4, 2012 at 4:07 pm
  • Reply Lauren

    Loved this series. Beautiful words as usual. 🙂 Your words are so true. My favorites:

    "We're all dealing and working something out. Remember this when you want to be unkind. Show Mercy."

    "Gossip makes you feel bad." {and look bad}

    "if you are in love with a man with integrity, don't ever let go." If there's anything my 20's have taught me it's that there's no reason to ever settle for a man who doesn't treat you right. I read once: "No man is worth your tears and the one that is will never make you cry." Something I wish I could've learned more quickly.

    Don't you just wish that on our 20th birthday's we could open up letters from our 30 year old selves? Thank you so much for sharing. xoxo ~L

    May 4, 2012 at 4:17 pm
  • Reply christine donee

    I actually bookmarked this, I loved it so much. Worth coming back to when I need a little reminder…

    May 4, 2012 at 4:18 pm
  • Reply Kelsie Lynn

    This was such a sweet post, I am only 19. But I hope I learn as much in my twenties as you did

    May 4, 2012 at 5:00 pm
  • Reply Emily

    Loved every word. And I echo your sentiments entirely. Love you sweet friend.

    May 4, 2012 at 5:15 pm
  • Reply Erin

    such a lovely post! i've enjoyed this series very much. thanks for sharing!

    May 4, 2012 at 5:44 pm
  • Reply Lauren

    "make good friends"… so true!! I learned that one the hard way and now am finally able to see what true friendship really looks like. So thankful for the women in my life who have become my besties! 🙂

    May 4, 2012 at 6:21 pm
  • Reply Alex

    That was just beautiful. All such amazing things we all need to remember!

    May 4, 2012 at 7:17 pm
  • Reply M. Flynn

    I love this! I want to write one too–is next week too late?

    May 4, 2012 at 8:53 pm
  • Reply crissyspice

    so so true! i especially like the point about parents. i have sure been hard on them through the years… i am going to call them now and tell them how much i love them for being the crazy nutterbutters they are! i can't wait to read when you do a series on lessons from your 30s. 🙂 you are the best!

    May 4, 2012 at 9:04 pm
  • Reply mary-katherine

    in your last point you said that people are often turned off when you talk about Faith. well i just wanted to let you know that was something that kept me coming back to your blog. it's so important for young people like me to see that you can be faithful and still fun and beautiful!
    love your blog; keep doing what you're doing!

    May 4, 2012 at 10:03 pm
  • Reply Raven

    I honestly just love you to the ends of the earth and back. I honestly used to think that crying was "weak" (so cliche, I know) but like you, the older I have gotten, the more I let the tears flow. I kid you not, I went and took a pregnancy test today because I have been crying over EVERYTHING lately. And I had a surgery done last month to make sure I CAN'T have any more babies! That's how emotional I have been lately!! But one ting I know, it does feel good to let out a good cry lately, esp the ones where I am crying over something HAPPY. THOSE are the best.

    I LOVED what you said about parents. My parents have always been a huge part of my life and I am so close to both. My dad coached me and my sisters every year for softball, and to this day, I run into some old friends and they always say the same thing… "I have always looked up to your dad and he was my father figure growing up since mine wasn't there for me much." I never knew others thought that and I took it for granted. I definitely don't anymore.

    ok, so my DREAM IS to be a lawyer ha!! But that would mean I would have to get my 4 year and then go to law school. At this point? Probably not going to happen.

    AMEN to the rude to the waiter statement. I was a waitress/bartender for two years and I could not, would not ever be rude to a waitstaff, let alone anyone else.

    Sarah!! I have LOVED those books that tell you your personality. I have given sooo many people that test and its crazy how accurate is it. I'm pretty sure you and I would be the best of friends in real life. Maybe one day it WILL happen.

    and Sarah, one of the reasons I LOVE you IS because you talk about your faith.

    sorry this comment was so long! I just had so much to say at your wise words here. LOVEd this post so much.

    May 5, 2012 at 12:06 am
  • Reply {Emily} Simply Southern

    Of course yours is amazing! Hope you are having a great weekend

    May 5, 2012 at 2:17 pm
  • Reply Whitney @ Everything Happens For a Reason

    I totally agree about not letting your major define you. I majored in Psychology and got another in Communication. I went on to get my master's in counseling. Guess what? I don't want that to be my life career. I mean, in the meantime, it is fine. I'm not going to turn down an opportunity. My goal is to grow my photography business in the next 2 years, where I don't have to work another job.

