Thrive in your twenties

Thriving In Your Twenties | Darling Magazine

Times are changing. While the twenties were once considered the pioneering season of adulthood, they are now considered by many to be a developmental extension of adolescence. Some attribute this phenomenon to the struggling economy, where more and more college graduates are moving back home. Others say that the pressure to perform and succeed is immobilizing our generation or propelling us toward burnout, keeping us from thriving in our twenties. Whatever our situation, whether we are working in our dream job or looking for a job, whether we are married or single, we have a responsibility to seize these precious years and set our adult lives on the right trajectory.

Don’t Waste the Years
The culture’s message is that the twenties don’t count and you can get serious about life when you turn thirty. The message is that your twenties are for having fun and nothing deeper. What this myth neglects to tell you is that being intentional with your work and relationships in your twenties is the best way to prepare for your 30’s and beyond. We perform how we practice. We cannot expect to arrive at our 30’s living the way we dream of living, without preparing for these dreams in this decade.

Work on Your Relationship With Yourself
A dream for many (not all) young women in their twenties is to find “the guy”…”the one.” The dream of a serious relationship can have girls fixated on altering themselves or putting their own aspirations on hold in order to pursue their quest toward the altar. Here, we must examine the message that we are giving ourselves…that we need someone to complete us or that we are worthless outside of a serious romantic relationship. Whether you are in a serious relationship or not, the best way to prepare for your eventual marriage is to work on your relationship with yourself. It is very difficult to have a healthy relationship with others if we are unable to have a healthy relationship with ourselves. Inside or outside a relationship, be intentional about learning about yourself and growing in relationship with others in order to lay the foundation for the best marriage possible in the future.

Learn From Others
While you may not have your dream job just yet, now is the perfect time to learn from those that do. One of the biggest mistakes we can make in our twenties is not continuing our education whether we are actually in school or not. Invite mentors into your life and cultivate relationships with people you admire both personally and professionally and take the opportunity to learn from the people a few steps ahead of you on the path. Being teachable and willing to learn is time well spent

Learn From Your Mistakes
The twenties are the perfect years to try, fail, learn, and try again. The important thing is not that you do things perfectly the first time, but that you learn from your mistakes and use what you learn to take steps forward toward your goals and the woman you want to become. Choosing to live only for the moment without regard for what the past has taught you or your hopes for the future can lead to a life resembling a bad reality TV show. Instead, give yourself the gift of a beautiful story…you are worth it!

Start Somewhere
The media does a wonderful job of glamorizing the twenties. It’s the picture of a funky, yet artfully collected apartment in the “up and coming” neighborhood of New York City where the characters wear a wardrobe envied by any cosmopolitan girl and pay for all of this with their entry-level position at a small, no-name company. It is easy to graduate from college and expect to arrive at the front door of our dreams the very next day. When these are our expectations, we often miss stepping stones along the path toward the success that we hope to attain. Everyone starts somewhere and chances are the person who holds your dream position didn’t start there. Be willing to make sacrifices and take learning opportunities that will help you get where you want to go. We can’t expect to start at the finish line. We must be willing to run the race. Love where you are and grow from there. Start somewhere.

Despite what culture might say, the twenties are precious years…years to be savored, enjoyed, and used intentionally. The best time to prepare for your future is now. Take the opportunity to lay the groundwork for the beautiful life you have ahead and create a story you’ll feel excited about.

Image via J.Crew and Cappuccinos



  1. I really enjoyed reading this. Lately, as I am approaching the end of my grad school program, I have felt like such a failure at the ripe young age of 23. I desperately want to work in humanitarian relief and just feel vastly under-qualified. It is articles like this and daily pep talks that I realize where I am right now is good – I am in the perfect spot to learn and take control of what I want to do! Thank you for this!

  2. Really appreciated this post as a 26-year-old. Validating to my experience and also hopeful and encouraging all at the same time. Thank you!

  3. Thank you for your feedback and courage in sharing your personal experiences and how this article has touched your stories. It looks like the best is yet to come for each of you! Thanks again for your thoughtful reflections!

  4. Thank you for your post. This was quite refreshing. Its nice to look back not only at my mistakes, but also at my accomplishments. I am applying for a Master’s program, I am improving my body, and I am divorced at 23. I definitely learned a lot from these experiences. I cannot say I regret anything. There’s more I need to achieve before I settle down with a mature and successful partner. I feel like time is against me, but I know I am closer now than ever before.

  5. As a 19 year old this post was really gave me a new insight to my twenties. Most other posts and blogs discuss using your twenties to just have fun and live carefree. I know that 20 is a serious age its an age to prepare and learn more about yourself. A stepping stone to achieving and attaining dreams.

  6. I literally sat up in my seat when I scrolled to this post. I’m in my early 20s and it was so refreshing to see a post addressed to me, right where I am in life right now–not despairing over no longer being a graduate or waiting to be older in order to be taken more seriously.

  7. This is your time make the best of it!

  8. As I am in my early-mid twenties and feeling that I should be “somebody” or working to be “somebody” this post was a reminder that it is okay to enjoy these years rather than watching them pass before my eyes. Thank you 🙂

  9. Thank you for this. This is a great reminder that it just takes time. I have two more years of design school and I’m encouraged to reach out and invite much needed mentors into my life as well as to continue kmaking my dreams come true, slowly in my twenties.

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