Life Chronicles · Pandora's Box · The Classy Lady

10 Ways to Better Embrace My Late Twenties

I remember that journal I had when I was a kid and it had check-boxes for all the things that made me feel “grown-up”. And now suddenly those things on that list are all things I’m expected to do on my own with no one praising me because I did it right …

It’s a little shocking when one day you realize that yes, if you don’t do laundry or empty the trash, it won’t get done. Or that maybe you should put more effort and intention into your wardrobe so you can actually look your age. Because now you’re an adult with responsibility on your shoulders – not a college student with a backpack slung over your school hoodie – and it’s up to you make sure you are making decisions that lead to success.

Not that I feel like I’ve been wasting the last ten years or not acting like an adult – extended time in and out of college has lent me quite a bit of life experience not every college student gets to have. It’s just that now that I’m living independently and am a professional with a degree, I realize that there are some areas in which my mentality needs to change.

With that in mind, here are ten things on which I want to focus more to suit my age & newer role in life:

1. Develop a classy wardrobe fit for a young professional.
No more having my 6th-grade students asking me where I got my top so they can get one like it! It will mean a little more research and re-training my eye toward pieces I might not naturally gravitate toward. It will mean investing in quality, “timeless” pieces. But I also want to be as frugal as I can & shop for the best deals … meaning I might turn into one of those Extreme Couponers! (Which, by the way, I didn’t learn about till a few years ago from my college roommate …)

2. Make wise financial decisions that will positively impact my future.
I have no delusions of becoming independently wealthy, but I do want to make investments, cover my retirement bases, and have the kind of savings that allows for future plans. Now that there’s a salary and a steady income, it’s time to start thinking about more than just tomorrow’s coffee date and gas tank fill-up.

3. Set a plan for a healthy lifestyle by making exercise and good eating habits the norm.
Sometimes I assume that my body will just take care of itself because slenderness runs in the family. Then I look in the mirror & realize I can’t depend on that thinking anymore! Before I know it, I’ll be Miss Chunky Monkey unless I’m proactive about taking care of myself. And it’s not just about looking good … I’m investing in my health so that, by the grace of God, I might be able to be active well into my older age.

4. Research the next steps in my education
… because yes, a teacher’s education is never finished. It excites me to think about deepening my knowledge about this profession I already love, and there are many avenues down which I could go. Now that the overwhelming “first-year” is almost done, I can allow myself to start thinking realistically about the next steps.

5. Become more intentional about using my home for hospitality.
One of the things I most looked forward to in moving out was being able to use my own home to have people over. This year being the kind of crazy it was, that didn’t happen as much as I wanted it to … but starting this summer, I hope to change that & plan for more hostessing opportunities.

6. Be on time or early for every appointment or meeting.
I hesitate even putting this out there because now people will hold me accountable to it! But that’s what I need … I need to start making others’ time a priority instead of just letting the few extra minutes slide because, “I’m sure they’ll understand.” I need to change my mentality and plan my leaving times earlier so that I can be honoring of others like I want them to be of me.

7. Make family and communicating with them more of a priority.
Sometimes it can be hard when there are so many of us and so little time … but that should never be an excuse for not reaching out to the ones closest to me. Whether it’s letters, phone calls, texts or visits, I want to be consistent about staying close and not letting relationships fizzle.

8. Be wise about my time commitments.
Along those lines, I need to be careful what I commit to – because my tendency is to overcommit, especially when they are activities which I love. Being a teacher in and of itself can swallow you alive if you’re not careful … add to that church ministry, HYPE national, and any theater activity I choose, and all my time is taken. I need to balance work with ministry, relaxation time, family time, friend time, and Jesus time – and be wise enough to know which is suffering, and how I can fix that.

9. Grow in my prayer life and be open to change.
Now that I have been given somewhat of a “set” life, it can be easy to take it for granted and sail forward on autopilot. Yet I never want to lose my day-by-day dependence on God through prayer. I never want to stop listening to His guidance for the next step … because maybe He does want me to follow a traditional 30-40 year route of teaching elementary school here in Spokane – but maybe He wants me to do other things in the years ahead. I pray that I’d spend enough time on bended knee to be sensitive to the next fork in the road.

10. Cultivate friendships with courage.
The more I read about it, the more I find that a strong support network of friends is needed – no matter at any age, but especially as you get older when people drift apart or get too caught up in their independent lives. Just like with my family, I need to be intentional about the friendships that I’m maintaining – friendship with old friends, new friends, older friends/mentors, and younger friends/mentees. I want to invest in the ones that will matter and last, and not think that I have to hang on to every last person I’ve ever met. I need to let go of some, embrace others, and yes, sometimes, hang on with fierceness to “forever friends” who haven’t given up on me yet.

I know there’s a lot more I need to work on. There always will be. But at least this is a start toward feeling more my age (although scrubbing the bathtub and crusty pans has already done that to me a bit …). I can’t believe there’s only two and a half years left in the 20’s … it’s been a beautiful ride so far, and I look forward to the end of this decade and all that God will continue to teach me.

Here’s to improving classiness, education, relationships, and healthiness overall!

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