Lessons Learned in my 20’s by Randa Carrabba

I just turned 30 yesterday! I’m coming off of a very high and fun weekend where I threw a retro prom! (Yes, I will be doing a highlight blog from the party soon, too!) From all of the hype and energy that my birthday brought, I wanted to share and write some solid and valuable lessons I learned in my 20’s. I used to think 30 was old, but I feel better, confident and happier than ever! This of course came with a lot of pain, heartache and life lessons learned in the last decade. I hope you enjoy reading the lessons that I’ve learned, and maybe they will even help you in some of your struggles.

1. Your happiness is super duper important. I’m now 30. And I’ve been married for a little over 6 months. And I can genuinely say if something or someone doesn’t make me happy, I find a way to not do it or a way to distance myself. This is a lot of why I closed my store. I felt way too tugged and spread too thin trying to manage the store, all the staff, the online as well as a social life. I wasn’t showing up happy anymore because I was so weighed down. So I had to become leaner and more efficient to not feel like I was drowning anymore. I love saying that my marriage is first (even though I’m still learning how to un plug from work in the evenings) and making my personal life such a priority. I worked a lot in my 20s. Work is still something I have to do as well as something that I want to do, but less is more for me these days. So whatever situations you may need to adjust or change to get happy, I say do it. Happiness first and it will shine through everything else you do!

2. Be who you are UNAPOLOGETICALLY. For the energy that you radiate will be attracted back to you. Am I too much? I’m sure for a lot of people yes. But you know what? I’m not too much for ME. There were times throughout my 20’s when I was loud and proud Randa and then there were times where I was trying to hide, blend in, act more like how people who expect me to act, and the list can go on. At the end of the day I like adventures, and laughing, and pink, sparkles, unicorns, crowns, clothes, I’m not very organized, I’m real and like to have heart to hearts and go deep. Most of these things are not for everyone, but they make me who I am. And instead of focusing on the things people think make me “too much” or “not professional enough” or “she doesn’t even act 30”, etc., I now focus on truly being me and knowing that I will attract my type of people right back!

3. Follow your passion. Whatever keeps you up at night, the things that you can’t stop thinking about, and the things you want to learn more about are there for a reason. Pursue them. Make time for them. Follow them. Passion is so important to me. In my mind, if there’s no passion for it, why even do it at all? I know that may not be as easy for everybody, but if you don’t like your job, look for another. If there’s another avenue that excites you way more than the one you’re in now, start pursuing it even if only on the side. You can either make an excuse or you can make your passion your reality. It’s all up to you.

4. Don’t listen to what people say about you. I’m a do’er, not a talker. And most people are the other way around. So instead of letting any of their “talk” get into my head, I just don’t even entertain or listen. If someone was to say “Hey Randa, do you wanna know what _______ was saying about you?” I would honestly just say no thank you, don’t tell me. My husband tells me I live in my own little fairytale bubble sometimes. And you know what? I like it in here. Because I can make my world just what I want it to be. Beautiful and positive. Lots of people talk but their actions don’t match their words. Some won’t even act at all. So why should their “non action words” make me question myself? I remember when I got featured in the USA Today when I had just turned 23. I didn’t tell anybody about it, not even my parents. Because I knew there was always that 1% that the story wouldn’t run. So the morning that little ole me was on newsstands everywhere with my “hobby business” at the time I remember so many of my family and friends asking why they didn’t know about it. And I told them that besides the editor and myself, nobody did. I prefer to act and stay quiet. Quite possibly the only time I stay quiet haha.

5. You are who you surround yourself with. Having people in my life that love and encourage me and who are determined and successful on their own paths are exactly the type of people I like to have in my life. Those that like to manipulate, lie, be mean, downgrading, use others to get something they think will make them happy, have a negative energy and so on are not my people. I don’t do anything ugly to them. I just stay away and do not let them in my life. This is one step further than not listening to what people have to say about me; it’s me not even entertaining their company.

