8 women share what they really think about the final year of their 20s

8 women share what they really think about the final year of their 20s

Written by Leah Sinclair

Turning 30 might be considered a huge landmark in our lives but is it that final year as a 20-something we should be thinking about? We spoke to eight women all about it.

Turning 30 is major. It’s a significant point in people’s lives that marks a whole new era and brings with it endless possibilities that could change your life across the next decade. 

But no one ever discusses the significance of the final year before you turn 30 – the big 2-9. While it’s not an age that advertisers have decided to market across witty birthday cards and glittery balloons, it’s significant for being the last year of your 20s – one of the defining decades of your life.

For me, turning 30 sounds like bliss – but it was on turning 29 that my thoughts really started to kick in. How was I going to round out my 20s with a bang? What are the things I want to do before I turn 30? How do I feel about my 20s as a whole? All the questions began to float as soon as the clock struck 12 and my final year as a 20s gal began.

And it turns out I’m not the only one. For many of us 1992 babies, the final year of our 20s is a cause of excitement but also of much reflection – and we spoke to eight women about their 20s, turning 30, and what they’ve learned along the way.

Lucy Hitchock, entrepreneur

Twenties: Lucy Hitchock

“In my early 20s, I was fresh out of university, enjoying life and new opportunities. I’d literally just moved to London and managed to get a job straight out of uni so I was living the London dream. But I was also obsessed with what everyone thought about me – from my appearance to my relationships and my career – and as a result, I was unhappy in many areas of my life.

“I think as I’ve grown older I definitely have more of a positive sense of self. Now I’m very comfortable with my career, and I know what I want from the relationships I have with the people in my life, and how to make them happy ones.

“When it comes to turning 30, those in their 30s tend to ask me how I feel about it like it’s an awful thing and they’re expecting me to have some kind of mid-life crisis at any moment, while those in their  40s and beyond who will tell me that the 30s were the best years of their life. My response to both groups is usually that I very much overachieved and excelled in my career at 29, and so turning 30 is a lovely celebration of this. I personally feel like I’m ready to turn 30, and I am excited to see what happens in the next 10 years of my life.”

Farhana Ibrahim, founder of Binta’s Kitchen

Twenties: Farhana Ibrahim

“I felt really lost at the start of my 20s. I had just graduated with a degree in biomedical science and was leaving the cocoon of education to enter the world as an adult. I was still finding myself and dabbling into many different careers which I think is really important in your 20s. It was important for me to try different things out before settling on a career path.

“I had a loose plan for what I wanted to achieve, but in your 20s, you are so programmed to believe that there is a correct way that life should pan out and a correct timeline for life. As time goes on I am more able to enjoy my life and enjoy my journey rather than holding on to arbitrary milestones.”

Daisy Morris, founder of The Selfhood

Twenties: Daisy Morris

“My life has changed so much since starting my 20s. When I turned 28, I went from a job that completely burned me out to building my business, The Selfhood, which has completely changed everything for me, from my relationships, my health and my lifestyle.

“I started going to therapy at the beginning of the pandemic and it was life-changing, and I was able to understand where my triggers and insecurities came from, and as a result, I have so much more compassion for myself.

“When I started to put myself first and look after myself mentally and physically, such a huge shift took place. I was met with more opportunities, magnetised amazing friendships and saw so much growth in my career, making the latter part of my 20s an amazing experience. Even with some of the challenges I faced when I was younger – feelinglost, anxious and unsure of who I was – I wouldn’t change a thing.

“And the older I get, the more I enjoy my life and like myself; the idea of turning 30 doesn’t scare me at all. My goal for the final year of my 20s is all about health; healthy relationships, healthy habits, healthy work-life balance and a healthy mindset. I’m in bed by 9pm Monday – Friday and I’m very much here for it, although I’m still sinking frozen margaritas on the weekend. It’s all about the balance, right?”

Doaa Farid, writer and podcaster

Twenties: Doaa Farid

“It’s crazy to think exactly two years ago I was turning 27. I used to be in my mid-20s and thinking ‘I still have so much time and life is still ahead’ and all of a sudden, I am preparing for 30.

“As a result, my late 20s have been pretty confusing. I hit a rock bottom and had to rethink everything. But at the same time, I became more than what I dreamed of. Now I’ve realised that I have to know myself, needs and ambitions more, rather than the perception of what I thought I needed.

