• carlyepeterson

Reflecting On Life In Your 20s

WOW! Let me be this first to attest to the fact that your 20s might be the decade of the most change, uncertainty, adventure, and risk you will ever experience in your lifetime. I'm nearly 26 (I'm a taurus) so I still have some time left in my 20s, but the six years I've spent have been unlike any other chapter in my life. I've cried A LOT and laughed just as much. I've moved several times. I've found love. I've lost friends. I've been scared. I've experienced times of great courage. It's a crazy journey, but I'm here for all of it.

I love sharing advice to women who may be going through this chapter with me, or those who are just beginning the journey. I included some of my favorite quotes to live by because I love encouraging words! Here are a few life lessons I've learned thus far, but I'm sure there will be many more to learn in the next four years.

Embrace change, it's a part of life.

This is probably one of the biggest lessons I've had to learn and grow with. I love comfort and consistency, but this chapter in life is simply not that. As soon as you graduate college, you open the door to adulthood and in floods all kinds of change. So many things will shift during these 10 years from friends to love to career — nothing will go unchanged. The best thing you can do is open your heart to it, and enjoy the wild crazy ride you've been given. Know that your life will not look or feel perfect, there will be things you want to work on, but by staying true to yourself you will steer in the right direction.

"This is the season she will make beautiful things. Not perfect things but honest things that speak to who she is and who she is called to be." - Morgan Harper Nichols

Everyone is on their own path, arriving at their own time.

There are a million different paths you can go down in your 20s. You can go to college or not. Graduate in four years or stay for a masters degree. Travel the world or stay at home. Get a corporate job or explore self-employment. Fall in love or have a great time being single. No path is wrong. You are the designer of your own story. There are so many possibilities and so many different outcomes. If you have a dream pursue it with all of your heart, and one day you might discover you ended up exactly where you want to be.

"When nothing is sure, everything is possible." - Margaret Drabble

"The best thing about your life is that it is constantly in a state of design. This means you have, at all times, the power to redesign it. Make moves, allow shifts, smile more, do more, do less, say no, say yes — just remember, when it comes to your life, you are not just the artist but the masterpiece as well." - Cleo Wade

Stop caring what people think.

This truth is very hard to do, folks. I struggle with not caring on a daily basis, especially in a world where social media and the Internet rule. People will freely express their opinions not caring who they tear down in their wake. I'm a people pleaser; when someone doesn't like me, I take it to heart. Here is the simple truth: the world wants to see you fail. I don't know what it is that gives people the right to be a critic of your own life, but you have to start ignoring their false statements. Stand firm in the truth that you know who you are and that you know you are capable of achieving anything you put your heart, soul, and mind to.

"Your life isn't yours if you always care what someone else thinks." - unknown

Stop the comparison game.

Social media has really changed the comparison game. It's so easy to scroll through a feed and see everyone's best moments on display. I'm sure you've heard "don't compare your beginning to someone's middle," but what you haven't heard is that those people's best moments also come with bad ones just like yours. Nobody's life is perfect. It's just not a thing that happens in life. Everyone has their own battles to fight. I love what Bob Goff writes below. If you have a purpose in your life and understand why you were placed on this earth then comparison has no role to play in your story. With purpose, we continue to grow parallel to those running the race beside us — stretching toward our purpose and not someone else's.

"We won't be distracted by comparison if we are captivated with purpose." - Bob Goff

Embrace your failures.

Girlfriend, you heard it here first! Get ready to fail and fail some more. Life is going to be one huge rollercoaster of failures and successes. I've switched career paths at least 4 times already (and that's just in my 20s). I expect to change paths again in the future as my dreams grow! I've made huge mistakes, given up, stayed quiet when I shouldn't...the list could go on and on. BUT without my failures how will I know when I succeed. Everyone fails. Failure just means you care and you are growing.

"A girl who is going to do big things cannot let small things get to her." - unknown

No risk. No magic.

Life is a risky business. To live it and pursue it fully is risky, but to cower and hide from it is also risky. The difference is one path ends in magic while the other ends in complacency. You have to be brave enough to take the risk whatever that may look like in your life. Nothing in life is going to be handed to you. You have to put in the work, make sacrifices, and face rejection — but BIG dreams require BIG risks that end in BIG magic.

"Be brave enough to be bad at something new." - Jon Acuff

Collect adventures not things.

I love this truth mainly because adventure feeds my soul. Do you have a bucket list of things you want to do? My fiance and I have so many dreams to travel and see the world. Ever since moving to California, I've come down with the travel bug. I want to explore everything the West Coast has to offer and beyond.

Adventures can also be moments or experiences. Instead of buying a new outfit or material things, try saving that money and putting it toward a new experience. Make memories with your friends and loved ones. Try out a new hobbie. Spend time in nature by yourself. Discover something new about yourself. There is so much time in your 20s for adventure so take advantage of every moment.

People change; friends come and go.

When you are young, it's easy to think your childhood friends will stay with you for the rest of your life. Maybe that is true (I have two really good childhood friends), but maybe it's not. In your 20s, you begin to learn who you are and who you want to become. The friends you carry with you reflect those goals. As you evolve, so do your friends. I believe we have friends who are put on this earth to go through different walks of life with us. They help us through our journey as a sort of human emotional support system. You grow closer together in the hard times, laugh together in the easy times, and lift each other up during the sad times. When change comes, you might grow apart, but life has a new friend planned for you just down the road. Making friends is not easy, and probably one of my least favorite things as I'm more introverted than extroverted. In the end — if you put in the work — you will find a group of friends that will do life with you for the long haul.

Take time to care for yourself.

As a woman, your 20s is a critical time for learning and practicing certain disciplines. It's the time you start to build a foundation for a healthy mind, body, and spirit. Take time to care for yourself mentally. Listen to a self-growth podcast, read a motivational book, find meditation, or seek therapy. A strong mental foundation will help you become more confident in who you are and what you are capable of in life. Take time to care for yourself physically. Find a workout routine that gets you excited to move, eat foods that are healthy and give back to your body, and take care of your skin. Caring for these three things will positively affect your future self. Take time to care for yourself spiritually. I'm a Christian. My faith plays an active role in my life. I find that when I'm off spiritually it can affect everything going on in my life. It can affect the way my mind works — positively or negatively. It influences the way I feel about myself physically. Whether you are religious or not, I believe building a strong spiritual foundation is vital for your journey through life and your outlook on life.

"I am worthy of the time it takes to do the things that heal my heart." - Morgan Harper Nichols

Time moves pretty quickly.

Life goes by very quickly so don't waste it on meaningless things because you can't get time back. If you find you're unhappy in your career, then change it. The average person spends 90,000 hours at work in a lifetime. That's a lot of hours to spend on something you hate. If you want to move somewhere new, then take the leap and move. Make the memories and decisions you will be proud of in 40 years. Live the life you've always dreamed and spend your time with purpose.

"Remember that you once dreamed of being where you are now." - unknown

You're enough. Love yourself.

Lastly and most importantly, love the you that you are wholeheartedly and unashamedly. There's three points I would like to make with this statement:

1. You can not accept another person's love until you accept your own love. You need to understand that you deserve love. You are worthy of it, and you are enough just as you are.

2. You have to be open to love. It's easy to run away and hide in the fear of being hurt, but without risk there can be no magic.

3. There is a God that loves you for who you are, as you are, beyond measure.

With those three things in mind, you can truly begin to love the you that you were created to be.

"Never go in search of love, go in search of life, and life will find you the love you seek." -atticus

"You are loved beyond measure." Romans 8: 38-39


I hope these truths can help you along in your journey. It's not an easy trip, but it is worth the adventure.



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