That's right. It wasn't easy. Personal challenges, career struggles, identity seeking moments that I wouldn't change because its brought me to where I am today.
10 years ago, I was a junior college student charting my course to a career as an international journalist.
Today, I find myself happily employed full-time with a high end internet retail company that allows me daily use and development of my current skills and talent.
10 years ago, I was single, vowing that I was and would always be a career-obsessed woman who would not have the time for a spouse or children.
Today, I find myself in the healthiest of relationships and looking forward to the day that I decide it's time to start a family.
10 years ago, I vowed that my globe-trotting ways would never cease and desist; telling my parents that there was no way I would end up living in Seattle.
Today, well...you know. I'm here for good and not going anywhere. (At least, for right now)
My, my things have changed, haven't they?
That's why I've compiled 10 things I've Learned In My 20s.
2. Don't Be Afraid to Be Who You Really Are. I'm a bookworm, go to sleep really early, not a big drinker, don't exercise and would rather hang out with my parents than attend a keg party. And there was a time that I thought the above made me boring and "uncool." I came to a place where I am DARN proud of all the aforementioned - 9:30 PM bedtimes and all.
3a. Love Yourself First. I know it sounds cliche but you've really got to have a strong sense of self before you're able to fully understand what it means to be in a healthy relationship. I found out what that meant at 29. It takes time, so be patient and enjoy loving yourself and let fate dictate the rest.
3b. Address Your Health. I don't keep secret that I've suffered from debilitating depressive episodes in my life. Whether it's your physical or mental health, address it. You've got a lot of life to live and the sooner you take care of yourself; the sooner you'll be on a path of light.
4. Volunteer. During times of brief unemployment or crazy hours, some of the most rewarding work I've done is volunteer. Whether its been passing out food at the Jewish Family Service food bank, teaching an underprivileged child how to read, or organizing massive events to benefit the World Affairs Council, all have brought me back to the greater purpose of life.
6. Become a Mentor. I've enthusiastically embraced young women who look to connect and learn from seasoned professionals. Helping them achieve their goals has been just as rewarding as volunteering. I distinctly remember training two interns while with CNN Domestic who both ended up becoming full-time employees shortly thereafter.
7. Learn to Say No. This has been especially challenging for both myself and my best friend Whitney. We've been people pleasers since we were young and don't like disappointing anyone. However, I know now more than ever (especially this year) that if you're good at something, you're likely in high demand. There are only 24 hours in a day and you can't be everything to everyone. Learn to say no and don't take on more than you can chew. You and your health will be better for it.
8. Never Say Never. This goes back to the point I made earlier, vowing at the tender age of 21 that I was never going to live in Seattle. The same goes for television. I was pushed to acknowledge or heed others' advice that I should "be on air." I firmly rejected it again and again on the premise that I wanted to be "the brains behind the camera." It took 10 years for me to say, "Ok, ok Mom, you were right. I guess I can do talent work."
9. Pick Up The Phone. The digital age has handicapped us in a way. For all the wonderful ways technology has shaped our lives, it has also made cross-country friendships resort to written communication only (email & text, specifically). I'm still working on being consistently better at picking up the phone to call Molly in NYC or Caroline, Ayesha, Tiffany and Melissa in the ATL or Erin in Chicago. It's important and makes a world of difference.
10. You will Outlive Some of Your Best Friends.