Friday, January 4, 2013

List #1: Things I Would Tell Someone Turning 20

List #1 of 30 days of lists. I feel like I spent the better part of my early 20s adventuring, making a ton of mistakes, trying to fix myself, trying to make it all happen at once, and eventually, landing myself in a series of unfortunate events that mapped out a lot of where I am today.

That being said, I know that there are a lot of more level-headed, not-likely-to-implode young-20-somethings out there, but for those who want some thoughts from someone on the other end of the 20-something-scope, here's my two, errr..30 cents:

1. Don't worry...turning 30 is not that big of a deal.
2. I's kind of a big deal.
3. What I mean to say'll feel like it's a big deal.
4. Life doesn't happen only in your 20s. Don't buy into the lie that if you don't get it done now, that it will never happen.
5. The last years of your 20s will zip by. Blink. Gone. 27, 28, 29, gone.
6. There is no formula. This is equally comforting and disheartening, I know. You're going to make some mistakes. It's ok. Learn from them. Hang in there.
7. Adventure. Constantly. I know that adventure doesn't and shouldn't stop when you age, but there's something to be said for capitalizing on your free spirit when it's not totally feeling the weight of life yet. I traveled alot in my 20s, and have a hunch it sealed the adventure, carefree spirit in my bones for the rest of my life. Once you taste it, you never forget it. But if you don't do it now, you'll only have a hundred more excuses in 10 years.
8. You have time. See #4. Don't freak out, ok?
9. You can change your mind. See #8 and #4. You will change a lot in your 20s. THAT'S OK.
10. As soon as you can, stop trying to worry about pleasing other people. People aren't thinking about you nearly as much as you think they are. Actually, probably not that much at all. Most people are so concerned about themselves and what everyone else is thinking, that no one is ACTUALLY thinking of anyone else. Once you can wrap your head around this silly obsession, you'll be able to relax a little and have fun. It's so much better, trust me, when you can not obsess so much about what everyone else is thinking all the time. 
11. Get back to the basics of the Gospel. Live and die by the Gospel. Stake your life on it. Study it. Know it. If you can't wrap your head around much else, then start and end with the Gospel. 
12. Repent, reconcile, be humble, serve. Repeat.
13. More than likely, your parents (and grandparents and aunts and uncles and so on) are wise. They can be amazing friends and wisdom-givers if you let them be. I am so thankful for my parents (who I'll talk about in another list), but they are constant sources of stories, truth, wisdom and support for me. (Also, your parents want to know if you see this in them. TELL THEM.)
14. Family is irreplaceable and worth pursuing healthy relationships with. If possible, if wise, if healthy, keep your family ties strong.
15. Figure out what you love to do and then figure out a way to get paid for it.
16. You are not a failure if you want to settle down. If you find someone you're willing to commit to for the rest of your life, do it. Fall in love. Tell a good love story. Live a marriage of grace. There is adventure in commitment too.
17. Being a parent is a serious, lifelong change and commitment and you will NEVER be prepared for it like you want to be. The only thing that prepares you is doing it. And God equips you. Imagine that? :)
18. If at all possible, DON'T GET INTO DEBT. Just don't. If you can't handle the responsibility of a credit card, DON'T DO IT. 
19. You will arrive at 30 and feel like you are still a child. This is currently the story of my life.
20. Learn to say no. No is a complete sentence. No is a sufficient answer. No sets boundaries. No is not a bad word and when used properly, will keep you from running yourself into madness.
21. Come up with a decent system to manage your weaknesses (losing things all the time, forgetting people's names, bad financial management). I'm still learning this. I just wish I had started younger.
22. PUT DOWN YOUR PHONE WHEN YOU'RE WITH YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY. Please. Just be present with people. Look at their faces. Know their laughs. Ask them the 2nd and 3rd questions. And then keep asking. Get beyond the exterior. Know people. Be known.

23. Be a hopeless dreamer. Carefree. Fun. Flexible. Romantic. Don't let the blackness and bleakness of life make you so cynical that you can't enjoy it anymore. Life is hard, yes. Life can be depressing, yes. But life is beautiful gift. Sweet. Precious. Fun. This world is a wondrous place. God gives rich, savory, good gifts.
24. Don't be stupid. You are old enough in your 20s to have the opportunity to make a plethora of really dumb, life-altering mistakes. Be smart. Don't be stupid. 
25. Read more.
26. Forgive quickly.
27. Love unconditionally, even when it breaks your heart. See #23.
28. Embrace change.
29. Try new things, all the time. Unless they're dumb. Then see #24.
30. Follow through and finish things. Like I'm doing with this list. 

And tomorrow, list #2... tbd. :)


  1. I know your brother Ben and he speaks of you with such love. Love this and many of your posts, figured I would take #13 and tell YOU what wisdom I find here. Can't wait for tomorrow!

    1. Oh wow! Thank you so much. And that brother - he's a good guy to know :) I (of course) love him! Thank you so much, again.