Things I Wish I Knew In My 20s
I discovered the most interesting thing recently. Nearly 60% of those who watch the YouTube channel are in their 20s. YouTube analytics tells me so. I just found it really interesting because while I’m a little beyond that now, I’m not so old I don’t remember my 20s.
I know exactly how you guys think-you’re invincible, you’ll never get old, and there are things you just don’t have to think about. Well, take it from me as someone who’s been there- it’s just not the case. There are plenty of things I wish knew when I was younger. I’m going to share five of those with you, and (hopefully) you can learn from my mistakes.
Understanding The Basic Of Building A Wardrobe
This may sound a little crazy if you look at my process now, but for the longest time I was more drawn to individual pieces than seeing the ‘big picture’ when creating my style.
I’d think “okay, I need some pants.” So, I’d go to the mall and get a pair or two. The same thing with shirts- need one, go out and get one. What resulted was having a bunch of individual items that really didn’t go with one another. So, I’d trudge back to the mall and the vicious cycle would repeat itself.
I’m ashamed to admit it took me way too long to understand the value of starting with the basics and then gradually (that’s the key word, here) building from there. Regular readers of the site and viewers of the YouTube channel will know I talk about this all the time-but it took a long time to get there.
Not Committing To A Skincare Routine
Wrinkles, crow’s feet, and smile lines are pretty much inevitable as you age. But, for me, they’d be a little less pronounced if I’d been more consistent about taking care of my skin in my 20s. I was never really able to commit to a routine. Everything seemed complicated and there were a ton of different aspects to knowing exactly what I needed to do and when. My wife seems to know this stuff and takes fantastic care of her skin. I’m just not that skilled.
But, I’ve been using the Level 3 Advanced skincare kit from Tiege Hanley. It includes a facial cleanser, face scrub, morning and evening moisturizers, an eye cream, and a serum designed to slow down the appearance of aging.
Perhaps it’s because it’s been so cold and dry out here on the East Coast lately, but I had this area on my “T-zone” between my eyebrows where my skin got red, splotchy, and quite dry as well. The AM and PM moisturizers have done a great job taking care of it.
The best part from my perspective, other than smelling and feeling amazing on your skin and the product working so well , is they tell you exactly how much to use and when to use it. I love having a checklist like that. One less thing to think about.
Pushing Too Hard Constantly
Robin loves to tell this story about me. We weren’t married yet, she was still living in New York City, and I was up visiting. We were out and about and suddenly, she just wanted to sit on a bench and do nothing. Apparently I didn’t quite ‘get it.’
That type of stasis (which some might call “relaxation”) hasn’t ever really resonated with me. In my 20s, I was constantly pushing, working, or dialing in on whatever it was I was doing, learning, or practicing. It got to the point where I felt if I let up or didn’t go so hard I’d fall behind or not achieve what I wanted to.
I still think being focused and driven can be a very good thing. But, one of things I wish I knew when I was younger was how to take a break. Burnout is real. It could even put in a position where you actually start hating the thing you once loved to do.
I’ve experienced varying degrees of that, yes- but thankfully never to the point where I wanted to quit. It’s a dangerous and kind of scary situation to find yourself in, and definitely one of those things I wish knew when I was younger.
Knowing The “Why”
This goes hand-in-hand with being focused, dedicated, and consumed with trying to achieve something. In my 20s, that was music- the saxophone, music history, musicology, learning all the crazy pieces I had to play. I think getting to that place, mentally, is extremely important to becoming an expert or getting close to mastery of any particular field or subject.
But, I wish I was able to see, at the time, the bigger picture and understand the why behind what I was doing. I knew I loved music and being able to play for people, yes. I knew I loved pushing boundaries and innovating. But, by not looking outside and more or less operating in a vacuum, I realize how little I really understood what it was all about.
What I know and can articulate now is how I love connecting with people. I love bringing people together around shared beliefs and hope what I do has the power to change peoples’ lives. I understand that with music. I understand that with the community here at HSS-the website, the YouTube Channel, the Shop, and our partnership with Michael Andrews.
Once I found the “why” of what I was doing, it gave me the sense of purpose and feeling what I was doing was something bigger than just me. I’d encourage you to look beyond the ‘what’ and the ‘how’ of what you do and dig into the why. I guarantee if you can get to the bottom of it, you’ll experience a powerful moment you won’t forget.
Take Risks, But Not Every Risk
One of the things I kind of regret not doing in my 20s was to move to New York City to ‘do the musician thing.’ The city is a never-ending hub of activity. There are just so many creative people there, so many opportunities. It seemed so exciting, but it was a risk. I never took it. But, I did take a different one.
I was really lucky to win a job as a saxophonist with the Army Field Band in 1999. But, I was 21 years old and didn’t really want to settle into a “career” yet. There was still so much I wanted to do. So, after three years I decided to leave this secure job, go to graduate school to study the saxophone even more and possibly get a teaching job at a university. It wasn’t moving to New York, but it was a risk and a scary thing to do.
I certainly don’t regret it, but looking back at the things I wish I knew when I was younger, it’s important to weigh factors before taking a risk. Don’t shy away from one, but do try to see a way forward and have some kind of plan before jumping in. Be open to things as they happen, but you’ll feel better about your ultimate decision if you take time to map it out a little before diving in headlong.
Looking back from where you are now, is there something you’d do differently?
Thanks for reading.