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29 and Feeling Fine: How I’m Approaching the Last Year of My 20s

How I’m Approaching the Last Year of My 20s

29 and feeling fine.

As I turn 29 in February 2021, I find myself feeling all sorts of ways. To be perfectly honest, I’ve loved every minute of my twenties. My twenty-something years have involved some of the biggest moments of my life to date:

  • Graduated from college at 22.
  • Fell in love with my soulmate at 22.
  • Got my first apartment at 23.
  • Became a dog mom at 24.
  • Adopted a second dog at 26.
  • Bought my first house at 26.
  • Got engaged to my soulmate at 27.
  • Married him at 28.
  • Got promoted to a senior level position in my career at 28.

In addition to these important life milestones, my twenties have involved an incredible amount of international travel through school, work, and for pleasure.

Throughout my twenties I visited Canada, England, France, Greece, Turkey, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Czech Republic, Croatia, Bermuda, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, and Mexico. The beautiful places I’ve seen and each experience I had abroad truly taught me something about myself as a person.

I’ve learned important life lessons, like how to manage my money, how to communicate with others when we don’t speak the same language, how to follow my instincts and sense of direction, and what it means to be white, a woman, and an American.

I’ve also learned the not so wonderful things about myself, like my tendency to overpack, the fact that I can be impatient with others, my tendency to control any situation I’m in, and the stress that mounts inside of me when I’m running late or feel rushed.

In a lot of ways, my twenties have defined me as I’ve become an adult. This was the decade when I experienced success as a college graduate, independence, cohabitation with a partner, the joys of being a dog owner, how it feels to be laid off from a job, the hardships that come with unemployment (thanks COVID-19), the stresses and perks of being a homeowner, the love of family and friends as I got married, the love and commitment of being married, the professional success of getting promoted, and all of the crazy ups and downs in between.

Saying goodbye to the most life-changing decade of my life to date feels bittersweet and intimidating all at once. Having had so many highlights, achievements, and milestones in my twenties makes me wonder how my thirties could possibly be better. I’m 29 and feeling fine, but certainly struggling with how to end one decade and begin another.

Being on the cusp of 30 has made me realize there are things about myself and my life that I want to bid farewell in my 20s, and other things I’d like to carry with me into my 30s.

Things I plan to leave behind in my 20s:

  • Comparing myself to others. I’ve lived and I’ve learned enough to know by now that the comparison game is unhealthy and can even be toxic. I’m done with trying to compare myself to other people. The only person I want to compare myself to and compete with is the version of myself I was yesterday.
  • Selling myself short. What good does it do to sell yourself short? Nada. I’m done with not only selling myself short in my own mind, but also projecting that out into the world. You are what you eat just as much as you are how you treat yourself. I’m saying goodbye to the idea that I’m not enough. I am enough – more than enough.
  • Lacking confidence. I spent far too many years of my twenties lacking confidence. I didn’t feel confident in my body, my voice, my thoughts, my intelligence, and so on. And I let so much time go by thinking I didn’t have the right to be confident in my own skin. And to be perfectly honest? I’m not even sure where that thought came from. All I can say now looking back is that lacking confidence has never served me, and so I am done feeling that way. I deserve better.

Things I plan to carry into my 30s:

  • Happiness. I’m prioritizing my happiness in this next phase of life. Why? Because life’s short, and none of us knows how long we have left. I want my thirty-something years to be full of joy. I want to make happiness my number one goal because a happy life is a fulfilled one.
  • A positive attitude. Reflecting on all of the amazing milestones I’ve accomplished so far in my life fuels me with positive energy. I want to use that positivity to maintain a positive attitude in my thirties. Sure, I’ll have bad days, experience failures and loss, and get sidetracked – that’s all part of life. But a positive attitude can combat any negativity that comes my way and I’m determined to stay optimistic about what the future holds.
  • A strong love for life. Too many people find themselves so engrossed in their routines and habitual cycles that they neglect to look up and appreciate the beauty of life all around them. I want to take my passion for travel, my love of new experiences, and my positivity to encourage myself to love the gift that is life. Life truly is a gift. I want to look up and appreciate all that I have – my loved ones, my health, my family, my success, the beauty around me – and never lose sight of how blessed I am. 

How I’m Approaching the Last Year of My 20s

I want to take this final year of being a twenty-something to heart. I want to relish in all of the good that happened over this decade and use it to prepare for the next phase of life.

While it’s true that any age can be important, meaningful, and memorable, I’ve felt really blessed with my twenties. For some, their twenty-something years are full of heartbreak, trial and error, failures, and a sense of feeling lost. While I had episodes of all that, I really believe the good outweighed the bad.

I can only hope that my thirty-something years will be full of love, joy, and even more milestones. I’d love to see as much of the world and experience as much as possible in my lifetime. I feel so lucky that I got to document my twenty-something journey here at GenTwenty.

It’s been a gift to connect with fellow twenty-somethings and experience the highs and lows of this defining decade together. Thank you for supporting my writing and sticking with me as I’ve transitioned from a single, college student living at her parents’ house to a married, senior level professional with a home of her own. So much can change in the span of a decade!

About the Author

Rachael Warren (Tulipano)

Rachael is a University of Southern Maine graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and a minor in Sociology. She remotely works full-time as a Senior Content Marketing Specialist for Champlain College in Burlington, Vermont. In her leisure time, Rachael enjoys traveling with her husband, finding the next Netflix series to binge, and taking too many photos of her dogs Jax and Kai. Rachael is obsessed with chapstick, favors the Oxford comma, and is a proud Mainer. You'll likely find her exploring New England + beyond.