Dear 20-Something, Five Things I Wish I Knew Then

flowers-desk-office-vintage-mediumDear 20-Something,

1. Wear a bikini always, because though you may think you have physical imperfections, after you reach 40 you’ll yearn for the 20 year old opportunity to put on that small suit.

2. Take your first child out with you to restaurants and movies while he/she is still an infant. The child will sleep through most of it and you’ll be out of the house. Once the baby hits 8 months, that part of your life is officially over, so grab it while you still can.

3. Keep a journal, or at the very least a daily calendar.  At 42, I’ve already forgotten much of my 20s. It is a shame, because I would love to read where I was emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually at that time. It might give me a glimpse into where I’ll be at 60.

4. Friends will make bad decisions, and behave badly toward you. It almost always isn’t about you or anything you’ve done. They are struggling with something. The first few times, let it go.  After that, it is a pattern and time to move on. You’ll make lots of friends in your lifetime.  Spend time on the friendships that enrich your life. Let go of the friendships that drain you. It isn’t a failure to let go–it is time to make room for someone new to come into your life.

5. Your behavior toward colleagues and acquaintances in your 20s will impact your 40s. I find people that I met in one context early in my career have now, 20 years later, come back into my life under different circumstances. People remember kindness and generosity. Call it professional and personal karma.

— 40-something, former sports agent, Atlanta


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