In just one day I will be leaving my twenties behind. When I stop to think about it, it’s extremely exciting and scary at the same time. I can’t help but reflect on the last ten years and while there were
many tons of questionable choices that make me shake my head, there was also a lot to be proud of. It’s odd how growing older makes you think about the person you are, where you’ve been, and where you’re going. When I turned 20 I didn’t have these thoughts about my teen years. I never looked back at everything I accomplished or didn’t accomplish. There wasn’t any sadness to be leaving one decade for another. I just had a huge party and consumed way too many pitchers of beer and jello shots!
I feel fortunate that I’ve done so many significant things in my twenties – I got Bella in my twenties. I lived on my own. Graduated from university. I started dating Robin and we got married. I traveled to 15 countries. I bought my first house. I started my business. And I can’t leave out that there were tons of tears, trials and challenges. All that influenced who I am today. I also feel fortunate that I’ve come out of my twenties with hundreds of things I’ve learned and mastered – some silly and some serious but I thought I’d share a few:
Not every trend is for me!
When I first moved to Toronto I was in clothing-simulation-overdrive! Kanata didn’t have Artizia or H&M or many other “fashion-forward” stores and I went nuts buying everything and anything that was different and unique since no one would have it back home. There were countless styles that didn’t work for me and now I know what works and what doesn’t and more importantly, what I like. I’m sure this will continue to evolve but it’s a nice feeling knowing that I don’t have to try every trend that comes out just because it’s popular.
Treat your friends like you treat your partner.
If you take the romance out of it, the way we treat our friends and partners is pretty much the same. In a relationship you would communicate your feelings, you get in fights, you would go out of your way to make that person feel special, you would set dates, and you would confide in them. The same is true with friends. They require work and if you’re not careful, they can feel neglected or ignored. Making time for your friends and spending time with them is just as important as making time for your partner. And there is no better time this is tested than in our twenties. Once we finish school, start full-time jobs and start dating it becomes harder and harder to see our friends. We end up learning how to juggle it all and eventually, with a lot of trail and error, we find a routine that works.
Saying “no” is healthy.
I remember at my old job when a new colleague started, I was venting to her about having to go to a party that I wasn’t interested in because I was so drained. She laughed (she was 30 and so much wiser!) and said “well then don’t go” and my response was “that I have to”. She told me that she used to think that way too and then one of the best pieces of advice she ever got was that it’s ok to say no. She said I might not be able to see it now but soon enough I’ll learn that saying no doesn’t equal being mean or selfish and your true friends will know that. Not doing something shouldn’t result in a fight with friends and most of the time our assumptions that we’ll disappoint someone are not reality as they want whats best for us. Once I started thinking this and putting it into action my life was so much better.
In addition to this, there’s also learning that pleasing everyone isn’t possible. I’m still learning this one but being able to say ‘no’ when someone asks you for something or being able to voice your objections and boundaries to your friends, family or partner shouldn’t result in a fight and doesn’t make you a mean person. Instead it makes your relationships better because you won’t build resentment. The earlier you learn to voice your feelings honestly, the better!
I was 23 when I changed my terrible skincare ways (read: tanning beds – ugh so bad!) and I started to appreciate and embrace my pale skin. I now wear sunscreen every day (even in the winter) and I try to avoid direct sun especially during peak times of day. And while I think tanned skin is beautiful and I wish I had it (and I would look like a more healthy version of myself and less like a dead ghost), I’d have to really damage my skin in order to have it and that’s not worth it. So instead I’ve mastered taking care of my skin in the easiest way, with sunscreen.
How to pop champagne/open a wine bottle
Yes this is dumb but you have no idea how handy this has been for me! I’ll credit my parents for teaching me the right way to open champagne and aside from one mishap (never have your head above the bottle when you’re untwisting the metal cap part because sometimes the pressure in the bottle will force out the cork and that’s not good!!!) it’s a skill that has actually proven useful – also knowing how to pour champagne too. Oh and the right ratio for mimosas! You also never know when you’ll have a bottle of wine and no corkscrew and you’re forced to be resourceful. If you have a nail/screw, pliers, and/or a shoe then you’ll be fine!
I’m sure I could go on and on but I’ll leave it with that. And to end off this post about getting older, I’ll share an incredible quote from Amy Poehler in her book “Yes Please”: “Stop whining about getting old. It’s a privilege. A lot of people who are dead wish they were still alive.”