Three Things To Tell Your 20 Year Old Self Before Hitting The Dredged 30

I turned 30 recently, and truth be told, it’s all been very anticlimactic. I don’t actually feel different, but there is a constant awareness that I am older and I should feel different. A big part of this is because I spent my 29th birthday having a pity party in anticipation of turning 30.



Silly, I know, especially considering the fact that tomorrow is not guaranteed, much less another year. My closest friends couldn’t understand why I was having a premature break-down, but 29 reminded me of all the things I promised my younger self that I would do by the old age of 30.

In my mind, I had one year to get married, buy a house with a white picket fence, start a business, have 2.5 children, and get a doctoral degree.

I’m all for miracles, but the realization that I was still so far from some of these things left me immobilized and in bed for most of my 29th birthday.

In the months and days leading up to my 30th birthday, I expected much of the same. Thankfully, no matter how much I willed myself into a funk, my heart and mind just would not let me get there.

Somewhere in the days between my 29th and 30th birthday, I’d finally accepted the following truths about life.

The tough lessons in my 20's allowed me to know better - @Andrena_Sawyer Click To Tweet


Ditch the Plan

No one’s life ever goes as they planned. That truth alone should bring a sense of relief to everyone, especially if you’re a planner like me. Since my teenage years, I’ve had a 5-year, 10-year, and 20-year plan.

Each plan has inevitably been met with opposition. Some plans, like my goal of becoming an internationally-known civil rights attorney, I’ve had to forego completely.
One of the most difficult lessons life has taught me is that if despite my best efforts, something is not working out, it may be time to step back and assess the other opportunities that are coming my way.

I’m not talking about quitting, but rather using wisdom. I spent three years in my mid-twenties in a place I was miserable in because I wanted one career path to work out so desperately.

When I finally let that plan go, and opened my eyes and heart to new possibilities, I discovered hidden talents and a career that I thought I could only dream of. When I ditched the plan, I became free to try new things, meet new people, and gained the boldness to grow beyond my expectations.

The only way that aging can become a bad thing is if you are not fully living in the moment now- @Andrena_Sawyer Click To Tweet


You are Getting Older. Embrace It.

If no one else will admit it, I will. One of the reasons that 30 is scary, especially for some women, is because it seems…old. Culture has done a great job of getting us to believe that lie.

As you approach 30, the time seems to go by much faster, and you become keenly aware that you cannot get away with the antics you used to get away with. Society now holds you responsible, and so does your body and your bills.

Overall, you’re expected to have a level of stability that’s unprecedented in your life. I dreaded it. I didn’t so much mind looking older (some people still think I’m 23), but I dreaded having to relinquish my youthful fervor for the doom and gloom that I thought was coming my way.

There’s good news, then bad news, then good news again.

The good news is that I was wrong about the doom and gloom part. If you’re like I was, and you’re dreading what 30 represents, then you can breathe a sigh of relief.

30 is not old. In fact, I feel more calm and confident than I’ve ever felt before. A defeated attitude is your choice. However, it’s not a choice based on reality, and as with anything, your attitude will determine your actions.

The bad news is that you are getting older. For those of us who take the lyrics to “Forever Young” literally, it’s an inescapable reality. We have to get over it, and continue to live in the moment…each moment.

The only way that aging can become a bad thing is if you are not fully living in the moment now. I look back at my 20s, and I had a blast and formed relationships with people that are now more like family than friends, I started a business, I visited new places, and even wrote a couple of books.

However, amidst the great things were some tough lessons, which brings me to the other good news.


There’s Freedom of Responsibility

There’s an old saying that when you know better, you do better. The tough lessons in my 20s allowed me to know better, which will hopefully allow me to do better. There are certain situations that, if we adjust our perspective, can become our practice field for a game-time opportunity.

I was reckless with my finances in my twenties, ate poorly and devalued relationships that should have had more value and gave way too much attention to people and things that should not have had any of my time.

That realization comes with heartache. However, with heartache comes an opportunity to respond and adjust. While the recklessness and forever young attitude was great, there’s no greater peace and freedom than knowing that healthier decisions now mean less stress and more security.

