What I Wore
I received this fuss free midi dress from Baukjen, which has become a staple in my closet because there are so many styling possibilities! Since I was enjoy the dress on a warmer and humid day in Florida, I wanted to accessorize it with more fresh and simple accessories. The white black heeled slides and sunglasses are a fresh contrast and my beautiful stud earrings add a bit of feminity to the modern elements.
Over my winter holiday, I had a lot of time on my hands. I think two weeks was a bit of an overkill to give myself off because boredom hit me like a brick wall. Anyways, we’re well into 2020 and I wanted to discuss more about what I’ve been reflecting on over the last several months. It’s no surprise that the last 16 months have been about growth, change and closing chapters in my life. One thing I did a lot of recently was reflecting on the last decade of my life. I came into this decade without any goals in mind just because I know how the world can change in an instance for anyone. So I wanted to let go of that pressure. Now that I’m settled into my 30s, I thought I would discuss the biggest mistakes I avoided in my 20s.
Just to add a disclaimer here, what I may deem as a mistake or failure might not be for everyone. So please read this as a reflective post that gives you a better understanding of who I am.
Luckily I grew up in a multilingual household, but the moment I knew where I wanted my career to go I worked hard to learn another language (outside of the regional languages I speak). I started studying Arabic in my undergraduate days and went on with it for years later through graduate school and night classes in London until I felt comfortable enough to refine on my own. I can’t even tell you how much time I spent studying for the language, listening to radio shows, watching the regional news in Arabic, and meeting with different language partners. Being able to speak Arabic is what makes me stand apart from every person in the room and it is precisely why I got to lead the life and career I have. Whenever I receive messages from people seeking advice who are going to study business, international relations, or public health, I always tell them to work relentlessly towards learning a new language because it gives you grounded and provides a different perspective.
Having One Income Stream
We live in a world where the economy is encouraging us to become multi-hyphenates and having a limited skillset just isn’t enough to get to that next level. I searched high and low to look for ways to bring on a passive income, but also learn a new skill along the way. At the time I was going through this, I was entering the 4th year of blogging. Blogging was always a digital space for me to document my life and stay connected with family and friends around the world. It’s at that moment I realized that I could take something I loved doing so much already and monetize it all whilst learning the technical elements of digital marketing and branding that I didn’t have official certification for. Now I’m in the position where I can leverage my blog to help with my career and support my financial goals.
Getting Married in my 20s
Well, this one is going to cause some disputes, but I’m just going to say that I’m glad I didn’t get married in my 20s. I come from a culture that is slow to evolve and puts so much pressure on girls to get married. I was approached a few times by middle parties to introduce me to suitors, but luckily my parents supported my aspirations and asked for a bit of space instead. My 20s allowed me to grow on my own, make mistakes and learn from them, and build my confidence that I know I wouldn’t have been able to if my focus was on a family. I did want to get married, but not at all for the right reasons. My definition of marriage was so different then than it is now and I see that reflected in the relationships I’ve been in. It scares me to now know that my values are completely different today than they were at the age of 27 just a few years ago and I feel so much more content with who I am today than ever before. Honestly, there’s a lot I want to say about this and maybe I’ll save it for another post.
Not Taking a Risk
This time two years ago my brother got the job offer that sounded too good to be true. The salary was high, the benefits were unparalleled, and the job title alone was going to open doors. I had my doubts and reservations and felt that he was chasing superficial values rather than doing his due diligence. After sleeping on it, I built the courage to talk to my dad about the reservations and his reply was ingenious. He said that my brother was in the perfect position to take on a risk that could end up failing him because he was young and wasn’t committed to supporting someone, which made him resilient.
That risk was packing up and going to London for me! I had no strings attached and only needed myself to look after. It was an easy decision (albeit difficult with living in a different country from friends and family) that I knew wouldn’t be possible further down the line. Ironically, I got an offer right when it would have been ideal to “settle down” and here we are with a fistful of accomplishments that actually would never have been possible in an alternative or “safe” situation.
Focused Only on my Career
I guess I did this for a bulk of my 20s until I was around 27 and had a bit of a crisis when I woke up to a panic attack. The following years leading up to my 30s were spent figuring out how I can incorporate a bit of balance in my life. I started focusing a lot more on mindfulness and self-care. As I continued to figure out what “balance” looked like for me, I did wish I started a bit earlier. Finding peace in my work and being able to say no or stop working helped me gain confidence in myself and my goals. I felt clarity in every aspect of my life and found myself linking each task, chore, and skill together. It’s a magical feeling when you are happy with the pace and process of your work. Now I’m in a space where I can shake things up if I want to because I have full control over my wellbeing.
Work Enough Just to Get By
My grandfather always told me that if I worked hard now then I can enjoy my life later after I asked him why he didn’t have to go to work one day. That stuck with me and remained my mantra through my teens and twenties. I knew that my teens and twenties were the years to set up my foundation. I worked day and night to figure out where I needed to position myself. I got two academic degrees from reputable universities, learned a language, built a profitable side hustle, established a business, and positioned myself in a niche. These are the years that will give you the peak stream of creative energy and strength, so why not take advantage of it? It’s now so comforting to know what path I’m on and have a clear understanding of what lies ahead even if there are curveballs.
As much as this is a reflection of my 20s, it’s also a little reminder to appreciate and work towards your independence. It gives you a sense of accomplishment and enhances your self-value and worth, but also teaches you to tackle so many types of challenges that we will eventually face. It’s one thing to believe you’re independent, but another to actually be it. So believe in yourself!