It’s been a LONG decade. You taught me that my 20’s are the time to make all the mistakes and not be judged. It’s a trial and error period in your life. During this time, I have attended college, landed my first job, and even experienced my first serious adult relationship. Along with these firsts are a lot of realizations after the fact. As I look ahead at 30 waiting for me at the doe on Sunday at 12:39am, I’ve been doing A LOT of reflecting on the
mistakes lessons learned from 2005 to this weekend. In no particular order, I’ve learned some life-long lessons with you that have helped me become the person I am today.
In honor of this decade-long journey of young adulthood, here are some of the things I wish I would’ve known in my 20-something’s.
Photo Credit(s): Getty Images
1. “I Love Me” binder – I have been suggested to do this and still haven’t come around to it, and now I’m feeling the burn. Create binders for your important documents for safe keeping and reference, not just a shoe box under the bed. As I am getting older, I’ve learned my organized mess is no longer working for me and bringing down my productivity. When your car insurance claim is delayed because you have to wait for a letter to come in the mail to mail to another state to wait for your title to come to mail to send to your insurance company…yeah, you’d be frustrated too.
2. Communicating with your parents – As we get older so do our parents. So we should really cherish these years with them. I had a tumultuous relationship with my mom as a teenager and now she’s my BFF. I have friends that have lost their parents in recent years and for some lack of communication in their adult years was one of their biggest regrets. So if you don’t still live with them, check in weekly and catch up like friends. For those who still live with their parents, check in too. You probably still don’t talk to them enough.
3. Building your skills after the degree – Some of us think once we walk across the stage, we have all the tools for success. That’s what the people at Vine thought. Then came Snapchat. Then Periscope dropped. This is a fast-growing generation and as a lady of my soon to be 30’s I have to keep up with all that’s around me to stay up to the time. I thought I was good leaving college knowing Final Cut Pro 6. Now, Adobe Premiere skills are in high demand. YouTube and Barnes & Noble are your new universities. It’s cheaper than outsourcing to a 16 year old who knows Photoshop to work on your office presentation due in the morning. Continue honing your skills and learn new ones so the intern can’t take your job.
4. Don’t co-sign – You want to be of assistance to someone in need because you would hope someone would do it for your need. Sometimes you have to love from afar, but don’t put your name on it. Unless you are prepared to pay on behalf of your friend, soror, boo or mama’s outstanding debt when they skip payments and the collections agency are Rihanna crazy looking for their money. It’s hard enough building your crediting your 20’s with student loan repayments, don’t damage your FICO score because of someone else negligence.
5. There’s no such thing is “I’m too busy” – You have a demanding job. The kids are getting potty trained. You’ve been stressed looking for a new apartment before getting an eviction notice. Life is hard and there’s always something going on, but that’s not a valid excuse to drop your friends. Since moving to New Orleans, I have heard minimally from some friends in New York because they’ve been “busy.” I have friends in California and Maryland and they’re both married with five children altogether, full time careers and are in master degree programs and we speak almost daily. As mental health awareness is becoming more important in our communities, we must check on our gal pals each other more. No matter how many states, how many children…make time for the relationships that matter to you.
6. Don’t hang out with only people your age – I’ve learned hanging out with only like minded people my age, gave me one-sided viewpoints. When I worked around older people at age 19, they kept me in check and opened my eyes to a lot of lessons about life. Then I went to college and lost that guidance because I was surrounded by peers that were just as inexperienced as I was. I was out with a friend and we were being schooled by these 60 year old ladies and one invited us out for a night out. Her friend with surprise said “but they’re too young!” and she replied, “but how are they going to learn?” Exactly. Don’t sleep on the wisdom of elders.
7. Financial discipline – I know it’s hard. I just emptied out my savings account AGAIN to take care of an unexpected expense. I must also own the fact I was never a person to have clear money managing regimen. If I did, this wouldn’t have been such a setback. I don’t have any college loan debt but still I have debt and have a good job living in the less expensive South and still living check to check. A savings, retirement plan and emergency account is suggested. If you put aside $20 a week beginning on your 20th birthday and cashed it out on your 30th, you’d have $9,600. I definitely believe in living for now and not being too frugal, but still planning for the unknown future can pay off a decade from now.
8. Not everyone has your best interest at heart – This is a hard pill for me to swallow. I always want to look for the best in people. Some call it being dumb, I called it naiveté. You can do everything right in your eyes to salvage a relationship or a friendship, but I learned if a person wants to do you dirty―they will. That’s just their nature. Don’t take it personal. Don’t continue to give yourself to someone that’s not giving you the same effort.
9. Try everything – Since this was the decade of trial and error. I tried what I wanted to do. I tried DJ’ing, comedy, blogging, traveling, festival hopping, volunteering, modeling…whatever my heart desired to try. You want to second guess that thought? Just do it. You don’t want to be thinking “what if” at a missed opportunity years later. Who knows? What you tried in your 20’s could be your new career path in your 30’s!
10. Enjoy the journey – You’re not supposed to have it all figured out. You’re allowed to make slip ups. It’s what you learn from those lessons to avoid doing it the second, fourth time. Let’s be real. I did make the same mistake more than once because I thought maybe it would have a different outcome the second time around. I went through a whole lot in this past decade (maybe for another post) but I’m still alive and healthy, which unfortunately in today’s society is a big feat to accomplish. So be grateful to even see past your 20’s, thank it and chuck up the deuces. On to the next 10!