So my 30th birthday has come and gone. It seems like everyone wants to slam the 20s as a bullshit decade. Maybe for some it was/is. However, I’ve spent the last weeks of my 20s reflecting on what my 20s did for me, good and bad. While I wouldn’t trade places with 20 year old Sarah now to save my life, I don’t think that the lessons I learned, in what seems to be the most spit upon decade ever, were truly all that bad. So in my true OCD fashion, I compiled a list of things I learned or realized in my 20s. Not too shabby of a decade, in my opinion. So here’s what I learned:
- I learned how to live alone.
- I learned how to truly be alone.
- I learned how to appreciate my parents for who they are now and who they were while raising me and how they are separate entities from me.
- I learned how to become my biggest advocate- with all things academic, social, medical.
- I learned the therapeutic properties of cheap wine, a good cry and a long phone conversation.
- I learned that “No.” is a full sentence and an appropriate answer that does not need an explanation or an apology.
- I learned how to assert myself & my needs and not feel like an asshole.
- I learned how I need/expect to be treated by family, friends, significant others, coworkers. etc.
- I learned that the size of my hips or boobs do not define me.
- I learned that some trends are better left unfollowed.
- I learned that I am not going to miss some world-changing event by staying home on the weekend.
- I learned that honesty is truly the best policy.
- I learned that life is tough and love hurts and I learned how to move past the hurt and find the good.
- I learned that a job title does not define me or hold me down.
- I learned that no one else is going to figure it out for me; to take a leap of faith, a jump into the unfamiliar, the unknown.
- I learned that my 20s were my battle phase and now I’d like to think I’m moving into maintenance mode.
- I learned not to judge based on how things appear- friends, jobs, dogs…
- I learned how to value a Friday night alone, rocking out and dancing by myself or reading a book.
- I learned that babies are not “just like dogs.”
- I learned that yoga pants are acceptable everywhere but in court.
- I learned that I hate yoga no matter how many times you tell me to “just try.”
- I learned that I can still be an amazing mom even though I was never (and I’m still not) a “baby person.”
- I learned that a marriage is more than a wedding, and a wedding is more about other people.
- I learned that my marriage is a team and everyone involved best be on the right team.
- I learned that I can (somehow) manage to function on 20 minutes of sleep.
- I learned to use my words and that words can either make someone’s day or tear their world apart.
- I learned that social media is a savvy name for personal P.R.
- I learned that the Stones were right; That sometimes you get what you need, not what you want.
- I learned to pick my battles and fight them both wisely and passionately.
- I learned how to say “I’m sorry.” and how to admit I was wrong. Neither is a sign of weakness.
- I learned to trust my gut. Always.
- I learned that I am way more capable and handy than I ever would have given myself credit for.
- I learned that even the finest laid plans deviate from their paths and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
- I’ve graduated and earned two degrees, neither make me more educated than those around me.
- I have rescued 4 rowdy ass dogs (and rescued 2 more that I found other homes for) and still feel guilty when I see the Sarah McLaughlin ASPCA commercial.
- I have experienced the joy and horror of my first pregnancy.
- I gave birth to a beautiful daughter that I would rather die than live without.
- I learned how to put others’ needs before my own as a standard of living.
- I learned that I have a chronic neurological disorder that will be with me every step of my life.
I also learned that every step of the way, I will have my person, my people. My husband, my daughter, my mom & dad, my friends that are the sisters I never had. So looking back on it all, through the tears, heartache, body aches and hangovers, I cannot say that my 20s were awful. This decade just barely passed has introduced me to the people I love the most and the person I’m most proud of, myself. Cheers, Sarah. We made it girl.
Sh*t. You learned a lot more in your 20s than most people do, that’s for sure. That’s a fantastic list. Your 30s are guaranteed to be even better. Happy Birthday! And I love those pictures.
Thanks so much!
It sounds like we learned a lot of the same things in our 20’s. I dreaded turning 30, like almost went into a serious depression type of dread and then that day came and went and I realized that I’m actually happier, smarter and all around that more wonderful so it’s all good.
You learned a lot more than I did, that’s for sure. Took me till 33-34 to get most of those lessons and some I haven’t gotten yet at 39! Congratulations on entering your 30s much more prepared than most! Loved the beautiful pictures!
This is a treasure. Everyone always says, “your 30’s are the best years of your life.” I love my 30’s because it started as your list ended (re-order a few). But when I think about this post, it does remind me that my 20’s taught me so much, it schooled my ass. I really love this list. Happy Birthday little darlin’. Find a great pair of jeans you love, do something that your 20’s taught you to like, but your 30’s help you actually achieve, and “hold on for one more day.” I know you asked no advice, but I’m that asshole, you can do so much because you learned so much. I wish I was where you are when I turned 30.