11.19.16 12

26 Lessons I’ve Learned (So Far) In My 20s

Since this week’s editorial calendar was filled up with gift guides, I wanted to sneak in a rare Saturday post for you ladies.

For those of you that don’t know, my 26th birthday was on Tuesday. I kept it low key this year, celebrating with some of my best friends on the actual day at a restaurant near my office, and it was one the best I’ve had in a while.

While I realize 25 is also mid-twenties, 26 is solidly so. That fact, combined with 2017 rapidly approaching, I’ve been reflecting a lot on my 20s so far. So, I thought it would be fun to share a list of lessons I’ve learned since turning 20 back in 2010, during my second year of college, when I had a handle of Aristocrat vodka under my bed at all times (#keepingitreal). Initially, I was going to put a post like this off until I turned 30, but figured you’ve gotta grab life by the horns, so why wait, you know?

Without further ado—I don’t want to keep you from Thanksgiving meal prep or holiday shopping—here are 26 lessons I’ve learned so far in my 20s.

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1. No amount of anxiety can change the future, no amount of grief can change the past. Focus on the present since that is where your joy will be.

2. You’re going to lose touch with a couple of the people you used to be. This is a good thing. It means you’re evolving and moving forward.

3. No matter how thin you slice it, there are always two sides.

4. Happiness is a moving target. My friend Nicole wrote this in a post, and I have loved it ever since. As she so beautifully wrote, what makes you happy is going to change and move. Embrace it, and follow your passions.

5. What’s coming will come and we’ll meet it when it does. There’s no way to be fully anticipate or plan for the future. The sooner you learn to embrace the curveballs, the happier you’ll be.

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6.  Comparison is the thief of joy.

7. There is glory in the struggle. My best friend from middle school wrote an amazing post about this when she graduated wither her Master’s degree, and it has held up to be one of the truest truths I know. It really is about the journey, not the destination, and the best things in life don’t come easy.

8. When the tide rises, we all float. Others’ successes do not preclude your own.

9. Fail fast. Accept that you’ve failed, pick yourself up, and apply the lessons.

10. There are seven days in the week. Someday is not one of them. The people in my life that are the happiest are the ones who go out and chase their dreams. The unhappiest are the ones who just talk about theirs.

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11. There’s a whole life in knowing the sun is there, even when you can’t see it.

12. Until God opens a door, praise him in the hallway. If you’re not religious, Kris Jenner says this in another way: when someone tells you no, they’re really telling you yes to something else—something better.

13. Proverbs 29:11 speaks the truth, “A fool vents all his feelings, but a wise man holds them back.”

14. In the Book of Matthew, Jesus says “Come unto me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” No matter what you believe, finding a higher power to give your problems, worries, and desires to will fill a hole in your life you might not even realize is there.

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15. There will be many people who put you down. Don’t be one of them. Learn to love yourself now.

16. People always show you who they are. Believe them the first time.

17. Acceptance is great, but forgiveness provides a path forward. The only person you’re hurting by holding a grudge is yourself.

18. Don’t be afraid of losing people, be afraid of loosing yourself trying not to lose someone else.

19. You can’t see red flags with rose colored glasses on.

20. To heal a wound you have to stop touching it. Stop stalking them on social media, delete their number, burn their pictures at a bonfire—find ways to focus on doing you.

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21. Do not dry your white converse shoreline sneakers in the dryer unless you want to dye both the dryer and your white shoes blue. Opt for air drying instead.

22. Nothing good ever happens after 2 am.

23. If someone offers you rosé out of a can, politely decline. Your tomorrow self with thank me.

24. There are very few things in life a good night’s sleep can’t fix. 

25. Find a credit card with double travel points. Always break your budget for airfare, a road trip, or a weekend in New York City. Embrace the lock-and-leave lifestyle while you can.

26. If there’s any chance—and I do mean any chance—you think it will be a dry wedding, pack a flask. Trust me on this one.

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Here’s to learning a few more lessons over the year ahead! x

Leave a Comment


  1. Monica wrote:

    Seriously love this, K! Most of us around this age (dare I say, in our “mid-twenties”) , can relate to each and every one of these. Thanks for that! 26 is going to be a greattt year 🙂

    Published 11.19.16
    • Katie wrote:

      Thanks so much Monica! xo

      Published 11.19.16
  2. Melissa wrote:

    Oh, I love this post so much. So many great tidbits of wisdom and I absolutely adore all the cute sayings!
    Someday is not a day of the week stuck with me the most. 🙂

    I’m happy to hear you enjoyed your birthday. Mine is quickly approaching; I cannot believe we’re 26- insane!

    xo, Melissa || http://www.greenpalatelife.com

    Published 11.20.16
    • Katie wrote:

      Thanks so much, Melissa! I love collecting cute sayings — and that is one of my favorite :] I can’t believe we are 26 either! SO CRAZY!

      Published 11.29.16
  3. Haha, love all of these!! Cheers to a great 2017 ahead!

    Xx Taylor

    Published 11.20.16
    • Katie wrote:

      Thanks so much, T! x

      Published 11.29.16
  4. Alissa wrote:

    Happy birthday girl!!! Love these lessons – especially about traveling. I’ve only been a couple places in my lifetime – and never out of the U.S. – and I need to change that! And start saving money lol! There are SO many places I want to see!


    Published 11.21.16
    • Katie wrote:

      So many places! I’ve only been outside the US a handful of times, and it’s definitely a goal of mine to explore more! xo

      Published 11.29.16
  5. Rachel wrote:

    Love this so much! Happy belated birthday girl, here’s to 26 being the best year yet!

    Published 11.21.16
    • Katie wrote:

      Thanks so much, R! xo

      Published 11.29.16
  6. So many great lessons and pieces of advice Katie!! Pinning this for sure, as it’s a great constant reminder on many things going on life. Thanks for sharing and happy belated birthday love! Xo


    Published 11.21.16
    • Katie wrote:

      Thanks so much for the kind words, Kristyn! I am so glad we met along the way! xoxo

      Published 11.29.16