Four Life Lessons Learned In My 20s

Updated: Jun 10

Looking over the past 10 years, I've changed a lot.

Through each successive failure in my life, my values were reshaped. What I valued 10 years ago is no longer the same values today. The values I had in family, career, money, relationships are totally different today because I needed to learn to value the right things.

At times we don't realise how much we are changing and not even aware that it’s happening, especially in the decisions we make. It is only when we look back some years later, that we notice all the dramatic changes and life choices that we made, which has shaped us to who we are today. Some of the things I learnt growing up in my 20s.


1. Recognise your passion early

When we are young, many of us are micromanaged by our parents, on the path they want you to be - education first. Most parents don’t let their children take on early opportunities so they can learn from their own life experiences. Healthy minded youths get to a point where they are not confused about who they are or what they want. Time is an important asset which gives one the opportunity to take big risks early, fail early, and learn from mistakes early. At 23, I decided that I wanted to travel out and explore my passion for events. I took a year's work internship in the United States to experience a different working culture and gain more knowledge in the hospitality sector. Once that was over, I had a much clearer vision of where I wanted to do next. One of the good things about being young is that you have no huge responsibilities that come with being an adult, and so this is the time in your life where you discover & test your true potentials.


2. Only some friends will stick with you

You gain friends and lose some. Not because they are bad people, but it's just the way life is. After graduation, everyone went their own way. There will be distant friends that even if you don’t see them often, whenever they are around it feels like they never left in the first place. Sometimes you grow out of certain friendships, not everyone will be on the same journey path as you. You can't force a friendship with someone and you can’t always predict the ones that will last long. When I was away in Orlando for a while and came back, some friends that were closest were either no longer, some acquaintances slowly became good friends, and gradually I also started meeting new friends along the way.


3. Making plans for a future that is not your own

If you are like me, coming from an African origin, we have some of our parents who may have their own dream or expectation of what they want for you. Bless them! Our parents mean well. It is out of love and their desire for us to have a great education and achieve milestones in our professional careers. It’s great if your parents have an input in your career ambitions, but if it is not necessarily something that you want to do, don’t live a life that will make you unhappy or not live an unfulfilled life. I remember there were two occasions where my parents had concerns on the decisions I made; i) I was going to take a year out of Uni to explore my career interest in another country; ii) taking a couple of months out of employment to focus on writing my first book and establishing my wedding planning company. The initial response was - no income? and all the other concerns that came with it. However, by understanding their concerns and addressing the potential issues, they eventually supported my goals. Remember, it may take time for them to support your goals, but once they see you succeeding in your path and happy, they will worry less.


4. You can’t accomplish all your goals

In my 20s, I’ve learned that life does not always turn out the way we may have hoped. Of course it’s all good to have goals, it gives a sense of purpose and direction. We may have had many goals lined up that we wanted to have accomplished by the time we reach 30 - it could be career goals, life partner goals etc. Some of us may have already achieved tremendous life goals - which is great! I remember when I was 25, I wrote down all the goals I wanted to accomplish by 30. While some didn’t happen, there were others that were ambitious but because I was determined to work towards them. Today, I’m really happy I’ve managed to accomplish most of them. The rest are still a working progress. So, don’t beat yourself up if you are not on top of all your goals. The key point is to focus on your priorities and start working towards them. You may find some of your goals may take years to accomplish; don’t be discouraged. There are some goals that are to be achieved overtime. You just need to plan and have the right approach to achieving most of your goals.



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©2020 by Lawunmi A. Nwaiwu.