I am in my 20s and it has been a roller coaster ride. I have a type A (or at least what my therapist told me) personality and being a go-getter gets its toll sometimes.
I think most of us can identify that 20s are challenging times when it comes to self-discovery and understanding our purpose in life. There has been a lot of challenges to adulting, living on our own, figuring out what we really want to do in life, or finding meaning to everything. It is a stage of exploration and trying things out.
I myself am obsessed in evaluating if I am missing out because I’m already 25 and I can’t basically have my youth back.
Here are some things I learned in my early 20s and let’s see if you can relate to some of this stuff as well. Some of them are cliches, but what can I do? They’re true. At least for me.
1. It’s okay to fail most people fail too, and they get back up from it stronger and better.
Evading failure and making mistakes
I have always feared failure. But in my quest to evade it, there comes a point where it is inevitable and you experience it. It’s not so nice, it’s painful, but somehow the best lessons in life are buried in the darkness that I felt. It is a test of character and it is absolutely life-changing. The sadness and the overwhelming amount of stress we receive from different streams of stimuli are tiring and depressing.
For me personally, my frustrations have led me to think twice about myself and question my existence. It was not fun, but it’s okay. It’s okay to fail and it’s okay to make mistakes. Heck, that’s what my 20s is for! I learned that I don’t always have to be the best or the most. I don’t have to gauge my success with other people’s success or other people’s expectation.
2. Stop overthinking everything and instead channel your focus on worthy stuff.
Getting over quarter-life depression
I tell myself to not succumb to depression. I simply don’t have time for that. It doesn’t mean that you ignore it (like I did at first), it just means your life and time is too valuable to be spent on being defeated by this.
I learned that overthinking about life, society, and depressing over stuff that I can’t change is just counterproductive. I was so engrossed by the issues of the world, the injustice, climate change, gender equality issues, and seriously, I am way overthinking these stuff. It just led me to be depressed over those that I felt the world over my shoulders.
Investing in myself: Books, Podcast, Minimalism
I learned and continues to learn to choose my battles and focus more on investing in myself. Cut off the things that are not helping my growth, and actually grow up. I have found a new love for hardbound books and I am not a natural bookworm. I have forced myself to learn the habit of reading and actually setting aside time to read them. It’s difficult, but learning about people’s life and work condensed in 250 to 300 pages is worth it. I have also filtered better content in the YouTube channels and podcasts that I listen to. I have also found about living with less and I try to be as minimal as possible. I try to embrace minimalism in every aspect of my life and I think it is a refreshing mindset. I only buy quality stuff for now so that I wouldn’t have to buy again with a lower lifespan cheaper items.
3. Stop doing things that you hate. Stop wasting time and instead focus it on something that you can really learn long term.
Changing career paths
I was stuck working towards a career that I don’t really enjoy. I kept on that line of work because I always have a chip on my shoulder, like I have something to prove. It sucks to do something that you hate and do it for the sake of money and for the sake of building a “career”. Now being in the workforce for some time, I have finally taken the step to take control over what I want to do, where I want to devote my time into and stop feeling so trapped. I have to remind myself hard sometimes that it’s okay! It’s okay to change careers, to change your path. Your 20s are all about learning about yourself and testing waters. Sometimes, my fear of failure is holding me back, and so I have to preach to myself that there is nothing to be afraid of.
Forcing myself on a career that I don’t shine in is nonsense. I am just sticking with it for the purpose of pleasing other people is insane. I am the queen of autonomy, why would I let other people dictate what I do? I am such a people pleaser and I have to stop giving time thinking about what other people will think. The truth is people forget. They might judge you for a minute, but they don’t care that much. So get over yourself and do what will make you feel fulfilled.
4. I need to stop judging people and just stop meddling, commenting or worse comparing my life with theirs.
Continuing from my last point, one lesson I learned nowadays is if you don’t want to be judged, stop judging others and focus on your own journey. I tell my self constantly, “You know what? Be kind to them. Be open-minded and unless you have not experienced it, stop judging as if you can do better. Stop it.” Be conscious when you do it, and just stop it. Its time to deal with your own issues than looking at other people’s business. ‘
Goodbye social media apps
I have stopped using social media for a year now and it has helped me a lot to focus on hustling and grinding. Social media just wastes my time and worse, I compare myself to others and it sucks to do so. Not that I’m jealous with my peers, it’s just that I can’t help feeling inadequate when I see them succeeding or travelling. It’s not them, its me.
I also left social media because I felt like I am only presenting the best side of myself to others, that my life is great too, and it just feels so hypocritical for me. Like, I’m over that. I’ve outgrown it and I feel liberated. You should probably try it too!
5. It’s not too late to reinvent myself. Build new goals and continue to find my cause. Be resilient too!
Finding my cause
I don’t know it yet, but I continue to search for a cause where I could really dedicate my time into. It needs to be something I am passionate about and something I really want to do. I don’t have the answers yet, but it’s okay. It’ll come.
But I do have some new goals. I have set goals for myself and I intend to achieve them. When you’re in your 20s, nobody will really set annual goals for you (unlike in school, you have your syllabus and stuff). So setting milestones must really come from a place of intentionality so that something will happen! Gone are the days of just going with the flow. I am doubling down on hustling and reaching for my goals.
What does the future hold? Nothing is certain. I can only prepare for it by using my 20s wisely. Gathering more information, experiences, and learnings in my arsenal in order to face the remainder of this decade head-on.
What about you? Are you a type A millennial too?
What’s your story?