What Are the Things That Every Lost 20 y.o. Needs to Know?

The question we are answering today is really at the crux of this blog. To give perspective from women who have lived through the tension of the twenties…all the possibilities …and all the unknowns. The point is not to tell you what to do but to give you the benefit of our myriad of experiences and what we’ve learned from the different decisions we have made…so you can make your own best decision. And most importantly, know that you are not alone in feeling lost!

Q. I’m a 20-something year old, who is seeking motherly/sisterly advice.

I grew up as an only child without a mother figure; my parents were divorced and my mother struggled with an addiction. While she floated into and out of my life, I never had a stable female figure to look up to. I’m a recent graduate carving her own path in an industry unrelated to what she studied in school. Figuring things out is difficult.

What kind of advice would you give your 20-something daughter (even if you don’t have one) about careers, love, and friendship? What are things that every lost 20-year old needs to know?

Dear 20-something,

Find a mentor (female or male) in this new industry that can help you navigate your career.

Decide on which friends are forever friends.  My criteria for forever friends are friends that you can call at 4am and ask to send you money or come immediately and they will.  There are not a lot of people like this so when you meet them, take time to care about them.

Love…I have made my marriage the most important priority.  If I had the most wonderful job but a miserable marriage, my job wouldn’t mean a lot but if you have a wonderful marriage, you can survive a miserable job. Having it all is difficult.  Sometimes you have it all and sometimes you don’t.

Read “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Covey to determine your mission in your various roles (friend, lover, worker etc.) which will set a foundation to make future decisions.  If your decisions don’t align with your mission then don’t do it. – 40-something, married, mom, consultant, Washington, DC


Dear 20-something,

I wish that I had been less likely to prejudge people without taking time to know them. I wish that I had been more open in my 20s to becoming friends with all of the people who surrounded me, even if they were significantly older, if they were of different body shape/size, or if they were shy and didn’t make it immediately easy to know them.

You never know who will turn out to be a truly golden friend, and I wish that I had spent much less time trying to look cool and much more time asking my friends and colleagues questions about what made them tick, or more time building small communities of fun people who could be counted on.

Don’t waste time with people who don’t give back or who exhaust you. Be kind to the people whose good opinions you value. Those people could be anywhere, so take the time to learn about the people you meet and stay in touch with the good ones.

Also, try to do good deeds. I learned a lot from volunteering with nonprofits and doing weekend community service projects, plus it’s a good way to make friends. – 40-something, married, mom, education, Los Angeles, CA


Dear 20-something,

I think all of your questions come down to a few things, the continuous pursuit of happiness and independence and the confidence to take risks.

Careers can fall into place for some very easily, the person that wanted to be a doctor their whole life for example. But for most of us it is a lifetime of growth, change and even set backs.  It sounds as though you studied something and decided it was not for you or got an offer doing something else you couldn’t refuse. Both of these are great examples of taking a risk, trying something different.  Keep trying until you get it right!

I suppose love and friendship are very similar, take a chance!  Figuring out things is VERY difficult (for everyone!).  Sometimes I find keeping my focus on one thing and getting it right helps everything else to fall into place.  While you are working on figuring out your career, you are creating relationships with people you work with, clients etc. Some of these will no doubt lead to friendships and possibly love!  – 40-something, married, mom, fashion, entrepreneur, Brooklyn, NY

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