Cheers to our early twenties

Sunday, January 3, 2021

This is a blog entry that should've went live last year a couple of days after my birthday in December, but life happened and so I'm sharing these with you now. I think there's no exact 'right time' to share birthday reflections, since these are life milestones. 

One of the things I do every year is to write about my birthdays, whether it be through here on the blog or through little notes safely tucked inside my journals and planners. I don't do anything particularly grand on this day, but it's just my way of looking back and reflecting on the things I've learned and experienced. 

By now, this entry has gone through some edits, because I honestly just remembered that I needed to share this when I registered for a virtual pottery workshop this afternoon. In the registration form, I've had to state my age. I stared at the blank field for quite some time before typing in '25'

I guess it hasn't quite sunk in yet that I'm already in my mid twenties. Even the topics I discuss with my friends have now revolved mostly around investments, housing, and career paths. These are certainly big things to talk about and I'm still figuring these out! But I take it as a sign that we are truly growing up, and I'm grateful we actually care to have open conversations on these kinds of things. 

They say 25 is the age when people start to think seriously about the future, of how decisions from this point on will trigger a ripple effect towards the later adult years. Thinking about this statement honestly gives me a bit of pressure, but I'd take it as a good kind. Sometimes, we need a push to get things rolling forward, and though even if we're unsure where we're going, it just matters that we're moving.

That's how I envision myself to be at this point in life. Many times I've felt frustrated with fearing the unknown, with trying to think too far ahead into the future. But I've come to terms with the fact that even though I don't exactly have everything figured out right down to the tee, I know I'm still trying my best to get bits and pieces of learnings that will be valuable for my growth. 

But even before I arrived into this kind of thinking, I've also had to go through my early twenties. I'd say those years were a time for refinement. Yes, I think if I've had to sum up all those years in one word, it would be refinement. Looking back at and describing myself, I was so naïve about the world and was filled with uncontained energy which I didn't know where or how to direct. I know I can't be alone when seeing our younger selves in this way-- I personally didn't know what to expect entering into my twenties. But for sure I had much to learn, and I've had to refine most of my mindsets and actions. For me to become a respectable young woman, I knew I had to outgrow certain mannerisms, too.

And so allow me to share with you 24 learnings from over these refining years. 24, because I still have the rest of this year to experience being 25. You may have seen them around here on the blog as I'm pretty sure I've written about them at some point (I also admit I lifted most of them from around here hehe), but here is my list to sum it all up. I consider these as notes to myself also:

  1. Live with a spirit of faith and courage, and not of fear
  2. 30 is not the new 20 - it's a good idea to invest in ourselves and our skills earlier on
  3. Know our inner strengths and leverage them
  4. Our weaknesses will always be opportunities to do better
  5. Asking for help is a form of helping ourselves
  6. The best time is always time spent offline
  7. Let's take good care of our health earlier on - eat right, sleep early, and exercise regularly
  8. The kind of energy we surround ourselves with matters; choose friends wisely, and they don't have to be a lot
  9. Much can be accomplished with a clear mind; never underestimate the power of writing things down all the time
  10. Save money and invest, we can allow our savings to grow while working hard
  11. Live within our means, there's no one we have to impress
  12. We can focus our energy on what we can control, and what other people think about us is definitely not part of that
  13. We will never be too old for hobbies; our consistency towards them can potentially reflect and overflow to other aspects of life
  14. Live day by day, let's do the best we can today and tomorrow will take care of itself 
  15. Idle times are necessary to rest and recharge in order for us to continue doing the good work
  16. Cultivating self-awareness will take time, yet it is so essential
  17. It's never too late to start, and it just matters that we start somewhere
  18. We are doing our best and we are doing well, more than we give ourselves credit for
  19. Routines can be something to enjoy and can be flexible according to what works best for us
  20. We can be generous and genuine with our words, especially if it is for building others up
  21. Best to check our intentions and let things flow naturally instead of forcing ourselves onto something not meant for us
  22. We will continue to learn and unlearn as we go through life
  23. Our parents will always be our greatest cheerleaders, love them well
  24. Let's enjoy where we are planted right now 

I know these are not new to us, and these are all learnings we probably already know, but sometimes it helps to remind ourselves. How I wish I could carry around a sticky note with all of these reminders intact! Because I often find myself succumbing to old habits too.. indeed, no one is perfect.

I also know we all have different experiences, but I'd like to still say, cheers to our early twenties. In whatever form they have taken or manifested into, they are part of what has formed us into who we are today. All the lessons, mistakes, unpleasant experiences, victories-- looking back at all these help us look forward to the future.

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In other thrilling news-- I finally got a domain! It's been a while as Hello Anna Jo, and so I figured it's time to claim the name for my own. It's a small change, but I felt so incredibly giddy about it. 

Thank you to you, dear reader, who has been here with me since I started writing on here (or if you've come across this humble space just recently, I welcome you!); for seeing me grow, for our conversations, and for the time you spend reading my words. Being part of your day, even in such a small way, brings me joy. 

Wishing you a great week ahead. 

16 comments

  1. Happy belated birthday Anna! I'm also 25 and have to agree, it was a little daunting to reach that milestone. I like what you said about your early 20s being a time of refinement. Most of the time I feel unaccomplished compared to my peers, but then I remember just how much I've achieved over the past five years. And that it's also okay to just do life at my own pace :)

    Congrats on the domain by the way, that's such an exciting step to take!

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    1. Thank you so much, Mani! I guess I saw my early 20s as a transition from being all over the place to being more.. toned down, more organized, more mindful and thoughtful with myself and others. I very much agree, that life definitely is best lived at our own pace. But above all else, let's enjoy the life we have :)

      Thank you so much! I know I took my time, but I finally did it. :D Have a great rest of your week!!

