Notes to My 20-Year-Old Self

by | From the Nest

Reaching milestones in life are important and they give us an extra opportunity to pause and reflect.  On my 40th birthday, here’s what I’d tell my 20-year-old self… ​

Milestones.  Graduations, birthdays, goals reached…all opportunities for celebration!

Today is my 40th birthday!  While I’d love to say I don’t feel older, it wouldn’t be the truth.  The last few years have probably aged most of us more than we’d care to admit.  At the same time, I am approaching this new decade in my life with some anticipation.

There is something to say for having lived enough life to finally learn some lessons and while I hopefully have a lot of life left to live, I look forward to approaching this season with some extra lessons tucked into my toolbar, so to speak.

And so, if my 40-year-old self could tell my 20-year-old self 40 things, here’s what I think she would say…


Reflections and Milestones on 40 Years

I challenged myself to just write…no apparent order, rhyme, or reason. (Try it sometime!)

  1. There are some things worth stressing over, but not as many that are as important as you’d think.
  2. Your best on most days will be significantly less than your all-time best.  That’s okay.
  3. You need to care what people think about your character and reputation.
  4. You also need to accept that sometimes you’ve done all you can do and you can’t worry anymore about what they think.
  5. You don’t need to be good at everything.
  6. You simply cannot live up to everyone’s expectations.  Lay them aside.
  7. Take the trip.  I don’t regret one cent spent on travel.
  8. Kids grow up faster than you want to think.  You can’t change it so choose to enjoy each phase.
  9. Take more things at face value.
  10. Clean baseboards are overrated.
  11. Hold “things” loosely; clear out and declutter often…both your home and your heart.
  12. Your heart can break into a thousand pieces and still smile the next day.
  13. Quality over quantity.  Almost always.
  14. It’s okay to admit when you’re tired and then rest.
  15. You don’t always have to “do” something; leave more white space on the calendar.
  16. It’s okay to say no.
  17. You are given an instinct for a reason; use it.
  18. “Chasing your tail” doesn’t get you very far.
  19. Always be learning; you never know what passion or interest it will spark.
  20. Passions may shift with seasons of life.  Don’t hang onto a an old passion just for the sake of it.
  21. They will rearrange the grocery store many times in your adult life.  You’ll survive.
  22. People are quick to tell you when you should or should not put up your Christmas tree.  You can do whatever you want to do with your own tree.
  23. Celebrate with ice cream.
  24. Buy flowers often.
  25. Walk slowly through an antique store; there’s a lot to learn.
  26. Recognize firsts and lasts, document when you can.
  27. Don’t dwell on the firsts and lasts too much.
  28. There aren’t enough Saturdays in your child’s growing up years.  Plan them wisely.
  29. Invest in good skincare BEFORE you need it.
  30. Some friendships are just for a season; that’s okay.
  31. Drink more water.
  32. Sleep isn’t overrated; plan for it and get enough.
  33. Plan and organize…but plan margin for lots of flexibility.
  34. Perfectionism destroys.
  35. Loyalty pays off, but know when to let go too.
  36. Boundaries safeguard your home.  Establish and create them from day one; it’s much harder later.
  37. Avoid trends for most things.
  38. But enjoy inexpensive trends!
  39. You actually do become the person you say you are…say nice things to yourself.
  40. Pray more, yet remember He heard you the first time.  It’s going to be okay.

So…random, I know!  And it’s really just a start of many, MANY things that could be added.  However, it was actually a great exercise and I’d encourage you to try it sometime.  At the same time, I’m excited about this new decade in my life and all the blessings it will bring…even the blessings that don’t appear to be good at the time.

Let me know in the comments…what would you tell your 20-year-old self?!


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