I think it’s safe to say that I’m speaking on behalf of most twenty-somethings when I say that being twenty-something is a very love/hate thing.
In some ways and on some days, being 24 is like being in my prime. I feel alive and youthful and I feel as if the world is at my fingertips; I can do or be anything that I want.
Then there’s the other days, where I feel like I’m old enough to have to have everything together. Yet I have no idea what I want out of life yet. I feel like I’m at an awkward mistake-making time in my life. I also find myself saying “if I could do it again” as if it is too late to do things again…
So, yea… reaching level 24 in life is definitely opening a bag of Sour Patch Kids on like a soul level.
After studying my blog stats, I noticed that 85% of my readers are in their 20’s. Shocker, I know, as I embody the word millennial. Just having a “lifestyle & fitness blog” makes you an automatic millennial, right? Right.
But here’s the thing about life as I know it (thus far) – just freaking own it. If there is ever one piece of advice that I can offer a millennial to make life a little bit easier, it’s to just own whatever it is that you are, are doing, are being, are having, are seeing, are smoking, are worshipping, are whatevering.
Because the second someone smells your doubt, forget it. They will eat you up. Then you will eat yourself up because your insecurity about your significance in this world will swallow you. Significance is everything to someone in their twenties. It’s the decade where we establish our place in this life, so:
Own the millennial-ness.
I love being a millennial. I think it’s the greatest time to be alive. I will argue the entitled-ness all day long with anyone who dares to because let’s face it – a generation’s weakness is also it’s greatest strength. So – sweet, entitled millennial: don’t settle. Your parents are sorry that they did.
Create a vision board.
Now that you’re settled on not settling, it’s crucial that you dream big. Even though it really doesn’t feel like it, you have an entire life ahead of you and it really is just beginning. Even if you’re 28 or 29 and reading this. You can still do or be whatever you want. But, in order to do that you have to send out the message that you’re ready. That you want it. That you’re serious and that you’re not settling. You’re picky and specific. You want exactly what you want and you are open to the possibilities of getting there.
So, create a vision board. With words that inspire you. Photos of places you want to visit. Maybe even photos of people who’s lives inspire you. Compliments that someone gave you that align with who you want to be. Goals and themes you want to aim for.
Draw up the type of life you aspire to live right now. This isn’t a future thing. This is a right now thing. Sure, some aspirations you are working towards and may have in the future… but this is not intended to be a “one day” board. This is a “NOW” board. Who do I want to start being now? What do I want to start pursuing now?
Put said vision board somewhere where you can see it daily. Oh, and be open to throwing it away and starting over at any point in time for any reason (undisclosed to anyone but yourself). *** Consider it your right as a twenty-something ***
Read a lot of everything.
I think the thing that got me really tripped up in life so far was this idea that I had it figured out. The truth is, I don’t. The truth is, I’m still learning and experiencing. And one of the really great ways to embrace that is to read. Not just romance or mystery novels, but self-help books or biographies of people that inspire you. Maybe even read books about subject matters that you totally disagree with; one of two things will happen, you will confirm/strengthen your beliefs or you will change them.
Reading real books takes you further in your understanding, further in your thinking, further in your desires. You don’t need to have a college degree to have an educated conversation with someone, but you do need to be “alive” to be able to speak to the human experience… and books are one really great way to stay alive.
Spend money on experiences.
I ask this question to almost everyone I meet that is over the age of 40;
“if you could have spent your money any differently before the market crash of 2008, knowing what you know now, would you have”
Want to know the most popular answer? It has nothing to do with stocks or loans or saving money or 401k’s or voting this way or that way… it’s spending their money on experiences instead of things.
It truly is the only thing that no one can take away from you. Despite the economy, despite your change in tastes, despite a natural disaster… the places, people, things you have experienced in life are your treasures. They form you, especially when experienced in your 20’s.
Don’t wait for the right time. Don’t wait until you’re done with school. Don’t wait until you have the perfect job. Don’t wait until you have kids or are done having kids. Please don’t wait until you retire. And don’t wait until you are financially secure.
If you’re going to spend your money (and you should – after you pay your bills and yourself (savings)) it should be on experiences of a lifetime.
Don’t have any money? Just an idea – but maybe if you started investing the money that you do have towards the life that your soul is dying to live then perhaps you would see a great return on that investment… both in your wallet and in your quality of life.
Put your hands to something.
In my humble opinion, I think not working a job or putting your hand to SOMETHING is a one-way ticket to depression is(olation)land.
We are created to create. Whatever that looks like for you.
Did you know that in Hebrew there is no word for “retire.” It’s because in the Jewish culture, people believe that your life’s work is your purpose. It never stops. Maybe that’s not your 9-5 boring job, but maybe it’s what you do after work. Maybe it’s what you put your hand to on the weekends. It could be how you earn your income, but it’s probably how you earn your worth. Do something that people will respect you for. Do something that allows you to use the special parts of you that no one else has. Do something that makes you forget how much time has passed.
I recently heard this quote – “we are the only species with an unemployment problem”
AND IT’S FREAKING TRUE. Every ant, deer, fish, pelican, tree, pile of cow shit, etc. all have a job. A very important job. It’s what keeps life going. It’s what keeps us going.
So please, don’t wish away your 20’s so that you can be a stay-at-home-wife or husband.
& finally, finally forgive. Being twenty-something means that you probably now know how it feels to be hurt. You’ve maybe become really acquainted with the idea of pain.
But I want you to ponder this: would you undo it?
Would you go back and undo what happened to you? What someone said or did or didn’t do?
Maybe if you’re in the deep middle of it right now, you’d answer yes. You’d give anything to undo it.
But maybe if you’re starting to get your head above water, you wouldn’t answer yes. Perhaps you’d like to keep (said life experience) and hold it close because it molded you into who you are right now. It pushed you towards what you’re doing right now. It allowed you to meet the person you’re most thankful for right now.
And if that’s true, then whoever hurt you actually helped you.
And if that’s true, then it’s time to allow yourself to forgive them.
Not for them. But for you.
Forgiveness doesn’t say “it’s okay”
Forgiveness says “I’m okay”
& you are okay… You’re doing great – my sweet, entitled millennial. So give yourself a little bit of a break. And maybe a little bit of forgiveness on your own part. And hold on, embracing the mess that is your life. I hear thirty-somethings have it much more together.