Now almost a month into being 30, I choose to sit down and write about what I've learned in my 20's. I will say I loved my 20's. I thought I knew so much more than I did. I also learned and was humbled more than I could have imagined.
Now 30, for me, it's not a scary thing. I can picture Kim Kardashian, when she was turning 30, freaked out and married Kris Humphrey. Yeah, not my plan to panic like that. 72-day marriage is not my dream. Nor is divorce. A significant reason for that, of the 120 months of my 20's, only 4 of them have been in a relationship.
Speaking from my own experience, I think singleness has allowed me to experience many things I wouldn't have otherwise been able to participate in. Deepening relationships with my friends and family. I also didn't have so much of my life tied to another person. I would have hated that. I believe I would not appreciate my current relationship to the level I do.
I can communicate so much better because I've had so many years for myself to grow. I've seen growth in being able to communicate my thoughts. Articulate how I was feeling and what caused a defensiveness or the like. In the last two years, these have grown for me. I know insecurities come and go. Beginning a relationship at almost 30, insecurities you have in your early and mid-twenties don't exist.
Oh, insecurities, I'll get to that later.
Also, making clear, I am not anti relationships by any means! I have had dear friends be married in their early 20's and have kids in their 20's. I'm just sharing my experience and what I've been able to learn through my 20's, which I believe many of my experiences were able to happen because I've been single throughout it.
I did have a rule for myself not to get married before 24, though. Studies show you go through the most changes through 18-24, and I didn't want my identity to be tied up so much in another human. I didn't want that pressure nor put that on someone else.
My faith has also grown so much, specifically in these last two years. It was a major change of heart and perspective. While working in New York City, I became pretty hard-hearted and bitter. When you're barely sleeping and continuously have to be on, it's easy to lose sight of where your values should be.
Have you ever experiences not being able to share in another person's joy? At the end of my time in the city, I felt it almost impossible to share in another person's joy. When I think back to my response or how I spoke, or even my thoughts! Oh goodness. If you're working in a joyless place and you're unable to be a light, I would say make an escape plan.
My family called me out for my heart, but it wasn't till I noticed my prayers became less. My time in scripture was almost nonexistent. Finally, I thought mostly with judgment. My faith gave me a much-needed wake-up call.
I bring this up not to share my faith. It is important to me. But share how growth is essential—my 20's came with a lot of growth. I cannot wait to see the growth in so many areas of my life in my 30's.
Through my faith's growth, it stripped away fears that have held me back for a long—that fear - not seeking jobs that challenged me or were a reach. I also didn't start my own business when I was 23 and had the opportunity.
In my final year of college, I was freelancing for a company. I was young, naive, and needed more guidance rather than being a leader. At least that it was, I believed then. The way the company owner treated me didn't give me confidence in staying there or my abilities.
Looking back, I skated by a decent amount of my twenties professionally speaking. SO MUCH wasted potential. That is a major regret that I didn't allow fear from trying to pursue this.
Professionally I learned to get ahead, you need to be bullish. If you're kind and have a passive tone, your hard work can easily be overlooked. Mine was constantly, credit for my work was assumed elsewhere.
Job security for a corporate job is also a life. Most employers see the salary they pay you, if what they're due in return. If they decide to shift, you can be out of a job in a blink of an eye. You are also more valuable than the salary you receive. I am still working on believing this for myself rather than only accepting what someone wants to pay me.
Fear can be different per person. Mine were fears of judgment, responsibilities, accountability, and losing comforts—those were some things that held me back. Social media doesn't help because it mainly highlights people's social lives and professional lives.
Even for influencers, there is so much that happens behind the scenes and people's lives that aren't shown to be somewhat easy not to be fully aware of the hard work that goes into a social media post or blog post.
This past year, taking the leap to start my own business has helped combat those thoughts. Do you have those struggles? Some things that sneak up on you that seem to make you think you're faking something or not being real?
Fake it till you Make it
The worst career advice I was given was to "fake it till you make it." WORST. Because that is not real. Career men and women I've met have all said they ask questions to gain more knowledge. Or they appreciated people who asked questions. Faking it limits your growth, and also, people can tell.
I had a VP who faked so much that I did not see him as a person to ask questions.
When you're starting, you need to learn and get guidance. I have had four different corporate jobs. I went through "training" with each position. All terrible, If you've had a job where someone actually trained you, I would love to meet you.
I had a coworker who brought me under her wing. Without her guidance, I would not have survived. Mind you, she also gave me the advice to fake it in the hope it would put me in a position to get a promotion. Spoiler alert: it didn't.