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  2. Enjoyed reading through this entry, Anna! Your birthday posts have always been a beautiful and inspiring look at how you've grown each year. I'm so proud and happy for you!

    Also, congratulations on the domain and the new look! Best birthday/Christmas gift to self ;) Keep doing what you love and enjoy! I love you!

    Cheers,
    Ate Hanna / Heydays With Hanna

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    1. Thanks so much ate Hannah!! It is great to be growing each year; God is truly good.

      Indeed, let's keep doing what we love ;) Love you!!

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  3. Happy belated birthday! That cake is adorable! These are wonderful lessons to have learned at such a younger age. I'm 27 and still don't know what I want to do with my life either. I've noticed as I approach my 30s I feel more pressure start to build up because I don't have long-term plans like others. I honestly think society makes us think that we need to have all our problems sorted out by the time we reach our 30s but we're all different and have different plans and goals. I try to remind myself that whenever I feel uncertain about my future.

    Congrats on getting a domain! That's amazing! I'm a new reader and really love your blog posts that I've read so far! ♥

    www.mooeyandfriends.com

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    1. Thank you so much, Michelle! :") My friends got it for me, and I really loved it so much. I feel uncertain about my future many, many times, but just as you said, we do life at our own pace. It's really never too late, and we can always make the best out of the time we have in ways that are personally meaningful for us.

      Thank you again, and yes, I'm a new reader of yours too. :") looking forward to reading more of your blog entries! Have a lovely day.

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  4. Happy belated birthday!! I always love when people reflect on their birthdays and the things they have learned each year! I especially like 6 (the best time is time spent offline) & 17 (it's never too late to start), that's great advice. Also congrats on your domain and the new theme, happy new year!! ♡

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    1. Thank you dear! :) I am doing 6 more often, since we live in a time where we're so attached to our screens.. it can be tiring. And yes to 17-- what matters is that we start; that's already a huge step. And thank you!! I am happy with my new theme, because green really is my favorite color ♡♡♡ wishing you all the best for this year!!

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  5. i totally agree with all those 24 life lessons you've mentioned. i actually had the urge to write them down in my journal so i can reread and get reminded of them every now and then.

    i'm also turning 25 in a few days and i've been quite reflecting about the life the i've been living. it feels a bit weird to say that i am already 25 in a few, but realizing how much i've grown over the years, it fills me up with gratitude. i am genuinely thankful for the life that i have and i'm grateful for having the chance to discover and be part of this blogging community. it's been a part of who i am right now, and the awesome persons around here (one of them is you, of course) has been serving as my inspirations.

    on another note, congrats on finally getting a domain! and i must add... i totally love the new look of your blog.

    stay safe, Anna!


    sincerely, riz

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    1. Happy Birthday in advance, Mariz! :) It's always a wonderful thing to do, to reflect back on the years we've gone through, and realizing that while we weren't aware of it at that moment, we were actually growing and maturing. Being part of this blogging community is definitely part of my life too, and I'm grateful in having met all of you virtually. Ya'll awesome ;) hehe

      Thank you so much, and I honestly couldn't have done it without your wisdom and guidance. Haha!! ;) and yes, going for green this year, because I've always gone for white clean minimalist blog layouts! :")

      Stay safe and well always ♡♡♡

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  6. Happy belated birthday! I felt the same when I hit 25 - I couldn't justify being in my early-twenties anymore.... I started getting my quarter life crisis at 24, so it hit different with feeling the need to do certain things by that age. The pandemic is making it harder. Love these reminders to yourself. So important to save money, especially as a woman. We want to be able to depend on ourselves. We don't need to live by society rules, we do great on our own. It is great that you're getting a domain!!! It is a worthwhile investment - might as well if you actually enjoy blogging and have a job that pays for it!

    Nancy ✨ mdrnminimalists.com

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    1. There's that certain feeling that comes with 25... when I was in my early twenties I felt like it would go on for longer, but nope, 25 has arrived! Let's keep doing our best though :") Definitely agree with you on saving and investing money; always good to have an early start, and I don't think I would regret doing these two things. And thank you so much, indeed it is great to have a day job that provides and allows me to have this domain. I truly enjoy blogging so much. Thank you for your time with me on here, Nancy!!

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  7. Belated Happy Birthday! This month I turned 25 too. I wanted to write a birthday post but I see you wrote one and you wrote how I felt haha. Yeah! Congratulations on your domain!

    Kandice, www.kandicekaye.com

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    1. Thank you so much, Kandice! And Happiest Birthday to you <3 wow, it's amazing, we're very much near in age. I'm so glad to meet and get to know fellow writers and readers who are within the same age range. :") haha, you should still totally write a birthday post. It's always a good idea to write one, and I would love to read it. All I'm really grateful for is being able to have a space to share my writings, and meet with kindred souls like you! thank you so much for your time with me on here, and have a great rest of your week. :)

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  8. Oooh I read this very late, but I wanted to very belatedly congratulate you with reaching 25! I feel like your list is so mature and thought-through. You're starting your 'midtwenties' with great intention (and a domain!! yay!) and I hope things will work out for you :)

    I often wish I was a better person, and often I feel "behind" in life with all the things I want to do, hopes and dreams I have. But I can honestly say as a 28-year-old I feel like we're always exactly where we need to be in life.

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    1. Hello Louise, thank you so much for your time in reading this!! And thank you for your kind words and well wishes. Really happy about the domain; it makes me energized to write more hehe

      I no longer care so much about timelines; I just care that I'm learning as much as I can and trying my best to be present and to enjoy the journey!! It's really great that you feel that way at 28. I believe things will just fall into place, and perhaps we don't have to force anything. Just keep going. :")

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