The Roaring 20’s is more than just a term to describe a decade in history. For many of us, it’s a decade in our individual lives that determines, more so than any other decade, the course of the rest of our lives.

Use it wisely. Reject comparison, because circumstances are fleeting. Focus on your own journey, and you’ll be amazed by how much you accomplish.


Lastly, choose to live in the moment. You will never get another time in history that is just like the moment you are living in now.

Collective moments make for great experiences, so live each one loudly and boldly.


10 things to accomplish in your career in your twenties

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The top 10 career lessons you should master in your twenties to be the #boss Click To Tweet

It’s never too late (or too early) to accomplish anything in your career. I do not believe that there’s a calendar that everyone should follow as they go about in life. Advancing in your career in your twenties is not easy at all.

Life gets more complex as we get older and having some guidelines is what every girl needs. To keep the momentum going in your career, there are things you can do to propel you even further. 

Read on for the top 10 career lessons you should master in this decade of your life.

1. Establish career goals

In order to get to where you want to go, you have to first figure out where you want to go. Do not be one of those people who think that the career they want will be handed to them without clear planning and execution.

In your twenties, think long and hard about what you want to achieve. Once you’ve thought things through, put in deliberate effort to achieve them. It is rare that things will go exactly as planned, so you have to adjust your plans accordingly.

Imagine your job as an engineer turned out to be such a headache that you cannot bear to do it an extra day. You will then have to regularly revisit and adjust your career plan accordingly.Obviously GIF

2. Build meaningful relationships

Any smart woman knows it’s very important to develop good professional relationships. This should not just be internally in your organisation but also with external stakeholders (think customers, suppliers).

You have probably heard the phrase that your network is your net worth. All opportunities are attached to people. They won’t come to you in a vacuum.

Investing in meaningful relationships during your twenties is key.

Don't allow your professional growth to stall in your 20s! Use these tips and learn Click To Tweet

3. Experiment with a side hustle

Everyone should experiment with a side hustle outside their careers, yes even you. Taking up a side hustle has many pros. It has the potential to not only enrich your life, but also expand your horizons.

A side hustle can be a good way to try out a new career with minimal risks. Also, with a side hustle you can develop skills you wouldn’t have developed at your day job. This can ultimately get you to where you want to be, with a more meaningful job.

Don’t allow your professional growth to stall in your twenties! Take up a side hustle can accelerate your learning.naomi campbell gif

4. Give back to your community

You can always do more than that by giving back to your local community. There are many opportunities to add value, no matter your financial situation. Don’t think that it is only those who are balling that who can give back. Find out what is it that you care about and look for ways to get involved.

Volunteer for your local church, participate in your company’s corporate social responsibility projects, start your own non-profit or give to a charitable foundation. Whatever cause is close to your heart, get involved in making this world a better place. It needs you.

5. Invest in yourself

Don’t wait for an employer to invest in you. What will happen if they don’t believe in you and your colleagues keep getting the opportunities? Take charge of your personal development by setting aside money in your budget just for this purpose.

Buy books, take courses and utilize free resources. Find career sites to follow in your industry. Do not be too broke to invest in yourself.

You're in charge of your own success but let's be real, you'll need some help to get that career you want Click To Tweet

6. Get a mentor/sponsor/coach

You are in charge of your own success. But let’s be real, the most successful professionals are those who realise that they need help and ask for it. Identify some people you admire and reach out to them.

A sponsor in your industry of choice can determine whether you grow in your company or don’t. If you can’t get a mentor or sponsor, buy the services of a coach and make good use of them. You will most likey get some tough love, and it might be just you need to succeed.

Getting come accountability in your life is one of the first steps to success.

fierce gif7. Build your personal brand

Whether you want to believe it or not, you are building a personal brand with every interaction you have. So, why not take charge of developing it into something you admire?

Make a conscious decision on how you want to be perceived by others and make an effort to get there. It will take time to grow your personal brand but once you get started, you will not want to stop.

