I can’t believe I’m 30! My twenties went by so fast and when I reflect on my 20’s it’s incredible to see how much I’ve changed and grown. My 20’s was a very transformative time for me in a positive way. If I had told my free-spirited 20-year old self that by my 30’s I’d be living in San Francisco, engaged, with a killer career, and a successful side hustle I would not have believed myself. Therefore, I wanted to write a reflection of my 20’s to share valuable lessons I learned and to explain the decisions I made that led me to where I am today. I live a life with no regrets, believe everything happens for a reason, and also believe you are in control of the life you live. These 3 life mottos have enabled me to be fearless, optimistic, and live an ambitious lifestyle. Thus, I hope to inspire you with some tips and words of encouragement that I learned from my 20’s.
What I learned in my early 20’s: Life is about discovery and risks.
I had no idea what I wanted to do in my early 20’s. Heck, I don’t believe most people do. I graduated from UC Davis with a double major in Human Development and Interior Architecture thinking I’d pursue a career in architecture. Yet, I graduated during the recession so finding a job was difficult and internships were just as difficult to acquire and also unpaid. I went through many discouraging moments and since I couldn’t find a full-time job I instead had 3 part-time jobs. I worked at Nordstrom as a sales associate (to pay off my school loans), had a contracted retail merchandiser job (since I enjoyed it although the hours/pay was minimal), and had an unpaid architect internship (to build more experience, but eventually quit since the commute and parking tickets were making me more broke). There were aspects of each job I hated and many times I felt like I wasn’t going anywhere with my life. Yet this didn’t stop me. I was always on the hunt for new experiences and during my early 20’s I literally had over 10 jobs from being a custom closet designer, an asset coordinator at Stanford, a babysitter, and interior architect for a contractor. You might be thinking, whoa 10 jobs in 4 years? Yup. This period of exploration and discovery though allowed me to hone in on what really made me happy by realizing what what me unhappy. I thought my passion was in interior architecture but after 4 interior jobs, I realized it wasn’t for me and that I hated designing for clients and felt confined since I had to follow so many building codes and regulations. All these jobs and risks made me discover new interests by eliminating things I thought I liked but actually didn’t. So let me ask you, is there anything you dislike? Are you still doing it? Why? It’s time to re-evaluable and discover what else there is that you could love doing. It also doesn’t matter how old or where you are in your career, it’s never too late to pursue something you’re passionate about.
What I learned in my mid-20s: The only thing stopping you is yourself.
My lack of fulfillment in my early 20’s led me to launch TrendEnvy. I was 23 (first post here) and launched it as a creative outlet, source of happiness, and to share style tips on trends to my readers. I loved the creativity of it, how I was in control of everything and the challenges of blogging. The challenge of getting over the fear of showcasing yourself to be judged, to learning tangible skills like building a website, and business skills like monetizing my blog. This experience led me to land my first full-time job as an account manager at a small online marketing company. I actually hated the job because I didn’t believe in the product, nor liked my clients but stuck it through since I was happy to have a real job with steady income. Meanwhile, I still actively applied for other jobs got several interviews but never an offer. After getting rejected from my dream job at Sephora I stopped applying for jobs and instead researched grad school programs. I’ve always been interested in business and knew I was talented in sales. I worked my ass off to create a killer application which included an online portfolio, applied to the MBA program at CCA and got accepted! I said goodbye to the job I hated and embraced my mid 20’s with hope and ambition. I learned that you are in control of your life but you have to work hard and not let failures get to you. I took all the rejections as a blessing in disguise and a sign that I was meant to do something else, something greater. If there’s something you’re struggling with keep working hard at it and if it still fails, try a different route to achieve a similar goal.
What I learned in my late-20s: Channel your energy to things that matter and cut the BS out of your life.
My 2 years of grad school was life-changing. I was forced to constantly go out of my comfort zone and surprised myself with the results. I built confidence and most importantly learned to channel my energy to things that mattered. Instead of trying to build skills in things I lacked, I re-focused my attention to things I was already good at and enjoyed. I was talented in sales, digital sites, was a shopaholic and realized it was because I was a shopaholic that I understood sales so well. When I was 25 I landed a job at eBay as an Operations and Merchandising Specialist and after 3.5 years worked my way up to a Merchandising Program Manager role. I now work as a Senior Manager, Site Merchandising at CreativeLive and love what I do because I enjoy it and am good at it. I never would have made it this far if I didn’t re-focus my energy on building onto existing skills and hobbies I liked. While this could be applied professionally, it can also be applied personally especially to relationships. I was a social butterfly in my early 20’s, always down to hang out with everyone. Yet I started seeing certain sides and traits in people that I didn’t agree with. The worst part was that their behavior was affecting me and subconsciously dragging me down. It’s true what they say, birds of a feather flock together and it is so important to surround yourself with like-minded individuals. I cut a lot of people out of my life, people that distracted me from being a better version of myself or didn’t share the same morals as me. Naturally, I grew more distant with a lot of friends too since I got busier and couldn’t make time for everyone anymore. While this may sound sad, it was actually liberating because it allowed me to spend quality time and energy to the ones who mattered most. I cut the BS out of my life, things that were weighing me down and it wasn’t until then that my life really started progressing. I had more energy and started becoming a better version of myself since I chose to surround myself with positive and good-hearted people. Is there anything weighing you down? For how long has it been weighing you down? Maybe it’s time to re-examine your life and see where you can cut the BS to start living your best life yet.
P.S if my first photo doesn’t make sense to you, read the story on my instagram.