The early twenties have the potential to be some of the most beautiful, shocking, f*cked up years of your life. You’ll face issues you never dreamt of coping with, and you’ll uncover parts of yourself that you were previously unaware of. The following are some of the things that I’ve learned since my journey began as a twenty-something:
1. You must be willing to pave your own way.
Success is a fickle bastard. The sooner you learn and accept this, the better off your future self will be. No matter what career route you plan on taking, make sure you’ve formulated a backup plan by the time it’s ready for blast off. Be open to the possibility of not ending up exactly where you want, but perhaps someplace even better. Use your networking skills and reach out to your resources. Never be afraid to ask questions, but always willing to get your hands dirty. Hard work is one thing, but phenomenal professionalism is quite another. Your early twenties provide you with infinite opportunities, and you owe it to yourself to seize each and every one of them. Think outside the box, take whatever lies on the table in front of you, and never lose integrity. Success may have its guard up, but you must always be willing to bulldoze it down with a smile on your face.
2. People are not always who you think they are.
Unfortunately, no matter how indispensable someone in your life may be at this moment, chances are they aren’t going to be a permanent fixture in it. The bottom line: everything is temporary. You may have the way someone takes their coffee in the morning ingrained in your memory; you may know exactly how they like their colors washed. That same person, the one whose happiness you may place before your own, may not always stick around. Do not be naïve to the fact that people can-and will-change, almost instantaneously so as to throw your entire world off its spinning axis. Is it devastating? Absolutely. Will it leave a lasting wound? Quite possibly. However, the pain does subside and there will be others. As long as you’re well aware of the fact that your present won’t necessarily dictate your future, you will be much better off.
3. Travel will make you richer.
Okay, so this may not be true as far as monetary wealth is concerned, but it is undoubtedly true as far as mental wealth is concerned. Travel while you’re young. It will not only expand your mindset, but it will make you more tolerant, equip you with invaluable life skills, and gift you with some gnarly foreign memories that you’ll never forget. Travel enriches your brain; it widens your scope and literally allows you to step far outside of your comfort zone. I highly recommend saving your money now to invest in your future global endeavors. In a funk? Hop on a damn plane and get yourself way, way out there. I promise that you won’t be disappointed.
4. Fall in love with yourself.
Once you realize how much you’re worth, you will truly never settle again. Learn about yourself, grow with yourself, and take care of yourself until you’ve reached a personal nirvana. Cultivate and reflect upon your self-love; make sure the adoration that you have for yourself never falls to the wayside for another human. Of course, feel free to share this love with the people who bring sunshine into your life, but never trade your self-love for something else. Stay patient. You’ll know you’ve met the right person when the love they’ve got for you gives your own self-love a run for its money.
5. You will be okay.
The early twenties will test your physical, mental, and emotional limitations. This time period is wrought with experiences that will definitely rattle you. Yes, it is true, sh*t happens. However, wonderful things happen, too, so try not to get overly hung up on the negativity. Instead, wake up every morning anew. You’ve made it this far, through bliss and through the muck, and there will be more to come. The bottom line is this: what defines you is how high you rise post-fall. You will be okay just as long as you want to be. Tomorrow could very well turn out to be the best day of your whole goddamn life.
Being a twenty-something may seem superfluous. You may feel automatically jaded by the trials and tribulations that come prepackaged with your age. However, no matter what transpires, rest assured that you are exactly where [insert higher power of your choosing] intended you to be.