8. Build an enviable work ethic

When we are young, we dream about all the things we’ll be. As we grow older though, we realize that nothing comes to the dreamer. Instead, the people who achieve great things are those who work on their dreams every time they get.

Your twenties are the time to bust your ass working to prove yourself in your industry. If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you have never had.

Your twenties are the time to bust your ass working, these 10 tips ensure it's not all in vain Click To Tweet

9. Be comfortable in your own skin

I remember when I was just starting my career, I was shy and very introverted, always scared to raise my voice. As I got older, I got comfortable with my personality and what I had to offer to the world.

Too many times, we are afraid to speak out because of inner criticism. Do not be so hard on yourself. Put on some bravery, learn your weaknesses but accentuate your strengths. Demand for your presence to be acknowledged.

The world needs you to be strong so that you can add value on your own terms. And what better time can you start other than your twenties?uzo-aduba-born-ready gif

10. Enjoy the process

Too many times, we are too obsessed with accomplishing whatever we want that we forget to live in the moment. Do not be too harsh on yourself. Enjoy the beauty that is in becoming the professional that you want to be.

Take it from me, if it was easy, everyone would be the boss of their career. Be thankful for what you have achieved so far. This decade of your life will be gone before you know it. Let your twenties be filled with growth.

4 things to do in your 20s


The defining decade. That is what Meg Jay calls it. The ages between twenty and thirty are crucial in a woman’s life. It gets confusing, and it never gets better. You make mistakes and realize who you do not want to be. It is also the age that you are supposed to build a career or business, grow it to success.

Don’t forget family as well. Your biological clock starts ticking, and children start getting cuter. Your social circle changes and you go from young adult to a working mother and wife. All in the same number of years it took you to properly learn and write English.

Well, there are some pointers that Meg Jay gives in her TED talk, “Why 30 is not the new 20”. The same were replicated in her book “The Defining Decade”, but I do not want to be a spoiler (unlike some GoT fans). Here, however, is a tease of what I picked up.

Always invest in who you want to be

It does not matter whether you recently graduated and are jobless, or whether you have this amazing opportunity to do what you love. Always keep growing and maturing into the general direction that you want to end up in. That means that you do not have to take that boring unpaid internship that does not really interest you.

tumblr_lm8y73v2nz1qapt3zo1_500Keep collecting your identity capital. That way, when you are asked who you are, you can state what exactly influenced you to be yourself. There’s no need being a Scandal fan if you cannot really live it. What’s the fun in that?

We’ve shared some more ideas were given in an earlier article. So, really, you have no one to blame but you.

Those that are farthest from your reach are the most helpful

Most people think we are who we spend time with. That may be true when it comes to shaping your character, but it’s not entirely true for career and business. The weakest ties can come in handy. Your cousin’s friend’s wife may just be the ideal person to get you that dream job.

200_sAnd no, it is not cheating the system if you are qualified for the job. It is called networking. And really, it’s no time to play niceties with your career.

Be ruthless in getting those connections going. Extremely nice girls never get the corner office. You have to get your hands dirty (the good kind, though).

Own your lifestyle

So many people change who they are to fit into what society expects of them. Once you know who you are, do not cram yourself into someone’s box or hide your light.

I’m sure we’ve all seen that meme of an orange piece fitting into a garlic bulb. The strongest words are expressed in the simplest of pictures. Once you get that job, express yourself. If you are a creative person, go ahead and do you, darling.

tumblr_o339cm90ok1v3lbbyo1_1280Be that leader that you are in your church. If you are a night owl, take up night shifts. Customize your life to your own needs. Truth is, if you don’t, no one will care enough to do it for you.

Never ever compare your life to anyone’s

Not only is this insulting to God, it is also a lie. Especially on social media. People will only show you an amplified version of the best in their life. You don’t get to know if  they are happy or not.

tumblr_oc505djkcg1qzg3f8o2_r1_500Just keep at your gift, work on it, keep your head down and keep going, you know, like a shark. Your actions will speak for you.

The whole point of this is, in your 20s, you get to make changes and set habits that may be hard to break. Use them well. You never know when winter would come.