Being young is often associated with being carefree and happy. Although this is the case to a certain extent, inexperience and stubbornness often lead us down a path of problems when we are young. Looking back, there are certain lessons I wish I would have learned earlier in my life in order to save myself some hard and headaches.
Here are 10 life lessons you should learn at an early age and avoid making common mistakes in your 20s.
10 Life Lessons You Should Learn In Your 20s
1. The older you get, the less you will be concerned with your image.
During the teenage years, conformity is the key to popularity and success. However, when you hit the age of 20-something, authenticity suddenly becomes everything. You realize that no matter what amount of time and effort you invest in your looks and attitude, someone will always have a negative thought about you spurring in their head. You come to the conclusion that meeting other people’s expectations is not only tiring, but pointless.
2. On that note, don’t ever compare yourself
If someone could have told me ages ago to stop believing appearances, it would have changed my entire life. Why do we feel the need to observe other people’s social media on a daily basis and compare their highlights to our everyday lives? Everything you see on the internet is manufactured. People are constantly keeping up with appearances and you should not involve yourself in such a hectic cycle. The reality is, you will never achieve perfection, but you are not the only one, so take a deep breath, and be as you are!
3. Connect with many and different people
Do not assume that because you are a white, 24-year-old female, for example, you must only communicate with people similar to you. The opportunity to be young, living in a diverse city and free to make friends with people from all over the world is one of the best opportunities life has to offer. Even more, do not assume that you must only make connections with your generation. Older people have so much knowledge and charisma, that it would be a waste not to communicate with them. They can become your mentors and parental figures and teach you about things that your younger friends often lack knowledge about.
4. And listen to what they are telling you!
Listen to everyone. Listening does not necessarily mean taking their advice, but it never hurts to hear another opinion. You are only one person and as much as you may want to believe it, you cannot have all of the answers. Gathering a group of opinions and then making a decision is always the wiser thing to do. Of course, do not go in the other direction and so as I did, asking everyone about everything. Eventually this habit needed to be broken, because you end up being unable to make any independent decisions.
5. Learn that some things are just not meant for you
This rule applies to objects, goals and people. When you are young and you set your eyes on something, you believe that with enough work and motivation you will achieve it. Although this may be true for most instances, it does not mean that the object of your affection is actually meant for you. Some things should just remain in our imagination, rather than our real lives. You must learn to gracefully give up things that just are not in your destiny.
6. Know your value
Being young does not mean you have no value. This is especially important in regards to your career. Being the ‘new kid on the block’ at work place is often intimidating and we assume that we must bow our heads down and do as we are told. Although this is true to an extent, you still have value and you should demand to be appreciated for it. Whether that means proving your skills and eventually asking for a raise or a promotion, or simply demanding more respect from your colleagues. As long as you approach the situation with reasonable expectations, of course.
7. Don’t be embarrassed to ask for help
This is one lesson I wish I had learned during my time at college. Asking questions is never wrong and shameful. I spend so many lectures building the courage to raise my hand and ask a question that a handful of people around me were also wondering. I never had the strength to do it, however, because I did not want to make a bad impression in front of my colleagues and professors. Little did I know that curiosity is the only true stepping stool to knowledge. So ask the questions that everyone is wondering and be proud for doing so.
8. Saving up is harder than spending
Obviously spending is extremely easy, especially when your income is accumulated through the help of your family, rather than through your own work. When you begin making your own money and creating a certain lifestyle, you become accustomed to certain expectations. It becomes extremely easy to spend all of your earnings maintaining that lifestyle, rather than saving up for the future. Try to make a routine in which you calculate exactly what percent of your income is not vital for your lifestyle, and can essentially be saved up.
9. Blaming your past is only acceptable for a certain amount of time
When you are younger, you love placing the blame for your failures on your parents, teachers and general luck. However, once you began living indecently and making a living, your entire life and destiny is placed in your hands. It will sound irresponsible and childish to claim that your parents’ mistakes from years ago are the reason why you cannot find a life partner, for example. So take initiative, change your life and most importantly, take responsibility.
10. Rationalize your expectations
When you are young, you aim for the stars and your expectations often grow out of control. You want everything to happen immediately and you want it to go exactly according to your plan. However, as time passes you realize that life is not set up in such a way, and your ability to control your life is limited to an extent. Do not assume that by the time you are 30 you must have your entire life sorted out. By assuming such things, you are creating unnecessary pressure that is influencing you in a negative way. Focus on the present and approach life one-step at a time. Most importantly, enjoy the present, because things are constantly changing.
Although it is wise to learn these lessons vicariously and avoid making the formerly mentioned mistakes, I guarantee you this list will only truly make sense when you have gone through the experiences that life has in store for you. So until then, be wise and try to remember and practice at least a few of these lessons!
Photo credit: Zarrion Walker