(TL;DR – Stay humble, focused, and carefree.)
I’m in my mid-twenties and I’m totally loving it. It’s the time of opportunity and change, and I’m more than aware of how fleeting this window is before other responsibilities come in, like marriage, housing, and children!
Flora’s done an insightful list of advice for thirty-somethings, and I thought I’d do the same for twenty-somethings. I think they probably apply to any age, but these are the lessons I feel I’ve learnt in my early twenties, and will continue to remind myself of as I enjoy the rest of my twenties.
1. You do you
It’s so easy to compare yourself to your peers, setting checkpoints to where you should be in career and relationships, but your twenties will be tumultuous and erratic and comparisons will only make you more unhappy. Just do you, and you’ll always end up on top.
2. Save save save!
Your new spending power feels amazing, but if you don’t think several steps ahead of you, you may find making big purchases in the future tough. Start planning out an actual savings plan and set financial milestones for yourself — your future home will thank you for it.
3. Don’t discount other opinions
It’s easy to get caught up in your own thoughts and experiences, but never forget that there are others out there with equally valuable perspectives. Take a moment to be patient, listen, and understand where others are coming from, no matter their nationality, age, or education level, or whatever else.
Even if you’re tired, exercise is something you should set time aside for. Start with at least once a week to begin with, your body will thank you for it later.
5. Remember that you’re clueless and inexperienced
Sure, you’re out in the working world now, earning an income and shouldering a new pile of responsibilites. But remember this: In the eyes of those in their thirties, forties, fifties, and so on, you’re still a clueless, inexperienced young ‘un. Know what? It’s actually okay to be clueless, as long as you acknowledge it and stay humble. Staying open to learning from others is your best bet.
6. Take risks
Public service announcement to all twenty-somethings = take all the risk you can. Especially as a young twenty-something with no kids and no mortage, you are in the bestest-ever(!) to be doing all the crazy things that your mind can think of. Want to start your own company? Do it. Offered a job in the UAE? Take it. Itching to learn new languages, pick up dress-making, and build houses in Africa? Go for it.
Regret is a friend you never want to have.
7. Don’t give up your goals for that guy/girl
Ground rule for all adult relationships: Don’t give up your goals to make your relationship easier. If your relationship is solid enough to stand the tests of life, it will be able to sustain the pursuit of your goals, especially in your twenties. Refer your other half to point 6, and hustle through, it’ll only make your relationship stronger. And better.
8. Find a mentor
You may have these great goals and grand dreams, but chances are you will find it hard to find your way there. The path to success is not straightforward, and having the guidance of someone more experienced than you will do wonders for you and give you great clarity.
For many, it’ll very likely be your boss, but if it’s not, seek one out elsewhere. Mentors won’t step out from their busy lives itching to mould young lives, so the responsibility of looking for one lies solely in your hands.
9. Learn to drink responsibly
I’m not saying that you’re not allowed to get shit-faced once in a while, but it’s good to know how to drink in moderation, especially if in a professional setting. Your bosses will thank you for it, your business partners will respect you for it, and your colleagues? Well, they may end up having to take the brunt of their own embarrassing late-night drinking incidents.
10. Treasure your twenties for the magical time that it is
True, you have loads more responsibilities than before, and you may actually have to think about (GASP!) income tax and housing for the first time. Yea, those boring ‘adult things’. But hey, that doesn’t mean you have to play the serious adult all day err day. You’re still allowed to surf 9gag and say that your eyebrows are “on fleek”, while spamming emojis to your friends without judgement. You’re allowed to make bad decisions once in a while and spill sauce on your white shirt from time to time. You have the crazy recklessness of a kid with the financial independence of an adult. Ahhh…
It absolutely rules to be in your twenties, so savour each moment and don’t rush through it or soon, it’ll be over and you’ll have to learn a whole other set of life lessons.