10 things I learned through my 20's

Dec 28, 2017

Hey all! I turned 30 this October and celebrated with a trip to Mexico with my Cattleman & then a month later we threw a birthday bonfire party to celebrate with friends and family! 30 was a ball of fun for me!
As each new year hits, I always become introspective and think back on the past year. This year I thought it would be more fun to reflect on my 20's as a whole- This post has been in draft form for a while, and while it is belated, I still wanted to get it live before 2017 comes to an end.

The 20's are such a fun & ever-changing decade - I experienced a lot and wanted to take time to reflect on the past 10 years and highlight 10 takeaways. So, here goes ---

1. Financial independence.
During my 20's I graduated college, moved to St. Louis and started supporting myself fully financially. I rented an apartment for 3 years with a roommate and then rented a different one for 1.5 years solo. At 27, I purchased my current home, a cute little 1960's ranch. It's not ever glamorous, but it's a good feeling to know I can put a roof over my head, buy my necessities, and still make room for saving + adventure.

2. Most things buff out.
I'm prone to worrying about the future and what could be..as much as I remind myself to stay present, I still worry. But, one thing I continually shown is things buff out...they may not be perfect, they may not be what you wanted or hoped for, but each scenario will sort itself out the best it can.

3. To embrace adventure.
I've definitely evolved into quite a planner in my 20's (I was an event planner for a short stint). Due to this, I often has some scheme or adventure up my sleeve. Whether it's a girls weekend, a celebration trip, live music, or a new local spot to try I've got some idea brewing and am always looking for an adventure sidekick. I've learned to make the most of free time by trying new things, traveling nearby or far and having fun along the way. I hope this trend carries on into my 30's. I have a feeling it will look different, but I hope to still make the most of my moments in whatever way works for my lifestyle.

4. Everything has a season.
They all come and go. Enjoy them while they are here, or in some cases, ride out the emotions tied to them. Some happy and exciting - college, single years, city living, the list goes on. Some trying and sad - loss. There are a lot of ups and downs, darkness and brightness, it ebbs and flows- but ultimately each season shapes how much we learn about ourself and equips you with the essentials to handle the situations we create or that get throw our way in life.

5. How to cope with great loss.
Boy did this one affect me big time in my twenties...I lost my brother at age 25 (he was 20) and my Father at age 27 (he was 60)..loss like this is indescribable, earth-shattering, and the most definite thing I have ever experienced. Loss like this changes you. Completely. And affects your perception on everything, literally everything, in life. Grieving doesn't go away, it's forever. But, over the years I've gotten a bit of a better grasp on coping. I've shared posts here and there on my grief
For anyone who may be dealing with loss, this is one of my favorite posts and it holds a great article!

6. Growth.
We can't talk about 20's without talking about growth - am I right?
Graduating college, branching out on my own, spending most of my 20's single, switching careers, living alone (3+ years now), buying a home solo, traveling - all of this aided in my personal growth, learning what I was capable of accomplishing and truly being independent. I like what I've shaped into by the end of my 20's.

7. Tell your story.
See, number 5...Gosh this was a struggle for me. I've always been a private person, even before life and loss happened. It was hard for me to let new people in - whether it be a new co-worker, a new friend, anyone I'd be dating.. I didn't like answering basic small talk questions (because they often involve parents or siblings) and got good at keeping people at a distance. Many people I was close with urged me to let people in and to embrace my story since I could not change it, nor did I create it. So, I would say my 28th birthday was about the time that I really urged myself to be more open minded..and it wasn't far into that year for me that my Cattleman came into my life.

8. A love for local.
I guess growing up in a small town, this has always somewhat been a part of me. However, when I graduated college and started working for a chocolate company I would say that is when my love for local really flourished. I started shifting from chain restaurants to local, more artisan, establishments. My love for craft beer (which again is more local) grew. My love for local makers and shops really grew in my 20's. I love local. My mom & I have a small shop. I love to embrace my surroundings and state (#EmbraceMO)!

9. How to be comfortable with alone time.

I got my first apartment - sans- roommate in 2014. And from then on I've lived solo either in that apartment or in the home I purchased back in 2015. I have found that I love coming home to a space that is all my own, decorating it however I choose and making my mark. There are times when it becomes lonely or difficult (i.e. when you need to move or lift something heavy). But I've been resourceful and have come to love my Jess time. I like taking time to journal, read, do something creative, cook, or style a space. I enjoy it and find that I crave alone time after a certain period of time.

10. A great sense of who I am.
And to round things out, my 20's gave me a sense of who I am. What I stand for. My roots, my morals, my capabilities and my wants. I have a strong sense of what I want in life, what I need to work on, and what I've come to love. I know what it takes to balance me out and I think that strong understanding grew toward my mid 20's, and after experiencing loss - I grew some more and eventually became ready to share who I am with someone else. Eventually leading me to find my forever.

I feel I've learned a solid amount in my 20's, all of which will equip me to take on the next decade - whatever it may bring. I know this will be a post I'll love looking back on. Below you can find posts tied to previous years.
A letter to year 27 and 28 

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