5 Things I Learned in my Early 20s: Confessions of a Type A Millennial

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

Be kinder

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.

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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.

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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?

The Blessing and Curse of Being a Rebel in Life

All my life, I have always aimed to be different. To break the rules and break tradition. Go beyond the norms and social convention. Do you tend to go that direction too?

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Welcome to the club.

I think I’m not alone in this. All of us has an inner rebel within. The instinct to go against expectations. Now, are these things beneficial? Not always. Sometimes, good things happen, sometimes, it just fails. Sometimes, it’s done just to prove a point. 

Let me not go into the specifics but here are some of the pros and cons of being a non-conformist. By the way, I’m not talking about breaking the law or anything, I am pointing to the day to day decisions and actions that we do every day that doesn’t usually go with the herd.

They say we will not regret the things that we did do, but the things that we didn’t.

Getting attention

Getting attention from being different, or being “weird” is a double-edged sword. Sometimes, you need it, sometimes, you just want people to get over with it. I think rebels just can’t hide their inner selves. It shows as we express ourselves by the way we dress, our choice in haircut, and even our stuff. Our belongings show and reflect our preferences. And these preferences may be controversial, or unconventional just like getting a mohawk, getting an unusual tattoo, or wearing weird shoes, who knows what else.

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We always try to be different and this gets peoples attention. The response shall be inevitable but I think this point becomes either positive or negative depending on the reaction that one takes from a comment, stare, or judgement from others. We can choose if this effect can be a blessing or a curse.

Courage to escape or get into trouble

If there’s one thing I hate, that is dress code. I hate dressing up for parties and getting all the work up just to show up in some event. I would make a way to escape the dress code as much as I could, but somehow, there’s no helping it. But in such times where I have summoned the courage to not follow orders, most often than not, I end up getting stared for “not preparing” and simply just being called for the act. Sometimes, making up with humour is sufficient- only if I’m lucky.

The point is, not following orders usually gets a rebel into trouble. This happens in traffic situations too, like taking unusual routes. Sometimes, if we’re lucky not going with the herd gets us out of traffic, sometimes we end up getting more stuck. So, its a risk, which brings me to my next point.

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Appetite for Risk-taking

For a rebel, risk-taking is second nature. Now sometimes taking risks, end up being the right choice. Sometimes, it just doesn’t work out as expected. I think non-conformists always assume the best possible outcome but having different results are taken head-on. 

I think as we get older, we become better at assessing risks and making well-thought-of decisions. We become better at calculating what we’re actually risking in exchange of a possible outcome. 

So, this appetite for risk may become a blessing if we learn from our prior mistakes, and this probably becomes a curse if we just go ahead and plunge at anything exciting without considering past outcomes.

Embrace your inner rebel self

So altogether, I think being a non-conformist has its benefits and downsides. We test the waters and we take a leap of faith to go ahead and try something first before we believe what anybody tells us. And yeah, sometimes we get it right, or most of the time, we get it wrong. It doesn’t matter. The thing is, we have the courage to do it in the first place.

They say we will not regret the things that we did do, but the things that we didn’t. So embrace being a rebel. Or if you’re a calculated person, try to become one once in a while. The key I think is balancing our thirst for adventure and breaking tradition, with learning from previous outcomes. We just have to aim for better results at each iteration. Make better decisions, and testing and improving our system. So if you think being a rebel is too much of a curse for you, give yourself a break and continue to push through. 

So, what have you done lately?

By the way, as an additional resource, here is a link to Jason Zook’s interview in #creativepreneur magazine with his new book, Own Your Weird. Oh, also, I am not affiliated nor paid by this link, it is just a fun podcast episode you might find interesting as well.

Cheers!



How I Overcame Powerlessness and Self-Pity

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I wonder why I let myself spiral in this state. The state of powerlessness and self-pity.

I have allowed negative thoughts and feelings pester my head and I filled it with so much unhelpful garbage. I have always helped myself, I love self-help and productivity but somehow I have allowed the self-loathing thoughts to fill me and occupy me. 

