Now that I am starting the last year of my 20’s, and am older and wiser then I was when I began this decade, I thought it would be a good time to reflect on what being in my 20’s has meant to me, and maybe shed some wisdom to those who are still working their way through the years I like to call THE TRANSITION YEARS.
I am not going to lie. I found some of my 20’s to be extremely difficult…especially my early 20’s. I am sure some people transition easier into the “real world” but I had a very hard time. The beginning of my 20’s was great. I was still in college and having a grand old time. The only thing turning 20 meant was that I had to wait 1 more year till I was 21, and 2 more years till I graduate college. At 22 I was a college graduate and very excited to enter the real world. I was going to be a PR super star, live in Manhattan and live the life! Well unfortunately, that year brought on 9/11 and a failing economy to us youngsters entering the work force. No job to be had, and no one willing to share an apartment with me in Manhattan. Here is where I can look back and offer some advice. Things may not turn out exactly as you may want them to. I was a pretty miserable human being at that time (ask my husband and my family) I was extremely lucky that they all loved me, so be sure to surround yourself with those people.
Another thing I learned is you can’t always hold out for your dream job as your first job. I am a true believer in life is too short to be anything but happy, but I also knew that I had rent to pay. I was waitressing through the summer to make ends meet and when I got my first “real” job in Manhattan I was sooo excited! What I learned very quickly is that I was destined to be bored for the next 8 months. It was then that I realized that it was time for me to tweak my dream. It didn’t seem that a job in PR was in the cards for me, and I had the revelation that working for my dad would be the best job for me! And it was! So here’s another lesson…what you think you should be doing in a career isn’t always what you SHOULD be doing. I learned that commuting into the city was not going to make me happy even if I did land that PR job…what I also learned is that I was meant to work for my dad. It was one of the best decisions I ever made.
My next piece of advice is in regards to relationships. As you know I married my college sweetheart. I stayed in LI post college to be with him. It was a decision that at the time was difficult, but I am so happy I did. Listen to your heart, and listen to your significant other. Only you know what’s right for you. My husband and I were together long before we got engaged. At many times it was hard for me to accept waiting for him to get his life together, but I knew in my heart he was the man for me…so I waited. I waited even though sometimes people questioned my decision. Not because he was a bad man, but because they didn’t want to see me hurt…but being with him was the most important thing to me. So I stuck it out and he has made me such a happy woman. Looking back sometimes it was hard, but it has all been worth it!
Finally, you will not always be at the same point in your life as all of your friends. Some will be in relationships, some will not. Some will own homes, some will rent. Some will have jobs some won’t…but if they are your true friend, and you theirs, you will work at your friendship in order to be there for them, and them for you. But on the same token you will probably lose some friends along the way and gain new ones. Keep your mind open, just because you were friends for a long time doesn’t mean you are meant to ALWAYS be friends.
30 seemed so old and so far away when I was in college, but low and behold it is coming along faster than I could imagine. I am sure the next decade will be the same. But I have so much to look forward to in my future. I welcome my 29th year with open arms…I am ready…
So to the older and wiser generations…what did your 20’s teach you?