“I’ve become more vocal, expressive and I am discovering what works for me and what doesn’t. And as I approach 30, my focus is to be more healthy and spend this year focusing on my wellbeing.”

Yuos’sima Dineen, life coach and author

Twenties: Yuos’sima Dineen

“The start of my 20s were really rough. I struggled with my health and my low confidence really sabotaged my early 20s and the choices I made. I believe I was very much the person the world moulds us to be, rather than who I was choosing to become myself.

“I also got married at 22, believing that was what I truly desired. But now I am no longer following the norms of how I think I should live.

“While some may feel the pandemic has robbed them of some of their years, for me it gave me the opportunity to delve deeper into my own self. I was forced to look at things that I was running from within myself. If it wasn’t for the pandemic, I probably would have never embarked on the path of healing.

“I truly believe that everything is an opportunity for us to grow as human beings, thereforeI look forward to thriving in my 30’s and enjoying this final year of my 20s living my purpose and sharing this journey with others.”

Leanne Tsang, senior client director

Twenties: Leanne Tsang

“I used to think of the 20s as the ‘practice adult years’ and that by the time you hit the big 3-0, you’d magically be super confident, self-assured and have everything together. I also thought at 18 that I’d be married with at least one kid by 30. Things haven’t turned out that way, but my own wants and desires shifted too. I realised that no matter what age you are, we’re all just making it up as we go along and trying our best.

“Coming to terms with entering the next decade of my life has become a lot easier knowing that it’s OK to feel a little lost now and again.” 

Faye Dickinson, influencer

Twenties: Faye Dickinson

“Back in 2020, I had a plan. I was 27 and I aimed to pack as much fun into the last years of my 20s as physically possible before ‘real life’ (whatever it entailed) hit me in my 30s. Circumstances in my early 20s meant I missed out on a lot of the so-called ‘normal’ things people my age all seemed to be doing. So, this felt like my chance to leap into hedonism whole-heartedly; to travel, go to music festivals etc.

“Little did I know that my 28th birthday would pass in the throes of lockdown, that on my 29th this year I would be struck down with Covid 19. This pandemic robbed me of the opportunity to do 20s things in the last year of my 20s and I’m not happy about it.

“However I have experienced some amazing things in my twenties overall. It’s so wild to think that I began my 20s in the final year of my apprenticeship, desperate to get a good job and ready to explore what was out there. Now, as I’ve started the countdown to my 30th birthday I am so happy with what I’ve achieved in the last nine years. I found my forever home with my fiancé, I’m getting married in a few months now and have an amazing core group of friends.”

Amy Alderson, events and marketing

Twenties: Amy Alderson

“At the beginning of my 20s, I would say I was a very impressionable young woman and easily influenced by those around me. I would describe myself as very hectic and sporadic, always out socialising, drinking, and partying. Life was exciting, but I was insecure, constantly comparing myself to others, seeking approval and validation from everyone I met.

“As I’ve gotten older, I would say I now have a much better opinion of myself than I used to. I understand that you can’t please everyone, and that’s absolutely fine. Life is too short to worry about the small things. I push myself in my career and I make time for myself, doing things that genuinely make me happy.

“I do feel like the pandemic has robbed some of the final years of my 20s though. I used to work on cruise ships for just under three years up until October 2019, where I chose to come back and work on land to be able to spend more quality time with my family and friends. I also really wanted to build on my career and develop myself professionally.

“I didn’t get to see my family and friends like I planned to with all Covid restrictions in place and I do feel like opportunities to make memories have been missed. I was unable to see some of my childhood friends get married, and those who have had babies I have only been able to see a handful of times over the past few years.

“Despite feeling slightly robbed over the past few years during the pandemic, I plan to really focus on myself in the final year of my 20s.

“I want to work on my personal and professional dreams and my 20s have really emphasised that nothing in life is handed to you, and nothing is plain sailing. If you have big dreams, they demand big sacrifices, putting in the time and work that not everyone is willing to do.”

Images: Leanne Tsang; Lucy Hitchcock; Farhana Ibrahim; Daisy Morris; Doaa Farid; Yuos’sima Dineen; Faye Dickinson; Amy Alderson

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