5 Things I Wished I Knew in My Twenties

When we are young we are in such a rush to grow up and be older, be an adult. When we are older we live for the days when we were young and wish we could have the knowledge we now have, but unfortunately life doesn’t work that way. We have our elders try to tell us their wisdom, but deem them as “too old to know” and “times are different now”. I remember before going to high school my mother told me “ Vita (that’s one of her special nicknames for me), you’ll make a lot of friends going to high school, but when it’s all over none of them will be your friends.” Now I don’t know if she spoke that over my life, but she was right. To this day I have less than maybe 5 friends from high school and really the ones I do have are more like family than friends. I always took what she said with a grain of salt. The friends I had going into high school were solid people then. I couldn’t imagine not being their friend. The friends I made in high school I thought would be forever, but slowly they dropped off like flies.

The people I met in college became friends for life. They are stuck with me whether they want to be or not –lol.  

I was on Facebook mindlessly scrolling, when I came across a repost that was giving some advice on things you should know while being an adult. I thought it was awesome advice, things I wish I knew at that age. – would I have listened?  Probably not, but at least I would’ve had it in times of need.

Here are 5 things I wished I knew in my twenties

1.       Finances

I was given some great tips about finances growing up, but no one ever taught me about finances. It was as if it was something I was already supposed to know. I didn’t understand the importance of it until I was flat broke; borrowing from Peter to pay Paul. I treated money like it was disposable and like it would always come, because up until a certain point it did. I lived paycheck to paycheck and sometimes was flat broke with not a penny to my name the day before payday. I had no concept of balancing, budgeting, or savings. I think this is the common story for most people, especially in the black community. Either our Elders didn’t know much about finances or they failed to teach it.

I really started to get a handle on my finances later in my 20s. I began to change the way I looked at money. After researching and finding people who talked in a language I understood when it came to money, these few things  helped me: TFD on Youtube, 52 week money saving challenges, and learning how to properly budget for my income using the 50/30/20 rule, so I wasn’t living check to check.- another thing was listing out what I wanted so I wasn’t mindlessly buying

It still takes a lot of discipline for me when it comes to finances. I still slip every now and again, but I can manage it better.

2.       Education

Everyone tells you getting an education and having a degree is extremely important. Not just for income purposes, but for critical thinking life skills as well. Not every career in life requires you to have a degree, but it is nice to have to fall back on; a degree will never depreciate. College is expensive, there’s no doubt about it. When I started college in 2007 classes were about $500 a class. Now in 2021 some classes are triple that if you’re going online.

Even if you opt out of getting a degree, try for a certification or trade. Certification shows that you were trained in that job and know how to do it and it takes a lot less time than going to college. Jobs really love when someone knows how to do the job vs having to train them for the job. The key is to never stop learning, you may be good at what you do, but you can always be better!

What I wish someone would have told me is how to be smart with the loans and refund checks. I wish I would have paid the interest or at least the principle on the loan while in school. That way when I got out of school my debt wouldn’t have been as high. Or to save my refund check and use it as emergency funds while going to school, because your car will break down or you will need a little extra to cover rent one month, instead of blowing it on spring break or clothes. 

3.       Health is Wealth

I never took my health seriously. I was for the most part fit until after college. I could eat what I wanted and not worry about gaining weight-probably because I danced it all off at parties-. I was what a fitness trainer would call skinny fat. I had no muscle and could not run a mile to save my life. I went to the doctor if I was sick and that was it. It wasn’t until I started noticing I was tired all the time and generally never felt good, that I began to take a personal interest in my health.

Looking back I wish I would have taken exercising and my overall well being more seriously. I noticed that people who were physically fit at a younger age, like middle school and high school, have an easier time keeping up with staying fit than those of us who slacked off. Trying to get fit now takes a lot of discipline, a lot of tender love and care, a lot of I really don’t want to, but forcing myself to. I love how I feel after. I work at a desk all day so getting up and going for a run really loosens my body up, but working up the strength to actually go for the run and not sit on the couch and veg out or lay in the bed and take a nap that’s the hard part.-hell I’m sleepy now tying this! lol

4.       You will never have it figured all the way out, do it anyway!

Time is of the essence. This moment right now is all you have and you can not get it back.  When I was younger I thought I had all the time in the world to figure it out. What I wanted to be, what I wanted to do, the kind of life I wanted to live,  I felt I had the time to put the serious stuff off. Instead I partied and bullsh*tted.- but remember there should be a balance to everything.– After college life hits you fast! I still had no idea about any of it. I got a full time job out of necessity, but it was not what I wanted to do. In that job field, although I gained a ton of experience and learned a lot,  it wasn’t something that I was passionate about.. I didn’t have a plan, I wasn’t intentional about anything. 

Truth is you don’t have time. If 2020 has taught me anything it’s that you need a plan for longevity, but do what you can in that moment. I wish I would have been more willing to step out of my comfort zone and tried on different things to see how they fit. New experiences, different jobs, different men even, everything I did was out of comfort.  One day I looked around and realized everyone had moved on and I was still here, trying to figure it out. There was not one person’s life I wanted. Not that you should want someone’s life, but you should have people who you aspire to, and I for a moment, had no one. 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying figuring it out is a bad thing, but don’t waste life away. Do what sets your soul on fire. Go and try different things on and see if they fit you. Most of us know what we want to do, we are just too scared to take the leap, too worried about what people are going to think or say, or afraid to fail. If we stop looking at failing as a negative and start looking at it as a stepping stone or a lesson on what not to do, we would be much further along.  Make the most of the time you have,  but have a plan just in case!

5.       Nobody Cares

Which brings me to my next point. When you’re young, no matter how much you say you don’t care what people think, we all know you do. It’s why you move through life the way you do. You care if your friends or family don’t support your dreams. You care if you’re not acknowledged. I wish we would stop saying that we don’t care because in some way we all do. In reality, no one should care more than you do. 

Your dreams, your passions, the things you choose to pursue are for you and nobody else. Those are the things that bring you joy and nobody else. So guess who is going to care about those things? Only you. Self-doubt, especially for an artist, stems from your fears of how you will be perceived or what people will think and how you’re judged in the world. Truth is no one cares. Most of your support will come from people who don’t know you, but relate to you and the ones who hate to see you succeed. No one will care more about what you’re doing than you. If it’s something that you’re proud of, that truly brings you joy without harming others, do it. I say go for it. Tyler Perry is heavily criticized for his plays and content, but guess what he still creates them and he is a millionaire now. He once said that he doesn’t create art for the people who don’t understand, he creates it for the people that do. Whatever it is that you want to do, do it. You will find your tribe and then you’ll continue to create it for them. There’s a million different brands of bread, still everyone has their own preference. SHINE ANYWAY!

Though I’m not disappointed in my journey or regret a thing, I’m exactly where I am supposed to be, still these things would have been great to know and not have to learn the hard way ha! I may make a part 2, writing this actually made me think of 5 more things I wish I knew.

Do you agree? What are some things you wished you knew growing up?

And Remember,

Dont be Bitter,

Be Better!

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