6. It’s ok to not be ok, just don’t stay there. We are all a work in progress. Gosh this is especially true about the decade of the 20’s. So many heartaches from break ups, realizing some people who I thought were my friends never really were, doubting my career path, struggling to be able to balance my life, worried if I would be single forever in a college town since I turned 27 and was still dead single, having so many people ask me when I was going back to get my Master’s Degree, having other businesses use my pictures or copy my tactics and the list can go on. There are so many reasons a person can be hurt, overwhelmed, and struggle. And I remember at Church one Sunday the pastor said “It’s ok to not be ok” because we all need to struggle, hurt and work through our growing pains. Want the rainbow? Well you gotta put up with the rain. But he also said “It’s ok, just don’t stay there”. So whatever it takes to pick yourself back up, whether that be a friend, a parent, a boss, going to see a doctor or so forth, go do it. Because we all truly are a constant work in progress. Gotta keep moving forward!

7. Stay true to your morals and values. Even if you’re standing alone, even if you think nobody notices you staying on the straight path, even if lowering your standards may get you more short term gain – that’s just it. It will only get you ahead in the short run, not the long run. There were so many times I questioned if I would ever get any benefit from sticking to what was right and what I believed in. But then I learned that I myself gained the most benefit, because when I stay true to myself and my morals and values, I feel proud and fulfilled within myself. Win, win! Here’s a quote that I wrote down in the summer of 2010 right before I opened my first retail doors. “Be selfless and dedicated, give a compliment when needed. Learn something new every day. Say your prayers and count your blessings. Be a role model, a leader, and an icon of success and hard work. Think outside the box, push every single boundary, and know that there is no limit to what you can do or who you can become.”

8. Don’t live in the past. Make the days of today your “glory days”. I hear so many people talk about the “glory days” meaning when they were young, in college, single, etc. And I made a pact to myself a while back that I would try to always be living in the “glory days”. Yes, I loved my younger years. I loved all that I got to do and the freedoms I had. But I think one reason why I am feeling so incredibly confident about turning 30 is because it’s a NEW chapter rather than a chapter closed. Cheers to more and more glory days and years in the future. I love looking in the past to remember cherished memories or to see how far I have come – you will never catch me living in the past. I’m too energized and consumed in the present!

9. Be Honest. Be Truthful. Let me repeat again to be honest and truthful!!! If I’ve learned anything from people managing since the age of 22, it’s that being honest, up front and truthful is so important! The truth ALWAYS comes out. It may take a long time and it may end up hurting a lot of people before it does, but just be honest and truthful from the beginning. If you can’t make it to an event, just say so. Don’t make an excuse, don’t even make the slightest lie and it’s also even better when you tel the truth sooner than later. Don’t procrastinate. Because being an honest human being benefits me first. It keeps me having a clear conscious and being able to lay my head down at night. And past that, it makes others value my words, knowing that they are true. If I ever caught myself feeling like I needed to dodge, lie, avoid or hide from somebody or some situation, I learned that facing it up front ASAP was hard at first, but gave me so much relief as soon as it was done.

10. Confrontation is not always a bad thing.
Boy oh boy did I used to be so scared of confrontation, primarily with my employees. If they did something wrong and got punished, I would feel that they would then try to cause more harm to the business, customers or other employees from being “mad at me”. But the disciplining had to happen. I’m truly feeling like a fine wine on this whole confrontation thing – I’ve gotten so much better with age. Confrontation can be a beautiful thing in my world as it clears up any confusion and even negative thoughts or feelings that might not even be real. When confrontation is approached out of love, help, and support – it’s great! When words are said with anger, attitude and disrespectfulness, then the confrontation can turn bad. And sometimes this can just be from a long term hurt that has been built up. But how much worse is it if the lack of confrontation is never approached in a relationship? (whether it be a love relationship, a work relationship, a family member or even a friend) Talk about the things that need to be talked about to better the communication and relationship with those that matter to you. You can only “mask” something so much before it comes out. Talking with God, yourself and those you care about is a must! When negative thoughts or events happen inside, they can become our unintended actions.

