Your 20’s are great. They are full of adventures, new experiences, freedom, and so much fun. They are also hard, confusing, heartbreaking, and full of some of the toughest life lessons you will learn.
I turned 30 last month and while most girls go into their thirties kicking in screaming, I welcomed 30 like a beautiful new pair of shoes. Heck yes, I’m 30!
Don’t get me wrong, I loved my 20’s! I had some of the most amazing experiences, traveled the world and became a wife and mother. I learned numerous life lessons and I feel confident as I head into my 30’s in who I am and what I stand for.
I wouldn’t trade the experiences or lessons I learned the past decade for anything. They made me who I am today and I’ll be forever grateful, no matter how hard at the time. But if I could, I’d go back, sit my 20-year-old something down and say, “Girl, we need to talk.”
5 Things I Wish I Could Tell Myself In My 20’s
1. Take Better Care of Yourself
Just because you can eat McDonald’s everyday and not gain any weight, doesn’t mean you should eat McDonald’s everyday. I spent more time than I care to admit in my 20’s developing unhealthy habits. I did a little too much drinking, a little too much unhealthy eating, not enough working out, and now I’m paying for it. I’m having to re-teach myself healthy habits and you guys, it’s rough. Oh, and a skincare regiment in my 20’s? Does soap count? Praise Jesus for Senegence and their amazing skincare products or I might be looking 60 in my 30’s.
2. Dream Bigger
Dream those big dreams and do something about them! When you first enter into your 20’s, everything seems possible and yet nothing seems attainable at the same time. In a world of endless opportunities, it can seem overwhelming to chase big dreams and often it’s hard to see the bigger picture. It’s understandable, your 20’s can be a very social time and often we are focused on what our plans are that weekend, the drama of who’s dating who, and trying to make it to class on time. But, the world is such a big beautiful place! Dream those big dreams and then go for it! Who cares if you fail?! Never again in your life will you be as energetic, free of major responsibilities, or as unattached as you are in this decade. Trust me, the world is so much bigger than the people you kick it with on the weekends in the town you grew up in.
3. Stop Caring So Much What Other People Think
Hi, I’m Mallory, and I’m a people-pleaser. Can I get an “Amen” if that describes you?! Guys, I spent sooo much time worrying about what other people thought about me in my 20’s, it’s embarrassing. By nature, I want everyone to like me and it resulted in me molding to what I thought people wanted to see and hear. The danger of being a constant people-pleaser is you have no strong sense of identity. You change based on the group you are surrounded by in an attempt to be liked. One of the best things about becoming a mother is I literally don’t have the time or energy to care so much anymore. I accept at this point in my life that my family is #1 and everyone else comes after them, and I wont apologize for that. Another thing I wont apologize for? Being me. I am who I am. Am I everyone’s cup of tea? NO! And that’s ok with me. You are beautiful and unique and you do not need to be like anyone else.
4. Spend time with your family
It’s a deep regret I have now that I didn’t spend more time at home. I was always the girl that had plans. In fact, I can remember exactly what it felt like to not have any weekend plans and I must be the biggest loser ever if I had nothing going on. Instead of using those friend-free weekends to spend some quality time with my family, I sat around and sulked. This regret is amplified by the fact that my mom died 5 years ago. I could have spent so much time just being around her and I decided in that moment being a social butterfly was more important. Ironically, social butterfly is the last term my now adult friends would use to describe me. I am the BIGGEST homebody and my friends know not to be offended if I only see them every couple weeks. I just like my home/family time more than anything. Funny how your perspective can change so drastically.
5. You Are Worthy and Deserving Of Love
Something I did not always believe about myself in my 20’s. I spent years in an emotionally and mentally abusive relationship where I was made to feel that I was not worthy or deserving of love. Even to this day, I cringe just a little using that word, “abusive.” There is still a small part of me that will try to justify his behavior, “It wasn’t all bad, You weren’t perfect either, It didn’t start off that way, He meant well.” When I hear my inner voice trying to justify what was happening, I’m reminded just how deep some wounds are and that the fact that I feel the need to justify someone making me feel that way. How could that be a part of my story? How could I have let that happen? I had always considered myself strong and confident, but when someone spends years calling you names, putting you down, turning others against you, constantly accusing you, denying what you know to be true and making you feel like you made it all up, insulting your character, your appearance, your friendships, telling you they love you only to say and do the most hateful things to you the next day? Is it really any wonder that someone would feel worthless at the end of that? These behaviors have a name, gaslighting, and it took me years to not only admit that is what happened to me, but accept and move on from it. You know that Katy Perry song, "You’re hot then your cold, you’re yes then your no, you’re in then you’re out, you’re up then you’re down?” It was similar to that, and trust me my dear sweet 20-somethings, that is NOT love. It is hurtful and confusing and makes you question your own sanity. Hear me when I say you are beautiful and strong and smart and any partner who does not celebrate the person you are, is not a person you should be doing life with. Love is patient, love is kind, it keeps no records of wrongs. How thankful I am now that even in the midst of the worst fights my husband and I are having, that he is not trying to harm me. We may not see eye to eye or agree with one another, but I know without a shadow of a doubt, he would never do or say anything to purposefully hurt me. He is love and makes me feel loved every single day. He loves me whole-heartedly for who I am at my core and would defend and stand up for me till the end of the earth. You are worthy and deserving of love.
All you 20-something-year-olds out there, listen up! Remember to enjoy this decade because it’s unlike any other. Also, remember it gets better, YOU will get better.
If there was one thing you could tell your younger self, what would it be?