Tomorrow I'll be 28. Today is the very last bit of 27 and I'm soaking it all up. As I do, I can't help but reflect on where I was a year ago, how much has changed and what this beautiful, wonderful year taught me.
Here's the best of what I've learned:
1. Invest in knowing yourself. Read books. See a therapist. Take trips. Get outside your comfort zone. For me, going to Africa was a lot of time and money, but it taught me things about myself I never could have learned on my own. Someday, there will be a lot of people (think: a spouse and babies) that need you. Use the time you have now to invest in yourself.
2. You are never going to feel like a grown up. As I've approached 28, I've been shocked time and time again. 28!? Oh my gosh. That's almost 30. I don't think I'm ever going to reach a point where I think: Ah, yes. This is what 55 is supposed to feel like. My hope is to continue to feel younger than I am, but not to fear growing up. As I keep getting older, I hope to stay grateful for another day and to someday say I earned my wrinkles, heck ya!
3. Invest. No one is going to tell you: today you have to put $XX in savings or you can't go out to dinner. You have to take responsibility for your own budget. And if it's all Greek to you, get a financial advisor. It's worth the investment.
4. But also, indulge. Money is for saving and being responsible: yes. But it's not for hoarding. Be wise, but enjoy your life, too. The memories you make on a trip will probably outweigh what the money would have earned in a 401k. Just don't do it all the time!
5. Trust the process. I spent a lot of 26 wanting to be in a relationship and, in retrospect, I wish I hadn't used so much energy on it. I wish I'd better trusted that the things I needed to do and learn before dating someone again would fall into place naturally. I know how hard it is to be single, but don't run away from it. Embrace it and let it teach you what it's meant to.
6. Slow down. Scheduling more and running around crazy more doesn't necessarily mean you're doing more. Use your time well and invest in the things you care about. But don't be a yes man. Don't just do to do. Do to make a difference and build a life.
7. Pour into the relationships that matter. Life is short and the most important legacy we can leave behind is our love. Give it to people who matter and who value it.
8. Be vulnerable. When you've been hurt, opening up to someone new is scary and hard. But it's really lonely when you're the only one inside. Don't be afraid to let someone in.
9. Ask for help. We aren't meant to live in silos and the people that love you want to support you. Let them do it when you need it; and be sure to give it back when the time comes.
10. Floss. And wear sunscreen. It's for your health.
Now on to you, Twenty-Gr8! :)