11. Comparison is the thief of all joy! I only follow and keep up with other individuals and brands that make me happy or encourage and inspire me. So I really try to not compare myself to anyone else over social media, because it’s all just a highlight reel. I’m actually most of a poster than a follower. I like to live my very own life rather than living through someone else’s. Even though almost everything is visual these days, depth, love and feelings still hold so much more merit to me! Stay in your own lane and do the best that you can do! Why try to fit in when you were born to be uniquely you!? Thinking you’re not good enough or you’re not doing enough is very normal, especially for those with “go-getter” syndrome in their veins. Be sure to reflect and take the time to be proud of how far YOU’VE come. Your journey is not one to compare to another’s. Life is a journey. You can’t accomplish it all over night!

12. You are in charge of your own life, your own destiny, and your own reality!!! Want to make something happen? Do it for yourself! Quit blaming someone else or waiting on someone else to do it for you. You can’t rely on others for your career success, health, happiness or anything else really. You are the one in control of your own life. You hold more power over yourself than anyone else ever will!!!

13. Evolution is a beautiful thing. Embrace it. Go with it. Overtime you’ll out grow people, you’ll expand your mindset, you’ll become more understanding, you’ll change directions, want new career goals verses what you used to want, new friends will come and old friends may fade, you’ll accomplish some of you dreams, land short of others, you’ll set new goals and you’ll evolve into a new you! Life is beautiful! I hope I never miss a bit of growing, cultivating, and becoming the best and most experienced me that I can be! Look at me – I’m not a lifestyle blogger and not a store front owner. Embracing all that evolution throws my way!

14. Give compliments. Make others feel their worth. In a world that is full of critics, be a cheerleader! So you see another girl who looks great in a particular outfit? Tell her! May your boyfriend or husband got a fresh new hair cut that has him looking nice? Let him know! Maybe the starbucks employee that took your order was super cheery and happy and lifted you up for a few moments? Share the positivity back their way! The way you make someone FEEL is such a powerful thing. I love to make others feel good about themselves. And I think our world needs more and more of this the older I get. Now I also don’t think you should just toss compliments around like skittles, I think they should be noticeable and some what even earned. There’s a fine line between complimenting when the situation arises verses giving everyone a trophy always.

15. Don’t take things so personally. Wow, has this been one of the biggest life lessons for me over the past few years. I am a very passionate person who loves hard and gives a lot. Now I don’t give expecting to receive back, however when someone would not take up for me, toss me under the bus, intentionally use or hurt me I would take it sooooooooo personally. Because I would have NEVER done those things to that person. But what I realized is sometimes some people do those types of things because that is WHO THEY ARE. When people do mean or ugly things to me, I don’t think I’m the prized possession being attacked or that they meant to personally do it to just me. Instead, I’ve learned that they do this because that is just what they do. And even if not such a dramatic phase, some people just aren’t capable of giving to you what you would give to them. So don’t expect it. And if they come up short, know it’s nothing you did or didn’t do to personally deserve it.

16. You’re never to old to be who you want to be! You’re never stuck in any situation. For perception can be reality. In today’s world 30 is the new 20. I never want to get caught thinking that my dreams have passed me by or that it’s too late or I’m too old to do something. Want to launch a new business? Do it. Want to change career avenues? Do it. Want to get in the best shape of your life? Nobody is holding you back. Whatever situation you’re in, you’re never stuck. Since perception is reality to so many people, why not make yours exactly what you want it to be? Look at me, wearing my high school prom dress to my 30th birthday party hopping in behind the camera for Southern Jewlz shoots with all the 19-21 girls. I hear so many people say “I’m too old, I’m not thin enough, I don’t feel confident enough” etc. If I start to feel these things, I do all I can to change it. Feeling a little heftier from all the birthday cake? You better bet I’m gonna spend a little more time on that treadmill on incline. I really just don’t tolerate excuses the older I get, especially not from myself!