    I wrote something similar to this, during my birthday about a week ago.

    http://southernbelle23.blogspot.com/2012/04/26-things-i-learned-in-26-years.html

    May 5, 2012 at 2:56 pm
  • Reply Celeste

    What a way to start my day. This was the perfect post for me to read today. It's so easy for me (Ms. pessimistic) to look back and see that my expectations weren't met or something didn't go the way I planned, and to see it as complete failure. When in fact, I can see my expectations were exceeded in ways I didn't expect or that God had better plans for me. But I always have to remind myself of that.. daily.. if not hourly.

    This post may just be one of my favorites. For some reason, I feel like I say that a lot on your posts.. haha.

    May 5, 2012 at 3:25 pm
  • Reply danica

    Loved this and loved the series. It has all been great advice and inspiration. Thanks so much! 🙂

    May 5, 2012 at 5:17 pm
  • Reply diane @ a spot of whimsy

    this was so beautiful, thanks for creating the series, i so enjoyed it.

    May 5, 2012 at 7:05 pm
  • Reply Glen Coco

    Thank you SO much for sharing this. Just turned 22 and looking for wisdom. I identified so much with everything you said… I'm an INFJ as well, Polisci/potential lawyer major, and have been struggling with my faith lately… anyway, I think what you wrote was beautiful. Thanks again!

    May 6, 2012 at 2:58 am
  • Reply Sara Louise

    Sarah, I continue to be grateful that I found your blog, you never cease to amaze me, inspire me, and make me smile.
    1. I was a History/ Poly Sci girl too. So that's just cool
    2. This is awesome: You are a thousand times prettier than you think
    3. And the travel advice is spot on. Learning about other cultures and experiencing them makes us all a whole lot richer.
    Bisous de Provence! xx

    May 6, 2012 at 7:28 am
  • Reply Joy Felicity Jane

    Hi! I have literally just found your blog, and I'm already in love with it. Everything you said in this post is so true and touching. I am myself graduating this summer with a law degree, and I just know this is not for me. It isn't who I am, and I cannot wait to move on…
    So thank you for saying all those beautiful words! I am so grateful I found your blog, and looking forward to read some more!

    Tania xxx

    May 6, 2012 at 2:34 pm
  • Reply Amanda

    As many before me have said, this series has been amazing. Thanks for sharing your advice and that of many other amazing ladies. I especially love "…be poor. travel." 🙂

    May 7, 2012 at 12:41 am
  • Reply Brandy

    I LOVED this post. So wonderful. It made me immediately start thinking over my twenties and how much changed for me.

    May 8, 2012 at 12:00 am
  • Reply Toots

    Absolutely beautiful and just what I needed to hear today. Love when God sends you messages through others that are faithful. Thanks for putting a smile back on my face:)

    May 8, 2012 at 6:54 am
  • Reply lauren

    I loved this series! I hadn't read more than a handful of blogs in over a year. Pursuing a career change, going back to school, and working three jobs sometimes makes it hard to enjoy reading any old blog. I randomly checked your site while studying for finals. (Oops!) Reading Megan's post first and then the other girls, I was really inspired by the ladies you've highlighted here. Thanks for being such a classy lady, Sarah Tucker. : )

    May 9, 2012 at 7:03 am
  • Reply Jaime

    This is one of the best series ever! Thank you for doing this… I loved reading every post and didn't want it to end!

    May 14, 2012 at 7:54 pm
  • Reply Jaime

    This is one of the best series ever! Thank you for doing this… I loved reading every post and didn't want it to end!

    May 14, 2012 at 7:54 pm
  • Reply Jennifer Sanzo

    Love I turn 30 on the 26th, so I've been thinking about this alot…. I definitely need to write one of my own. Thanks for the inspiration. Loving your blog.

    Jenny
    http://www.flowercityfashionista.blogspot.com

    May 15, 2012 at 10:27 am
  • Reply Amanda

    Bummed that the link is now closed, but I finally got around to publishing my post (and writing it). You inspired me to write mine. Not easy, but well worth it! Thanks for this series and sharing what your twenties are teaching you 🙂 

    May 17, 2012 at 8:00 pm
  • Reply Anna

    this is an amazing post, THANK YOU! so inspiring and motivating. you are amazing!

    June 13, 2012 at 11:30 pm
  • Reply Chelsie Sloan

    So blessed I found this and your encouraging words. Also I love that you posted this a year before the date of my college graduation. 🙂

    March 22, 2013 at 4:57 pm
  • Reply Mariel

    Loved this! As a 22 year old trying to figure out life and trust in God, these words have spoken so much wisdom! xo

    March 24, 2013 at 5:44 pm
  • Reply Najee

    This is so lovely!
    I made something similar when I was 22!

    http://nariness.livejournal.com/45925.html

    (I'm 23! =D)

    March 29, 2013 at 11:06 am
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