Things I Failed At In My 20s That I Want To Get Right In My 30s

I recently turned 30 and instead of freaking out about getting older or mourning my lost youth, I vowed to improve on a few things in this upcoming decade that I didn’t do very well with during my twenties.

Not caring when friendships fall apart 

A lot of my friendships were formed due to a shared life circumstance, whether we went to the same school, worked at the same job, or lived in the same apartment. No matter how much I wish these situations didn’t ever have to change, they do, and the friendships sometimes go with them. It’s important for me to realize that not all friendships are going to last forever but that doesn’t mean they weren’t valuable.

Ignoring my occasional FOMO 

It doesn’t matter what you see on other people’s Facebook feeds or even what you put out there yourself—what matters is staying connected to yourself, to your own personal goals and dreams. I can’t tell you how many stupid things I did because of my fear of missing out, all because of my “shoulda, woulda, coulda” brain that always thinks if I don’t do something, I’ll regret it for the rest of eternity. I’ve said yes to way too many things that didn’t add to my life at all, and I’m determined not to do that anymore.

Listening to my gut over the opinions of others 

We live in a loud world filled with tons of different opinions and advice. As a result, we don’t often listen to our inner voice as much as we should. I’ve followed the advice of some very well-intentioned family and friends only to later realize I should have trusted my gut in the first place. I know what’s best of my life and I need to put more stock in that.

Staying out of debt 

When I first took out my student loans, I was fresh out of high school and barely had any concept of what money was, let alone what interest and investments were. I learned the hard way that debt makes you a slave and it’s best to avoid it at all costs. Do yourself a favor and put as much money into your debt as soon as you possibly can. I know in my thirties I’ll be taking every opportunity to stay above water, hopefully swimming instead of drowning in debt.

Investing in myself 

One day at work, my boss gathered us all around for a meeting. He asked us what we thought the best thing to invest in would be. Some said various stocks, some said gold, some said real estate. But my boss shook his head at each of these answers. He proceeded to tell us that the best thing we could ever invest in was ourselves. I learned that day that the best things to spend my paycheck on weren’t actually things. They’re things that stay with you—things that don’t break. They’re experiences, classes, and encounters that will mold me into a better person, a better version of myself.

Getting better quality sleep 

Maybe I’m getting old or maybe I’m just getting wise, but I’ve realized the key to seizing the day is really to just get a good night’s sleep the night before.  No more all-nighters. No more power naps, no more unhealthy habits. I realize now I’m definitely not invincible (and it was pretty dumb of me to ever act like I was).  Good sleep = a good life.

Taking care of my mental health 

We don’t talk a lot about mental health as a culture but things are getting better. I once went to the hospital, thinking I was dying before I even considered the fact that what I might be having was actually an anxiety attack rather than heart failure. Having a mental illness made me feel embarrassed and ashamed and it took me way too long to even think about getting the proper help that I needed.

Being more adventurous with food 

I grew up not liking a lot of food. If you’d told me 10 years ago that I’d now be slathering avocado over everything and gobbling up all the raw fish I could get my hands on, I would have laughed at you. I love tasting new foods from different cultures and countries and I want to keep doing that as I get older.

Engaging in self-sabotage 

Want to know a secret? Most of the roadblocks I’ve encountered I’ve later learned were just illusions in my own head. For some reason, my greatest barrier to success has been myself and I’ve been making myself miserable in ways I didn’t even realize.  Time to wake up and realize nothing can stop me, not even myself.

Enjoying the journey 

I’ve been so focused on reaching milestones in my twenties that I’ve forgotten that half the fun is in getting there. I want to appreciate each decade of my life for the new experiences they bring. Hopefully when another 10 years pass and I’m blowing out all 4o of my birthday candles, I won’t have any regrets from my thirties!

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