Life in 20s is the most exciting stage in life. You are as free as a bird. The world is your oyster. To me, life is like an investment. The earlier you start setting your goals, the greater the returns in the future. May not be true for everybody, but at least for many.
What have I learned from my life in 20s? Here are some:
1. Read inspirational books. I am thankful to the author of the motivational book I stumbled upon to read when I was 14 or 15 years old. One phrase that was written there was, “Rain shapes rocks, not by a force but by often falling”. This teach me that the road to success is not easy and will not be fast either; it needs constant hardwork, determination and perseverance.
2. Hang out with people you admire and who serve as an inspiration to you. My friends are people I admire. They are happy, optimistic, smart and humble people. Their positive traits and individual greatness serve as my inspiration to become a better individual.
3. Listen to what your parents or mother has taught you. When I was still young and living with my parents before university, my mother always nagged. I would show my frowning face. But as I grow older, I am beginning to see the importance of all those what she has done. I can see the value of those reminders and the contribution they have in my life now.
4. List your goals. It was unintentional when I thought about and listed my goals in my Multiply account 10 years ago. I had a friend who posted her goals in Multiply, I then reposted it substituting my own goals. These were the goals I enumerated: send my sister to college, reconstruct our house, work abroad, study abroad, take MA, and visit South Korea. I have more or less achieved these, and because of that, I can say that my 20s is a life well-lived. If I am going to look back, I am beyond satisfaction because it was according to what I planned.
5. Make friends and expand your network. I am not the chatty type, and so, it is really my weakness to maintain connections. But, I am lucky and happy to have some few friends who still remain to be my friends despite this limitation.
Friends are always helpful, and I am forever grateful to a friend who recommended me to her company when I resigned in my previous job. The reason why you need to network is to build relationship, to share information and to find sources of support.
6. Travel and explore. Do not be confined and be comfortable to the place where you are in. The world is a bigger place. Go out and explore. Traveling can make you recharged. Traveling can give you new learning and discovery. When you travel alone, it can develop your problem-solving skills. It makes you confident and independent. These are just some of the gains you will have. Travel while still young and while responsibilities are not yet demanding.
7. Find a job you like. Our job can be stressful and even colleagues can be stressful. So, as young as you are, find a job that you like and colleagues you like to work with. It is always good to work with professional people and who have standard work ethics. When you find a job that giving you so much stress, resign and find a new one. I am very much sure there is a company that will not give you much stress. Stress from the job you like is bearable; there is no job without stress. But, stress brought by your colleagues are unbearable. Look for good colleagues who can be your mentor as you mold yourself in your 20s.
8. Be in a relationship when you are ready. If you want to be successful in your relationship, then be in a relationship when you are ready. Ready in all aspects of life – physically, mentally, socially and financially. Be in a relationship when you are whole so that you will be able to share the whole of yourself with the person you love.
9. Spend time alone. Love being alone. It is not shameful or pitiful to be alone. Being alone gives you the time to date with your self. It gives you the time to know your strengths and your weaknesses. It gives you the time to get to know your self so that you will know your capacity – what you can offer and what you cannot.
10. Try new classes. Pursue your interest. At the same time, try new classes to learn new skills. Talent is not inborn. It is developed. So, nothing is impossible. You can learn any sports you like or any new skills you want to acquire. These classes also help you to recharge your energy from your routinary job.
11. Take it easy and enjoy each and every single moment. There is a paradox I read in my favorite book entitled “Be. Do. Live.” by Rajeev Dewan. It says that, “To get more done, slow down”. Take it easy. Stop and enjoy breathing air and looking at the beautiful sceneries around you.
12. Be thankful. You are blessed! Be thankful for everything. Be thankful for the family you have, the food that you eat, the air that you breathe; be thankful for everything. Do not be shy to say thanks to people to appreciate the good things they have done.
13. Express love. Show your love to the people you love and who love you. Love can be expressed in so many ways. The “Five Love Languages” of Gary Chapman will give you information how you can show your love. Showing our love to someone makes the other person wanted and appreciated. Never neglect people who love you and who are always around for you. If they are gone, they will be gone forever.
14. Be empathetic and compassionate. When I was in my early 20s, I could not feel what others feel. It means that when someone is feeling down, I could not empathize. This is because ever since life was easy for me. I was able to achieve smoothly what I want in life. Not until, I suffered the first ever dilemma in my mid-twenties. I suffered emotionally, and this paved way for me to understand others and feel what they feel. I know how it feels when you think the whole world conspires against you.
You might not know what the person is going through, so be kind. The world will be a better place if we show compassion to one another.
15. Volunteer or donate. There are people who are less fortunate than us. If we do not have money to donate, we can always volunteer our service to the needy. Volunteering is more fun when you are in your 20s because you will meet more people and you will learn new skills and knowledge.
16. Avoid debt; save. My mother advised me not to borrow money. She taught me the value of saving. I observed how she saves money. One example is she prefers to buy goods from a far store than the near one just because the price is cheaper. My saving habit and budgeting skills, I got it from my mother. When you are in your 20s and starting to earn money, pay all your debts and save. If you want to be fully independent later on in life, then being financially equipped is important.
17. Love your family. Family is the greatest of all. People can just come and go, but never your family. They will never leave you no matter what mistakes you have done. They will always be there for you to support and guide you. Love them!
18. Entertain happy thoughts and positive vibes. Be optimistic in life. It is good to be with people who are happy and always have positive outlook in life because their positivity is so strong that it exudes positive energy to people within their circle. Negativity drowns one’s energy and positivity uplifts one’s soul.
19. Love completely all the way. When you love someone, love someone fully. There are some people who are afraid to love because they are afraid to be hurt. So, they give more or less half percent of their love. When you love someone, love wholly. If ever it will not work out, at least there will be no regrets on your side because you know that you have given everything at your end for your love. It is better to be hurt for a while than to live with guilt or regrets forever.
20. Be optimistic. There is always sunshine after the rain! All people have problems. It is just a matter of time. There is no problem without a solution. Remember that… You can make anything possible! You can do it!
To sum it up, for me, life in 20s is a life spent to gain experiences. Read my previous blog on what ladies in their 20s should do. The experiences you had, the skills you acquired and the lessons you learned in your 20s are vital composition as you face the more challenging and demanding adult life. So, what should you do in your 20s? Experience life!