Poof! It feels like I’ve found myself in a scene from 13 going Thirty and I’ve just woken up to my 30 year-old self. Except I’ve woken up and I’m 32 turning 33 years old in a few months.
There’s a reason so many of us can relate to the phrase “Time flies.” I think about what I’ve done in my 20s and where I am now. And as I wrote that line, I couldn’t help but smile. I have countless priceless memories of ups and downs that have, as cliché as it may sound, helped me become who I am now.
If I could find a time machine and talk to my 20-to-29-year-old self, I would share these 10 things with her:
- Find time to KNOW yourself. So much of what you can do with your life is rooted in the answer to this question. It will take time for you to figure this out, but until you do, you won’t really know where to go, what to do, and where to be. This phase in your life is the perfect time to explore and figure out what your heart screams and where you stand. Also, this is the time to make mistakes so 20-year-old Jamie, don’t worry about the heart breaks or bad work decisions, you’ve got all the time in the world to take a sad song and make it better. Forgive me for squeezing in my favorite Beatles quote there. And trust me, you’ll get there. Don’t beat yourself up, kiddo.
- Don’t be in a rush to FALL IN LOVE. I know how you feel: you want to find the love of your life. The guy who sweeps you off your feet. The guy who makes you believe in love. Well here’s the thing, sometimes some people do find the loves of their lives early on, but sometimes things don’t work out but you can’t be too worried about that. Remember what your mother told you, “there’s a reason things don’t work out.” In time (in our case, our 30s, wink), you’ll realize why. So breathe in and out, and know that the right guy will come along when you’re ready and when the world is ready for both of you.
- Don’t give up on your dreams. I guess I shouldn’t worry too much about this when it comes to you. You’ve always known what you’ve wanted. What I can tell you is: Keep going. We’ll get there some day! And to all the other 20-something ladies and men out there, don’t you dare give up on your dreams. If there’s one thing I’m sure of, it is that when I’m old and wrinkly, this is probably going to be one of the life lessons I pass on. I wasn’t encouraged to go for my dreams. “There’s no money in theater.” “Too many individuals are taking up mass communications.” Two lines I heard when I shared my dreams of either being a theater actress or a newscaster with my family early on. I didn’t let that stop me and I’ve ended up doing a job I adore, still onstage and still performing and I couldn’t ask for more. So know what your dreams are, know that they are possible, and keep pursuing them.
- Don’t be too nice. This you’ll learn the hard way, Miss CDO girl who’s never really had to be mean to anybody (except her siblings at times). I know your grandparents have taught you to go into this world with open arms, a trusting heart, and big fat smile on your face, but the truth is, you have got to be a tough cookie to survive the world honey. Be assertive early on, yet steer clear from being too aggressive (this we have to work on now-lol). Otherwise, the world is going to take advantage of your kindness and they’ll forget what you stand for if all they hear from you is a yes.
- Save and/or invest in something. Now this is something I wish I really could have told you then. Yes, your 20s is your time to go out, explore, travel, and enjoy life but listen to your parents, dear. Save as much as you can and you’ll thank yourself for doing so.
- Your family matters. I know you feel like this is the time to meet more people and experience life as an adult but never forget that at the end of the day, your family will love you and will be there for you no matter what. So, my dear, don’t skip too many family gatherings. Go to that dinner, travel to see them. When you’re a bit older, you’ll realize how life is so short and you don’t exactly have all the time in the world to spend with those who matter the most. So don’t take them for granted, and never forget that these are the people who will never ever forget to love you despite all the mistakes you make and no matter where you are in life.
- Breathe. Just breathe. Now I know the importance of our mind. It is our greatest resource and we have to learn how to take care of it. In our 20s, we often think it is the end of the world when we lose something or someone dear to us, when our expected outcome is far from reality. Life often surprises us but we’ve got to learn how to embrace the situation, accept it, move on, and most importantly, to breathe. I’ll share a yoga teacher’s words from my class: “Your mind is your greatest resource. Take care of it. Breathe.”
- Relentlessly pursue your dreams. Once you’ve figured out what you truly want to be, keep going for it. Do every thing with one goal in mind: to end up doing that, being that, living that dream. I now work for a musician and businessman who’s been doing what he loves doing for more than 50 years. He’s now considered an icon in the music industry by so many in the Philippines. I remember one life lesson he shared with me while having coffee before the start of our show. “Look at this straw Jamie,” he said as he placed it on the table and showed me each end. “This is you now and,” then pointing to the other end, he said “the other end is your dream, your goal. You have to think of your goals this way. You have to do every single thing for your dreams. If you don’t, you’ll slowly move farther and farther away from your end goal.” With that shared, know that every step counts and leads to the next. Do everything with a purpose.
- Fall in love. If love does come knocking on your door, give it a shot. Don’t be afraid to fall in and out of love. But in the process, never ever forget who you are. When we’re young, we think we’re given so many chances to find someone we connect with. The reality is, there will only be a few people out there who will truly touch your heart and soul so when you do find someone who is able to do that, do all that you can to enjoy the experience and the ride. See where it leads you and don’t be afraid if it ends. Love will always come knocking on your door, and in time, as mentioned above, it will stay for the long haul.
- Know your worth. I say this because oftentimes, we forget this. I forget this sometimes even in my 30s now. But I want to share this with you because this is probably one the most important things to remember: Know your worth, even when someone tells you you’re worth nothing. Know your worth, even if a job offer you wanted didn’t come along. Know your worth, even if the so-called love of your life walked away. I’ve come to realize that the one thing that keeps me going is knowing there’s so much to live for and I have so much left to give and do in this world. Once you lose sight of that, it’s hard to remember what life is for. Just know you’re here for a reason and you’re meant to shine and find your purpose in this world. You’re meant to be here.
And yes, I’ve just declared my age on and through this blog. My circles span so many age brackets thanks to my job, but when I talk to my friends in their 20s, they often are in shock when I tell them my age. So shocked in fact that I then realize that I AM getting old. Kidding aside, these are things I would love to share with my 20-something-year-old self.
To my 20-something-year-old self and the rest of those in their lovely 20s, there’s only one thing left to say: Enjoy the ride, hun, and remember it gets better and better. 😉 x