Adulting. The one word that evokes bittersweet feelings in every 20-something, because you supposedly come of age but haven’t quite mastered life. With me crossing over to the big three really soon, I hope these tips come in handy for you. Keep reading to find out more!
In my early twenties, I graduated from university. I remember the feeling of accomplishment when I donned my graduation gown. The certificate I toiled so hard for was finally mine – reading and re-reading theories and essays by Deleuze, Freud, and Barthes, together with other authors who had an extra special talent for putting me to sleep. Staying up on endless nights to complete essays while working part-time to pay off my student loan… those were the days! Just when I thought I could say goodbye to the woes of (student) life, my foray into the working world began.
Adulting = More responsibilities!
Now that I was earning an income, financial responsibilities stepped in, and I started paying for my own bills and contributing to household groceries. Not so cool after all. To make things worse, the rat race shattered every idealistic notion I ever had about the job I thought I’d love – good bosses, great organisational culture, generous work benefits and the like. Being green and fresh out of college meant that people had certain expectations of me, too, like how I’d be able to learn and adapt quickly, or have the energy to run events and do things that others didn’t want to do… Still, I couldn’t throw a tantrum. I had to move with it.
Follow your passions
Work was a steep learning curve for me but I gained so much. I saw what was lacking and told myself to do better. At the same time, some of my friends thrived in their careers, having found what they could excel in – I wanted that for myself too. This gave me courage to leave a stable job to pursue my passions. Though I received flak for what I did, I tried to see the bright side – most people have well-intentioned comments, as discouraging as they may seem. Still, don’t forget you’re the one living your life, not them. Better to do something you love than to drag your feet to work every day.
Don’t stop learning
My mid-twenties were also a time when I took it upon myself to keep in touch with old pals and extend my social circle. I said yes to invitations and befriended people that I wouldn’t normally meet if I’d cooped myself up at home. I read widely so I could engage others in conversations. Pssst – word of advice? Don’t get too hung up if people don’t want to remain friends (or lovers), though it’s easier said than done. Decide who will be able to help you grow and mature as a person, and build a strong community around you. Seek mentors and don’t be afraid to ask for help to navigate your twenties.
Love doesn’t have to be blind!
I guess I got the golden ticket too – I fell in love and married someone who shared the same values and dreams. It wasn’t as easy as it sounds, though, it takes plenty of time and communication to discover what you both want to commit to. Don’t be afraid to date for a few years instead of rushing into things. There is value in patience, because rash decisions could end up with serious consequences. For myself, I had to learn how to live with a new family (with extended family members), moving into my new home, purchasing furniture… and these are only my baby steps into #adulting!
The moral of the story?
- Just keep moving
Your twenties will be a time of transitions! New phase of life, new job, new responsibilities, new relationships… It may be discomforting, and you may feel like you’re taking a longer time than others, but that’s really okay. Every adult was once a teenager, and everyone makes mistakes 😉
- Focus on internal (and eternal) growth
It may also seem like the people around you are changing, but so are you! Discover who you are, what you truly enjoy, and be comfortable in your own skin. Learn and be open-minded to what the world has to offer.
- Live meaningfully
Do what you truly enjoy. Come to the revelation that the world does not revolve around you or your #firstworldproblems. Give back to the community. Help the needy. Smile.
As author Courtney Livingston says (check her out here!), “The path you choose now will have a huge payoff later. The choices you make in your twenties are the biggest investment you’ll ever make.” I really agree with her because it is so important to have foresight and plan ahead! For those who are keen in finding out more, she has written an easy-to-read guide on The Smart Girl’s Guide to Surviving Her Twenties, where she lists seven areas in life to give more attention to. In her book, she also states “if you don’t like where you’re at, move; you’re not a tree.” WORD! Don’t let people dictate what your life should be – you call the shots!
Your twenties will be one of the best times of your life – and things will only get better.