I turned 29 in March, and as I approach the last year of a decade, I cannot help but to look back on what a tumultuous nine years the twenties have been. I remember being so self-conscious I literally just wanted to melt into the walls of high school or college. Now, I realize that this calmness within me is literally me just being pretty dang comfortable in my own skin. And it feels so darn good.

So, with that being said, I’ve bestowed 29 pieces of advices I’d love to give to 19 or 20-year-old me. Do you have anything to add, or that you wish you could have said?



  1. The things people say about you behind your back are none of your business.
  2. You don’t have to ‘move on’ from grief or from sad things, but you can move forward, and learn from these things.
  3. Don’t apologize for how you feel. Keep working on talking about your feelings without shame (I know this is hard because of how you were raised).



4. It is not your responsibility to ‘fix’ or even ‘help’ other people with their problems- if they are grown, fully-functioning and independent adults, that is their job.

5. The absolute vast of the time, people’s reactions, feelings, actions, insecurities etc. have nothing to do with you.

6. You are a kick-ass independent woman who don’t need no man,  but it is perfectly okay to want a romantic, long-lasting relationship.



7. Forgive yourself for being afraid.

8. It’s okay to cut toxic people out of your life, even if they’re blood related and even if they’ve been lifelong friends. You don’t owe anyone an explanation either.

9. Diets and diet culture don’t work and they are not healthy. You don’t have to be a certain size to be happy.



10. Your weight and size do not have any correlation with self-worth, success, attractiveness or desirability.

11. The two most attractive things about you is your confidence and kindness. Own them.

12. Everyone needs a healthy dose of therapy. Well done in investing your money in your mental health.



13. Teaching gets easier and better and you’re actually pretty good at it. Keep learning and stay humble.

14. You were never going to be the most popular person, but popularity and being cool is so overreated because you are literally one of the ‘coolest’ people you will ever meet (yes, excuse the irony).

15. Embrace your curls.



16. Don’t be afraid or apologetic about setting boundaries– emotional, personal, physical– especially with your family.

17. Don’t dwell so much on men who cannot or refuse to be fully with you. They’re not worth your time. You’re worth so much more.

18. Forgive yourself for wearing your heart on your sleeve. That’s just who you are– own it.



19. Learn about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Highly Sensitive Persons, and Co-Dependency. It will help you understand so many things.

20. SKINCARE!! Start now! When you discover a product that works, stick with it. Also, wear all the sunscreen! Everyday, all the time! In your make up and your moisturizer, on both face and hands, and don’t forget your hat in the summer.

21. Being Busy =/= Success. Success = self care. Take time for yourself- wear face sheet masks. Sleep in. Watch TV and movies and curl up on the couch with a good book. Sleep in, go hiking, biking, and shopping. Do all the exercise classes.



22. Stop hating your body- it’s the only one you’ve got. Appreciate all it does and can do for you. Listen to it and nurture it, at any size and shape.

23. Never stop advocating for yourself and for others who need you to do it for them.

24. Keep working on your French, even if it doesn’t seem like you’ll get any better or that you’ve reached a plateau.



25. Put those screens away. You won’t regret it.

26. Learn some personal finance skills and stick to a budget. This is so difficult but it will be worth it in the end. (Let go of the shame related to having difficulties with money!)

27. There is a lot to be said to have a place that is yours, filled with things that are yours. It’s okay to want that after living so minimally for so long.



28. You are your harshest critic. Ease up. You’re doing better than you think.

29. Find your tribe and love them hard. Do what you want and fuck the rest.

Here’s the last year of the 20’s.

Do any of my older and wiser readers have any advice they’d love to give their twenty-something-selves?



12 thoughts on “29

  1. #1, 4, 13, 20, and 24 are points which resonate with me. Even if the years start to blur together as we get older, we still continue to grow and experience new things all the time. Hope your year as a 29-year-old is filled with great memories and learning!

  2. #28 is so true! I’m still learning not to be so harsh on myself… it’s easier said than done at times, especially given social media gives us a window into others’ lives and makes it all too easy to critically compare ourselves to others. Hope you had a lovely birthday, Dana!

  3. Happy late birthday, Dana !!! I’m still 2 and a half years from 30, but I really think it will be an exciting decade 🙂 Love the photo journey through your 20s, I may have to borrow that idea next time I make a birthday post ! xxx

  4. Wow, way too long ago yet feels like yesterday. My advice would probably be: Believe in yourself, you can do this. Give up the anger, or whatever is not serving you. Let it go, all shall be well. Love life. Love you. Happy birthday, Dana, and many happy future decades ahead!

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