What I Wish I Knew in My Twenties




I’m turning the big 3-0 in November. Gulp.

Growing up I thought people in their thirties were ancient (probably due to the fact I had a super young mum).  Thirties were dedicated to being an ‘adult’ with a dwindling fashion sense, and a smaller social scene. Obviously, I was terribly wrong and now realise that my thirties are looking pretty damn fabulous!

But I want to honour my twenties. The decade that took me from a fresh-faced uni student to a wife and mother. The decade that introduced me to overseas travel, independence, more free thought, partying and solidifying true friendships.

What I love about the twenties, is how we all forged our own different paths and discovered a big chunk of ourselves on the way. Some lessons were learnt, a lot of insecurities ran wild, and mistakes were made.

We have asked a few ladies what they “wish they knew in their twenties”, and here are their responses:

Emma L: Lets face it I really should have got onto this app thing earlier, I could be very rich right now.

I also wish that I took more time to listen to people. Everyone has a story and the older you get, the more the people around you will have experienced. It is not a competition to see who has had the most drama or the least. You don’t have to offer advice just listen.

Life goes on, don’t stress about the little things, changes in the workplace, buying a new outfit, awkward conversations, messy housemates. Worry less about what people think. People will always remember how you made them feel, not what you said, what you wore or where you were.

As a mum I guess it goes without saying that I wish I had appreciated ‘me time’ when I had it. Gone to the gym whenever I wanted, slept in, got in and out of the car with no fuss, had a shower, caught up with my friends and travelled more. I now need to make time for these things, in my 20s time was my friend.

Emma O: One day you’ll be able to walk into a room and wonder whether you will like anyone there, not whether they will like you. Life will get so much easier when you stop worrying about people who don’t matter.

Larissa: To use your twenties for exploring. Travel, career, relationships – I was so hell-bent on having it all worked out. But that’s what your 30s are for 🙂

Sabrina: Oh man, things I wish I knew in my 20’s…where do I start and will this be published in paperback? Seriously, I could write for days!

I think my biggest regret, or advice to those still in their 20’s is to stop caring about what random people think! Seriously, if I had a dollar for the number of times, I felt sad, or insecure, or doubtful because some random decided to make a throw away comment about my weight, or judged where I lived, or why I had a child so young (at 20), I reckon I’d be a few thousand dollars richer.

To demonstrate the power of random comments, check out this douche-y little anecdote.

I was in my early 20’s and coming off the back of finishing my Undergraduate degree and making good progress in my career, I decided it might be worth getting some study leave at work, to pursue a Graduate degree. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to study, but I figured I had a genuine love of learning, an inclination towards the Arts, so maybe I’d chat to one of the Uni’s and see whether it was do-able.
Around the same time, I was at a party and standing around with a group of ‘friends of a friend’, and knowing they were all career/graduate types, I thought I’d throw in a “conversation starter” and tell them my idea of going back to Uni.

Knowing my situation full well (i.e being young mother, just started by career in the Public Service), a particular douche canoe decided to launch into me, telling me “an Arts degree was a waste of time” a “Masters in Arts not even worth the piece of paper it’s written on” and “really, are academic qualifications even necessary in the Public Service?”

Mind you, this was coming from a fella who barely made it out of uni, and by dumb luck after securing a job with a bank (though he never disclosed what he actually did, which for all we know, could have been the photocopy guy) decided he was now the Wolf of Wall Street, and anyone who wasn’t working in the banking sector, was either a) poor and inferior or b) not leading as exciting a life.

Now, if this was said to me today, I probably would have a) asked whether he was studying a graduate degree and b) after receiving the negative, told him opinion was uninformed, therefore useless and c) kindly asked him if he was ok? Because he seemed kind of bitter and disturbed and maybe needed a therapist.

Back then though, this horrible conversation sent me into a temporary yet still impactful spiral of self-doubt, and made me question if my achievements were even worth mentioning, forget celebrating!

I now look back and realise with the clarity of perspective, that the dude who said those things probably didn’t have a whole lot of self-esteem, and in the classic guise of the over-confident yet insecure, decided to make himself feel better by belittling others.

While this type of behaviour is never easy to handle at any age, I think if I had a little more perspective in my 20’s, i.e knowing and being confident in who I was and trusting my instinct when it came to others, I probably wouldn’t have experienced half the anxiety or engaged in so many meaningless exchanges.

So to those still in their 20’s, ignore the random nay-sayers, own who you are, be proud of all that you’ve achieved and literally as soon as you sense a douche approaching, roll your eyes and walk far, far away!

What do you wish you knew in your twenties? Do you have any advice for being in your thirties? Let us know by leaving a comment below!

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