The faking it does have limits. Don't limit yourself! Always be learning and allow people to challenge your knowledge. No one else is going to research for you. It would be best if you did extra work to expand your knowledge. I am still working on this.
Don't forget, even though you're asked to interview, you're also interviewing the company. You don't need to agree to the employees' terms. Ask questions about the team dynamic and turnover. Each place I've worked was in a phase of transition and recent heavy turnover.
The companies I joined were between recovery and rebuilding. The teams were trying to stay afloat and left me to find my place. That dynamic put me in a position to be behind, overlooked for promotions. When a company was getting shaky and layoffs coming, I was a candidate because my role was never fully defined.
I'm not using that as an excuse, but more things I wish I knew better about how to push myself. If you work for yourself or work at a place, have your role defined. I did not define my role within my business, which did limit me. I didn't claim ownership of my position either.
In my personal life, I'm assertive. In my career, it is a skill set I hope to grow.
A thing to note, not everyone should be a business owner or entrepreneur. Some people are meant for it. Other people need to be a team member. It is okay to know what your role is.
Would I prefer to work for someone? I don't particularly appreciate working for people who do not have clear expectations. That's been the experience I've had. I do not want to go back to that.
That is something I am challenging myself for my 30's. Have clear expectations of myself, business goals, and be better accountable to me. I entered 2020 with no business goals. I have my 2021 business goals written out that I will share in a blog post.
I know 2020 has been a year for many people to pivot or try to survive. I plan to do a whole blog post about my first year in business, so check that out when it's posted!
Even though 2020 wasn't the year I had hoped for, I know I didn't give this year my all. I got comfortable and frankly lazy about pushing myself in my business. It is easy to blame shortcomings on this challenging year, but my twenties showed me how much I hold myself back professionally.
Yes, this year, I began dating Matthew. I am very grateful for our relationship. You might now know this, but we've been very close friends for about a decade now. We would get in stupid fights before we dated cause I was scared of something happening, so I would through up a wall. I felt like I had some control or something. Honestly, I don't know why I did. Poor communication and not wanting to be the least bit vulnerable are up there.
Communication is key. Oh boy. I was even a communication major! Communicate, communicate, and over-communicate. I wish with friendships, family, and professional career I communicated more.
I would assume so much that I would end up in so many unnecessary conflicts because I didn't ask for clarification, or I was scared to ask a follow-up question because I didn't want to know I didn't understand the ask. ASK QUESTIONS!
There is no stupid question. If you ask questions to a coworker, collab you're working on, a friend, or loved one, and they rebuke you? It would help if you reconsidered that relationship.
I said I would get back to insecurities. The lack of asking questions showed how my insecurities dominated a moment. I didn't want to come across as not understanding what was asked of me or simply not understanding something.
HOW INSANE?! We can't all understand something. Now, I get it if a person is continuously asking for clarification; it can be annoying. Or you think the person doesn't know what they're doing or know how to listen.
But that was a significant part of my insecurities that lead me to not follow through on things I wanted to.
Another was relationships, not just romantic but friendships. I grew up with a large group of girls where it was commonplace to talk poorly about people. I assumed not being asked or included meant they didn't like me or thought poorly of me.
That isn't true. Some people you don't click with and aren't meant to be friends. It is not a bad thing. It does not mean something bad about them or you. It just means that not everyone is meant to be friends.
I knew this, but it was a long learning process in my mid-twenties. It leads to unnecessary stress and time spent on people who weren't a friend back—value real friends. Be a good friend.
Mental health. I know this has become taboo or become what seems like a whole industry for people to make money. It is real. From having loved ones with dramatic brain injury, depression, or anxiety, I see the real impact of caring for one's mental health. For me, it presents physically. So being mindful of how much I am taking on or overthinking something, there needs to be a balance.
Since I was about 13, I now go in and out of the habit of journaling. I know it helps me so much not to overthink something or say something to someone I regret. I have a journal for life, a journal for prayer and talking to God, and a business journal. There is something about physically putting pen to paper that I find so special.
Hopes for 30
For my 30's, I hope not to hold myself back. I hope to speak honestly and directly. I hope Rebecca Noelle's Adventures continues to grow. I hope to be able to go on sponsored adventures and work with adventure brands. These things are my hope, and I cannot wait to connect with more of you.
Facts About Rebecca Noelle:
Born and raised in New Jersey
Youngest of 4 children
Goal to climb 35 peaks in the Catskills
Known for being friendly, introvert, scatterbrains, and loving nature
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