Things we shouldn’t regret doing in our twenties:

I’ve been having a lot of different conversations recently about being almost thirty. Most of them involve reminiscing about silly things we did in our twenties, analyzing how far we have come and wondering if we are getting this thing called life right. I’ve noticed that so many of my friends are asking themselves this question in some way or form. Am I on the right track? Was that decision I made 10 years ago the right one? Did I waste 5 years of my life with the wrong person? If I had said yes to that job offer would I be happier? Shouldn’t I have met the love of my life by now and be on my way to having 2.5 children?

These conversations have got me thinking…

Our 20’s are for learning, growing, changing our minds, making mistakes, being uncomfortable, having embarrassing moments, taking risks and chances and just generally figuring shit out. Yes, we made some stupid decisions; we didn’t save enough money, we were careless with our hearts and we spent too much time in the sun, but so what?

And then toward the end of our 20’s we put so much pressure on ourselves to have this “adulting” thing all figured out. We see our friends buying houses, having babies, travelling the world or getting promoted – all in different orders and to different degrees – and we lump all the successes of multiple different friends together and assume that we should be doing it all. But we forget that while friend-number-one might be the owner of his own business, he doesn’t exactly have his family life sorted, and friend-number-two already has two children and a beautiful family but she hasn’t seen nearly half as much of the world as friend-number-three. And we forget that we are only one person and we cannot do it all. Life is not a race or competition. It’s a journey with many different routes, taken at many different speeds, and at the end of the day, we all made the same sort of mistakes along the way.

I am the first to forget that, and am quick to compare my journey to that of my siblings and friends. So at twenty-nine (twenty-NINE) years of age, I made a list of things that we really shouldn’t regret doing in our twenties. (Some I did myself, and others I had the honour of watching my beloved friends do).

So here it is… In no particular order: The things we shouldn’t regret doing in our 20’s:

  • Spending too much money on things you didn’t really need
  • Running out of petrol (multiple times)
  • Falling asleep in McDonald’s drive-throughs
  • Road-tripping to music festivals without a solid plan and then trying to find a way for four girls to sleep comfortably in a little Corsa Lite
  • Kissing strangers in night-clubs
  • Spending hours in the gym only to realize you actually hate the place and then ordering a pizza on your way home
  • Getting sunburnt
  • Drinking cheap wine through straws and regretting it the next day
  • Living one day, week or month at a time because you aren’t really sure what comes next
  • Binge watching New Girl for the fifth time
  • Buying yourself flowers when there is no one to buy them for you
  • Hiking up mountains and getting caught in massive thunder storms
  • Spending entire days in your pajamas because you forgot to do laundry
  • Travelling alone, eating out alone, generally just being alone
  • Wearing spaghetti-strap tops as pencil skirts because you couldn’t afford the real deal
  • Working really hard for your degree, and then changing your mind at the last minute because its not your passion
  • Running out of money and then offering to fill your friends’ tanks with your dad’s garage card in exchange for cash
  • Singing at the top of your voice at a One Direction concert – or any concert for that matter
  • Travelling across the world for a boy who broke your heart because you think he deserved a second chance
  • Giving second chances at all (and thirds and fourths)
  • Finally finishing your medical training and then deciding to take a break from your over-achieving lifestyle for a while
  • Believing you are invincible
  • Eating the same thing for breakfast for months at a time
  • Relishing in (f)unemployment
  • Flirting with boys just for the fun of it
  • Flirting with boys just for a free drink (as long as you get your friends in on the deal)
  • Not quite knowing exactly who you are or what you want
  • Giving your heart away to charming Italian men
  • Giving your heart away in general
  • Dancing on speakers, and falling off speakers
  • Losing that expensive coat in a bar in Cape Town because you were having too much fun to look after it
  • Getting a tattoo
  • Getting ten tattoos
  • Standing up for your friends even if you made a fool of yourself doing so
  • Driving 60km out of your way to get the best view of the sunset
  • Making mistakes that you learnt something from
  • Going vegetarian and then eating a petrol-station rib pie at 2 o’clock in the morning after a night out
  • Walking away from something that didn’t feel right for you
  • Learning how to be gentle with other people’s hearts (and your own)
  • Changing your mind about religion, philosophy or politics
  • Trying and failing at something, at anything. At least you tried.
  • Wearing your heart on your sleeve
  • Believing you are grown up – you aren’t, but ‘fake it till you make it’ is a real thing

Our twenties are supposed to be messy and fun and full of life, and love and mistakes and lessons. I don’t think we should regret doing anything that helped us grow and become the people that we are today. And even now, we don’t have to know exactly what we are doing. We don’t all have to be on the same path at the same time. And we definitely don’t have to have it all figured out. That’s what our thirties are for. No pressure!

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