10 Lessons I’ve Learned in my 20s — Blog

Being in your twenties is a time for growth and reflection. Passing the halfway mark, I reflect on ten lessons I have learned so far.

Brianna Williams
5 min readFeb 17, 2022


Brianna is staring down at the book she is holding. Their hair is in a wash and go. The background is blue sky and green, freshly cut grass. She is wearing a black muscle top.

I have been alive for about 26 years on this earth, and I can tell you there are tons of lessons I have had to learn the hard way. There are also some lessons I have learned quickly. Being 20 something can have its up and downs, but as I’ve crossed over into the mid-’20s, I have taken the time to reflect on these lessons. I am happy to share ten lessons I’ve learned in my 20’s so far.

  1. You are never too old to learn. You might be thinking, “you’re not even old,” but once we reach a particular milestone like graduating from high school or college, you may not think there is anything left to educate you. I thought I knew it all at 21, and now at 26, I am looking back, realizing that was not the case. Even now, I am still learning. I am learning things about myself, finances, and relationships. I have learned always to be open to new information.
  2. There are friends for a lifetime and friends for a season. The idea of losing someone close to me used to cripple me so much that I would allow toxic relationships with “friends” to thrive in my life and reek havoc where it shouldn’t have. I have learned that people are temporary, even family members, and that if someone can’t respect you and your boundaries, they should not be in your life. You can choose yourself, wish someone well, and walk out the door.
  3. Hair is not everything. There is this obsession with having long, natural hair in the Black community. When I decided to stop getting relaxers, I transitioned and allowed my hair to grow out some instead of a big chop outright. I cut all the permed ends off a year later and had the shortest hair I could ever remember having. I learned that beauty is not in my hair. Even though I didn’t shave my head, my hair was still pretty short, and I had to learn how to feel confident in myself with my new look. Don’t put everything in your features. Your hair is not the most beautiful thing about you. Your hair can go away. But you will still be. And you are just as beautiful with or without it.
  4. Politics in your relationships are essential. Politics are in everything. Whether you are a minority, an immigrant, LGBTQ+, disabled, fat, or all of the above, you should be political. If you cannot count on your romantic partner(s), friends, or family to fall behind you in times of need, you have some evaluating to do. I believed that my friends and I didn’t need to have similar political ideals to be friends. But then, how could I really trust or love someone who didn’t value the same things I do? How could that person really love me?
  5. Money does equal happiness. You can pay bills, buy things you need, and even use them to reach your goals with cash. Not having money causes nothing but stress, which is bad for you. Stress makes you angry, sad, and depressed. Money isn’t going to make you happy, no. But it will aid in your happiness. If you have money, you have more room to focus on living rather than surviving.
  6. You don’t have to be everything to everyone. I am still learning this, but it’s important to remember that you are not a therapist. You cannot be emotionally available to others all the time, especially when you need to take care of yourself. You don’t always have to be the nurturer. You don’t always have to be the planner. You don’t always have to be the teacher. I struggled for a long time, drawing boundaries where I could assist people. I still struggle with this. I have a hard time saying no to the people I love. I always felt like I have to do everything and be everything to them. But I don’t, and neither do you.
  7. There is no shame in doing something that genuinely makes you happy. If you need to move to a new city, buy a new car, or quit your job take the steps you need to do to make that happen. You are young. Find ways to make yourself genuinely happy no matter what. Don’t just do things for other people, do them for you even if you have children, even if you have pets, even if all of your friends are in your hometown. If you do it, you will feel so much better. Learn never to feel bad for choosing yourself. This doesn’t mean being selfish or never giving. But for people who find it hard to put themselves first, I think this step is important. You can’t help others with an empty cup. Fill yours so you can come back and help your community fill theirs.
  8. Healthy doesn’t look the same for everyone. Exercising is essential, but the appearance of one’s body does not equal health. Someone skinny can be malnourished, and someone bigger can be the healthiest person in the world. Our bodies are not composed the same. Know that if you have a well-balanced lifestyle and get movement in, you will be okay. You don’t need to lift weights or go on a mile run to be a part of some unattainable weight class. Those people on the internet don’t even look like that in real life. Neither will you.
  9. Always wash your face before bed-skincare matters. Be kind to your skin. Take the time to pamper your skin every day and provide the nutrients and moisture it needs. You don’t need a lot of things, especially when you are only 20-something. Just know that going to bed with dirty skin is……dirty. And you don’t want the gunk from the day on your pillows. It’s okay. We have all done it before. But the point is to stop now. Keep your skin healthy and fresh by constantly washing it before bed. Don’t allow the dirt, pollution, sweat, and grime to go to bed with you.
  10. Don’t eat foods you’re intolerant to. You will notice a difference in your body and skin if you just put down the dairy. Or the gluten. *insert intolerant food here

I have enjoyed my 20’s to the fullest. I have a lot of “I shouldn’t have” moments. I would rather have “shouldn’t have”s rather than “I should’ve”s. My life has been adventurous and compelling. But it’s not done yet. I still have many more lessons to learn. And so do you. What are some lessons you have learned in your 20's?

Originally published at https://shiblaqbri.com on October 5, 2020.

Brianna is a writer and beauty blogger based in Ohio. She uses beauty topics to transition into discussions involving race, consumerism, and wellness. You can find them on Twitter @Shiblaqbri. They would love for you to follow them on Medium and support their work by liking, commenting, and sharing.



Brianna Williams

Brianna [bree-ANN-nah] is a queer blogger and writer in Ohio. She uses beauty topics to transition into discussions involving race, consumerism, and wellness.