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.
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?
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.