20 Things Every 20-Something Must Learn To Do (Read & Digest)
1. Learn to be who you are, and do not be ashamed of what that person thinks, creates, feels and desires. Wear what you want, date who you want and do what you want for no other reason than because you want to. Listen to the advice of others, most of them mean well. But at the end of the day, it is your life and these are your days, you choose how you spend them.
2. Learn how to apologize, and how to genuinely thank the people who have gotten you here. These are skills that you will inevitably need for the rest of your life. There are few things more important than reconciling with those you need to amend with and thanking those who have truly done something incredible for you. Don’t let either of them fall through the cracks, it’s part of the essence of being a good person.
3. Whether it means reading a book that enamors you, taking a road trip or moving abroad: travel. With your mind, with your body, whatever. The point is: learn that there is far more than what you can see and experience from where you are right now. This notion will be crucial for giving and maintaining hope on the darker days.
4. Tend to the open wounds of your youth. You are not weak or failing by choosing to enlist professional help, seek the medications you need or acknowledge the less-than-acceptable things you have done or that have befallen you. You’ve heard so many stories of people allowing these wounds to stay open and you know what happens: they eventually infect the whole body.
5. Relish in the limbo between childhood and adulthood. Hold on to the former or embrace the latter for as long and as intently as you choose. The point is, you can get away with either at this point in your life.
6. Learn how to cook a good meal, interview well, write thank you cards, change a tire, take care of someone who needs it and throw a great party.
7. Learn how to take care of yourself. Our individual needs come on such a spectrum, I really can’t begin to list how “taking care of oneself” will look for everybody generally. But what I mean is acknowledge that you need to move around once in a while, drink water, fuel your body and get enough sleep. Aside from that, figure out what calms your soul, what passion calls your being and how the balance between your physical body and who you really are is what it’s all about.
8. Adapt. Go with the flow. You are forever at the whim of your environment if you continue to allow it to affect you greatly. Realize that complaining about changing tides will not make them recess. In fact, with many things in life, you can go one of two ways: embrace what is or continue to pretend that plaguing yourself with toxic thoughts about it will change it.
9. Stop numbering things, aside from lists ;). Experiences, friends, your age and what that means, your salary, your weight… let go of the numbers and the meanings you have associated with them. Just let it all be what it is.
10. Realize that being kind and moving toward a society of love and acceptance requires you to do all of that not only when people are looking, but also behind closed doors and behind people’s backs.
11. Read. The newspaper, books, whatever. The revolution is not going to begin on TV. Reports are only done on what has already happened. Be a part of what is happening.
12. Your education doesn’t end when school does. Life is a continuous unfolding. You will learn more from a trip abroad than you will from a foreign relations or language class. Similarly, your life will teach you more than school did. Those formative years were to give you the material you need in preparation for what is to come. It is not the end, nor were they necessarily the “best years” of your life. They can be some of the best, but make sure the rest are just as incredible.
13. Figure out what enchants you and do that thing, even if it just has to be a hobby. Find what is that gives you “flow:” when you lose all sense of time and surrounding and become completely engulfed in what you’re doing. These things may take time and experience to discover, but it’s absolutely crucial that you do find them… and the sooner, the better.
14. At the same time, see the importance in all the little things you do: even the job you hate, learn to love it for providing you with income. Even when things aren’t ideal, appreciate them for the ways that they aide you. Think about your life if you didn’t have them. Don’t wait to appreciate them after they’re gone.
15. Don’t skip over pages in your life. You wouldn’t in any other story, because the rest wouldn’t make sense. Your 20′s will be tumultuous. You will have days where you are uncertain, clueless, blindsighted and jaded. Don’t neglect them. They’re the prelude to what you’re waiting for.
16. Draw your lines and learn your limits. We often wait until it’s too late before realizing what we can and cannot tolerate, what we do and do not need and how long our fuses can burn for.
17. Be free. Start with freeing your mind. The rest will follow.
18. Realize there is no timeline you must abide by. You do not need to marry, fall in love, figure it all out, have conventional “success” now (or ever). Do not feel unworthy or ashamed for what you do and don’t have in your life right now. There is no “right” way to live, and it’s better to figure this out now.
19. Stop acting and start becoming. If you want to be a somebody, become a somebody. Facades will fade given a little time. True character will not only perpetuate, but it will grow and become greater than you can imagine right now.
20. Differentiate your wants and needs. This is especially important during the phase of 20-something-hood that involves following passions and working service jobs that don’t pay much. Figure out what you need to survive, and don’t feel silly if on that list you have something like “painting.” Some people do need to create to survive. Your “needs” don’t have to just be survival basics.
Article By: Brianna Wiest