Editor's note: This article was originally published on Hilarye Fuller's blog DottingTheMap.com. It has been used here with permission.
I'm a little over 6 months away from turning the big 3-0, and I've taken a lot of time to ponder on these last 10 years and what lessons I've learned, trials I've overcome and how I have changed overall as a person. A lot of big things happened in these past ten years, getting married, having three children, graduating college, starting a career, becoming a stay-at-home mom, leaving it all to pursue our dreams, moving cross country and shifting our focus. Through all of this I've learned a little about life and a lot about myself and my family including these 5 surprising lessons I've learned in my twenties.
People can and do change... for the better
We have always heard that old mantra — people don't change. Well, it's simply not true. We are constantly moving, changing and going in different directions. I think that it all depends on what is going on in your life at the time and the mindset. But let me tell you from where I am now (29) and where I was at 20 are completely different places. I know who I am now, what I stand for and feel confident in myself and my abilities. I've also seen friends and family members I know who had really hard times and lost themselves and their focus and then completely changed and remolded themselves into great parents and functioning members of society. So if you feel lost in your early twenties know that this is not the end, you can still become who you want to be. Change for the better starts with one step forward.
Miracles do exist
I guess, I always believed that miracles existed and probably had witnessed them from afar, but it really was ages 25-29 that made me open my eyes to the very real possibilities of them, acknowledge and recognize them in my own life and the life of others, including family. Because of that, I have developed a closer relationship to my Heavenly Father.
You don't know a person's heart by looking at them
I struggled with snap judgements of people and quickly categorized them before I barely knew them. I wouldn't say I did this out of a mean girl nature, more out of human nature. I met you and quickly analyzed you and where you would fall on my spectrum and how we would communicate and associate in the future. This was helpful a lot of times. But the problem was that quite a few people that I thought I wouldn't get along with, or we had too many differences to be friends, became some of my best friends and confidences. Which made me realize that until you take a good long look at someone and find out where their heart is you will never understand them. And even after doing so you still may never know their heart so it's best to not judge overall.
Slowing down and focusing on dreams is a good thing
In a world where societal pressures tell us we need new cars, nice clothes and fancy houses before 30, it was hard to understand this. It's also really really hard and takes a lot of faith, patience and failing. Along with this I've learned failing isn't necessarily a bad thing. If you are open to it, it will lead you into paths that you may have not otherwise taken. Right now in our lives we gave up a steady job, steady income and just about all our security (and some dignity) to pursue our family dreams. It hasn't paid off yet but we are happier and optimistic about our future.
Happiness cannot be bought
This is probably the hardest lesson I've had to learn. By going bare bones in our finances to make our dreams come true I've truly come to find joy and peace in even the most simplest blessings. By having less and doing less, I've learned to enjoy life more. I've learned even more what is the most important part of our existence, and I'm truly grateful for this. It's an understanding I will treasure for the rest of my life. I can be happy even if I have nothing, even when my trials outweigh my triumphs. As long as I'm turned toward God and Christ there will be sunshine in my life and my family's lives.