The 31 Secrets My 20’s Taught Me About Life

I turn thirty in two days, so I know a bunch of things now.


1. There will always come a point when I wonder what I ever saw in him anyway. It’s best to lift my chin, pull my shoulders back, and dance until my eyes are brighter than ever.

2. Children know things. They just do. It’s amazing. A three year old once said to me, “Wait, if the Dad doesn’t put the baby into the Mommy’s belly button, there must be some kind of secret entrance!”

3. I am ever changing, and ever growing. Just because I’ve been doing things a certain way, doesn’t mean I have to keep doing things that way.

4. Choices are either made out of love, or out of fear. I try my darndest to make my choices out of love for myself, for others, for the world, and for my passions.

5. I am what I do. I am a yogi because I practice yoga. I am salsa dancer because I dance salsa. I am a writer because I write. I am healthy because I check in with my body. I become better and better at these things as I continue my practice.

6. Everyone lives in their own sense of reality. Some people were raised to fill the ice tray after every use, others were taught to fill it when it’s empty. Always assume the other person means no harm, explain your normal, and ask if they can humor you.

7. My voice is worthy of being heard. My message isn’t for everyone, but it is for the people who are meant to find it. When I was a kid, I always feared my voice wouldn’t work during ice-breaker games on the first day of school. I would start clearing my throat long before my turn, hoping I would sound confident when the time came to say my name. Lost in a household with six other kids, I didn’t feel heard. I didn’t know my voice mattered. The universe has given me similar obstacles/opportunities to assert myself ever since. I’m great at speaking up now.

8. Some days it’s easy to love myself. Some days it’s harder. Every day matters, there’s always beauty in the journey.

9. People want to connect and be loved. Being present and kind wherever I go has a tremendous effect on others. Everyone you encounter deserves kindness.

10. I have a friend who always asks me if I just need talk, or if I want an opinion. I always want her opinion, but the fact that she asks has been a valuable lesson to me. When I remember (not often enough), I ask before spouting off my genius.

11. I am the exact same person I was two decades ago, only I’ve learned a few more things, carry more responsibility, and climb fewer trees. When do we stop climbing trees? Six years ago, I decided to always keep my eyes open for the climables. Adventure awaits.

12. Genuine apologies can span an ocean. Literally. Two of my closest friends are women I once hated. One rival lasted about ten years! One day, she stepped forward and apologized. We talked about the past, and bonded over our current passions. We’ve been encouraging, and growing with each other ever since even though we’re separated by the mighty Pacific!

13. Forgiveness is priceless. I would be missing out if I hadn’t let two particular women back in my life.

14. I’ve learned to listen more carefully to my intuition. I’ve kicked myself time and time again at the end of a bad experience, thinking, “I knew things would turn out this way.” I make a habit of continuously tuning into my intuition and really listening to it now. I often say, “let me swallow that information and see how it settles in my stomach.”

15. It’s best to try not to kiss anyone at a dance club.

16. People really do come into your life for a reason. Some friendships are forever, and some are just for a season. All friendships have beautiful purpose. I frequently weigh in with myself regarding relationships, “how does this person make me feel? What am I learning from this experience?”

17. If I meet people with authenticity, they get to decide if they are really drawn to me, and I get to decide if I am really drawn to them. Two people bringing their truest selves to the table, are a powerful force of love, encouragement, and inspiration.

18. Fitness for weight loss is a fickle foe. Exercise should be about feeling good and having fun. I look my best when I’m focused on feeling healthy and vibrant.

19. Friendships are my bread. To be truly known and truly appreciated is quite possible the greatest gift in life. I know some of the coolest people out there. I am lucky.

20. Rollerblades are meant for short skirts and Celine Dion interpretive dance shows.

21. The path that seemingly everyone else chooses, is likely not my path. When I was a child, my siblings and I would hack trails using wooden swords in the forest behind our neighborhood. We would stay out all day eating huckleberries and clovers. I was disappointed as an adult when I found that most hiking trails are predetermined and even well kept. For the best and for the worst, this is a sound metaphor for my adult life. I am creating a path that only my heart knows, and my heart knows I’m on the right path.

22. If you’re intoxicated and your stomach feels upset, puke. Do it sooner than later. I saved myself from the full dose of a roofie because I knew something was wrong inside. I was saved from a real life nightmare by my intuition and assertive nature.

23. Similarly, if you might be hungover, always puke before you eat. This will save you the hassle of being sick all day. Aside from these two life hacks, I do not approve of puking. It’s awful.

24. I am more likely to be an improvement to the company of others, if I put my needs and self care first. If I don’t eat/eat poorly, don’t run or practice yoga, or I don’t make time to be alone, I am not my best self.

25. Just because something doesn’t hurt you right away, doesn’t mean it’s good for you. This goes for food, relationships, thought patterns, and habits. I cannot tell you how many people have, and continue to tell me that my food sensitivities are in my head. Many of my symptoms are not evident to anyone but me; breakouts, next day swollen throat, fever, bloating, etc… Longer term my sensitivities drastically reduce my athletic abilities, mental clarity, and the quality of my intestinal flora.

26. Misery really does love company. If someone is bringing you down, you can bet they’re pretty low. Don’t take it personally, be nice, and if you can/need to, GTFO.

27. Never lend anything you aren’t willing to lose.

28. There is not a formula for a perfect, happy, and healthy life. Anyone who tells you otherwise is selling something. Didn’t my sweet Wesley say something like that?

29. Practicing gratitude daily, and manifesting positive intentions is a great place to start.

30. I have strong positive intentions for Joseph Gordon Levitt. All cards on the table; I learned that a little less than two decades ago. In this last decade, my intentions have become a lot more clear though.

31. No matter what, everything always works out. It’s best to just do whatever makes your heart feel most alive. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

About the author

Natalie Pfund

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