Advice I would give my 20 year old self

Tomorrow I’m hitting the big 3-0! To be honest, with so many exciting events happening this year I’m more than content to have a quiet celebration with Luke at home! My year has already consisted of a new house, engagement, moving from Mount Gambier back to Adelaide and home renovations. Wowsa.

Even though I’m inching my way out of my 20’s and into my 30’s, it’s exciting to think of the new chapter ahead. New adventures, life lessons and friendships await. I tend to be a worrier and I’ve been contemplating what I should have accomplished before I turn 30, but I think with any significant (or non-significant) milestone, it’s important to have perspective. To look at where you have come, celebrate the things you have achieved while thinking of future goals.

So while it’s easy for me to dwell on where on Earth the last 10 years disappeared to, I want to focus on 4 things I have learned so far in my twenties.

1. You can’t be friends with everyone, and that’s okay.

In my early twenties I was like a fish out of water having moved from the country to the city for University. I was desperately missing my old high school friends while also trying to fit in with every situation and person I met.  I was such a people pleaser, and this made it harder to find out who I really was. Now in my late twenties, I have learnt that it’s okay to be ‘real’. I find much more satisfaction in quality over quantity when it comes to friendships and that’s ok. The more comfortable I’ve become with myself, the better friend I’ve been able to be.

2. Trust your gut.

As a 20 year old I often lived my life the way I thought others expected me to. I studied at university, worked part time, then got a great graduate job. All of my big life decisions were made after consulting my family and close friends , because “what would they think if I made the wrong decision?”.  Making independent decisions on my career and relationships has been an eye-opener and sure, my friends and family have had mixed responses but remember that it’s your life and often your gut feeling is right.

3. Comparison is the thief of joy.

To be honest I still sometimes struggle with this, but I’ve made a conscious effort to avoid comparing myself. I follow other wedding photographers work on Facebook and read their blogs, but I do so with intention and in moderation. It’s great to be inspired by others, but for me I need to do it when I’m in the right headspace to avoid the nasty comparison-itis. When I focus on my own business and work, I get so much more done and avoid the trap of comparison which can be unproductive.

4. Money can’t buy you happiness, but love and gratitude can.

In my early 20s I was so busy focusing on the things I didn’t have yet. I was so focused on material wealth and academic success and a prestigious career and the life I thought I was supposed to live that I had no room for finding my passion. This all left no room for enjoying the life I did have. Sure, I hit all of the goals I did have but none of them made me happy.

It wasn’t until I changed my thinking and began to discover my passions that I found true happiness.

What advice would you give to your 20 year old self? Or maybe your 30 year old self? I would love to know!


P.S.  Yesterday was National Dog Day!  Here’s a pic of Erik from the archives to celebrate. x


Erik Christmas 2013-009



Adelaide, South Australia