20 Things I've learned in my 20's

#RandomCiaraThoughts the countdown to 30 has began (June 3rd) and I find myself really reflecting over my growth and my mistakes over the past decade. At 20 I had just moved in with my grandparents, very angry at the world (borderline atheist) mad at God and just battling with life. At 21 I found myself jumping in and out of relationships. 22 baptism, wanting to know God yet battling suicidal thoughts which ultimately led to me attempting suicide. 23 is a blur because I spent most of it depressed along with 24. 25 was life changing, pushed me to grow up in ways I'd never thought I would, I became celibate, I felt so close to God. 26 I packed up my life and moved two hours away to Indianapolis on nothing but faith. No job, no place to live, my sisters and I lived in a hotel a couple weeks until finding a place. 27 I was employed, working my first big girl job and at 28 I wrote, edited and self published my first book. 28 and 29 changed me in ways emotionally and mentally that are hard to explain. A mixture of depression, growth and tenacity led me on a deep spiritual journey. 

So for the last week of May I will be counting down to June 3rd (the day a queen was born) and wrapping up these 20's! I'm excited, I'm nervous, I'm anxious and I'm grateful. Here are 20 things I've learned in my 20's ❤️🙌🏾

1. Contentment has been a big struggle and to say that I spent the entire decade of my 20's content would be a lie! I've learned contentment with the fact that I'm single and chances are I'll always be (nothing wrong with that). I have learned to be content with life even if I'm not where I want to be yet.

2. Peace is a feeling and a state that I try to create wherever I go. If I don't feel peace then you'll see me disappear very quickly! You could be talking to me one minute and if someone or something throws my inner peace off I'm GONE. I don't have time to entertain nonsense...

3. Pride kills... It's ok to be independent, it's ok to not be ok as well. Do not let your pride stand in the way of getting the help that you need! Spent my 20's avoiding the fact that mentally I needed help a long time ago (for anxiety, depression) and I plan on seeking professional help very shortly here. 

4. Losing yourself is not always a bad thing... Sometimes you need to lose that person everyone expects you to be and just find yourself! Whether it's through meditation and prayer or an overall spiritual journey.

5. Religion stunts growth! If you spend your entire life simply listening to what others tell you about God, letting others place their religious convictions on you then you'll surely die a spiritual death. Find God for yourself! Find him outside of church, outside of bible study groups and outside of everything you "know" or everything you're familiar with. 

6. Get to know people who aren't like you and build relationships with those who don't think like you. I hear a lot of Christians misinterpret how we should surround ourselves with "like minded" individuals. Surrounding yourselves with like minded individuals doesn't mean only associating with people who look and think like you. Growth comes when you learn to value differences and opinions. 

7. You CAN love someone and not like them. You CAN forgive and not tolerate the foolishness people bring. Forgiveness does not mean that you allow toxic people or situations to remain present in your life! I can forgive you and never speak to you again, point blank. 

8. Let people go... Stop holding on to dead friendships and relationships. You're not obligated to hold on to people who have let go of you or are drifting from you. 

9. Live your life. Outside of the opinions of people, live your life! 

10. Read lots of books with different viewpoints. Study other people, how they live, love and think because it's hard to connect when you only see life from one side.

11. Step outside of your box. I'll be the first to admit that I hate change! Yet God doesn't really care whether I like it or not because throughout the past decade that's all I've experienced is one change after another. 

12. Find stability within your choices, your views (not just your opinions) and stand firm in your values. Now that doesn't equate or really apply to religion... I'm not one to tell people what to believe in because I'm firm in what I believe so I respect people's right to believe whatever they want.

13. Don't place your personal convictions or beliefs on others... Your job is to love. You're entitled to believe, worship and live how you choose but it is not your job to FORCE those beliefs on others. Just live what you believe, people will see it. 

14. Don't take offense so easily. Believe it or not... The world doesn't revolve around YOU! People don't wake up thinking of how can they offend you today. We take so much to heart sometimes and don't realize that maybe just maybe certain things weren't even said or done with us in mind. Get over yourself my friend.

15. Make peace with your flaws. I have no rhythm, two left feet and hair that doesn't cooperate most days.  

16. 29 isn't the end of life... If anything it is the end of a journey. Your 20's will be a roller coaster IF you're actually living life and not just existing. The past year of my life has been the most chaotic yet the most quiet if that even makes sense. I've had days, weeks, months where it felt like time was standing still. Nothing felt like it was changing, moving or happening some days but I grew in those quiet moments.

17. Turn off your time clock/alarm! There's a myth that if you get married or have babies after 25 then you're late to some party. Don't put time limits or restrictions on your life my loves! Trust that whatever the timing is for certain events in YOUR life is God ordained. 

18. Romantic relationships/Marriage are not the cure all for your loneliness... I repeat... Another person can not fill your voids if you're unhappy with YOURSELF! Find yourself.

19. People will disappoint you, they will hurt you and confuse you, that is a fact. Don't look for validation in anyone but the one who created you! You will find yourself becoming frustrated and burned out if you continue to put people on pedestals.

20. You're human... You're human... YOU'RE human. You're going to make mistakes, you're going to make choices that you may not be proud of but do NOT beat yourself up. Do not shame, belittle or carry your bad decisions. We were not created to carry the weight of shame so let it go! You can spend your entire life harping, regretting and hating yourself for a choice(s) that you made or you can grow from it. Nobody is perfect and that's ok. There is a lesson and a consequence to every decision that we make, be mindful of the people that you let ride this rollercoaster with you. 



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