What three “gifts” would you give a 20-something if you were a “Forty-Godmother”? Here 40-somethings share three wishes to help a 20-something get a head start on the confidence to make decisions that are right for them (not their parents, friends, teachers or society). No more woulda, coulda, shoulda.
Don’t have so much fun in your twenties or so much passion for your job that you forget to ask for raises. You need to build a financial foundation.
In my twenties, I didn’t have a care in the world. I thought the world was ready for me and I was ready. I was always so driven. I knew I always wanted to be in New York. And come hell or high water, I was going to get here. I had internships in college. I put my career first. I feel very blessed for how far I have come but it came with hard work. I started in the hotel business in public relations when I was in my twenties and I had so much fun that it didn’t feel like work. I just had fun at what I did. I also worked very hard. But the pay wasn’t so great. I started moving up the ladder not realizing that that was what I was doing because I enjoyed so much.
Be careful of someone sweeps you off your feet. What else are they sweeping under the rug? When someone overwhelms you with material things and is the more powerful one in the relationship, there are usually issues there. Is he controlling? Are you losing your identity in this larger than life relationship or person? Watch out for that. Keep your feet on the ground.
Don’t pretend to be someone you are not in a relationship. You will both end up disappointed. Your twenties are the time to explore who you are but the goal is to get to the authentic you, not to eventually settle into the you that you think you should be after you have your fun. The best thing about my forties is that I’ve learned how to be authentic, I’m so clear with “what you see is what you get.” I’m not pretending anymore. If you’re going to like me, you’re going to like me for who I am, not who I’m pretending to be. Looking back, I think I was pretending with men. I was trying to do something for them or live up to their expectations. Or my parent’s expectations. Don’t take your cues from other people. There will come a certain point where you’re like I can be happy on my own. I can define my own happiness.