Quit your job. Buy a ticket. Fall in love. Never Return.
I for one have always feared growing up. Much like a modern day female version of Peter Pan, I have a wild and vivid imagination that I have never desired to suppress and yes – at 22 years of age, I still enjoy Disney films.
So I wasn’t particularly excited to pass into my 20’s and say goodbye to being a teenager. But after a couple of years on the job, I’m really starting to enjoy, embrace, and experience life in my 20s. So with that, here are the top ways to make the most of your 20s…
20 ways to make the most of your 20s
1. Seek happiness from yourself and not others
Accepting yourself is one of the hardest things to accept…… but it is almost undeniably the most important. As soon as you learn to accept yourself, the rest of the world and everything around you begins to fall into place, make sense, and you will feel as though until now you have lived your life seeing the world through foggy glasses. When we begin to seek only the approval of ourselves (and never that of others), we begin to shine.
2. Remember it’s about the journey, not the destination
Life is full of ups and downs…. but no time more than your 20s. It’s a confusing time – you’ve just finished your education and are ready to stand on your own two feet, but for the life of you – you can’t seem to get past the starting point let alone race to the finish line. As hard as it is, you’ve got to embrace this period of your life – having limited to no money but all the ideas you believe would rival Albert Enstein
3. Learn to let go
The past is in the past – you can’t change it… but the future is in your control. Learning to let go is one of the most difficult things we can come to terms with at any point in life. But like anything, practice makes perfect. The more you reside with the fact that it is healthier for you to let go of the past than to hold on, the easier it gets in the long run. Letting go of small things therefore has huge benefits – so start now!
4. Embrace change, that’s what life is about
Whether it’s change within yourself, change in others, change in your body, change in your outlook on life…. EMBRACE IT! Change doesn’t need to be combated (by the likes of fad diets, wrinkle removers and cosmetic surgery) – because that’s what makes us interesting! As human beings we are constantly changing and it should never be seen as a bad thing. Embrace change in your 20s, it’s the decade in your life where you should be discovering who you are and who you would like to be.
5. If you need a break, take it – and make it a long one
The modern day 20-something is restless, adventurous, and moves without fear of the future. Listen to your heart and give your head a rest – go on and take that adventure you’ve always wanted to and make the memories you know will last a lifetime.
6. Don’t chase perfectionism
Perfectionism is an ideal – an unattainable one. Why? Because ‘perfect’ is different to everyone. What you might perceive as perfect may be a complete abstract to somebody else – so you can never actually achieve perfect in a literal sense. So why chase it?
7. Not everyone is going to like you, but accept it because you don’t like everyone, either
One of the most powerful ways to accept yourself and find happiness within yourself is to accept that not everyone will like you. You can try as hard as you like to please everyone, but take a minute to consider your own view on those around you and you will soon learn that it is not possible to please all.
8. Accept being wrong and making misjudgements
It is often hard in your 20s to shake the stubbornness and accept that you could be wrong. For some reason in our 20s we become very, very very very sure of our beliefs and our core values. That’s okay and in fact it is even a good thing – but don’t let it deter you from hearing other people’s views that they are also very (very very very) sure of, too.
9. Eat whatever you want, and if anyone criticizes you – eat them too
The age old debate. Body issues are forever being cast into the spotlight but at some point in your 20s you are likely to hit the peak moment of just not giving a shit. If you like to eat healthy, do. If you like to eat junk food, do that too. If you like to dabble in both lifestyles, you guessed it – do it. Besides, whatever works for one person most certainly does not work for all. Don’t forget that.
10. Love without fear of repercussions or getting hurt
Did falling off your bike ever stop you from getting back up and straight back on again? No. So why should it be different when it comes to loving others. Well, it is undeniably different because love is the most selfless act, therefore making you vulnerable. But without embracing your vulnerability and learning to love, you’re missing out on the potential benefits, too. Sure, there’s a risk involved. But unless you’re going to stay inside your home wrapped in bubble wrap, life is going to involve some risks.
11. Remember the best response is often no response
Just as it is not possible to please everyone, it is also not probable to give everyone the satisfaction of a response. Your time is valuable, don’t waste it on anyone who isn’t worthy of a response (aka ‘haters’).
12. Your friends will change and so will you, Take this as an opportunity to make new ones
While it is important to embrace your own change, it’s also to embrace and accept that of others. Not everyone is going to stay the same – some will – but most will evolve and become a new, often better version of themselves. It’s a part of life to change – so don’t criticize others or let anyone else criticize you for doing so. Take this opportunity to go out and meet new friends with similar interests, you will be surprised how refreshing it is to invite a new person into your life every so often!
13. Dare to be different
Do you think Cara Delevigne became famous from smiling graciously with a precious wave as the paparazzi shot her entering and exiting fashion shows in Paris, New York and London? No. She stood out from the crowd. She was herself. She was ‘different’ and she didn’t care. BE YOU!
14. Embrace your flaws
The world has a tendency to suck you up and spit you out before you even notice it has happened. So what is ‘in’ one day is ‘out’ the next…. you never know how trendy those bushy eyebrows might become (a la Cara #13).
15. Never let many come between you and your happiness
Who’s in control of your happiness? You. Remember it is not what happens to us that defines us, but how we react to it. That shows true character.
16. Be in a relationship when you know its right and for the long haul, not because everyone else is getting into one
Relationships…. they’ll have you feeling on top of the world or 10 feet under water. But what about not having them at all? Remember there is no rush, fate will step in at the right moment, and for now – just focus on being you.
17. Don’t plan too far into the future
If there’s one thing I have learned from two failed relationships in my younger years, it’s that there really is no need to look too far into the future. You should love passionately, not possessively. Give generously, not with restraint. Give thanks graciously and without expectation. Just live in the moment, be present, and live every minute like it could be your last.
18. Live and let live
It’s just as important for your own mental health to live and let live. This means to hold the judgement, stop criticizing others, stop even taking the time out of your day to be concerned with what others are doing. Do your own thing, and let others do theirs. If you really must be involved in other people’s lives, remember to offer words of encouragement and be open to accepting each and every person for who they are. Life would be boring otherwise.
19. Carpe Diem!
It’s an oldie but my goodness, it is a goodie. It’s not just something to remember once every so often and seize that particular day, it’s a mnatra you should aim to live by and seize every day, every moment, every opportunity that comes your way. Never get too caught up in the mundane day-to-day routine, remember you can achieve more in one productive day than you can in one mediocre week. Make every day count!
20. Be yourself, everyone else is taken
Unfortunately it takes most people at least 20 years of living (some many more) to realise that our best self is just that – being ourselves. Society will force ideals on you – a stick thin frame, luscious long hair from the Pantene commercials, the newest fad diet to ‘lose those pounds’…. etc. etc. But at the end of the day, your best version of you is to just be you, whoever that might happen to be.