A dear friend of mine turned twenty-years-old today, and it got me thinking about what a weird point in life it is. Twenty is often marked as an uninteresting birthday, the script of the celebrant and peers alike usually sounding similar to yeah you’re not in your teens anymore, buuuut you still can’t drink legally, so what’s the point?
When I entered my twenties I found myself acutely aware of the fact that this would arguably be one of the most important decades of my life, as a lot of what I do during this time will have great bearing on my future long-term. How I do in college will determine what kind of job I get which will determine how much money I make which will determine where I will live which will determine who I associate with, etc.
It’s a wonderful time, but it’s a weird time. Largely, you’re considered to be an adult, but little does general population know that you still rely on your parents to remind you when your dentist appointment is.
In honor of this strange set of years, I’ve decided to include a couple of the ideas I’ve gleaned from the first quarter of my 20s:
- Don’t idealize people.
- Related, (and for the most part) people are who they and they were that way before you. Don’t go to extreme lengths to try and “fix” someone, as they’ll remain who they are after you.
- Trust your gut. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.
- B u d g e t y o u r m o n e y ! I know I’d rather spend all my money on clothes and jewelry and (finally) splurge for a large coffee at Starbucks, but future me will thank past me for sticking with the medium when I’m able to live in a place of my choosing without being (too) burdened financially.
- If you do something nice for someone, leave it at that and remove all expectation from the action. In this, you will be happy with what you’ve done and not disappointed you didn’t get the reaction you wanted or thought you deserved.
- Stay grounded in the present; practice active listening. (That’s the one where you really focus on what people are saying, and not on how you’re going to react to prove you were listening.)
- Allow yourself to break down walls and let those in that truly only want what’s best for you.
- Use a planner.
- Anger and passion are useful tools, but screaming and senseless arguing will not resolve conflict.
- Apathy does not ignite change.
Bonus: You’ll always be more goofy-looking than you remember. Here’s a picture of me from three years ago: