Balance. That is something all twentysomethings should strive for. We have difficulty finding our balance when we manage both our short- and long-term goals because this chapter of our lives is filled with lots of instabilities and uncertainties.
The majority of us are college graduates, entry-level professionals and possibly nearly out of grad school. We millennials are constantly learning more about ourselves, including identifying our passion, uncovering our life aspirations, and figuring out how to set the foundation from which we propel ourselves to success.
As I am a member of this age cohort, there are times when I feel like I am a free bird and a prisoner. The clash of these two opposite feelings is commonly felt by many millennials as well. Let me give you an example. A couple of years ago, it seemed that any twenty-year-old could pursue any career of his or her choice without having to worry about limited job opportunities. Alternatively, they can take the more challenging way out that is entrepreneurship. Fast forward to 2021, and as more people are gaining access to education, the number of graduates from each field every year has increased significantly. This makes the already competitive job market even more competitive and thus, making it a daunting obstacle for us to obtain any real shot at securing an entry-level job with our education qualifications.
When we are in our twenties, life has permitted us to be creative with our thoughts and experiment with them. We can dip our feet in various pools of expertise, uncover your interests and consider opportunities before we make our actual move. These gifts, however, can influence our experiences down the road, making our twenties a crucial period for us to improve ourselves.
Here are some of the things you need to do in your twenties to have a solid life in your thirties:
1. Be a risk-taker.
Your twenties will probably be the only time where you are allowed to take risks and make mistakes. Right now, you do not have to worry about getting married, having kids or commit to a thirty-year house loan. Summon the courage to take significant risks in endeavours such as dating around, furthering your education abroad or switching between jobs. Trust me, you will have ample time to relax after gaining a deep understanding of what it means to achieve independence.
2. Be a money-saver.
Right now, you should not have any significant debts to deal with. If you do, they should be minute. Forget about student loans; your cost of living should be kept as low as possible. Your concerns should be on essential expenses such as rent, electricity, groceries and gas. Avoid unnecessary expenditures such as gadgets, handbags, perfumes or designer clothes. Choose to work within a reasonable percentage (10%, 20%, 25%) of each paycheck into your savings if possible. Your future self will be glad that you did it.
3. Be an experience-seeker.
Regardless if it is your first internship experience or your first full-time entry-level job, gain as much experience as you can to polish your resume. The only way to determine what you want to do for a career is to experience it firsthand. Generally, job responsibilities are written in job ads in a concise fashion. Only when you are fully involved in them will you get a feel for what is required, and that is where you will gain new experiences.
4. Keep things organised.
It can be easy to feel lost, especially when you have lots of thoughts wandering in your head. Therefore, the best way to know what your goals are is by putting them on record. Write your goals down and make an effort to outline the steps you need to take to accomplish them. Invest in a calendar planner or a journal. Heck, use Google Calendar to mark the due dates if you have to. Hold yourself accountable for each step needed to move you from where you are at right now and where you want to be at a specific time point in the future. Evaluating your progress will help you visualise your goals and see results.
5. Do not disrespect your elders.
Our older relatives, mentors, supervisors and even loved ones have lots of useful advice to share with us. Be mindful that when your elders are offering their pearls of wisdom, not all of them are actually garbage; some of those words of advice can be useful and may help guide us as we journey towards our goals. While they may not hold the answers to all the questions we have as a twentysomething, their experiences can definitely be of use to us when we are combing through our options.
6. Be a bookworm.
Just because you have officially ended your time at the university does not mean you should stop reading. In fact, reading should remain a part of your daily routine. Reading not only aids in sleep readiness but it also prevents cognitive decline as you age. I am sure most of us have read the Harry Potter books prior to our twenties, and in a way, that has contributed to our creativity levels today as a millennial. Although that said, do spend time reading nonfiction as well. There are lots of books on personal development, career advice, entrepreneurship and even relationships. We all could use some opinions and suggestions from those who have lived the life we are curious to dive into, and there is no better way to grab some than reading their stories.
7. Be a good listener.
We are born with a pair of ears and a mouth for a reason. Make it a personal principle to listen to others more emphatically, without the intent of answering back. This life skill is particularly handy for our future careers. By being an attentive listener, you enhance your critical-thinking skill and save yourself the trouble that may result from your impulsiveness to make decisions.
8. Strive for confidence.
We are not born to be confident speakers. Confidence is something that each of us must work on as it comes from within. For some, mustering every available drop of confidence juice to decide can be frightening. Learn to believe in who you are. It takes practice and patience, but when you feel good about yourself, proud of your accomplishments, and thrilled about taking on the next big challenge, confidence can take you places no knowledge can.
9. Make happiness your top priority.
Perfectionism does not exist in this world, and it should stay that way. For this reason, the most important relationship is the relationship you have with yourself. Choose happiness because eventually, the only person who can love who you are the life you are embracing is you. There is no manual guide for assembling the perfect life. You define your happiness. Work hard on what makes you happy, and once you know what daily routines make you happy, do not lose them.
10. Keep growing.
Life is a continuous learning experience. Though your twenties are the most important decade of your life in many ways, you do not stop growing by the time you step into your thirties. Every day, life throws at us new experiences. There is no need to feel like who you are as a person when your thirtieth birthday hit home is who you will be for eternity because your twenties are so vital. Yes, this chapter of your life is where you assemble the building blocks, but we rearrange them as we grow and learn more about ourselves.
Final 2¢: Your Move Now, Tiger.
Striving to become more than we currently are can occur in numerous ways. The journey is different for everyone because no one person shares the same set of individual preferences. Some of us need to sharpen our minds by reading more books, while others are still having difficulty working on their confidence.
Never fear the idea of growing. We all certain areas of life that need refinement before we can portray our best self. Ultimately, the best way to improve yourself is by being yourself. You do you, you amazing human being!