Things I’d Tell My 20-Year-Old Self

Things I would tell my 20 year old self

Today I turn 30 (I remember being younger and thinking 30 was so old!) and I must say it’s a little bittersweet. It’s the end of an era that involved some failures, uncertainty and health struggles…but on the other hand it was filled with personal growth, accomplishments and many lessons learned.

My world was turned upside in my twenties when I got sick and was then finally diagnosed with celiac disease. That was a time when my relationships, my faith, and my strength were all tested.

Looking back over those ten years, I think overall I did pretty well and I’m really happy with where I’m at today. But, there are definitely some things I wish the younger  me knew and did.

In honor of the big 3-0 here are 20 things I wish I knew at 20:

(No particular order): 

  1. Do direct deposit into your savings: Chances are if your entire paycheck goes into your checking, you’ll spend it. Put it all into your savings and then transfer a portion to your checking each month. This will help you budget and save.
  2. Embrace your culture and who you are: Family is important and so are the traditions that go along with your culture. It may not mean much to you now, but one day you’ll be so proud of where you come from.
  3. You can’t and shouldn’t save everyone: It’s great that you want to help others, but like mom and dad told you,  “surround yourself with those that will lift you up, not drag you down”.
  4. If you hate your job, it’s okay to get a new one: Most likely you’ll switch jobs many times in your twenties and that can be a good thing. If it’s a toxic environment don’t stay…life’s too short to be miserable. But at the same time know that work is hard, it will be stressful at times, and you can’t quit every time you face a challenge.
  5. Life will throw you curve balls and that’s okay: You’re stronger than you think you are. Always remember, “this too shall pass”.
  6.  Exercise to feel good, not just look good: It’s so important to get up, get dressed and work out everyday not only to fit into your skinny jeans, but to help with stress and to stay healthy.
  7. Sometimes you need to put your big girl panties on and get over it: You will fail at things and that’s okay…don’t dwell, just learn and move on.
  8. Listen to your parents, they know more than you think: More times than not, they’re right. They have much more life experience than you do and chances are they’ve been through what you’re dealing with.
  9. You won’t always end up in the career you planned and worked so hard for: Just because you end up doing something other than what your college degree is in doesn’t mean you failed. Don’t close doors before they open just because you think you’re not the right fit.
  10. Don’t be afraid to ask questions: The only stupid question is the one you don’t ask. Through questions you learn!
  11. If it scares you, then it probably means it’s important and you should do it: Don’t be afraid to take risks. You’re young, so if it doesn’t work out  you have time to try something else.
  12. You’re not invincible: You will get diagnosed with an illness but it won’t stop you from living and having a great life. Everyone will get something at some point in their life, your time will just  come sooner and that’s okay…it will make you stronger.
  13. Know what’s happening in the world: Not just about celebrity gossip, but current world events. Read more and watch less tv.
  14. Travel, travel, travel!: Now that you don’t have any real obligations tying you down, go explore! Every place you go will open your eyes to new things!
  15. Learn to open up and lean on others when you need it: You can’t do life alone and can’t always be the person others go to with problems. People want to be there for you too, you just have to let them in.
  16. Don’t drift from your faith: Keep your relationship strong with God, not just when you need Him.
  17. Live in the present: Don’t dwell on the past or “what-if” the future  because by doing this you’ll miss all the wonderful things that are happening now!
  18. Protect your skin: Wear sunscreen daily, take your makeup off before bed, moisturize twice a day  and never-ever go to tanning beds!
  19. Buy quality over quantity when it comes to clothes: You will actually end up buying less and they will last longer.
  20. Time always passes whether you’re ready or not: Sometimes there is no right timing, just go for it! Don’t live life based on timelines. Everything doesn’t have to be perfect to end up great.

I’m looking forward to the next decade and taking everything I learned with me!

Now I want to hear from you!


  • What would you tell your 20-year-old self? 
  • Any advice as I enter my thirties?


Just for fun… this is me on my 20th birthday!


  1. Rebecca Jo says:

    Happy Birthday to you!!!!!

    … I so appreciate the job on. I got to my job when I was 20… I’m now 44. This job has NEVER been my nitch but I stuck it out because its what my parents taught me. Stick with it. & now, I’m too old to go anywhere else. 24 years at the same place. OHHH how I wish I would have ventured into something else

    • msmodify says:

      Thanks! 🙂 Wow, you’ve been at the same job since you were 20?! You’re never too old for new adventures, but that’s great you have that type of loyalty and commitment to your job!

  2. Jenny says:

    Beautiful post. I agree with you that sometimes we need to put on a big girl panties and get over it, and that we should shed negative people in our life. One additional thing I learned is how precious time is – and that we should all enjoy our parents while they’re young. Invite them on trips and enjoy time with them while they are still active and vibrant.

  3. Elizabeth johnson says:

    Great list! I’m about to turn 25 in a month and can relate to what’s on your list. I’m a celiac as well and was diagnosed in my twenties. You have some really great advice that I really needed to hear:) so thank you

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