Make the most of your 20s, one mistake at a time
This year, I’ll be turning 31. My mind is still trying to catch up with this fact.
A weird thing happened the other week.
A 20 something colleague of mine quit her job to pursue her dream of being a flight attendant and quench her thirst for traveling.
I couldn’t have been prouder even if she was my own kid. “There’s no better way to spend your 20s than traveling”, I’ve said to her. I didn’t do it, so it’s still on my mind.
The talk got me thinking about my own 20s and how I’ve spent them.
The mistakes were the first to pop in mind. A smile followed.
While the regrets vs lessons balance is definitely tilted in the right direction, here are some issues I’ve faced in my 20s.
1. Poor decision making
By that, I mean NO decision making.
I had a bad pattern of procrastinating and avoiding decisions because I lived in fear. Fear of the unknown, of not being good enough, of taking chances.
I was taking everything so seriously.
I was busy making plans, but not taking actions.
Stressing out on things we should do, rather than doing what works for us is very time-consuming. It should know, it took me a decade to figure it out.
If you’re not calling the shots, somebody else will. If you don’t decide for yourself, life will.
Life happens for you, not to you.
Learning that sooner rather than later will make all the difference in terms of success and opportunities that might come your way.
You have to develop fast decision-making skills that will not waste a lot of time and mind-share, especially on the small things.
How to do it? Practice. It’s like a muscle you grow, therefore, you need to exercise more often.
The best part of doing this in your 20s is that you can bounce back very quickly and minimize your losses. Even bad decisions in your 20s will become a cool story that you can laugh at in your 40s, but making a bad call in your 50s might have a bigger impact.
2. Relationship Sabotage
I’ve mastered this particular skill and turned it into an art form in my younger years. Especially in the romantic department.
I’ve wasted tremendous energy and time in relationships that were going nowhere.
Toxic relationships with good people are still bad.
I was giving second chances, the benefit of the doubt and the dumb, making sacrifices along the way. Once I’ve shifted all that effort towards myself, everything changed.
Personal growth is an ongoing process.
Start by raising your standards, knowing your patterns and the real reasons behind acting a certain way. Know your limits and take responsibility for your actions, instead of always blaming the other person.
I had high expectations and poor communication skills. That was the undisputed recipe for a lot of disappointment.
We’re updating our phone’s software more often than our own.
Our expectations are standing in the way of a life well lived.
They usually start with a “must” or “have to”. I have to get married by the time I’m 28, I have to get that job, I must act in a certain way, etc.
In your 20s you’re facing a lot of changes and important decisions so it’s important to know your real needs and values.
Make an audit and see if you have limiting beliefs holding you back and find out where did you get them from. Are they coming from a bad experience you went through in the past, from your mom’s church support group or from Jane Austen herself?
Whatever it is, see if it still has a positive purpose or is it there gathering dust and heartbreak.
4. Moving out of your parents’ home
Do it sooner.
Be accountable to yourself and take this responsibility in your early 20s. It will better shape every future relation you have. It will make you more reliable and aware.
It will help balance your expenses and it will make you learn how to prioritize.
It will benefit your parents as well, even if they’ll be empty nesters sooner than expected. They’ll still be there to help, but they’ll have a head start in building a life of their own, that is not entirely focused on you.
5. Not Saving Money
A lot of people, including myself, start spending big after landing their first job.
Between paying off your student loans and monthly expenses, there’s not much left. We’ve all been there.
When you do have something to work with, make a plan and keep track of your financial situation.
Your 20s is the perfect time to start a new healthy habit of saving money. While it doesn’t sound sexy, your future self will thank you for years to come.
Don’t forget to enjoy these years and don’t rush into anything.
Have fun, relax, travel and work hard. Be consistent and never give up on your dreams. Make more memories than insta pics, just saying!