14 Things I Learned In My 20s

Things I Learned In My 20s | The Beauty Vanity

Happy New Year!

I took a major break from social media and my blog, but I’m back!  Sometimes I need a break to refresh, you know?

Anyway, everyone is talking about resolutions and while I have a few written down, I also wanted to reflect on the past 10 years.  It’s been 6 months since I’ve turned 30, and I can honestly say, I’ve never been happier.

I had such a good birthday and I spent it doing everything that I wanted – a 90-minute SoulCycle session with my trainer, followed by a photo shoot for my blog, and had an amazing dinner with my boyfriend.  The next weekend, I went to Sonoma with my family, followed by a 90s themed party with my closest friends.  Now at 30, I thought I’d have a “grown-up” job, that grad school would figure my life out for me, that I’d be married with kids, and none of that happened yet.  And you know what?  It’s totally okay.

This post has been a long time coming – it’s been in draft mode for months.  I keep rewriting and tweaking it, hoping that this post could provide something useful to my followers who are still in their 20s.  I’ve dreaded the number 30 since turning 25, so I’m hoping my experience gives some of you a little bit of hope and inspiration to those who are feeling lost, uninspired, and scared.

Let me start off by saying that in my early 20s, I was a real mess.  A lot happened in between, but basically, I felt so lost, not knowing what I wanted to do with my life and also felt so vulnerable after being in a number of unhappy relationships.  I think it all stemmed from being too caught up in pleasing others and not knowing what I really wanted.  My mind was so set on pursuing a career in medicine for almost 10 years, so by the time I realized that I hated it, I felt so discouraged.  How did I waste so much time figuring this out?  If not medicine, what did I want to do instead?  What will my friends and family think of me?  How will I support myself financially in the future?

By 25, I was experiencing a quarter-life crisis and reading this book was life changing.  It gave me so much clarity and it finally hit me: I wanted to pursue a career in the beauty industry.  I didn’t know what exactly I wanted to do in the beauty industry, but just narrowing it down felt really good.  And so it began…my personal growth took off when I realized that I was the creator of my own story.

So here’s what I’ve learned in the past 10 years:

Find your passion and never stop learning.

After realizing that beauty was what I wanted to do, I wanted to absorb everything and anything beauty related.  I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do in the beauty industry, but I was eager to learn.  I found out later that content marketing was what I loved to do and now, I try to read as many case studies, articles, books, and listen to podcasts related to that.  It may sound boring to the next person, but it excites me!  Whether it’s fitness or finance, immerse yourself in what excites you and it will keep you going, I promise.

It’s not too late to start over.

I made this mistake of comparing myself to others when I finally decided on the beauty industry.  I felt so behind since I was not as far along in my career.  But now that I look back at it, I’m so happy that I decided to start over.  Starting from the bottom made me who I am today.  If I went the safe route, I’d be so unhappy and unmotivated to go to work everyday.  Just know it’s not too late to make a huge change in your life especially if in the end, it’s going to make you feel happier.

School does not necessarily create a set path for you.

This is another mistake I made multiple times in my twenties.  There’s this misconception that you’re supposed to have everything figured out once you graduate.  Sure, everything I learned at school gave me an amazing foundation for the real world, but it doesn’t define who I am and my career.

Take risks.

If I didn’t take a chance on working at a start-up beauty company, I wouldn’t be where I am today.  When you’re young and don’t have many responsibilities yet, there’s more room to take risks and bounce back quicker.  If you want to travel the world for 2 months, do it!  Don’t be left wondering, “what if…”?

It’s okay to feel lost.

Not knowing what’s next, scared me and still scares me.  My advice?  Take a break, clear your head, and figure out what really matters to you.  Have a goal in mind and take it one step at a time.  Feeling this way is totally normal.  Plus there is a silver lining: your opportunities are ENDLESS.

Accept failure and learn from it.

Don’t strive for perfection, just try to be better than you were yesterday.  I believe that everything happens for a reason – find the positive in every situation and learn from your failures.  It’s these failures that will give you the best lessons in life.  I remember I took this consulting job right after grad school helping out a startup.  I quickly realized that the industry, the job culture, and my job was not what I envisioned…so I had to leave.  I felt like I let myself down knowing that I chose the wrong job.  Because of this, I had to learn to listen to my gut more often, be more vocal about the things I wanted, and learn that a high paying job isn’t everything.

Life is truly what you make of it.

Don’t sit back thinking life will fall into place one day.  If you want something, I’m a firm believer in going out there to get it.  Accept that life will never be perfect, learn to roll with the punches and make the most of the present.  After doing many consulting gigs, I finally made the jump to go 100% with my blog earlier last year.  No more waiting, wishing, and hoping that one day I could go full time (which I did for months, trust me) – I just did it.  I really stepped out of my comfort zone, but I didn’t want to take a backseat on my life’s journey.

Trust your gut.

There have been many times where my instincts were telling me to do something, but instead, I did the opposite.  In the end, I should have trusted my gut.  If something feels wrong, don’t ignore or doubt yourself – do what’s best for you.

Be adaptive.

Everyone is unique and being able to adapt to different personalities is a life skill that is so valuable in the workplace and in your personal life.  If you haven’t already, I highly recommend you, your colleagues, friends, and family take the 5 love languages test and personality test.  It’s made me understand and better communicate with others.  Honestly, these tests were game changers!

Learn to network.

When I first started blogging, networking terrified me, but it’s amazing to meet new people and how many are willing to help you out.  There were so many instances where the people I met at networking events helped me out professionally and personally.  Don’t expect people to give, give, and give though – be willing to genuinely help others and they’ll be more likely to do the same.  It’s also important to stay professional, you never know who you’ll meet!

Take care of yourself.

As I’ve gotten older, my body has started to change.  I mentioned this before many times on my blog, but I’m finding it harder to lose weight and my skin is getting drier.  I remember I used to eat a whole pizza and still feel skinny the next day (ah to be 21 again…).  Now, I have to constantly be more conscious of what I eat, etc.  Learn to take care of yourself now through exercise, skin care, and nutrition.  It’s all about preventative health!

Learn to relax and make time for things.

I find so many of my friends in their 20s working like crazy.  In a way it’s a good thing – they’re super passionate about what they do and are so driven, but for me, life is no fun when there’s no play.  Make time to hangout with people you love or to just unwind, and trust me, your mental health will thank you.  It is all about that work/life balance.

Find support in family and friends.

It’s quality over quantity.  At the end of the day, who’s going to be there for you?  Sure it’s great to meet people and broaden your network, but invest in and nourish the relationships that truly matter.

Do you.

Learn to love yourself and know your worth.  If not you, who will?  This is true in relationships and at work – how many of you have been in relationships where it was hurtful and decided to stay?  At the end of the day, the truth is, you’ll be the one living your life – being truly happy starts within.

 

Okay, phew!  This is probably one of my most personal blog posts yet and if one person can find this useful, I’ll know that writing this out was all worth it.  I can’t tell you how many questions I get about pursuing my passion.  Woman to woman, we all need to help each other out!  If you have any questions or any comments, feel free to leave them below or write me an email. 🙂

I hope 2017 is starting off great for you so far!  Let’s make this year amazing!

xoxo,

Alyson

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