10 Things I Learned in my Twenties

June 8, 2017


10 Things I Learned in my Twenties- M Loves M @marmar

Today is my birthday and I’m not just one year older, but I’m also entering a new decade…my 30s! To be honest, it’s a little scary to think about. I feel like every major birthday milestone up until this point has been really exciting {double digits, sixteen, eighteen, twenty, twenty-one, twenty-five}, but now thirty.

While this birthday has mixed emotions for me, it’s amazing to think how much I’ve grown and changed in the past ten years. I’ve graduated from college, got my first real job, got engaged, married, adopted a dog, and had a baby. There’s definitely a lot to be grateful for and I feel very lucky to be exactly where I am right at this moment. To stop any sort of 30th birthday blues, I thought I’d reflect a little bit and share 10 things I learned in my twenties.

10 things I learned in my twenties - M Loves M @marmar these white tassel earrings add such a fun touch to your spring outfits casual spring outfit inspiration on the go in la with this outfit styling white sunglasses for summer - M Loves M @marmar classic and feminine spring outfit inspiration can't get enough of stripes - M Loves M @marmar


dress {runs big. size down!} . cardigan {from the M Loves ML collection} . mules  {crazy comfy! Also available here} . sunglasses . hat  . bag . necklace . earrings .

10 Things I Learned in my Twenties

  1. There is no “perfect time.” When Matthew and I were dating we sometimes talked about getting married. Yet, when we talked about getting engaged I was like, “No let’s wait until I’m 6 months into my career.” I was living the confused post-grad life, not sure what I wanted to do yet. Did I want to be a lawyer? A teacher? An editor? I didn’t know. I felt like marriage needed to happen when I was in a place for marriage. I thought that meant having the 9 to 5 professional job. That thought process was so silly, though, because there’s really no perfect time for anything. I shouldn’t have cared so much about what it looked like to anyone else. Yes, I was young. Yes, I didn’t have a “real” job, but that wasn’t going to stop me from marrying the person I knew I wanted to be with. It wasn’t until about 9 months later that I started my first real job, but, funny enough, the one I’m doing now with blogging started well before Matthew and I even talked about getting married.
  2. Games don’t work. One thing I learned very early in my young 20s dating life is that games don’t work. In high school, there were a lot of games where you’d like someone, pretend like you didn’t, say things you didn’t mean to, and manipulate situations to get what you wanted. I’ve realized that games really don’t work in a relationship. It’s much better to be honest and upfront, communicating exactly how you feel. More often than not, you’ll get what you want, and both partners will feel happier and more confident in the relationship. Honesty gets you so much further!
  3. Cultivate friendships with people that matter to you. I graduated high school with my three best friends knowing we’d make the time for each other despite college and our post-grad lives. Some people probably thought it was naive of us to think we’d stay close, especially with the distance, but you know what? We’re still best friends and we still see each other. Sure it’s harder these days. Hanna is in Houston, Lizzie is getting ready to move to the East Coast, and Pauline and I are manning the fort in Los Angeles. But over the years we’ve made time for our monthly girls nights, phone calls, text messages, and have gone on trips together. This commitment isn’t easy, especially when you’re living in other cities and working full-time. Friendships take work. But the ones that mean something are so incredibly worth it. I have three girls who are more like sisters to me and I know that no matter where life takes us we’ll always stay close. While meeting and making new friends is important to me, it’s not as important as cultivating relationships with the friends I currently have.
  4. Sometimes the scariest things to do are the ones that are the most worthwhile. One lesson I learned right at the beginning of my 20th year was that sometimes you have to step outside your comfort zone and do the things that scare you the most. When I got accepted to Berkeley, I was scared to leave behind the life I had been living in Seattle. I was nervous about starting over and making such a big change. Yet, that change was probably the best thing I ever did. I knew what my life in Seattle would be like if I stayed, whereas I didn’t know what life in Berkeley would be life. If I hadn’t moved I might not have met Matthew!
  5. Things don’t come easy. Jobs. Money. Happiness. You have to work for what you want. I feel like we live in this world of instant gratification. We have so much information at our fingertips. If a website takes more than 2 seconds to load, we get frustrated and lose interest. {Side Note: sorry if this has happened on my site!} We get stuck behind an accident and think about what an inconvenience it is for us. We see other people doing things that we think we should be doing and deserve to be doing. I’ve realized that nothing comes easy in life, and it really shouldn’t. We have to work hard at the things we want and care for. It’s much more enjoyable that way, too! Similarly,  if you want something to change, you have to do something about it. You can’t be complacent and hope that things will be different.
  6. Always pursue the things that make you tick. I’ve noticed a lot of personal growth happens when I put energy towards the things I love and enjoy. Making time for hobbies, like baking, have been so enjoyable for me.
  7. Define your own version of success. I’ve realized that for me personally success doesn’t necessarily mean having a lot of money, or having a huge social media following. For me, success is being happy with where I am at that moment. As long as I’m enjoying what I’m doing and who I’m with, then that’s a success. Sometimes it can be easy to play that comparison game, especially on Instagram. Instead of focusing on what I don’t have though, I’ve been trying to focus on what I do have.
  8. When one door closes, another one opens. There are so many possibilities out there. When I didn’t get this one job I applied for, I thought that my life was over. Ok, a little dramatic, but you get the idea! I was devastated! But then I got a job I liked even more, that was a much better fit for me. I wish I could go back to that moment of feeling rejected, and comfort myself with the knowledge that I was on the right path, even if it was hard to see at the moment.
  9. You can’t do it all. This is one I’m learning more and more each day. I can’t do it all, and that’s ok. As a new mom, I often feel that pressure to do it all, and look amazing doing it. I really don’t think there is such thing as a perfect mom, just like there’s no such thing as a perfect person. My hope is to do my best and remind myself that my best is good enough!
  10. Motherhood is about being selfless. Up until 9 months ago, I was able to do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. While I wouldn’t call that selfishness, it was a time where I was able to satisfy my own needs first.  Now, as a mom, I have a baby who rules my world. I’ve learned to give up a lot as a mother, but also be ok with it. This is my season to be selfless, to focus on raising my baby and being the best mother that I can be. Of course self-care is important, but in general, this new chapter of life isn’t about me.

Last night I took a walk with Augustine, holding him close in my baby carrier. The sky was cloudy and gray and it made me think how we can always count on June Gloom. It made me think about where we’d be a year from now, two years from now, and even ten years from now. On my next big decade birthday Augustine will almost be ten years old. There might be a few other kids, but most likely they won’t be babies anymore. I already miss carrying Augustine and I know before I know it I won’t be able to. I want to savor this time with him as my baby. Some days it’s so hard you guys, but I know how fleeting it is! At some point I’ll miss even the hardest days.

I can only imagine all the things I’m going to learn in this new decade ahead. Some things I’d love to focus on, though, are to learn to trust my intuition, be easy on myself, and not to obsess over perfection.

I hope you all have a wonderful day and thanks so much for reading and being a part of my 20s! I have a feeling this decade will be my favorite yet!


photos by Felicia Lasala

  • Michelle Joseph

    Awww a big happy birthday to you Mara! You are fabulous at 30 and a yummy mummy 🙂
    I love every tip that you have given, and I am going to remember them while I still have time (26 this month, so a bit of time until I’m 30)
    Have a wonderful day :*

    Mich x

    • Thanks so much Mich! You’re the sweetest and am so glad my tips could be useful to you xox

  • Louis Dupond

    It’s a long time ago for me but you always learn … this is life 😉 Happy birthday and keep it on 😉


    • Thank you so much!! I’m excited for this next year of life 🙂

  • Kati Maierhofer

    I hope you had a wonderful birthday and I think you are doing great. After all age is just a number.
    Have a nice day.
    Greetings Katie

  • Rach

    Happy Birthday Mara!!! I hope you have a wonderful day!! I couldn’t agree more about the thing you learned. You nailed it!


    • Aw, thanks so much! I am always learning in trial and error but am happy with all the milestones I have crossed 😍

  • Jenna

    Happy birthday! This was such a great read. I am currently 29 and can relate on so many levels 🙂

  • Happy Birthday! Have a wonderful day. 🙂 I was dreading turning 30 a few years ago but it wasn’t bad at all. (I’m 33 now).

    I like your tips especially No. 3 (friendships are very important) and No. 7 about defining your own version of success.


    • Thank you!! 💕 Friendships are so important and am glad you could find value in my words xox

  • Aw Happy Birthday! Such a gorgeous post, you look so beautiful and your photos are stunning 😀 your blog is my new favourite, you have such a talent! xx

    elizabeth ♡ ”Ice Cream” whispers Clara
    (lets follow each other on bloglovin or instagram)

    • Thank you so much Elizabeth you’re so sweet! I will follow you😘

  • Sydne Summer

    Such a great post! Happy birthday gorgeous! I hope it’s your best year yet xoxo

  • Happy birthday Mara! I loved reading your tips since I am 20 myself! Hope you have a great day 🙂

    • Aw, I’m so happy you could still find value in my tips. They are so important for the rest of your 20’s and even your 30’s😜


  • Allegra Liu

    Good read, Mara. Thanks for sharing. I think one nice thing that happens as we get older is that we become more confident about our choices and what’s right for us and our families. I didn’t know you went to Berkeley too. I’m a fellow alum 🙂 Happy birthday!

