“I think we can all say: This twentysomething shoot ain’t easy. It’s a decade exploding with intensity and ambiguity. Anxiety and excitement. Purpose and Pointlessness. Answers riddled with questions. Paradoxes mixed with 100% certainties. There are so many “first.” So much change. So many “what ifs, what nows, and what the hecks.”
– Paul Angone: 101 Secrets For Your Twenties
So I’m officially in the mid-late twenties age group. UGGGGGGGGHHHH. It sounds so depressing. Yes I’m over reacting and yes I’ll get over it. You know I just gotta be dramatic first. Anyway. I stumbled across this book because I felt like I hit a brick wall. Kinda like a quarter-life crisis, but like not really in crisis. Just kinda stuck. See I’ve been blessed and favored to be pretty establish over the last few years. Educated. Good job. Own house. Pretty good looking if I do say so myself lol. I’ve definitely “Glow’d up” from the ugly duckling I once was. But since I followed the “normal” societal trajectory of life, I’m like now what? I mean, marriage technically would be next, but that’s not happening anytime soon seeing as my dating life is on the struggle bus. But other than that now what? So I did what any “millennial” (I’m really not a fan of this term for reasons I’ll share in a future blog) would do when they have a question. I turned to the internet. I asked google, Siri, Alexa and even jeeves (y’all remember askjeeves.com. -throwback). After skimming through results I stumbled upon this book 101 Secrets for Your Twenties, by Paul Angone. And figured I better buy it quick since this decade of my life is nearly over.
So glad I did because it not only clarified some things for me, but let me know I’m on the right path and not alone on this journey. That’s one of the main reasons for me starting this blog. So this book was perfect for me and this season of my life.
Here are 10 of the 101 “secrets” that pretty much some up my 20s so far:
Secret #2: “The possibility for greatness and embarrassment both exist in the same space. If you’re not willing to be embarrassed, you’re probably not willing to be great.”
I am not afraid to admit that I am afraid of failure. Afraid of the unknown. Afraid of what people will think. Afraid of being wrong or doing things wrong. That fear creates missed opportunities. That fear paralyzes growth. That fear limits success. But I never realized that embarrassment, failure, opinions, and the unknown are ALL apart of the equation for success. Success is for people who will risk the embarrassment for things they want. I’m trying to figure out what I want and see if I’m ready to embrace embarrassment.
Secret #13 ” If you grew up going to church, at some point in your 20s you might stop going to church. If you grew up with faith as a central part of your life, at some point in your 20s faith might move to the outskirts of town next to the trailer park and three-legged squirrel refuge.”
I grew up in the don’t wear pants, wear stockings all the time, 4 fingers below the knee skirts, wear white and black on first Sunday, praise dance rehearsal Monday, Praise and worship team rehearsals Tuesday (Cause mom was on it), go to bible study Wednesday, Adult choir rehearsal Thursday (cause mom was on it), go to council meeting Friday, go to childrens’ choir rehearsal Saturday (cuz mom was the choir director) and be on time, before service, for Sunday school church. Although it was overwhelmingly time consuming, I didn’t mind so much because I was so close with me church family and friends. We had some good times. But times change. People get older, start making their own decisions, and either run towards or run away from the life they were forced to participate in as a child. As I got older, Volleyball and work began to interfere with church. (The only way I could skip church without getting a lecture from my parents. I still get questioned even though I’m fully grown.) But the thing about leaving some where you belong is that you always end up coming back because you know that’s where you’re supposed to be. The Prodigal Son– the typical story of almost every PK (Preacher’s Kid).
Secret #15: “A college diploma is NOT your golden ticket into DreamJobLand.”
I graduated in 2014 ending up with a Bachelors in Psychology/a Bachelors in Social Work/ and a Masters in Social work , with only internship experience and it took me about 10 interviews from the 50 places I sent my resume to, to end up where I am. And this ain’t even my dream job so….. yea. Don’t get me wrong. I’m blessed to be where I am. I’m learning alot, gaining very useful experience for the future, and starting a nice lil cushion for my retirement. But this ain’t the last stop for me. I don’t know exactly where I wanna be, what I wanna do, who I wanna work with, or how I’m gonna get there. I just know I’m not spending my career where I am. And that’s ok.
