Is it just us, or was there some kind of magical cool-girl-glow emanating from every twenty-something-year-old we knew when we were teenagers? In our juvenile minds, these pseudo grown-ups had it going on: they were savvy and independent, drove their own cars and wore high heels + lipstick to big girl jobs, and married real men (not boys who played video games, ugh) in fairytale weddings. Those will be the best years, we said. When we’re in our twenties, we’ll have it all.
Now that we’ve settled well into our twenties, we realize that these years, while amazing, are still some of the most uncertain. Despite all the coral/magenta/nude lipstick, yuppie careers, and newlywed bliss this decade might allow, none of these things magically bestows deep, immovable confidence upon us like a crown. And the promise of “having it all”? We’re actually not even sure what that means! Does “all” refer to a lap of luxury? a beautiful home? an enviable wardrobe? a busy social life? perhaps all of the above?
Well, we can tell you that our twenties haven’t provided the assurance of any of these things, but they have given us a little bit of wisdom about these years and beyond. We’re passing on a few of our favorite pearls today:
1. “Having it all” isn’t promised in any decade of life. In fact, it’s not promised at all.
And maybe that’s a gift, because we’re finding that none of those above-mentioned things are so important after all and that chasing them only leaves us empty. We’re learning to pause and reflect on what’s (and Who’s) worth living for rather than stumbling about in the rat race only to keep up with the next person. It’s harder than ever to resist the push and pull of social pressure in this digital age, but we’re giving it our best because we want these years to count.
2. The grass is not greener on the other side.
Rather than seeking greener pastures in some nebulous place on the other side, we’re learning that the grass is greener where we water it. Here and now. There are no promises of bigger, better, or grander waiting for us just beyond the sunset of one decade into another, but only the lasting harvest from seeds carefully sown and faithfully cultivated. The heiday of marriages, families, friendships, and careers don’t culminate from opportune flukes and bouts of wishful thinking, they’re the reward of inordinate effort and intentional stewardship.
3. Don’t use people and love things; love people and use things.
Objects and money are meant for using, people for loving. Not the other way around. The moment we get these twisted, we’ve lost sight of what this journey is ultimately about: loving others well. Our jobs, incomes, and resources aren’t simply one-way tickets to living the good life, they’re invitations for others to hop along for the ride. There’s such freedom in living simply + giving generously.
4. Reality check: real men play video games, too.
Sure, they may have picked up a career and some etiquette along the way but oh, the video games. They won't ever stop.
Calling all friends in your thirties and beyond! We’d love some words of wisdom :) And if you’re still navigating your twenties like we are, what are some lessons you’ve gathered?