I turn thirty in a year and a half. I’m not in full on panic mode about that yet, but I’m close. I haven’t decided if I’m going to be one of those women that turns 29 forever, but I’m considering it. I’ve seriously learned so much in my 20s though – I wish I could go back to my 19 year old self, and retroactively learn all these lessons then. It would save me a lot of nights eating ice cream in my sweatpants because I made a bad choice during some growing pains – but alas, life doesn’t work like that. Today, I’m sharing the five most valuable lessons I’ve learned in my 20s.

-Who you are is more important than what you do.
I bartended and waited tables for a VERY long time while I chased my dream of being able to blog full time. My friends were all taking corporate jobs, and I was the only one left having to work on the weekends. It was during this time that I learned to define myself not by a job, or a title, but by WHO I am. Do you ever notice that the first question people ask you when they meet you is what you do for a living? As if being a blogger or a former bartender defines us as people? I hope that being a loyal friend, trash tv watcher, ruthless board game player, and adventurous person will outweigh my job title.

-If you live in people’s praise, you’ll die in their criticism.
I remember the first time that my pastor said the above phrase, and I had NO IDEA what he meant by it. Over the years, it’s really clicked in my life though. I’ve learned to listen and heed both peoples praise and their criticism, but not to define myself by either.

-Honest confrontation leads to life long friendships 
I’m really lucky to have had some of my closest friends since the start of my 20s. Confrontation was a learned skill, but it’s something that’s made all of our relationships so much stronger. One of my best friends has the habit of just checking in pretty frequently to make sure that everything’s good, and that there’s nothing that we need to talk through, or iron out. I know that might seem like an overkill, but I LOVE it. She’s one of the people I trust most in the world, because I know she’ll work through any problem with me. Confrontation is hard, but learning to do it well in my 20s, has been one of my most valuable lessons.

-No one will believe in your dreams as much as you do.
I think I have some of the best people in the world in my life, but basically the only person who really believed I could make a career out of being a blogger was David, until it happened. And that it completely okay. I don’t know if it’s totally fair to expect other people to get as excited about your vision as you are.

-Accountability is so important.
When I was in high school, my youth pastor told me that I needed to have five people in my life that could tell me no, and it meant no. I didn’t take that advice when I was a teenager, and I wish I had. Luckily, I learned from my teenage self, and have embraced accountability in my 20s, and found women much further along in life, and much wiser than me, that can look into my life, and tell me when I’m being stupid (to put it bluntly).