I totally loved my 20s! I achieved a lot of great milestones; finished university at 20, became a Chartered Accountant at 21 and, at the same time, a full-time Makeup Artist.
I published my first book at 22 and then went on to publish three other books before 29. I resigned from being an accountant at 23, got married to my heartthrob at 24. I had two amazing sons by 27 and officially started a for-purpose organisation inspiring women at 25. I started an interior design firm (Five28 Interiors) at 26. I travelled out of Africa for the first time at 28 and I lost my mom at 29.
Whew!!! My 20s was indeed an amazing decade filled with so many highs, a few lows and a really deep low – my mum’s passing which made me really dig deeper into God and reinvent myself. I’m beyond grateful for my 20s and I’m so excited about stepping into my 30s! There couldn’t have been a better time than now to be turning 30, right at the start of a new decade and a new era! I literally feel like a new me, like I’m not the same Funto of my 20s. I’ve been upgraded to a new OS.
I’ve decided to share these 30 things I learned in my 20s.
Nobody owes you anything. I find that a lot of people in their 20s are so entitled, majorly due to the pop self-esteem messages that the media sells. Don’t believe that lie. As you come into your 30s, understand that the only thing you’re entitled to is what you work to get.
Comparison and envy
As you step into your 30s, leave the childishness and foolishness of comparison behind. The grass might really not be greener on the other side and even if it is, be sure that the person put in some work to make the grass green. So focus on putting in your own work. Envy is believing that God has limited resources because if someone else has more than you do, then the person probably has part of the portion that belongs to you. Obviously, that’s not true and doesn’t even make sense. God is not limited in resources. If He did it for the other, He can do it for you. Just focus on Him instead.
While old friends are great, the truth is they have known you for so long and sometimes cannot handle who you have grown to become. So you need new friends who would embrace the new you and inspire you to be better.
Living without purpose and direction
If you spent your 20s living la vida loca, your 30s is not the time for that anymore. God doesn’t waste resources and He definitely created you for a purpose. Do you know what that purpose is? Do you know what direction your life is headed? Now is the time to find the answers to those questions.
Not having a relationship with God
Leave behind just going to church as a religious duty – if at all you do, to actually pursuing a real relationship with God. He is not just a deity up there in heaven, He is your father and He desires to be deeply intimate with you. Nothing compares to this.
Small dreams and small thinking
If you can achieve all your dreams by yourself, then you’re not dreaming big enough. Your 30s is not the time for small thinking and small dreams; you’re a big girl (or boy ?) now, so dream big. Think big. My father is a big God, so I dream God-sized dreams. BIG means Believe In God. Your dreams have to be so big it would take God helping you to achieve them.
Not taking responsibility for your decisions and actions
Stop blaming people for your decisions and actions. Even if people made you take certain decisions or do certain things, you had the choice to accept or not. So take full responsibility for everything you do.
The only person you should be trying to please from now on is God. Don’t be sucked into trying to please people or make people like you. You’re not here to please anybody. You’re here to do what God created you to do and in doing it, some people won’t like you and that’s okay. Not everybody likes God, so why would you expect everybody to like you. If everybody likes you, then something’s wrong.
Seeking validation from people and things
This should totally be left behind in your 20s. Your validation doesn’t come from people, your possessions or your positions and titles. Your validation comes from the Word of God and His word says you are loved. Do you see why you need to really be serious about having a relationship with Him beyond visiting Him in church every Sunday?
Not enjoying your own company
If you hated or dreaded being by yourself in your 20s, now is the time to start learning to enjoy your own company. Spend time with yourself alone. Just be still. Think about the things that make you, you. Spend time to reflect on yourself, your life, your family, your faith. Just enjoy being by yourself.
Not being a true friend
If you’re not quite happy with the kind of friends you have, ask yourself if you have been a true friend yourself. You’re not entitled to a great friendship if you’re not so much of a great friend.
Not having real friendships
As you mature, you realize the need for real friendship where you can be vulnerable with each other and encourage each other to be better in all areas of your life. You need real friends who can be real with you; those who can tell you to your face when you’re going down the wrong path. Real friends who can be there to comfort and encourage you when you’re going through real-life issues.
