What I would tell my 20-year old self

I turn 30 in a few days (Yay!). While I am excited to reach this milestone, I can’t help but review my life till date, especially my 20s, since that is the period I have had the most agency for myself.

This last decade has been a cocktail of triumphs interspersed with disappointments; adventure interlaced with routine, seeking wisdom yet occasionally demonstrating folly. While I am not one to live with regrets, there are things I would tell any 20 year old to do differently. Here are some of them:

  1. Be more grateful. I cringe to recollect how entitled I was. I thought having some personal characteristic meant I deserved some things, and I was often less than grateful for things others did for me. Now I know that diligence and faithfulness is needed in addition to intelligence. I have also learnt that every gift, no matter how little, is to be appreciated because no one owes me anything.
  2. Be gracious to evildoers. I have always known that forgiveness is commanded by God, but it is only recently I have learnt that offenders deserve compassion. Now I know that a deeper level of forgiveness requires releasing your offenders plus being kind to them. In view of God’s graciousness to us, we can do no less. As I have leant to do this, my soul has become lighter and my joy deeper.
  3. Rejoice always. As a recovering control freak, I used to go into a downward spiral of depression whenever any of my plans did not succeed. I prided myself on my ability to accomplish goals. My older (hopefully wiser) self now knows that even when things don’t go well, it is important to continue to live well. Consequently every day, no matter the circumstance, is a good day to rejoice.
  4. Start exercising now. Self-care is a strategic investment into one’s ability to work and love well, and I can’t think of a better way to jumpstart your self- care than to have a regular exercise regimen. Get an exercise buddy, join the gym, or buy a workout video. Just stop sitting on the couch watching TV and move!
  5. Invest more in relationships. Unfortunately, I realize there are friendships I let lose their luster due to neglect. Also, there were acquaintances that held the promise of a great friendship that I did not take time to nurture. In the end, the greatest trove of treasure is the people you have to share your love with.
  6. Cut yourself some slack. I certainly wish someone had told my very ambitious 20 year old self how integral failure is to human existence. If I had known that, I would have improved my recovery time between failures, and picked myself up faster. Dear 20 year old, you are going to make mistakes and miss opportunities; it’s all part of this passage called life.
  7. Fear not. There are many ideas and opportunities I let slide because I let fear of failure, fear of public opinion and fear of rejection stop me. I am learning that the only useful role for fear is as an indicator of the direction you should be heading to and not running from.

So dear 20-year old self, here’s what I would have told you if I had a chance. In all, I am grateful because God has blessed the broken road that has led me to this point, and I know that my best days are yet ahead.

If you’ve already turned 30, Please share your best tip for navigating the 30s. I would be grateful if you tweet at me @osasolurotimi using the hashtag #turning30.  Blessings!!


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