20 Things Every 20-Something Should Know
Editor’s Note: When we first read Arin’s post, it was like inhaling a big breath of fresh air. Her advice is so honest and real, and contains some great takeaways that we could all learn from, no matter what age. We hope you enjoy!
Ah, what a decade your 20’s are! Perhaps the most eventful years of your life — from crazy 21st birthday parties, to careers, marriage and babies — it’s one hell of a ride. It’s both terrifying and exhilarating, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’ve been through many highs and lows in this point of my life, and as I approach my 29th year, I’m sharing the most valuable lessons I’ve picked up along the way — I hope you enjoy! What have you learned?
1. Stop Comparing
The amount of time I’ve wasted comparing my journey to another is saddening. Every time you compare, you rid yourself of happiness. ‘Don’t compare yourself to someone else’s middle’ because we’re all on a different timeline. We all have different strengths and weaknesses that make us unique! This is something we all struggle with, and will continue to struggle with (At least I will). Stop worrying about what everyone else is doing, and use that energy on YOU! You’ll be happy with the results!
2. The Struggle with Loss
Sigh, this is a tough one. You’ll likely lose a loved one by the end of your 20’s, and it’s really hard. Honestly, it feels like your world is over (like you’re dying) & I’ve learned that you make it through. It’s a painful, long, dark tunnel — and some days feel longer than others (way longer than others). But, you’re going to be alright. I promise, you’re going to be alright.
3. People Change
This is, perhaps, the toughest lesson I’ve learned thus far. You lose a lot of friendships. A couple years ago, I did a friend-detox and started deleting people that weren’t providing me joy. If you hang around with dark clouds, you’re bound to be one, too! I wanted to surround myself with positivity, love and laughter. It wasn’t easy — but it’s definitely been one of the best decisions I’ve made. Quality over quantity, always. Surround yourself with love.
Ugh, the dreaded “B” word. If I could go back to my early 20’s, I would have managed my money better. I would have invested my money, and saved a lot more. Even putting aside $50 a month can bring you so far! Stick with a budget, it’ll make a huge difference later! (Sincerely, broke Arin)
Overnight, my metabolism changed for the worst. I can’t even stress how important it is to exercise regularly, and stay active. Once you fall off the train, it takes a lot longer to get back on! Take it from example A (that’s me) — It’s not easy getting that unnecessary weight back off! This could be a rumor, but I’ve heard that your 20’s shape the future. What you do now can really affect you later on! Be careful!
6. Do What You Love
Life is too short to be at that dead-end job that you dread day after day. I recently left my 50-hour work week to focus on me. Am I broke? Yes. Am I happier? You bet! I am finding myself now that I’ve detached from corporate. I felt like a hamster on a wheel for far too long, and my biggest regret is not leaving sooner. You owe it to yourself to find something you really enjoy. After all, we live in freedom. Use it.
Your heart will most likely shatter a million times in your 20’s. For me, breakups were the end of the world, truly. You’re going to date a lot of frogs before you find your prince — so, put your hard-hat on and keep going! The yucky relationships will make you appreciate those special ones. And, they’re fun to laugh at later on! Yes, you’re going to get through the breakup, and you will not die of a broken heart. (Even though I was convinced I may!) Everything happens for a reason, so trust the timing of your life, and keep spreading love.
It’s so important to travel and explore the beautiful world! There’s no better time than now — so scrape up your change, and get on that flight! You’ll be glad you did.
9. Chivalry Isn’t Dead
Chivalry isn’t dead, despite what your friends may say! Do not settle. You seriously deserve the world, and boatloads of happiness.
10. Trust Your Gut
Your instincts are generally right. I’ve learned to always trust my first thought/gut instinct! Also, my fellow indecisive-crazy’s out there — it’ll make your life a lot easier moving forward! Ha!
Listening is key. This is something I still continue to struggle with because I am a chatter-box! If we just stop and listen, we can really use that input to guide our own lives & relationships moving forward. The most valuable advice have been from grandparents, and great-grandparents. Listen to their teachings, you’ll be glad you did!
Take it from Taylor Swift, ‘the haters gonna hate’, so let them! Usually the haters are unhappy with their own life, so they try to bring everyone else down with them. Ignore them, block them and use them as ammo to push forward and kick butt! Remember, ‘You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, but there will always be someone who hates peaches.’
13. Be Nice
What goes around, comes around. It takes energy to be mean, and angry. Why not spread love and kindness? What you put out in the world, comes back to you! Keep it positive and happy!
14. Feeling Lost
This is another one that I’ve continued to struggle with over and over again. We all find our purpose at different times, so if you’re 28 and lost, it’s okay. Use your 20’s to find out what makes you happy, and get to know yourself. You’ll get through it eventually, and get back on track soon. Just commit to yourself!
15. Love Takes Work
Relationships take a lot of work and commitment. I mean, you’re merging 2 lives into one — it’s bound to be a little bumpy! As the years go on, you learn to compromise. The sooner you master this approach, the better off you’ll be! You’ll also learn the most valuable life lessons out of your relationships (especially the yucky ones!). Use these lessons for future relationships, and never settle.
16. Looks Shmooks
My early 20’s were all about looks — “Who’s the cutest one to show off to my friends?” Now, it’s “Will he be a good father, and supportive life-partner?” Don’t focus on looks, because they don’t last a lifetime. (You get what I mean…) Obviously, physical attraction is important, but it shouldn’t be a main focus. Focus on the inside, as cheesy as it sounds!
Go to therapy (even if you’re healthy) — I’ve learned some really interesting things about myself from talking to a stranger. Therapy is a form of mediation, you know. It can help you through those crazy 20’s, and you’ll always have someone to talk to. It’s a form of exercise to me, and keeps my mind in gear!
18. Keep A Journal
Write everyday. Write about what you’re going through, how you’re feeling and what you’re looking forward to most about the future! I wish I had kept mine up, because I would have liked to look back in time. You can see how far you’ve come along the years, and it’s a great keepsake to pass down to your kids one day!
19. Good Friends Are Hard To Come By
I went through a really tough time last year, and landed in the hospital. Through those really tough times is when you learn who your true friends are. Hold onto these people, and cherish them forever. Relationships are so very important, and healthy!
20. You’ll Feel Alone
You’re not alone in feeling alone. The 20’s can be really confusing, and scary. They’re some of your biggest growing periods ever. Remember that you’re loved, a lot! It’s normal, and you’ll get through it like everything else. We still have yet to experience some of the most fascinating parts of life! For me: getting married, and having babies — just so much to look forward to! Enjoy these years, and make the best out of them. They’re some of the best!
About The Author: Arin Agase is a WhitneyPort.com contributor, and Chicago based fashion & lifestyle blogger at Heart of Chic. Fueled by hard work, city style and midwest charm — Arin aims to inspire, empower and create.