17. Health is super duper important, too! And for far more than just how you look! In the last 3 years, I made an avid lifestyle change. I eat healthier, work out more, lift more weights, and feel better at 30 than I did at 15! I successfully reached 5 pounds UNDER my goal weight for my wedding and have kept it off for over 6 months now. I take care of my skin better than ever. I wear sunscreen every. single. day. I take my vitamins. My body is a fueled machine – and I try to feed it well! Feeling good and energetic means too much to me not to! Now I cheat on the weekends and I gain 4-5 pounds here and there, but I try to keep myself accountable. I worked way too hard to get to where I am and maintaining is a little bit easier than losing is for me. I want to live a long, healthy and happy life where I feel good. So health has to be an important component!

18. Trust Your Gut and Stand Up for Yourself. I have very rarely ever said, I wish I had NOT listened to my gut feeling when looking back on a situation. Sometimes I can get too much into my own head and over think and even over dramatize something, but our gut feelings usually have some sense of truth or meaning to them. I do not shut my gut feeling out, even if it’s not something that I can tangibly explain. Another thing along the line of trusting my gut, is I’ve learned to stand up for myself. If I think something is right, I’ll tell you. If I think something is wrong, I’ll stay away from it. I think in today’s world there is too much gray area and too many fence riders. You know how they say the jack of all trades is a master of none? Well the same implies for me on people who ride the fence trying to please everybody. When trying to “please” too many people, I would not be pleasing myself and I would lose credibility of those who I wanted to please the most. And you know what? It usually all tied right back to my gut feeling!

19. People give and receive love in different ways. On mine and Grant’s honeymoon, we each read the 5 love languages. That was a huge eye opener for me. The way I love to receive love is the way I was noticing I was always giving it. But some of the ways I felt I was showing the most love actually meant very little to the receivers at times. So I’m learning to notice the way people show their love to me and making note of it so that I can try to return in “their” type of way when the tables are turned. It’s way more refreshing to be able to give love to a person in a way that they will recognize and appreciate the love they are receiving!

20. Above all be kind. The world needs more love rather than hate. I make a conscious effort to say hi with a smile on my face wherever I go, to try to sound a little happier than normal in the emails I send and to hold the doors open for others when out in public. Now of course there are people out there who are not my friends, not my kinda people and so forth. I don’t go out of my way to be mean to them, I honestly just try to avoid them. But if I have to see them, I love to do the old wives tale of “killing them with kindness”. I really do like to be kind to everybody to make them feel better and it makes me feel good inside, too. But I at least had to not act like life is always rainbows and that everybody is my friend. But even when I don’t want to be nice, it’s always better to be the bigger person and take the high road!

If you made it through reading this entire blog – way to go! I now ask that you spread kindness or tell compliments to 3 people. Yes, more work after reading this long blog haha. But it can be in person, you can pick up the phone to call, send a text message or even leave 3 sweet comments on social media posts. The world needs more of the positive, so help me spread it!

Cheers to a new decade! I’m so thankful to have you following along on my journey!

Outfit from my very own online boutique – Southern Jewlz!

xo,

25 Comments

  1. Reply

    Morgan

    July 30, 2017

    You are such an inspiration!????

  2. Reply

    Stephanie Gomez

    July 30, 2017

    Randa,
    A recent May 2017 Graduate from Texas A&M, I have been a fan of Southern Jewlz since I moved to College Station. I have also been a fan of you as well, you are someone I look up to. A successful and driven young woman, who I only hope to be as I continue to grow and learn. Thanks to you, I am reminded to keep striving and work hard everyday!

    • Reply

      randa

      July 31, 2017

      Awe, i love hearing from another Aggie! Thanks for following along on my journey!

