I’m only half way through and already my twenties have been a huge learning curve. They say your teenage years are awkward and horrible (and they were) but there’s something scarier about being in your twenties. Reckless spending, roller coaster moods and changing direction are all expected and forgiven when you’re a teenager. Yet somehow, as soon as you graduate as a twenty something, things are expected to fall into place. You’re just thrown into the big wide world. Here’s some friendly advice and what I’ve learnt so far for those about to embark on their twenties or those who are trudging through them along with me.
No twenty-something knows what the hell they’re doing.
Everyone is in limbo- no matter how well put together they seem. We’re millennials who have been thrown out into the big wide world. We’re surrounded by so much choice. Should we be travelling the world, should we be settling down with our other halves, should we be pursuing alternative careers? Heck knows! We want it all but have bills to pay, parents to please and an Instagram following to impress. We’re still hoping that somehow everything will fall into place. Somehow one day we’ll wake up and just know what our life purpose is and how to fulfill it. Until then, I’ll be spending my evening deliberating over what I’ll be having for dinner. Baby steps, eh?
Collect memories, not things.
It’s the cliche we’ve all heard a million times before but it’s so true. As great as spending money on booze is, as gorgeous as that new designer handbag is and no matter how badly you need that skimpy dress…it’s the memories that count. As we are all desperately working out who we are, we’ve never needed our girlfriends more. Invest in time spent with them. Invest in your family- god knows, nobody is getting any younger. Invest in travel. Find yourself whilst getting lost on the other side of our wonderful planet. You may be drowning in university debt but there’s no better education than meeting people with a different perspective and seeing things that no textbook can truly convey. One day you may not be able to travel the world (children, responsibilities, illness and global warming changing the planet are all very real parts of life) so seize the moment while you can. You will always be able to sell your soul to a 9 to 5 job, trust me, it can wait.
Don’t trust social media.
Nobody is as happy as they look on Facebook, nobody’s life is as exciting as their Instagram may seem. We all have days where we just want to stay in bed. That friend from college who always seems to be away travelling probably worries about the pennies every day and works her arse off in a crappy job between holidaying. That couple who declare undying love for one another all over your newsfeed probably have mediocre sex and row like cat and dog over who last did the washing up. The girls with bodies to die for and immaculate make-up probably have rumbling tummies all bloody day and acne beneath their foundation. Life is life; the good, the bad and the ugly. Social media shows us the exciting, stunning and fun aspects…but we all have the lows too. Don’t forget it.
It’s okay if your job just pays the bills.
Maybe you’re not where you want to be, perhaps you’re not saving the world or making millions…but that’s okay. Paying your bills and chipping away at your debt is fine, it’s enough. We all have to start somewhere. Experience is invaluable and so is having a life beyond work. Rather than beating yourself up over your humble salary and tedious job- appreciate that you’re earning in the first place, making contacts and can go home at the end of the day and switch off from it all.
Comparing is a waste of time and energy.
No good ever came from comparing yourself to others. Some people peak early and others are slow burners. You don’t know what goes on behind closed doors and may never understand how much sweat, blood and tears went into your friends flash vacation or generous salary. You’re on your own path so take your time and do it your way.
You can choose your friends.
Time is precious and money is finite. You probably don’t have the same social life that you enjoyed at uni. So the people you choose to spend your time with should be people you genuinely like, people whose company you enjoy and people who enhance your life. Culling friends who don’t make the cut can be painful but it’s necessary. Surround yourself with positivity and good vibes because life is too short for anything else.
Parents know best.
It’s something you’ve tried to ignore for the entirety of your existence but it’s true. They’ve been here, they’ve done it. They’ve succeeded and failed along the way- listen to them. It’s perfectly acceptable to still call your mum for help with domestic chores and to seek relationship advice when the going gets tough.
Open with people, open minded and open to opportunities. The world won’t always be your oyster so take advantage of it while you’re young and can. Tell your nearest and dearest when you’re struggling; they probably are too. Do things you’ve never done before and talk to people you’d never ordinarily interact with. Fundamentally we are all the same. Why we feel the need to keep up appearances, plaster on a smile and portray ourselves in a positive light online I do not know. Give yourself a break and be yourself, be open and be raw.
Don’t put up with people’s crap- you’re an adult. You have valid opinions and a voice that counts. Don’t let colleagues, your significant other or faux friends treat you badly. Don’t settle in a job you loathe. Don’t wait for your partner to become a better version of themselves (they never will). Don’t let people walk all over you. Stand up and speak up. Walk away when you need to- things have a way of working themselves out afterwards.
Give everything 100%.
When you go to work, give it your all. When you’re resting, fully indulge and relax. When you cry, sob inconsolably. When you laugh throw your head back and giggle until your belly aches. When you love, love with every inch of your being. Be yourself…entirely. Don’t compromise. You’re enough, never give any less.