The journey out of your spritely 20’s is one that takes a harrowing turn when you’re about to become 30, and from there it would all seem a lot like downhill into your 40’s if it wasn’t for all the nifty little lessons you learn along the way. But, so many of those lessons would have made so much more of a difference if I had picked up on them earlier.
So, to make the lessons I have learned count, I figured it would be better to pass on information about realities that I have had to become familiar with as I’ve grown older, rather than merely lamenting about the good old days and scorning my loss of youth.
Make life about more than just finances
There is no denying that money is important, nay, essential for you to live a good quality of life, provide for your family and to live in that epic house you’ve always dreamed of.
But as important as making money is, far too many people living today dedicate their entire lives to a career that they are not actually interested in, doesn’t give them a sense of fulfillment and otherwise wastes their personal potential for productivity and happiness.
There is always a way to make money doing what you enjoy. All you have to do is spend a little time deciding what makes you happy, get as good as you can at it, and find some way to make a living out of that.
Learn to love yourself above any other
As you grow older you will have all the time you need to reflect on every mistake you’ve made since your first day of school, and if you are not careful, this will seriously wear you down emotionally and will undermine your confidence if given the chance.
So, try to remember that you are only human and that you have unique personality traits that are both good and bad, and there is nothing wrong with that.
The sooner you learn to accept the parts of yourself that you are not proud of and can’t change, the sooner you’ll be a happier, more confident person.
Relationships end, especially the young ones
Falling in love when you are in your twenties is both dangerous and confusing, but young love is real, intense and often unavoidable.
The trouble with it is that most people in their 20s don’t have much an idea of who they want to be, what they want or where they should be going, which can make people of that age particularly difficult partners.
Also, getting into a serious relationship in your 20s stunts your personal growth, since you will likely have to compromise the exploration of your own personality to accommodate your girlfriend.
The worst part is that even after all of that sacrifice, if you are dating in your twenties, there is an incredibly high probability that life will move on and the relationship will end, leaving you feeling like you’ve wasted your best years on someone who isn’t even there anymore. And this is even true for marriage.
So by all means, have girlfriends and enjoy having all the sex that you can, but while you are young, be selfish with your heart. You can give it away at a later stage when the time is right.
Appreciate your parents, but remember they are just people
A big lesson for me when growing up was coming to the realization that my parents are just people, trying to get by like any others. This helped me appreciate the help and love they gave me a little bit more, and made it a whole lot easier to forgive their mistakes.
But because they are people, they too will someday leave this planet, just as yours will. Their lives could be taken at any time, despite your belief that they will always be there. So show them plenty of love, support and appreciation while you can.
What does your heart-wrenching breakup, dismissal from your place of work and that new promotion have in common? They all seem like massive, life changing events right now, but good or bad, everything passes to give way to new experiences.
The saying ‘this too shall pass’ doesn’t only apply to the painful events in your life, but to the good ones as well. So, embrace the moment, learn from it, relish in it for a while, but know that things will change whether you want them to or not.
Dream jobs could be a nightmare
So many young students and school-leavers can’t wait to apply for those highly coveted and lucrative jobs out there. Doctors, lawyers, engineers, web-developers and freelancers are but a few of the professions that everyone thinks would be the dream job; but there is no job out there that doesn’t come with its difficulties.
Simply put, success requires hard work and discipline no matter what you are doing, and every ‘perfect job’ has its flaws that no one in the industry will talk about.
Besides, your preferences could change. I wanted to work in advertising when I was younger, now I can barely stomach looking at a billboard.
Don’t let uncertainty scare you off
We live in a universe that literally no one alive can claim to understand, and since everything we know is a part of that universe, it is safe to assume that much of life is swathed in mystery.
This means that there are a lot of unknowns out there. Will this new job work for you, do you have what it takes to be successful, is taking that trip to Thailand really a good idea?
There are no answers to these questions, so you’ll just have to find out for yourself.
Don’t let the unknown scare you off of new opportunities. Instead of looking at the mystery of life through fearful eyes, try instead to embrace the excitement of it.
Listen, learn and act
There are over 7 billion people on this planet, each one making their own set of mistakes that have lessons behind them. Take time to listen to the advice that people give you, read self-help books and ask questions when you need to.
You don’t always have to agree with what you are told, but a different viewpoint will give you a better perspective of things.