  3. Reply

    Maranda Ritch

    July 30, 2017

    you are very inspiring the way you have followed your dreams & encourage everyone else to do the same! i love keeping up with you on social media! i also love your name, my name is Maranda and “Randa” has been my nickname for as long as i can remember!

    • Reply

      randa

      July 31, 2017

      Love it! Thanks girly!

  4. Reply

    Holly Reid

    July 30, 2017

    Randa,
    I read this post the original post day and I loved it! I loved it because I’m closing in on my 30th! I just 28 and have let me myself go!! Your fitness instagrams and snaps have really been sticking with me! When I reread #17 tonight I realized I needed to get my butt off the couch and in shape! Thank you! Your last video really motivated! “You’ve got to show up and put the work in!”
    After finding out this week I failed my PT boards #6 made be realize it was okay to be sad, but to not dwell on it! And #17 reminded me to get back on the horse and study hard for this next attempt! Make it my last attempt! Keep doing what you are doing!! You are motivating lots of women and girls!

    • Reply

      randa

      July 31, 2017

      You’ve got it girl, baby steps in the direction you want to go in!!!

  5. Reply

    Sandy M

    July 30, 2017

    Hello Randa,

    I love this blog post. Even though I am about to be 18 and such, I have all these issues with staying true to who I am like you mentioned in this post. Our society is just so brutally hurtful and rude.

    *Comment made as part of the giveaway” Wooh!

    Thanks for always sharing amazingness!

    • Reply

      randa

      July 31, 2017

      Always stay true to yourself, your morals and your values girly!

  6. Reply

    Kelcy

    July 31, 2017

    This was something I needed to read! 6 & 8 especially right now! With many health issues and the unknown that comes with them. You are such an inspiration to young women like myself! You allow myself to see that anything really is possible. Also that no matter what is going on to never lose yourself!

    • Reply

      randa

      July 31, 2017

      Wow so glad to hear that it helped you!!! Always gotta stay true to yourself and your happiness!

    • Reply

      randa

      July 31, 2017

      🙂

  7. Reply

    Cailee Butler

    July 31, 2017

    You’re such an inspiration, Randa! This post is by far my favorite of all you have done thus far! ?

  8. Reply

    Jessica Rosprim

    July 31, 2017

    Love this ?

  9. Reply

    Chandler Jones

    July 31, 2017

    Absolutely love this!!!

    • Reply

      randa

      July 31, 2017

      Thank you!!!

  10. Reply

    Ashley Johns

    August 1, 2017

    Randa, you hit the nail on the head! Soon to be 30 (in November), mother of 4, and ready to #dome. I love reading your blogs and following your snaps ? Thank you for being real, and inspiring us to do better!

  11. Reply

    Hailey

    August 3, 2017

    Randa,

    Thank you for being yourself and letting us see the imperfectly flawed, real, quirky, beautiful woman that you are in a world of photoshop and social media criticism. It’s been so refreshing following you and I’ve enjoyed reading your blogs!

  12. Reply

    Kaitlynn Bissett

    August 3, 2017

    You remind me not to take myself too seriously and go enjoy life as the one and only person I can be which is me! ??stay fab Randa! Xoxoxox

  13. Reply

    Danielle Young

    August 3, 2017

    You are such a wonderful inspiration and role model for young women! I started following you when you started your boutique in the pink store and I’ve loved watching your business evolve!

  14. Reply

    Savannah

    August 6, 2017

    Love this! ?

  15. Reply

    Lauren Stanley

    August 9, 2017

    ?

  16. Reply

    Brittany Malone

    August 11, 2017

    Such an inspiring post for all in their 20’s! ?

  17. Reply

    Harley Hernandez

    August 11, 2017

    Love this ❤️

  18. Reply

    Amanda

    August 11, 2017

    What a great read. Every blog inspires and uplifts me as a person. You say these are lessons you learned in your twenties. These are things I will take with me into my thirties. The person you have become today gives me hope not only for myself but my two beautiful daughters and every young girl and woman striving to do great things and be a better person.

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