Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Things I Learned in My 20's

(I found this post in my drafts and decided that it was still appropriate so I'm posting it today)


Ah  the twenties! Do you remember them? We were fresh-faced and not long out of high school. This was a time in my life when I learned so much. A lot of good times and bad times. And a whole lot of learning going on.

1. I learned how to cope with loss
Actually, I learned to cope with loss at a very early age since my dad died when I was only 7. But in my twenties I learned about other kinds of losses. I was only a young lady of 24 when I lost my baby girl. That is a tough loss to go through. You can read it about it here if you don't know the story. Then a short two years later when I coped with the loss of a husband. Even though we both wanted the divorce it isn't an easy thing to give up on marriage. And becoming a single mom with 2 young sons is never pleasant. But we survived those years. We even prospered. Because Richard came into our lives when I was a mere 28 year old.

2. I learned that love is ever changing
I fell in love and married my first husband when I was only in my teens. First of all that is just crazy. No teenager is ready to commit to a life-long love. That was the first lesson of my twenties that was a hard lesson to learn. I learned that love is a journey. There will be ups and downs. It's not about 'drop-dead' gorgeous men. It is about a man who will make me happy. Make me laugh. And stick by my side even when I am not the best person to be around. It's not a Disney princess story. It's compromise and shared dreams. And it is a lot of work. That is what I learned about love.

3.I learned to live on my own
I never lived on my own until I was in my 20's. I lived at home with mom when I graduated high school. I lived at home with my mom after I got married. My first husband was a Navy man and he was rarely home. So even though we were married I was still living in my mom's home. And then along came a baby. I still lived at home with my mom. That didn't work out for very long so I moved into my own apartment. About a block from mom. But it wasn't until then that I had to learn how to take care of myself. And a baby. And a home. Then after the divorce I had to learn how to work, take care of two little ones and a home. All of that making me into a stronger woman. I think!

4. I learned that first career choices may not be last career choices.
During high school all of my focus was on business and secretarial skills. That was my life long dream. To work in a business office. After high school I attended a year of a business college. I could type at 60 words a minute. I could take shorthand at 120 words a minute. I knew how to balance a set of books. And I also found out that I hated being a secretary. Who knew? After my divorce, when I needed a better paying job, I went to nursing school. I didn't want to be a nurse. I wanted to make more money. But along the way I found that I loved taking care of people. This is when I really found my career.

5. I learned that friends will come and friends will go
When you are going to high school and hanging out with the girls you are positive these will be your 'buds' for a lifetime. Not necessarily true. You will grow and change and so will your friends. I found that those I was so close to in my 20's are no longer around today. We changed. Our common interests changed. I made new friends. Friends became less important when I had kids to raise. And then I met my best friend. And he was my best friend until he died this past summer. He was also my husband. Those are the best kinds of friends. 

6. I learned that it is NOT true that being in love means 'never having to say you are sorry.'
I was a mere 19 year old girl the year that LOVE STORY came out. A very popular movie starring Ryan O'Neal and Ali McGraw. A very dramatic story about two young people who fall in love and then find that one is dying. The big line from the movie is 'love means you never have to say you are sorry,' I found out in my twenties that is bull. You need to say you are sorry when you are sorry. And say it often. And mean it! That was just a fictitious story. If you really love someone you will say you are sorry many, many times. 

7.I learned there is nothing better than a good pair of blue jeans.
I was in my twenties when I discovered blue jeans. We had dress codes while I was in high
school. Girls wore dresses or skirts. I didn't own a pair of blue jeans until I was well into my twenties. Can you imagine? It is hard to find a good pair of jeans though. Do you have a favorite brand?

8. I learned to trust my instincts.
If it doesn't feel right it probably isn't. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is? If I hadn't trusted my instincts and gone out with Richard I would have missed the best years of my life. I would have missed out on having the best husband a girl could ever dream of having. Sometimes you just have to trust your instincts.

9. I learned that having kids will change your goals and your perspectives in life.
How true this is. When you have kids you are no longer just responsible for yourself but for them as well. You can't go wherever you want to anymore. You can't stay out as late as you want. You need to have a home for them to sleep in. A yard for them to play in. Food for them to eat. You might skip meals but they really need to eat three times a day. They need clean clothes. And it is your responsibility to clean them. They have to go to school and that involves a whole realm of other responsibilities. Babies are the cutest things ever. But they are a LOT of work and a LOT of responsibility. And it doesn't go away once they grow up. It stays with you for a lifetime. 

10. I learned that you really should start saving for retirement in your twenties 
Amen to this! I can't stress this enough. It sounds like a long ways off when you are only 20 something but it is here before you know it. And in this day and age there is never enough money. I wish I had heeded my own advice and started saving for retirement in my twenties.

How about you....what did you learn in your 20's? Share with us.



  1. I love how you did what you needed to in order to better yourself and found your calling along the way doing that very thing... serendipitous. Definitely a God thing!

  2. We learned many of the same lessons in our 20's Paula. I, too, was a teenage bride in an unhappy marriage with two young children. I, too, started my career as a police officer while in my 20's and I met the perfect man for me during my 20's also.

    1. I think that must be what the 20's were for Wendy. Learning things!

  3. This was neat to read, Paula. I totally agree with the majority of things you learned in your 20s, especially the part of saving for retirement. Now in retrospect, I wish we had started way back then.....


  4. Wow, lots of truth here. Personally, I think I could serve as "Exhibit A: The Bad Example" as far as savings is concerned. I can sure identify with lots you've said ... except the part about a comfy pair of blue jeans. The search continues!

    1. I'm always on the look for a more comfy pair of jeans. I have actually learned that yoga pants feel more comfy

  5. That’s true. There are a lot of things we can learn as early as our twenties. It was just too bad you had to learn some of it the hard way, like having a divorce. It must've been tough. But it can definitely make you a stronger woman once you figure out how to cope with it. Anyway, your memories of your twenties may not be all happy. But you still have plenty of time to enjoy life with family and friends. Take care!

    Gregg Jackson @ Sherrill & Cameron, PLLC

    1. I've never been sorry for the divorce. I would call the marriage a big mistake but then I wouldn't have had my sons, so I can't be sorry for that either. I am now 63 years old so I have learned plenty from my twenties on. Thanks for stopping by!

  6. Learning is a continuous process, regardless of what age you’re in, there is always something new to learn about as long our minds are open to it. I'm glad that your twenties taught you a lot of vital things in life. Just like how you were hurt with the divorce, but at the same time, you soon realized that the loss made you a stronger person. Thanks for sharing those things with us, Paula! I hope many twenty-something out there, who are distraught over life, would learn a thing or two from those lessons. :)

    Sandra Walker @ Eric Risk


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