Hoarding your knowledge and skills
Drop every form of selfishness in your 20s. This is the time to be generous with your knowledge, skills, and talents. You don’t have to monetize everything. If you feel like you don’t know so much, there’s always someone out there who doesn’t know half the things you know, pour into them, teach them. It’s always better to give.
Being afraid to try new things
If you want to grow, you must be willing to try new things and give yourself new experiences. Try a new restaurant. Go to a new city. Try a new colour for your hair.
Expecting people to always be there for you
People would not always be there for you when you need them. You have to be at peace with that. It doesn’t mean they are bad. It just means they are human. Just like you!
Being selfish and self-centered
Drop the idea that life revolves around you in your 20s. It certainly doesn’t. Life is way more than you, yourself and your dog. Be more intentional about caring for other people – your colleagues, staff, domestic help, and even strangers.
Trying to dim your light because others think it’s too bright
Leave that dimmer switch in your 20s. If anyone thinks your light is too bright, be kind enough to buy them shades, because your light’s only going to get brighter. Basically, don’t try to reduce yourself for others. Be your authentic self and own it! The truth is you give others permission to be their authentic self when you are authentic.
Asking everyone to be your mentor
Don’t come into your 30s still going around asking people to mentor you. What you most likely need at this stage is coaching. That would require you to make some investments in yourself before you can get coached by experts in whatever area you need to be coached.
Finding it hard to say no
To maintain your inner peace and mental health, you have to learn to say no to certain people and certain requests that are not in congruence with your purpose or your values. Sometimes they might even be good request, but it’s probably coming at a time when you aren’t quite able to honor the request, it’s okay to say no.
Not giving your best in everything you do
Better not to do it at all than to do it giving less than your best. Whatever is worth doing, is worth doing absolutely well. Leave that lackadaisical attitude in your 20s, it’s not going to serve you in your 30s.
Not being a person of your word
Your word is really your bond. If you haven’t been consistent with honoring your word in your 20s, part of taking responsibility for your actions and decisions in your 30s includes being a person of your word. If, for some reason, you are unable to keep your word, be sure to inform the other party ahead.
Giving up easily
This is the time you’d need a lot of resilience and grit. You can’t afford to give up so easily because you have a handful of people looking up to you. Your actions carry more weight in your 30s because they have a ripple effect.
Not celebrating or supporting others
Bro, don’t hate, celebrate. What you celebrate in others is more likely to happen for you as well. So, go all out in your support and celebration of others, especially your family and friends. Be the cheerleader in the lives of those around you.
Taking life too seriously
Yes, I know I mentioned already that your 30s is not for living la vida loca, but this doesn’t mean you end up at the other end of the spectrum where you now take life too seriously. The key is balance. In the midst of the seriousness and responsibilities of your 30s, create time to chill, relax and just have fun.
Not investing in yourself
You’ve invested in enough weaves, bags, and shoes in your 20s (or maybe not) but your 30s is for investing, not just in external things, but in your internal growth and personal development. Pay for that coaching session. Sign up for the online course. Buy the books and read them. If you’re not learning, you’re not growing and if you’re not growing, you’re actually dying.
Trying to be like someone else
God did not make you an original for you to now come here to start trying to be like someone else. No. if God took his time to ensure no two people in the entire world have the same fingerprints, then that’s enough proof that you’re not here to be a photocopy of someone else.
Thinking life is all about making money
Leave all that ‘securing the bag’ and ‘chasing the paper’ mentality in your 20s, there’s more to life than that. Rather, secure your family and chase your friends. No one gets to the end of their life wanting to know how much money they have in their bank accounts. Yes, money is important, but relationships are more important.
Thinking the world revolves around you
I’m sure by now you know already that the world doesn’t revolve around you. Your 30s is where you drop your ego, roll up your sleeves and get your hand dirty by doing meaningful work that will not only make you money but will also make the world better.
Being afraid of doing hard things or taking hard decisions
Leave your comfort zone in your 20s, nothing significant ever comes out of there. 30s are for taking risks, doing hard things and making hard decisions. That’s where the rewards come from.
Not paying attention to your health and fitness
Don’t bring all that fizzy drinks and unhealthy foods into your 30s. Now, you have to be more intentional about the things you eat. Go for regular checkups and keep fit.