I've come to think of your 20s as the great divide. The age bracket in which you separate the children from the adults. This is a truly frustrating time in life. Thanks to the 20-somethings who have determined that early adulthood can be just like college, the rest of us have to fight even harder to be taken seriously. Our youth should be an asset but sometimes it can be a hindrance.
Success in your 20s is in my mind about your perspective. To me the 20s are a time to put in the work. Work hard, save hard, put yourself out there, dream, be, and overdo it (in all the right ways). We're making the name for ourselves we'll later need and laying the foundation for our entire futures - this is big. What you do in your 20s will determine whether you spend your 30s trying to piece your life together or enjoy the fruits of your labors. Why do more people my age not see this?
I know it's against my blogging rules to discuss boys here but I'm going to break my own rules, again. Dating in your 20s has the exact same problem. I occasionally go on a first date (I say first because that's all there ever is with these guys) with a guy I meet this, that, or the other place and I've found more often than not that guys my age are still stuck in their frat boy days. Oh, you sleep on a futon at your friends house? Oh wait, you haven't decide what you want to be when you grow up? Hmm, what exactly have you been doing since college? Oh that's right, hanging with your boys. Fabulous.
Now before I get a bunch of angry comments, hear me out. Your 20s should be fun. The people I know who peaked in college are miserable now. The last 2 years have been a whirlwind of fun adventures for me but the trick is that you balance fun with taking care of business. You'd be hard pressed to find someone who has as much fun as I do but I've also worked towards the career I want, bought a condo, paid off my car, learned how to budget and invest, and begun writing a book. It is possible to balance work and your personal life in a way that allows you to be a success at both. So why do few people find that balance?
I have a theory. You are who you hangout with. The people you surround yourself with will ultimately make you who you will become - at least to a certain extent. Your life will grow like the people that invest your time in. Choose these people wisely.
I'll give you an example of my close circle of girlfriends. These are the girls that I invest in and who invest in me. I learn and grow from each of them and I admire their lives so if mine turns out to be a little more like theirs this time next year, that would be great.
Candy - my best friend is in her first year of marriage. This has been so much fun to be a part of. I hope when I'm a bride I'm exactly like her! She was a fun, laid back bride not the crazy ranting bridezilla of Bravo tv. She has an incredible work ethic that drew me to her when we met working for Coach in college and I'm confident that as she makes a career change this year, she'll be an asset to her workplace. She's also an incredibly inspiring friend, I strive to be the kind of friend she is. She has taught me so much with her thoughtful ways, her encouraging words, and her loyalty.
Aubs - Auburn is probably the person I feel most like I 'do life' with. Of my Tampa friends, I'm closest to her. She's the person I talk to about budget items, boy decisions, my spiritual life, and work 'stuff'. We both work in the football world, though on different levels and in different industries. We share a love for the NFL and being able to work with them, as well as a flare for fashion and finding a good deal. She's incredibly talented and I admire how hard she works. I'm always learning from Auburn - she's one of few people I know who finds time to be a gourmet chef/ organized homemaker AND dominate in the work place. I'm all for being a little more like her, any day. She's the person I took budget classes with, we do bible study together, we go to church every Sunday, and in general take on life as a two-some.
Bekah - B-squared as I now affectionately refer to 'the other Bekah' is a childhood friend that's made a strong comeback into my life in the last year. The timing or her re-arrival couldn't have been more perfectly coordinated. She works in the non-profit world and as an assistant to a director, like I. Her family is a huge priority to her, like myself. She challenges me in my walk with the Lord, tough loves me when she thinks I'm being too easy on myself, and as a former UNC volleyball player - makes a great person to run my workouts by. She's confident, courageous, and self-motivated. I admire her, I look up to her, and I have stinkin hilarious dialog with her every day. Oh and maybe best of all? She's a freakish list maker like me.
Jess - First off, Jess is 90% of the reason I made it to back to Tampa. I owe her a huge debt for helping me get to where I am today. She not only helped me look for jobs, she gave me a place to live! She's shared her family with me over the years so that I've come to love them all as my own. She's someone I can really let my guard down with and dish my dirt. She's always supportive and amazingly, she always seems to know exactly what I mean. We both became first time homeowners in 2010 so we've battled through figuring out how to keep up households together. She's a girl who knows what she wants and I'm confident she'll do whatever she sets her mind too.
There are a lot of other great girls in my life who have shaped me over the past few years but I won't tell you about all of them today. I also have an fabulous set of guy friends who encourage and challenge me regularly. They treat me like a sister and I'm so grateful for their support. I am truly, truly blessed.
I have the kind of friends who will change the world one day (some of them already are). They are behind many of my successes of late, I owe them much. It goes a long way in life to surround yourself with people you can learn with and from. Find people who are doing it better than you are, and learn from them. Or as they say in Mean Girls - soak up their awesomeness!