It started as a thought. I am useless, why am I like this? What’s wrong with me? There’s something wrong with me? There’s something wrong with me. What started out as a thought, a question became a sentence. And what turned out to be a sentence, became my truth. And that self-conceived “truth” became my reality. I lived the misery. I entertained the sadness, I let the creeping feeling devour me and take me over. I have allowed myself to be conquered by my thoughts. 

It is really true, that what the mind can conceive, the body can achieve, It is true not only on positive stuff like running a marathon but also in depressing thoughts. The self-loathing thoughts will manifest on the outside, in the way you talk and carry yourself to others. You just couldn’t help the helplessness. The negativity will take over, it will overflow, and it will show. No matter how hard you try. 

Pessimism. I know I have been an optimist my whole life till recently. I have also doubted God in those times. I have sunk in a hole and I thought there is no survival and I thought I have reached a point of no return. I am convinced there’s no going back and I am doomed for misery and eternal condemnation if He is in fact true. 

The point is, I have not shielded or protected myself from this negativity. I have underestimated the influence of the podcasts and videos I listen into. I was hesitant at first, on the tolerant mindset of western culture. But in the end, I was consumed and I believed what they preached as true. 

Maybe it was the rebel in me. I always test the waters. I try to be bad at things. I test out people’s patience, I test the limits of how much I can push people. And it doesn’t always benefit me. In my experiments in life, I try to do bad things, not illegal stuff or immoral things to other people, but you know along the lines of being a mediocre employee, not study, or things that will push me out of the mould, the conventional, and tradition. It sucks that I tend to do that. And lately, it was pushing my belief system. I questioned my belief and the concept of truth in my life. 

Well, I think at the end of the day, its a question of which belief system worked for me. I was better when I’ve had God than without Him. I never felt more alone than when I relinquished my faith. Believing in God is a rational choice but is beyond logic. It takes a leap of faith and it takes a certain humility towards being human. And I am human. Even if I’m a rebel, I am still human and I can’t escape my tendencies as one. I am bound by my earthly flesh and I would like to believe that I am beyond all of it, but I am not. I am but human. Built with flaws and weaknesses. I am not perfect just like everyone else. I am hackable, my perception is limited and I am just as fragile. 

If I choose to be helpless and godless, I choose to serve myself. If I choose to believe in faith and in God, I have chosen hope. I have chosen to believe that there is more. There is more to life. That I am not of this world. That there is something beyond all this suffering. There is more. There is hope. There could be a reason why I suffer on this earth because I simply am not a citizen of this world. We look forward to a day when God will liberate me and end all of the human pain and suffering. 

It was a philosophical journey. I was looking at the existence of God, not at a personal level but on a philosophical perspective. I will not stop learning. I will still devout myself to learn more but this time, be more careful on the things I feed myself. After all, there is no joy in knowing that my life is meaningless. If I was only a carrier of genetic code to pass unto the next generation. If I continue to believe that, I will just turn into dust without hope.

So I choose hope. I choose faith in better things. I choose to believe in the promise of salvation.  I choose to believe by faith in Christ that He is gracious to accept me despite my flaws and imperfections. I choose grace, that despite me being a sinner, I am still welcome in the kingdom of God and claim His promise of eternity. A place where my human mind could not conceive and imagine. I am human, I have consciousness. 

The human consciousness can not be explained. It is a topic that even the great scientist and atheist Richard Dawkins cannot answer. Alister McGrath said, Christianity is more complex, it goes beyond rationality. It is more sophisticated. Indeed, it is more difficult to explain, it is difficult to encompass. Even the great scientist and polymath Blaise Pascal has resolved that it is irrational to wage against the existence of God. Rene Descartes believed in God, even Isaac Newton.  They are rationalists, logicians, mathematicians, the fathers of the scientific revolution. They have questioned the existence of God too, and they have resolved to believe that He exists. What makes me think that I am more of a rational thinker than them? It is hypocritical of me to do so. 

So again, I have anticipated all the arguments against God. I think I  have covered all the contentions possible, but at the end of the day, for me, it went down to the belief system that will bring me hope. A reason to wake up. A motivation to continue, press on, and hustle. Not for money, not for anyone, not for me, but for a greater cause beyond the limits of my mind or of this world.