What I know at 29, that I didn't know at 20. | Serena Dyer

Self Awareness

What I know at 29, that I didn’t know at 20.

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As I get ready to enter the final year of my 20’s, I decided to write out what I know now, that I didn’t know when I entered this delicate decade.serena-dyer

1. If we are smart, we start to realize that not everything in life needs our commentary or opinion. I have less opinions now at 29 than I did at 20 when I entered this precious decade. I personally view that as a sign of growth.
2. All the times people tell you that you can’t eat at 29 the way you are eating at 22 without gaining weight? They aren’t lying. Your “fast metabolism” ain’t so fast after 4 years of goldfish for breakfast.
3. If you are lucky, your mom and dad will still be around. If you are really lucky, you will find yourself closer to them than ever before. If you are the luckiest of all, they will be the two most precious people in your life.
4. Every year, you will realize more and more that being at a club isn’t as fun as you convince yourself it is.
5. Eventually, the most fun nights will be the ones with your loved ones in pj’s, or at home with friends and family, a bottle of wine, and maybe even their baby.
6. I find myself looking back at all the times I called 29 year olds “old” and 30+ ancient, and realize it was my own fear motivating that name calling. If you are in your early 20’s, it will be no time until you are 29, and then you will realize in the grand scheme of things, 29 is still a baby.
7. Your best years are not over. My best years have happened, are happening now, and are in the future. Every year brings so many “bests”, hopefully we all find it impossible to define just one time of our lives as the best.
8. I spent a lot of money traveling. I have zero regrets about it. In fact, the only regret I have is that I didn’t keep a journal.
9. Flossing actually does matter. Washing your makeup off before passing out…. that can be debated.
10.  Your ex’s are not yours. They do not belong to you. Hating their new girlfriend or your current boyfriend’s ex girlfriend is completely and utterly pointless.
11. I used to think if you forgave someone who cheated on you, you were pathetic and weak. I now see it differently. Forgiveness makes you stronger. Overcoming infidelity can increase your bond, and it cannot. Every situation is different. So before you give  advice and spout off at the mouth about how you will murder the person who hurt your friend, try listening.
12. If you really do get better with age, you will find that you have less judgement to give, less comparisons to make, and more compassion for every single person you encounter.
13. My siblings mean more to me now than ever before. They genuinely share my triumphs and failures. That kind of support is priceless.
14. As I have realized certain people in my life don’t energize me, but enervate me, I find myself walking away from them slowly and without much attention being brought to it. This has been a big lesson.
15. The friends you have had for 15+ years are likely to stay your friends forever. These bonds will come to mean more to you year after year. Their children will be your nieces and nephews. They become your family. Eventually, you come to realize you share more intimate details with your friends than even your significant other- or maybe that is just me…..?
16. I now find the idea of using a tanning booth to be on par with getting a root canal. All the advice about wearing sunscreen should be heeded and drinking water is more important now than ever before. In fact, I am known to have an irrational fear of being dehydrated.
17. At this point in my life, everyone I know has lost someone they loved. Myself included. Keeping this in mind, I try and treat people a little bit more gently. You really don’t ever know what someone is going through.
18. There is no blueprint to life. Some of your friends will get married early, and some late, and some not at all. Some will make a lot of money and some won’t. Some will have 5 children and some will have none. Some will travel the globe and others may never leave the state. As Nietzsche once wrote, “this is my way, what is your way? THE way does not exist.” Try and remember this before you tell your friends how to live their lives. Try not to judge anyone for the way they live their life as well.
19. “How may I serve?” has become my daily walking prayer. “What’s in it for me?” sometimes creeps its way in, but I don’t judge myself for that. I try not to judge others for it either.
20. I have come to realize that most of the time, people are just doing the best they can. That might not be the best I can or the best I would like them to do, but it’s the best they can do. Patience really is a virtue.
21. A relationship, without chemistry, is pointless. If you don’t know if your relationship has chemistry or not, it doesn’t. I promise you.
22. It has taken me my whole life to realize that I am capable of being kind to the kind, and kind to the unkind, because kindness is MY nature. I heard over and over again growing up “how people treat you is their karma, and how you react is yours.” I now react kindly- at least most of the time….
23. Rudeness does not prove a point. Neither do bitchy attitudes, dirty looks or cursing. An excellent vocabulary proves a point. If you regularly talk about your “haterz” or “all the drama in your life” there is a good chance you are creating both. If you like that sort of thing, carry on.
24. People that are generous when they are poor, will be generous when they are wealthy. People who are generous when they are wealthy are people who would be generous when they are poor. That is because generous people have a generous nature. It has nothing to do with money, and everything to do with attitude.
25. I have really come to know that what you put out into the world is what you get back. That being said, my interactions with other women are almost always positive, uplifting, supportive, understanding, and full of love. I do not find women to be jealous, catty, or difficult to get along with. I don’t like it when people say “you know how you women are.” No, I don’t. I know how I am, and I know that the women in my life are supportive beyond measure. End of story.
26. Health is something I have come to value. I took it for granted before. I still enjoy a good bottle of wine or two (to myself) every now and again, but I no longer enjoy how I feel after stuffing my face or skipping exercise. I never thought I would write that last sentence.
27. I now realize that real love isn’t easy or simple. At least not for me. It is made up of laughing so hard you cry, embarrassing dance moves, nit-picking, arguments over who started the argument, kisses on the forehead, forgiveness, intimacy, fights, make-ups, home cooked meals, vacations, anniversaries, pain, ups, downs, and everything in between. But that look, that only the two of you share, that says nothing and means everything, can still make you weak in the knees and vulnerable beyond measure. Real love is everything all at once right in the gut over and over again.
28. I know now, as I enter my 29th turn around the sun, my final year in the decade of my 20’s, that who I am is someone I love, and there is no shame or fear in admitting that.
29. I know now, that change is inevitable. I have changed a thousand times and yet I have always held on to the essence that is me. I know myself. Now more than ever. I can only imagine how I will feel at 39, 49, 59, 69, 79, 89, 99 and 109. I am so excited for this ride.


