No doubt about it: your twenties are a wild, wacky, wonderful phase of your life. You’re setting out on your own for the first time, armed with nothing but big dreams and a million questions, just trying to figure it all out … But you don’t have to do it alone. Take a moment to find inspiration in the stories that made up your childhood, and let the magic of Disney movies teach you how to make this decade magical.
You know how Rapunzel leaves her tower? Wherever you’re comfortable is your tower, and you should leave it too. This is your first chance to exercise complete control over your own life, so go out there and chase your floating lanterns. Get in the habit of saying “yes” and exploring new things.
When you’re growing up, other people’s expectations for you can really impact the way you think of yourself—just look at Elsa. The good news is that now you have the opportunity to take that preconceived idea of who you are and let it go. If you hated feeling shy in school, decide that now will be your time to blossom. If you felt like you didn’t fit in anywhere, go out and find your niche. Don’t let anyone—not other people, and especially not yourself—put you in a box.
The Princess and the Frog
Tiana’s story taught us that whatever your immediate goals are, you should always dig a little deeper. It’s great to be ambitious, but don’t ever let your sense of self-worth hinge upon whether or not you get the dream job right away, or find the dream partner right away, or anything else that depends on something not completely in your control. As you go after the things you want, remember that you already have everything you need.
The Lion King
Plenty of challenges will pop up as you venture forth into the world on your own. Some of them will be big, some of them will be small—the only guarantee is that they will come. So what can you do? Approach them with a “Hakuna Matata” attitude. Anything that comes your way, you can handle, and you can do it with a sense of humor. Keep that in mind, and you’ll be unstoppable.
Some people work towards one specific dream for their entire life, and some people in their sixties still don’t know what they want to be when they grow up. Both are okay! As Hercules put it, “I know every mile will be worth my while.” As long as you keep pushing yourself to learn and grow, no mile you walk is wasted, no matter how winding the road.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
When you’re a kid, your friends are pretty much chosen for you. Now that you’re an adult, you can decide what kind of people you spend time with. If there are any negative, cruel, or toxic people in your life, you don’t have to let them bring you down anymore. You can choose to surround yourself with only nice people! If you need a reminder that this is possible, think of Quasimodo and how much better off he was when he left Frollo behind to find his real friends.
Should you take the smoothest course, steady as the beating drum? Not if it means staying in your comfort zone because you’re afraid of the unknown. Your twenties are not a time for settling. You’ll never know what could be waiting for you around the riverbend until you venture there. (You’ll also never know how high the sycamore grows if you cut it down, so don’t do that.)
The Little Mermaid
Read and consider contracts SUPER CAREFULLY before you sign them. That’s all we’re gonna say.
Beauty and the Beast
If things get hard, remember Mrs. Potts’ promise: “Cheer up child. It’ll turn out alright in the end. You’ll see.” As you’re wading through these strange and wonderful years, there will probably be times when you feel like you’re just making it up as you go along, and that’s okay! If you haven’t reached happily ever after yet, that’s because your story’s not over.
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
Captain Jack Sparrow once advised Will Turner to “try not to do anything stupid,” and we think that’s a solid strategy in general. Remember that you’ve got a responsibility or two now, and nothing is more satisfying than tending to those before you go off and have your adventures.
Remember what Fa Zhou told Mulan about the late-blooming cherry blossom? Everything happens in its own time, and life is not a race. When it comes to accomplishing your dreams, hold yourself to high standards, but make sure they’re your standards and not anyone else’s. Don’t compare your behind-the-scenes to someone else’s highlight reel.
Lilo & Stitch
Lilo & Stitch taught us that “‘Ohana means family, and family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten.” As you venture out in the world, never forget the people who have been cheering you on from the beginning. The relationships you have with your parents and siblings once you’re all adults can be incredibly special, and you should cherish them at every opportunity.
Which lesson that you learned from a Disney movie has inspired you the most in your adult life? Tell us in the comments!