Before I get started – it’s great to be back after such a long hiatus!
Now, this is a post I’ve wanted to make for quite a while. I recently turned the corner on my teenage years, officially entering my 20s. For me, this has come with a mix of emotions, predominantly sheer excitement but also cautious fear of the uncertainty that a new decade holds. So many people say that the 20s are supposed to be the “time of your life”. I’ve realized that this can be source of pressure, motivation to make the most of these years, or a mix of both, as in my case. I decided that it’d be fun to create a list of 21 things I’d like to achieve before 21 – some serious, some bizarre, some abstract. Here’s what I came up with!
1. Travel to 2 new countries and / or 5 new states
I’ve recently been solo-travelling up and down the East Coast of the US, which has been easy thanks to the amazing train network of the Northeast. From the metropolis of Washington, DC to rural New Jersey, I’ve met fascinating people, explored unfamiliar landscapes, and had unbelievable experiences. I’d love to make even more memories this year, whether that’s internationally, in the US, or both.
2. Stick to 1 new habit of my choice, for the rest of the year
Sticking to a habit has always been hard for me, especially without external motivation. This year, I’d like to zero in on just 1 new habit and try committing to it. This could be meditation, journaling, giving back, or staying in touch with old friends.
3. Fly a plane
This year I’m determined to make it happen. Lots of aviation schools offer “discovery flights” – a kind of test drive of a flying lesson – and this is what I aim to do.
4. Gym consistently
I’ve started going to the gym regularly again this summer. That said, the real test will be whether I can sustain my gym habit when life gets ultra-busy once the fall semester starts.
5. Have a full conversation in a foreign language with a native
Another dream of mine. Since I’ll be studying abroad in Korea this fall, I should have more than ample opportunity to speak exclusively in Korean with new friends. Time to put those hours of K-drama to use.
6. Learn the speed bag
I don’t exactly know where this one came from, but it might have been from watching Rocky or Creed. Hitting a speed bag just looks so cool, and is a random skill that I’d love to be good at.
7. Say no as often as I need to
One of my clearest intentions this year is to be more authentic and true to myself. Saying no to events, situations and people that don’t resonate with me is an essential step towards realizing this.
8. Go back home
I haven’t been back to Malaysia in a year and a half now, and really miss seeing my family, friends and the place itself. This is the year I go back!
9. Buy a stranger a meal
This is something my dad has done a lot in the past, and it inspires me to no end. Granted, offering a stranger a meal is going to be nerve-wracking, but it’s something I’d like to experience and get used to doing.
10. Try a new hairstyle
Or at least one that isn’t just a buzz cut, fade, or long hair. Maybe I’ll let my barber surprise me.
11. Get serious about investing
This is a big one for me. I’ve dipped my toes into investing but haven’t even come close to making it a significant part of my financial plan. I hope to develop a consistent investing habit, compounding for the future.
12. Compete at a major tennis tournament
I competed in the USTA Southerns with my school last year, and it brought out so much joy and competitiveness in me. Definitely something I want to do again in my 20th year.
13. Keep perspective during tough times
Because most of the time, bad things really aren’t the end of the world. And even if things are really bad, it’s impossible for a situation to last forever, especially if I take action.
14. Clean out my room (whenever needed)
And it’s probably needed quite often if I’m being honest. That said, the payoffs are huge, as a clutter-free room keeps my mind at peace.
15. Try a new cuisine
Maybe West African food? Eastern European dishes? Or even Louisiana Cajun cuisine?
16. Become more resilient
I’ve made a lot of progress in the last year with being resilient towards life’s obstacles, and I want to carry this growth into Year 20. Resilience is often the difference between a bad day and a bad week for me.
17. Drive in the US
So far, all I’ve driven here are golf carts. Time to upgrade to cars.
18. Document my life more often
I had this goal last year too, and it’s equally important this year. I want to take more pictures, write more journal entries, and safeguard more memories.
19. Become more familiar with Buddhism
Buddhism has become a major force in shaping my worldview. I want to learn more about ideas like Loving-kindness and non-attachment, and how I can apply these to my own life.
20. Average 7+ hours of sleep for the year
Last year I doubt I averaged more than six and a half. Enough said.
21. Take life less seriously
Because I’m not going to get Year 20 of my life back after this. Time to make mistakes, learn from them, and keep exploring the wonders of the world I inhabit.
And I’ll stop here before this article gets too long. Thanks for reading! And if you have any adventurous goals for your 20s, leave them in the comments – I’d love to see them!