Call me crazy, but I had a ton of excitement this year around turning 30. My wise friends keep telling me that your 30’s are the best years of your life. My twenties were pretty freaking amazing, so if my thirties are destined to top my previous decade, then I welcome it with a big, tight squeeze type of hug!
Let’s just say I was a little bit of a stress ball ever since the start of the new year. I watched the coronavirus unfold in Asia, watching and reading the news every second of everyday (-100 out of 10 recommend) and in the back of my mind knew it would continue its way across the world. If you were like me, watching and reading the news 24/7, in anticipation of a magical update (like I was!), then you were left feeling angry, disappointed, confused, and uncertain…
On a side note and a little humble brag, I had the coolest and most epic 30th birthday celebrations arranged for this milestone year. Drew and I were eager for our New York City getaway, adorned with Broadway tickets to see Hamilton (BTW “I am not throwing away my shot!” still plays on repeat). The following month, my sister and I were set for the sister trip of our wildest dreams and jet setting off on our much-anticipated trip to Italy and France. Our itinerary included eating gelato in Positano, visiting wineries in Tuscany, checking out what the gladiators did in Rome, dusting off the rubble at Pompeii, and endless picnics at the Eiffel Tower. Of course, you can imagine our dismay when this was all cancelled.
Needless to say, the coronavirus pandemic spread around the world like wildfire and above-mentioned plans went from a daily countdown to non-existent. I think it is fair to admit that we all felt some type of grief during this event. It is important to let yourself process grief in whatever way you need to, shame free. We are all real-time living in something no one has been through before and the emotional rollercoaster we are still riding is truly unprecedented. If you haven’t, make sure you give yourself time & grace while adjusting to the new normal we are living in.
A moment of reflection…
As I was hunkered down at home after my April birthday, I started to reflect on the beautiful tid-bits of life that I experienced throughout my twenties. I can say that I’ve been very blessed to live through a challenging era with major worldly impact, with minimal disruption in my day to day life. 2020 has been a hard year but I think it has forced much growth and realization on all of us, especially me.
I started writing about my personal life anecdotes and decided it would be most fitting to make this into a three-part series. Continue reading on to learn the first ten takeaways I learned in my twenties and will carry with me as I step into this next transformational decade of life!
1) Friendships are key.
This may sound like a no brainer, but as you evolve through your 20s, your circle will shift, change, and grow… and so will you! Sometimes you grow together, sometimes you grow apart. Surround yourself with friends who are in support of the evolved you and your dreams. You can be friends with everyone, but I personally count my most dear friends on two hands. It’s not about quantity, what matters is quality!
2) Nourish your body.
What I categorize as a nutritional food plan has completely changed from my college days to today. Raise your hand if you are also guilty of crash dieting cycles or Bojangles & Cookout filled nights?! ! The importance of nourishing your body with whole foods, such as shopping around the perimeter of the grocery store, versus living off of processed, chemical crap, will make all the difference in how you feel, look, and perform!
3) Drink all the water.
My mom loves when I come home to visit, but her biggest pet peeve is that I carry a cup of water with me as an accessory at all times. Sometimes these cups of waters magically multiply, and all of a sudden “Amanda-placed” water cups are in every room of the house. Sorry, Mom! The point is – I drink water literally 24/7. So, does that mean I pee 24/7? Precisely! The benefits of drinking water are infinite, from releasing toxins, glowing skin, anti-aging benefits, better blood flow, and much more. Ditch the soda and drink all the water! I make it a game and tell myself to drink a certain amount by a certain time of the day. My personal goal is 125 ounces per day but consult your healthcare provider to ensure what is safe for you!
swell canteen bottles are the perfect on-the-go and stylish way to carry your H2O!
4) Sleep is sexy.
Sleep is an essential function of a human being. Some of you may look at this sentence and say “ummm duh!” But really though, how many hours a sleep a night are you getting? Studies suggest 6-8 hours of sleep are vital for our energy, brain function, and simply kicking ass in life! You can take it a step further and evaluate what do you feel when you wake up. That’s a whole other ball game but it is important to become super diligent and aware of your sleeping habits and make them a priority. I personally try to be “lights out”, technology off by 9 pm. Even better if you can limit all screen time and bright lights two hours before bedtime. Even more bonus points if when you wake up you choose to absorb sunlight instead of the blue light from your cell phone!