Secret #18: “A date is a date is a date is a…”
Well….we know my dating situation. So I don’t have much to say. But I can admit to being so wrapped up in thoughts about the next step of marriage, that dates really lost their meanings. Well I haven’t been on many dates to begin with but.. I’ve realized that dates are just a means to get to know people and find out what you like and dislike and what you want and don’t want. That’s it. I’m learning not to read too much into things like that.
Secret #19: “Our plans aren’t the problem. Our timeline is.”
Where does it say that it’s MANDATORY to go straight to college after high school? Get a great job making great money right after graduation? Meet the love of our lives during college? Get married? Buy a house and start a family? In that order? And when were those plans considered the baseline for success. NO WHERE? We just made it up. Societal and social norms made us believe we have to accomplish all that AND more by the time we’re 30 or else we’re just dead beats. Graduating at 30, buying a house at 40, getting married at 50, and not having kids is just fine. The only thing that matters is that you accomplish the things you want to accomplish and hopefully they align with your purpose in life.“There’s an opportune time to do things, a right time for everything on the earth.”- Ecclesiastes (The Message Bible) 3:1
Secret #21/33/96: “The key to success in your 20s is comparing yourself to everyone, everyday. Then let that anxiety and fear propel you to work harder, faster, and with more motivation.” ; Just because you grow up doesn’t mean you grow out of your insecurities. Sometimes, if you’re not careful, you grow into them. Insecurities are like Swamp Things. Just when you think you’ve escaped, they rise up for a surprise attack.” ; “Watch out that social media doesn’t become death by validation.”
I had to combine these three secrets because they all relate to each other and I couldn’t pick just one. It’s so important to not get caught up in what everyone else is doing. It’s EXTREMELY hard to do in this age of technology and social media. It’s in your face every week, everyday, every hour, every minute, every second. Even if you try not to, its sub-conscious at this point. Make the perfect stat/tweet. Make the perfect caption. Find the perfect filter. Hit the right angles. All to get more likes, retweets, and followers. Just to feel validated and affirmed as a person. People commenting, liking or following shouldn’t change how you live your life or perceive yourself. Your story is your own. whether people like or not. Just focus on you!
Secret #32: “If at some point in your 20s you feel like you’re all alone- you’re not alone.”
We have so many ways to be connected with the internet and social media. But why is it that we feel so alone sometimes? Because being in the presence of someone does more for you than interacting behind a computer screen, in an inbox, on a stat, etc…. We need face-to-face human interaction sometimes. We need some one to call when life gets tough and some one to be there to answer. Reach out to one another.
Secret #65: “Know when your sad season is over and you just need to stand up and dance.”
So I mentioned in my blog post about Shonda Rhimes book “Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person,” That happiness is a choice. A choice that has to be made everyday. Choose to see the silver lining. Choose to look on the bright side. Choose to say yes to what you want and no to what you don’t want. Choose to do something nice to make someone else happy. Choose to not let anyone else mood affect your own. Choose to love. Choose to live. (Click here to see what else I learned from “Year of Yes.”)
Secret #70: “Making and keeping friends in your 20’s takes intentionality.”
I’ve touched on this in one of my previous post. Back in the day friendships were formed by proximity. You got ya friends from school, friends in the neighborhood, your parents friends kids….It was all so simple. But as an adults, you have to put yourself out there and basically network because these aren’t the same people you’ve known since Pre-K. You have to get involved in something to start meeting people. You have to be willing to make time to CALL or SEE a friend instead of accomplishing every single thing on your to-do list. Basically that’s something that has to BE on your to-do list. Adult Friendships are hard work! So make time to work hard.
Secret #99: “Success in your 20’s is more about setting the table than enjoying the feast.”
Day by day, I’m realizing that at my age I don’t have to have it all figured out. As long as I keep moving, keep grinding, and keep my head up. I know it will pay off later.
So for those 20 somethings that are lost and confused and trying to figure stuff out, So am I. For those 30 somethings that feel like there 20 struggles have followed them into the next decade. You’re fine. And for those who’ve made it, help us get to where you’re at. Be encouraged folks. We’re in this together.