an alternative 20 Things I Learnt In My 20’s

– because we’ve all learnt more beautiful things than that hangovers get way worse…

1. You cry over good things that happen more than bad things. Bad things you’re like ‘okay, I have to deal with this, and get my family/friends through this’, good things you’re like THAT IS SO BEAUTIFUL AND TEARS ARE RUNNING DOWN MY FACE.

2. You think you’ve found what love is. And then you’re like, that was not love at all, this, this is love. And then you realize that was not love at all, that was just two dimensions, and this, this is love in all its 3D wonder. And you are very thankful that the first definition of love was not what you thought was love for the rest of your life.

3. Travel is both very wonderful and complicated. No-one says how hard coming home is, even when you were terribly homesick when you were away. After all, how could Dorothy not miss the wonderful land of Oz?

4. You realize sending good news emails is possibly even more awesome than receiving good news emails. And that there is another generation underneath you now that you can shape in the opportunities and advice you give, and that is a really powerful position to start to be in.

5. You identify your procrastination as procrastination, emotional eating as emotional eating and late night stressing as ‘it’s just time to go to bed now’ rather than ‘MY LIFE IS HARDER THAN EVERYONE ELSE’S’.

6. You work out what God/ religion/ spirituality means to you, rather than what it means to your family or community. This often comes from a place of realising that no other person (and being honest, usually man) can tell you what to believe. This is of course a very simple realisation, but I know it took me a good five years to get to that point.

7. You realize the power of saying no. And that you never have to say yes to anything you don’t want to.

8. You can express your feelings and thoughts in complicated situations clearly, and into the eyes of the person you’re talking to, rather than bursting into tears or yelling in the middle of a public place.

9. Friends turn from people you go to school with, to people you go to life with.

10. You realize the incredible power of forgiveness. And that after any conflict you have the choice for what happens next.

11. You come to understand your early life in terms of demographics, and how that inevitably shaped your thinking. For example if you are first generation University, you reach a point where you realize you didn’t even know what was possible to achieve in the world or how to go about it when you were first setting out. Your dreams can expand. Your realistic expectations can expand. And the two expansions working in tandem can completely change your idea of what your life may become.

12. You realize the things you achieved in your 20’s are way more meaningful than the things you wrote on your 30 by 30 list – I can’t even remember what zorbing is.

13. In the early 20’s vs late 20’s distinction, at some point my Mum stopped calling me her whirlwind and started calling me her trailblazer, which I don’t deserve, but aspire to in these days of my late late 20’s. Less whirlwind, more trails.

14. You take responsibility for yourself. The sorry’s, the thank you’s and the ‘I choose you’s.

15. You put your ex’s into two categories 1) that’s hilarious we were together – let’s forget it and be normal and 2) you were a chapter in my life that is over, you are not in my life anymore. Any relationship in-between will eventually fall into either category.

16. ‘One day I’ll have children’ turns into this actual little human in your arms telling you an emphatic story in vowel sounds, until they realise you’re not their Mum/Dad and that is totally unacceptable. Unless of course, you are their Mum/Dad and then it is pretty incredible to be the pacifier of End Of The World screams with a single ‘come here’ (a lot of the time anyway)

17. You realize you will enjoy an average job with good people far more than a good job with shitty people. What it does for your career trajectory is another thing.

18. In a time of shooting off words at a dizzy-ing touch typing rate, you find the power of a carefully worded email.

19. Unconditional love is a real thing. I hope everyone gets to experience it before they’re 30.

20. You realize how much more there is to learn. About basically everything.