  1. Alisha

    May 23, 2014 at 6:15 pm

    This Is It. As a fellow 29-er, yes this really is it. My story. Your story. Our story.

  2. Ildiko

    May 23, 2014 at 7:55 pm

    you will feel the same in most ways because you already found most of yourself, earlier than people usually do. You will also feel better and better because you are on the right path and as years go bye you will discover more and more new things you will love about yourself.
    Getting older is a beautiful thing. For me is like getting to know more and more about me. Getting closer to the person I always wanted to be. In the same time the more I know the more I realize how much is in me I still don’t know, but I want to.
    Keep writing and communicating, you have a gift. Actually you are the gift. I enjoy reading your blogs and I really liked your global summit interview.

    • serenadyer

      June 5, 2014 at 7:19 pm

      You’re so sweet Ildi. I plan to walk the path and go where it leads me — hopefully, writing and communicating all the way 🙂 XOXO

  3. Antonia

    June 4, 2014 at 3:40 pm

    Serena…… I really enjoyed reading your thoughts. It’s warming my heart and I do believe that young people will do better than we did. I wish you all the very best in your life ❤

    • serenadyer

      June 5, 2014 at 7:16 pm

      Thank you Antonia! I appreciate you taking the time to comment — all the best to you.

  4. Emily Nolan

    June 4, 2014 at 8:02 pm

    Great comments on judgment–I agree, totally!

    • serenadyer

      June 5, 2014 at 7:15 pm

      Thank you Emily!

  5. Sharon

    July 18, 2014 at 11:39 am

    This list is incredible! At 43, I can say I wish I would have learned some of these things at 29, and a few I read, I still need to work on. I have come across you Serena by accident, and I have spent the past hour reading your blogs, learning about NMT and ~ meeting Oprah ~ OMG!! Now, after reading this list, I know why I came across you.
    Peace and blessings 🙂

  6. Lisa

    July 18, 2014 at 11:54 am

    Could not have said it better myself…literally….you are an excellent writer 🙂

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