|Tamika at 22|
If it sounds like a recipe for success, it was. I had $10K in my RRSP and a senior-level management position by age twenty-five. Married and owned a house by twenty-six. On the surface my life was on track, maybe even ahead of the curve and my parents were quite proud. Underneath I was holding back, focused entirely on the life plan that was given to me rather than stumbling about growing into who I really wanted to become, making choices based on what I thought I should do and not at all what I really longed for.
|Wedding Day at 26|
1. Spend some time inside your head: When you completely subscribe to goals and ideals that are handed down to you like I did, you never take time to really question them or determine if they make sense for you or what you want. I never really took the time to get to know myself or figure out what I wanted. I didn't set goals for my life other than that "I want to start my own business one day" and that "I'd like to travel more". It's completely worth your time to dream more, to get to know yourself and to get clear on what you really want. It's a lot harder to follow someone else's dream for you if you have your own.
|Tamika on a family vacation at 20|
3. Put aside money for rich travel experiences: I did plenty of jaunting to NY, a girl's trip and some work travel to Vegas and a few winter getaways to touristy islands, but I didn't really focus on traveling outside of those contexts. I had a great regimen for saving and paying off student debt, yet didn't include a piggy bank for travel. I completely agree that it's important to save, but I think it's so key to rank travel and experiences as priorities too. Life should be about enjoying the now and not just preparing for the future. Find yourself a financial advisor who gets that and will help you do both.
4. Know that work doesn't have to be hard: My parents both work in the health-care field and growing up they always shared how hard they had to work to provide the lifestyle for us that they did. I know now that they were simply trying to instil work ethic and gratitude and wanted to ensure we didn't act like a spoiled version of the Cosby kids but I've carried the message "work is hard" with me for many, many years. I stayed in jobs that I didn't like, volunteered to work crazy hours and took on extra projects that I wasn't compensated for, all to show I was a hard worker. The reality is, your work can, and I'll argue that it should, be rooted in that thing you most love to do. I'm talking about those things you do naturally that don't even feel like they can be classified as work. If your job feels stressful or limiting and you flat out don't enjoy being there or doing that work, leave now. Pursue something else.
|Networking is awesome! Tamika meets Lisa & Wendy plus so many fab people at 30.|
So, what would you tell your 20 year old self?
-- Tamika Auwai is our resident Style Editor, shopping enthusiast and Wardrobe Expert.