I don't know if it's just the freshness of a new year, or the fact that I'm getting older and more aware, but lately I've been reflecting a lot. When I look back, I feel as though I've lived many different lives, which each different location, career, love and experience contributing a different novel to the series. While I've made my fair share of mistakes along the way there are a few things that, looking back now, I am truly grateful happened in my twenties. There experiences helped to shape who I am today and while some of them were really difficult at the time, they provided huge learning opportunity. Here's 5 things that I'm glad happened in my twenties that better shaped who I am in my thirties.
1. I Changed Careers
I changed my major in University, and it nearly crushed me. I remember feeling so ashamed that I changed course, that I hadn't 'gotten it right' on the first choice. Fast forward a few years, and I was faced in the same situation when I was debating going back to school, this time to college for Funeral Services. I again felt self conscious, thinking that going back to school meant that I again hadn't gotten my life's decisions right. Thankfully I fought through my insecurity and completed my course to become a Funeral Director. Going back to college was eye opening for me; here I was so embarrassed to be starting over, and meanwhile I was one of the youngest people in my class. There were so many grown adults excited to be starting a second career, and their excitement was contagious. I began to realize that changing careers isn't a slight on your character, it's simply following your own path as you grow and change as a person. Having experienced this in my twenties made the decision of pursuing my blog full-time a little easier. I know now that it's okay to go off-course, try new things and to challenge yourself when it comes to your career.
2. I Was Single
I guess you could call me a serial monogamist; I was in serious relationships from sixteen onward. Then in my twenties, without much warning, a relationship that I had really invested myself in ended abruptly, and I was left feeling intense heartbreak for the first time. It was awful. Whereas most of my other relationships has ended with me loosing interest first and able to jump into another one right away, this one hurt and I was wasn't in the right place to start another relationship. So I didn't. I learned to embrace being by myself, invest in the relationships with my friends, have more fun and eventually preferred being single to being a couple. It was so freeing, and really taught me that no matter what happened in my love life, I could be happy on my own.
3. I Lived By Myself
As a response to my heartbreak, I needed to find a place to live quickly and it didn't leave much time for making arrangements with roommates. This lead me to signing the lease to my first studio apartment where I would be living in completely by myself. Living alone for the first time was a huge adjustment. It really forced me to take responsibility for my own actions and to be more proactive. If the dishes weren't done the night before, they would be there the next morning - and would continue to be there until I did something about it. Living alone also taught me to be proactive with my social life; if I wanted company or to see friends, I would have to be the one to reach out and make plans. I also learned a lot about paying bills and budgeting while living by myself. Ultimately, living on my own forced me to take responsibility for myself, my actions and decisions.
4. I Moved Cities
While I'm no stranger to moving (my dad was in the military and we moved a lot growing up,) I had gone to both high school and University in Ottawa and considered it home. Ottawa is where I had all of my friends, my apartment, knew the city to drive around inside and out and had all of my business connections (which in my twenties meant knowing bouncers at various bars so that I could bypass lines, ha!) Ottawa was my comfort zone and I had no desire to ever leave - that is, until I had to move to Toronto to go back to school for Funeral Services. All of a sudden I had to start from scratch, from friends to living situations, to even the smallest things like figuring out the public transit system. It was uncomfortable at first, but like most things it eventually became easier. I learned valuable lessons about making friends as an adult, and learned how important it is to be open to change. Now Toronto is home and while I don't plan on leaving anytime soon, I know that if I do it will be okay.
5. I Traveled
While I didn't travel a whole lot until my late twenties, I did take a pretty epic summer-long trip to Europe with one of my girlfriends and I can honestly say that it changed my life. Not only did I learn so much about different cities and cultures, I learned how to connect with different people around the world on a more personal level. There are friends that I made on that trip that I still talk to now, and at the time I couldn't even tell you what they did for a living - we just knew that we got along and enjoyed each other's company. I also learned the importance of experiences vs. things. Now I travel as much as I can, and I credit that trip to Europe that I took back in my early twenties to sparking my love for travel and new experiences.
What do you guys think? Is there anything that you've done in your life that you're thankful for? What were some of the events that lead to lessons for you? Let me know!