With my 21st birthday right around the corner, my mind has most recently been occupied by planning out the near future. To help with this, I asked for some advice from oldies who lived their 20s way back in the dinosaur era. To my surprise, I quickly ran into a dilemma. I think that if you ask most people for advice on your 20s, you will likely get two contrasting answers:
- When you’re in your 20s, you’re still young! Go out and have fun, take risks and make the most of it!
- Your 20s will set you up for your future career, so get the meaningful work experience and stability that will set you up for the rest of your life.
So what should you really do?
To be completely honest, I think this whole matter shouldn’t be your biggest concern in life. In fact, I think most people don’t completely waste their 20s. Sure, they might regret having done (or not done) some things here or there, but that is the essence of hindsight and learning along the journey, is it not? I do believe however, that it’s fair to want the most out of your 20s, and there really is no black-or-white answer to it. That said, here’s the wisdom I gathered from those lucky to have experienced their 20s before me.
Invest in Yourself
Most people have an innate drive to do this, whether that is developing a certain skill or craft, gaining experience in the field or furthering education. When there is passion for something, it certainly is all the more easy to do, so if you have that passion, keep it going. That time and effort will reap its rewards down the road. One piece of advice I particularly liked was: ‘strive to be the best in your field.’ Cliche I know, but take an extreme example to help you understand things: you could have a masters, doctorate or be a professor in your field, and those who share the same passion with you will pay attention to you, but win a Nobel Prize in your field, and everyone will stop breathing just to listen to you.
On the other hand, you need to carefully consider your limits. It’s great to be motivated to work hard and succeed, but at the end of the day, we are all human. Sometimes it really is just too much, and what too much is differs for everyone. You have to be able to understand that. When you go over the limit, other aspects of your life can become affected, and you can even go backwards on the goals you set in the first place. If that happens, it’s okay, it will be a lesson learnt. You can always take a step back, and modify the approach. That’s the beauty of youth!
Take Risks and Explore
I’m sure you know, youth is the time to try new things – you’re not going to get the same opportunities again later on in life, so you should really think about taking them when you can! That could be in the form of travelling/moving countries, starting new relationships, or finding a new job. Sometimes it can be scary I know, but you can really benefit from being out of your comfort zone and taking on something new and challenging. It may even develop into something that you continue for the rest of your life too. If it doesn’t turn out the way you expected to, that’s okay as well. It’s about shaping your experiences, character, likes and dislikes, so that you know what you want to do later on when things are more stable. Don’t regret missing out!
That said, don’t try anything you know you cannot recover from. Everything needs to be carefully evaluated, and you should understand the potential risks and benefits when making these choices. Listen carefully to advice from those who have experience, as they will likely have something valuable for you to know. Be prudent – it’s good to have a mindset where you are trying not to make mistakes, because mistakes are inevitable. If you go in with this mindset, when mistakes do arise, you will always be able to step back and recover.
Life isn’t really one way or the other. It’s meant to be balanced. That means invest in yourself, and take some risks. Do a bit of both where you can. It also means enjoy your life. If to you that’s starting a family, visiting home or developing your spirituality, take the time out of your career and productive life to really do those things. Whatever it is you do, enjoy it.
And that’s all from me for now! Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below; we always love to hear from you. Thank you so much for reading and supporting this blog.
Till next time!