I’ve officially reached the last year that I’ll be able to call myself 20-something. Since this is my last year as a 20-something blogger, I was inspired to write a post listing bits of wisdom that I can share with others.
I use the term “wisdom” loosely because – like I said – I’m only 29. What do I really know?
1) Life isn’t a race
You’ll notice your friends settling down in long-term relationships, shacking up and getting engaged. Some of your friends might be planning weddings or decorating a baby’s room, while others could be thriving in their careers or buying property.
Your friends are becoming very “grown-up” very quickly.
But life isn’t a race. Just because others your age are headed down the path of life at a certain pace, it doesn’t mean that’s the pace for you. In fact, that may not even be the path for you. The purpose of life isn’t to get to this invisible “finish line” before everyone else, but rather to find the route and rhythm that works for you.
2) You’ll always feel like you could have accomplished more
My best friend (whose birthday is only 2 days after mine) and I were talking about whether we accomplished what we wanted before reaching 29. Both of our answers were something along the lines of, “Meh, we did okay but we could have done more.” The truth is: that’ll probably always be the case.
You know how some kids write their future selves a letter with pie-in-the-sky ideas of what they think their lives will be like when they’re older? I did this when I was 10 for age 16. Then again at age 16 for 25. When I was 25, I stopped because it was getting embarrassing.
When I was 10, I thought by age 16 I would have my own car and be dating the most popular guy in school. But in reality, I barely passed my G1 and was cheated on by some loser I’m too embarrassed to admit I dated.
When I was 16, I thought by age 25, I’d be a successful writer and married to a rich businessman. But when I was 25, I was stuck at a job I barely had the energy to go to every day, and was dating one deadbeat after another.
Whomp, whomp, whomp.
3) You’ll want to “start over” at least a dozen times
Since I was about 10 years old, I’ve been keeping a journal. If you were to flip through those pages, a couple of things would probably come to mind:
1) This girl’s a psycho and hates everybody
2) She declares a “new beginning” every few months (usually after a break-up or some other life change)
When you make mistakes as a teenager or early 20-something, you want a do-over. But when you make mistakes later in life, you realize “starting over” just isn’t possible. So all you can do is try not to F it up again.
4) You’ll always want to chase after that next big thing
Whether it’s that next step in their personal life or a big promotion in their career life, 20-somethings are always trying to achieve big and dream bigger. There’s nothing wrong with chasing after new things. But sometimes you gotta ask yourself if you’re running toward something great, or running away from something difficult.
5) The things that stress you out now won’t matter in 5 years
Problems in your teenage years become meaningless as you enter your 20s. The same applies within your 20s. Those problems may seem catastrophic at the time. But in hind sight, they really aren’t as bad as you think. It’s not easy to shake things off, but just remind yourself that the things you’re stressing about now won’t matter in 5 years.
6) Babies aren’t for everyone
Not all women are driven by their biological clocks, nor do we all believe our life purpose is to breed. Though many women are born to be moms, there are some women (like me) who have other plans in mind.
Don’t feel pressured by your parents, friends or society that you need to have a baby to be happy. If it’s what you truly want, go for it. But if babies aren’t for you, don’t let people put you down for choosing not to have one. If anyone tries to make you feel like shit for not wanting a baby, just give them the middle finger.
Seriously, I approve.
Some of my friends are nice about it and call me an “old soul.” Others don’t bother being nice and call me an “old fart.” What (I hope) they’re trying to say is I’ve always been really “grown up” for my age – especially when it came to managing money.
In college when other kids were using any extra cash on booze and club covers, I was making lump sum payments toward my car loan. Then in my early 20s, while most people were racking up student loans and lines of credit, I was saving to buy a condo.
It’s perfectly fine to spoil yourself from time-to-time (in fact, it’s needed sometimes), but just remember that being smart with your money when you’re young will spare you some financial headaches later in life.
8) You can’t go around trying to “fix” everyone
Some people believe they’ve been given the calling to mend the broken wings of others. (Warning: being one of those people might get you punched in the face.) You can’t go into a relationship with the intention of fixing the other person. These hero / martyr relationships almost never work. Chances are: you’re probably a little messed up yourself. The only person you can change is you.
9) Death happens twice in life
As much as I’d like to take credit for this bit of wisdom, I can’t. I read this saying somewhere a long time ago, which is so true that I had to share it here:
Death happens twice in this world. Once when your heart stops beating, and then again years later when your name is spoken for the last time.
My simple (and less classy) paraphrase of this:
Life is short, so make sure you do some meaningful shit, y’all.