5) Care for your hair.
In my teens and early 20s, I did all kinds of coloring and saltwater immersing activities to my hair. Frankly, I did not have the funds to support the highlight and color damage party consequences that raged on my locks. If you’re going to color your hair, spend time in the sun, and/or live in saltwater, please be kind to your hair. Take baby steps (with what you can afford) with a treatment protocol and I promise you will be thanking yourself later! I talk all about my fave hair care in this blog post here.
6) Take the trips.
A personal goal for Drew and I is taking a few international trips together early into our marriage. Traveling the world was a dream in my 20s and it still remains very much alive in my 30s. I believe travel brings out qualities in you that you never knew existed and teaches you appreciation for other cultures, amongst your own life. When I was 24, I travelled Europe for a partially solo adventure for 30 days. This trip was life changing for me. I realized I was in a stupid, terrible relationship and got out of it, I found myself in situations out of comfort zone, I ate dinner by myself and held lovely conversations with people from around the globe, I gained an appreciation for art, and most importantly, it strengthened my personal independence. Trips may look different for you, but my point is to create these memories, big or small, with your family, besties, or as a solo endeavor!
7) Be authentic.
I noticed a shift in my life when I gained confidence in being myself. I work in sales, serving customers in a male dominated industry. In the early stages of my career, I felt I had to put on a certain demeanor to excel and earn a seat at the table. When I changed teams and began reporting to a female manager, my life changed, and I feel like a flower beginning to bloom. My manager is a badass woman who brings her real self to all situations. She is smart, kind, and funny and we bonded instantly. She taught me to leverage my strengths and I learned that my secret power is creating thriving relationships. I noticed my experience at work drastically changed once I let my guard down and revealed my genuine personality. My relationships with my customers and teammates flourished once I made the revolution to be my true authentic self. I will always thank my manager for unleashing that power within me!
8) Move your body.
Y’all know I love my girl Rachel Hollis. One of her most memorable quotes for me is “Move your body. Change your mind.” Say it louder for people in the back (even I have to remind myself)! Daily movement is essential to our well-being and health. Regardless of the weight and looks benefits, daily activity has tremendous effects on our brain, mind, and sleep. Moving your body looks differently for all of us, but we should strive to do something every day that gets us shaking and grooving. My personal favorites are nature walks with a podcast, lifting weights with a bomb playlist, and riding my Peloton bike with one of my favorite instructors.
9) Save money.
This right here deserves its own blog post. In 2020, one of my personal goal is to become a smart investor. There are numerous statistics around the lack of knowledge that women have around money and investing. I refuse to be another negative statistic and this year I am putting into motion learning about finances and not just nodding ‘yes’ to things Drew wants to invest in. Despite investing, which can seem like a big scary monster, it is so very important to save. The beauty of compounding money, such as participating in a 401k, is incredibly imperative and the earlier you understand that, the better. Compounding money literally blows my mind. Trust me, it is easier said than done to save. But best believe, a dollar tomorrow is worth more than a dollar today. Take the time to learn about the value of money and how it can work FOR you. One of my favorite authors and retirement planners, David Bach, has an excellent easy read called “The Latte Factor.” This will light your heart on fire and get you going in your money journey!
10) Show love to yourself and your circle.
Love is a powerful word that can tend to be used lightly. Even I am guilty of throwing out, “Love you! Love that! Love when xyz happens!”It is easy to say, but how does one show and feel love? The way one love feels love and shows love is different for all of us. First thing, it’s so important to love yourself. Loving yourself requires soul searching, deep acceptance, and giving yourself grace. Loving your people at a minimum requires being a cheerleader, being thoughtful, and checking in on them on all aspects of life. I’ve learned to love in different ways with my husband and my friends and encourage you to understand what love looks like in each of your relationships.
I hope the first ten things that I shared in my reflection sparks special memories that you have experienced in your own life. I’ll be posting part two and three of this series in the coming weeks.