Every decade in your life is a learning experience, each with its own set of challenges and achievements. But, according to me, nothing compares to the roller coaster ride that your 20s are. In your 20s you transition from a barely independent teenager to a full-blown adult, you're expected to figure out your career and you will most likely even find the love of your life. Yup, that's a lot of big stuff to go through, even over a span of 10 years. As a 23-year-old now, I can't say I've really lived through my 20s, but I have got a fair idea of what it's like to be in this life-changing age bracket. Entering your 20s, you of course, get a lot of advice about what it's going to be like, and there's no harm in that. But do not let anyone else's path determine your own. So, here are seven pieces of advice I was told given for my 20s, and what I feel about them now.
"Don't let other people's opinions get to you."
While in an ideal world, I would love to live a life carefree, enough to not worry about how people felt and thought about me. But, as someone in their 20s, it is unimaginably hard to do so. Yes, I have definitely gotten better at not letting people's opinions or comments get to me as much, but it'll be a long road before I have achieved that completely impenetrable armour against unnecessary negativity. The sad part is that I know how meaningless other people's negativity is; but in the 20s, there's so much going on, so much you're learning and are anyway so unsure of things generally that any one thing someone says about you can really break you down. Maybe in my 30s, I will be able to make this advice a reality.
"Don't be afraid... especially to embarrass yourself."
Your 20s are going to be filled with embarrassing situations - I can guarantee it (that too, after only three years of being in the decade), and that is something you just have to accept. And seriously, there is nothing wrong with it. If you sat down with everyone who was once in their 20s, you would not believe the kind of stories they had. Aside from being okay with being embarrassed, your 20s will teach you not be afraid of various other things - voicing your opinions, getting something wrong, etc. The whole decade will be a learning exercise in letting go of your various fears, and it is liberating AF.
"You have to have it all figured out, or you're going to go nowhere."
As a 23-year-old, I can say with certainty - I have nothing figured out. I may not even be able tell you what I would like to eat for dinner tonight. But that doesn't mean I'm a failure, or that I'm never going to be able to do something with my life. You can't have your life plan figured out before you're 20, you haven't even experienced anything yet! I'm not saying there aren't people I know who had their life plan charted out since junior college, but I'm sure even they made some changes once they truly experienced their 20s. I believe that your 20s is the time for you to figure things out, because it is your first proper introduction into the real world, and nothing can be a better learning than experience to guide you into what you want to do with your life. And if you feel like you're surrounded by people your age, who have their sh*t together, trust me, it's all a sham. Everybody is on their own route to figuring things out, so don't be too hard on yourself.
"Always stand up for yourself, because there's no one who's going to do it for you in the real world"
This is the one piece of advice that I have found to be truest when it comes to my 20s. While you may be surrounded by people who adore you, whether at work or just generally in life, there will come a time when you realise that your strongest advocate has always got to be yourself. You and these people may share the closest of relationships and be willing to do anything for each other, but you have to realise that, at the end of the day, you cannot rely on anyone else more than yourself. And trust me, you don't want to learn this the hard way. This doesn't in any way demean the relationships you may have, but it's more of a way of looking out for yourself.
"People, happiness, money, it'll all come and go."
Never will you understand the true meaning of "life is fleeting", like you do in your 20s. Relationships end, friends become strangers, your bank balance could be unbelievable one day, and you could be broke the next, and it's all just a part of life. Your 20s definitely teach you to go with the flow. If we all broke down and stopped living every time something bad happened in our 20s, we wouldn't be able to do anything. Yes, things will still hurt like hell, but just know that it's not the end of the world. And you never know what could be waiting for you on the other side. Always keep an open mind.
"You're too young to be stuck in a job you hate."
Truer words have never been said. Yes, it may seem a bit off if you changed five jobs within a year, but like I said earlier, it's all about figuring things out. If you're truly unhappy doing what you're doing, there's no compulsion for you to have to continue with it. But don't just use this as an excuse to mess around.
"Make time for yourself"
With everything that's happening in your 20s, there's a great chance that you will go through a lot of times when you lose sense of yourself. And if you ever feel like that is happening, immediately take time out to address it. Your 20s are a time to find yourself, not the other way around. So don't get so caught up in your relationship or work that you forget to take some time out for yourself. You won't get anywhere figuring your future out if you don't spend any time reflecting on everything that's going on.
› See More: 7 Pieces Of Advice I Was Told About My 20s
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