10 Key Lessons I Learned In My 20s

As much as I was dreading this moment – it has finally come for me to turn the big 3-0! I thought I would have a disastrous breakdown but I must say I am doing much better than expected.

Reflecting back on my twenties and even my teenage years, I am comfortable with saying that “I did alright!” Obviously, there are details and actions that I would take adjustments on (It would be a lie if I said I regretted nothing) however being able to look back with a wider lens, all I want to do is laugh at myself.

Not stating that I have all aspects of my life figured out (not even close) but I have definitely learnt some key lessons in my twenties that I can vouch for and maybe my children (way down in the future) can mirror upon.

So here we go!

Don’t Waste Time with Negative People.

When was the last time you had someone negative around you making you feel shitty about everything? For me, there are two types of negative people; ones that you have to learn to deal with and accept, and ones that you should get rid of quickly.

First, let’s discuss the negative people who you should get rid of quickly. In my early twenties, I would spend time with individuals that felt that they were “better” than me and would always place me in an unfavourable setting. These people are the ones that tend to place you underneath in order to make themselves feel better or always negatively judging you and creating unnecessary drama. They will also make you doubt yourself and bring you down even at your happiest achievements. Sound familiar? I’m not sure what took me so long to rid these negative people (maybe I felt bad?). But trust me – once you do, you will feel so much better. Life really is too short to surround yourself with people who make you feel awful. Spend time with supportive people who promote positive energy into your life and people who inspire you.

Now let’s talk about negative people that you can’t abandon and have to adapt to. For most of my childhood growing up, my mother was negative nancy (I still love you mom!) Nothing was ever good enough or made her happy. As a typical Chinese mother – she would compare me to anyone and everyone’s daughters. “My friend’s daughter is in level 8 piano already!”, “My friend’s daughter is taller than you.”, “My friend’s daughter is at the top of her class.”, “My friend’s daughter can sing, dance and skip rope at the same time.” Really?? I used to feel disappointing and mediocre most of the time. I wanted to please her but knew that I never truly could. Which in return made me very upset and emotional.

As I grew and my own thoughts developed, I realized that her negativity came from a place of love and her own upbringing in Communist China. I had no power in changing her mindset but I could change my own in hopes that one day she would realize.

I started participating in activities that I enjoyed and ignored her negative comments (trust me – very hard to do). I became so good at it that I could laugh and even make fun of myself. I truly focused on my own inner thoughts and blocked out all negative energy. I established my own sense of confidence and created a life that was for me. As time went on, my mother saw the positive energy that I created in my life and eventually jumped onboard. Adapt and change your own mindset!

Family. Ohana.

As I am getting older, family has become my top priority. I have always been close with my family and we are all very open with each other. During the younger days I would always choose hanging out or vacationing with friends – in recent times, that has definitely reversed. The connection that you have with your family is an important one. Having that supportive structure is the best thing. Friends come and go but family will always be there.

Travel As Much As You Can. Even Move Away On Your Own.

I know not everyone has the luxury of traveling but absolutely try. Even at an early age I would save all my money from my part-time jobs for traveling. Instead of purchasing brand name clothing and purses, I would travel. I sacrificed because I wanted life experiences and not material goods.

And I am not talking about the sitting in the sun and sipping pina coladas kind of traveling. I am talking about the ones that bring you new experiences, opens your mind and makes you step out of your comfort zone. Traveling has provided me with new ideas, a broader perspective and a deep appreciation for life. I have learned a great deal from experiencing different cultures, eating diverse foods and most importantly gaining new friendships.

One of most meaningful and crucial moments in my twenties was moving to Korea to teach English. It was a foreign place, I didn’t speak the language and I was all alone. It scared me so much at the time, but I knew it was what I needed. I had been too comfortable and complacent. The experience fully opened my mind and really developed me as a person. When I returned home, silly situations that bothered me before never did anymore. People with their drama didn’t bother me anymore. I developed a new sense of confidence and grew out of the ‘bubble’. Oh, did I mention I met some kick-ass people in Korea that made life so much better?

It’s Okay to Want Different.

I like to try new things all the time and take risks (nothing too crazy of course). Some people see me as scattered for participating and doing all these different things. There were moments in time where I would second guess myself and my actions because everyone around me always had a direct focus and planned to stick with it till retirement. My thought has always been – if I can sustain my life and try new things why shouldn’t I? Being able to accept that it’s okay to want different was one of my key moments.

Sometimes Time Doesn’t Heal All But That’s Okay.

Don’t you love it when people say “don’t worry, time heals all!” Really?? Does it really?

This would be magical wouldn’t it. Of course the hurt and pain will dissipate to a lower degree but sometimes time doesn’t heal everything but really it’s okay. These painful, sad moments are what has shaped me and made me stronger. So just embrace and sing the Kelly Clarkson song.

Be Patient My Dear Self.

I would have to say I am very impatient and it was even evident as I was a child. I always wanted everything to happen quickly and I would become angry at myself or others around me as if we all had any control. BREATH! It takes time for things to happen. People who excel, practice their skills and have an endless desire to keep trying. Whatever it is that you want to accomplish just keep going at it and learn to enjoy the moment rather than looking on to the destination.

Rather Be Weird. Never Be Fake.

This is clearly easier said than done. There were many moments in my life that people viewed me as “weird” so I would transition to what “normal” was. I would follow the norm and just go with the crowd. I would fake conversations and pretended to like certain things. It might feel okay at first – feeling that you fit in. But trust me the last thing you want to do is be fake to yourself. I have now embraced my weirdness and have my husband, family and close friends to thank for that! Thanks guys!

Listen To Your Gut.

Just trust your gut feeling. It’s always been there and for a good reason! It’s taken me years to trust my gut and listen to my instincts. There has been times when I get a bad feeling about a certain client or project that I have to turn down. It might be scary at first and you will feel a heavy lump of guilt but it has never led me astray.

No One Owes You Nuthin.

This is something that I have been saying for a long time. Truly in this world no one owes you anything. If someone decides to do something nice or help you – you need to appreciate that. We often take for granted and feel that we deserve the act of kindness. But the truth is “no one owes you nuthin,” so the next time someone opens the door for you or decides to let you walk ahead – be thankful.

Sometimes Silence Is Key. Wait For The Right Time.

If you know me, you know that I often speak without thinking and very openly. This is just how I am naturally wired and in most cases people closest to me understand. However, there has been situations where being silent had a better, more positive affect. Sometimes the receiver isn’t ready to hear what you have to say or they haven’t fully accepted the situation. Give them some verbal space and think about the outcome of your words.

Happy Turning 3-0 to me! Looking forward to all that I have to learn in my 30s!

Thanks for reading!



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