    • That’s so cool! I loved Berkely, thank you so much for your kind words 😘

  • natalie rumore

    A very happy birthday, Mara. I totally agree with 9 out 10 of these (can’t relate to #10 since I’m not a mother hehe). Especially #3…Life seems to get busier as you get older, and your free time is so special and precious. I’d rather be spending it with those I love and care about – no time for fake friendships! I’ll be turning 30 in September and I’m celebrating with a trip to Paris, my first “real” adventure out-of-the-country. While I’m feeling a little emotional about aging, I think it’ll be a great start to the next decade of my life! Hope you have an amazing day 🙂

    • Wow that sounds incredible! I hope you have an incredible time in Paris and a happy birthday to you xox

  • Happy Birthday & welcome to the 30s! It’s not so bad 🙂 I’m glad you give yourself credit for everything you accomplished in your 20s, because you did you so much and that deserves to be recognized! I can totally relate to all ten of your things you’ve learned, and I’ve been thinking a lot about 6 & 7. Your boys (and girl) are so lucky to have you and I hope they all take good care of you for your birthday!


  • Sprinkle ofSurprise

    Omg i love this post!!! One of your best yet. Happiest birthday to YOU!!! The point about friendships is so real, i’m still best friends with my bff from 6th grade, yes 6th grade. I can 100% relate to that point – because the ones that matter will last! And Sometimes the scariest things to do are the ones that are the most worthwhile – that is something i’m slowly learning now. I’m almost halfway through my 20s (eeek!) so this is something i need accomplish by the time i’m 30! I think i’d be much happier if i was able to let go….and just let GOD!

    • Wow thank you! I’m so glad this could touch you in such a personal way, I completely agree. Friendships are the bread and butter of life, I will never take the solid ones for granted 😜

  • Melody

    Happy Birthday beautiful!!!! I hope you have an amazing day!!! 🙂

  • Nicole G. Bhandari

    Happy Birthday, Mara!! …Thank you for sharing your thoughts on milestone Birthdays. …When I turned 40 (and trust me, the thought of turning 40 was way scarier than turning 30,) I took the milestone in stride and decided to celebrate it instead of crying over it. I planned a “bucket list” trip to Vegas, spending my money and time on some very decadent “me-only” things (that before I’d only ever dreamed of.) It was one of the best experiences of my life, enlightening even, and I highly recommend it. Sincerely, -NGB <3

    • That sounds amazing! I absolutely should make a “30’s bucket” list and see what i can accomplish. So fun, thanks for the advice Nicole😘

  • Happy birthday, darlin’! I’ll be turning 30 next year and it sounds so surreal – haha, I’m actually looking forward to it, just because people tend to think I’m still in high school. 30 years old and still passing for 18 – definitely not going to complain about that!

    I agree with so. many. of these! The ‘no perfect time’ especially. My guy and I have been together for the majority of our twenties, yet when we started looking for a house (while still dating), people did NOT hesitate to offer up their concerns. For us, doing things “out of order” (buying a house before a wedding) worked and I don’t regret it for one moment!

    Probably the one event that has had the biggest impact on me was when I lost my job. The company I worked for announced they were downsizing and our location was one that took the hit. I have to admit, it was terrifying, but exactly the push I needed. I’m in a MUCH better position now at a job I truly love – and all the girls from my previous job? We’re STILL in each others’ lives. We’ve been determined to make time to see everyone, and even when we can’t, we text constantly. It sometimes feels like I spend more time with them now than I did when I was working with them!

    • Wow that’s so inspiring to hear! I’m so happy it all worked out for you. I know it can be hard when there are so many opinions coming at you but it’s so important to do what’s best for you and your family! 💕

  • Eva

    Happy Birthday Mara!!! And don´t worry… I’m in a position near my 39`s that is way scarier!!! hehehe Enjoy your day!!!

    • hahaha I’m sure I’ll be there in no time, oh goodness🙈

  • Rosemary Bostic

    Love #5 & #10!! Happy birthday!

  • Happiest birthday, Mara!! Hope you had a wonderful day celebrating, and that you continue the fun into the weekend 🙂 Cheers to a sweet new decade!

  • Hadicha

    Wishing you the Happiest of Birthdays Mara!!! as a just-about-to-turn-21, I found this super inspiring. Ive kinda felt stuck in a rut lately, and points 6 & 7 about doing what you love and defining your own success were especially needed to help me pull myself together!

    • Absolutely! The rut won’t last girl. Just keep pursuing your life and the rest will follow!!


  • #4 — I am not scared of anything. #5 agree 110%
    Looking cute here/////
    IG @grace_njio

  • Maryal

    Happy birthday, Mara! 30 is such an amazing age and I really felt like I came into myself when I entered my 30s. And everything you listed really hit home and with me – I also just love reading about your journey and the things you’ve learned. It’s so refreshing! I hope this year is your best one yet!

    • Thank you so much!! I’m glad some of my points resonated with you 💕


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