Being that I'm only 24 years of age, the advice I'm about to give might understandably be off or not comprehensive enough for Millennials in their 20s. I don't really care, however, because sometimes I feel as if I'm a white, female Buddha and I just want to share my understandings.
In compromise, I decided that a list of the top 10 mistakes you don't want to make in your 20s was more acceptable. Here it goes:
1. Don't try to be someone you're not.
By the time you are 20, you should know that we are not all made equal and we do not all think the same. You are an individual. Embrace that, and dear God, please, just be yourself! Most people thrive when they let go of this image they are striving for, and they love themselves for who they are.
2. Don't live in your past.
Even though this sounds corny, life is a journey. You don't come out of the womb a perfect specimen of moral behavior. In all honesty, most of us are a mess in some way or another and that is reflected upon in what happens in your life. The point is that you screw up, and sometimes screw up majorly, but you need to move on. You can't change your past, so you might as well focus your efforts on making sure it doesn't have a place in your present.
3. Forgetting that you have to care.
For those that have seen “The Vampire Diaries” (I didn't say I was cool), you may have happened to hear the phrase “flipping the humanity switch.” The more hard times you go through, the more times your heart is repeatedly shattered, and the more jaded you can become.
At some point in time, you may think that life would be easier if you stopped caring about people, or at least stopped caring about new people. All I have to say is, no. This is incorrect. Caring provides a connection between people, and that connection is your tie to humanity. Do you truly want to become disconnected from what innately makes you who you are? Didn't think so.
4. Not figuring out what you need and want.
Your life needs a path, a direction, and it doesn't really matter what it is. You could love music, art, science, technology, Scooby Doo, or Batman. The content is irrelevant; all that matters is the feeling it evokes in you and that you love it.
Without expending effort to determine what makes you happy, it's going to be harder to be happy. Remember, in this case, the only person's opinion that matters is your own, and it's your job to figure out your own path.
5. Detrimentally indulging in the sauce over and over.
There is no doubt that lovely times have been had with the sauce, and I am not talking about the cooking variety. That being said, people who steer clear of alcohol are free from dealing with 'The Alchs.' 'The Alchs' is a love-hate relationship with alcohol defined by a tumultuous relationship with the substance.
Sometimes that next shot makes your night; sometimes it ruins it, and the course of your night determines the ramifications you deal with the next day. Painful details aside, the relationship, for most people, is volatile and the solution to this hazy predicament is enforced moderation. It's time to have more stability.
6. Thinking you don't have to grow up.
Growing up doesn't need to have the negative connotations people give it. You should aim to stay youthful, adventurous and open to life, but you also do need to grow up. You need to become a self-sufficient, independent, grown adult. That is part of the beauty of life. Being an adult child is not a pretty picture, and don't think that delaying taking responsibility in life will go unnoticed. The longer you take to get going, the longer it will take you to be where everyone else already is.
7. Stressing over things you can't change.
This links to tidbit #2, but has a present and future focus. It's a hard rule to abide by, but will reap benefits if you can figure it out. It's difficult to de-stress when life's plans are not going well, or you have no crystal ball to see into your future. People say that the 20's are a great, but difficult time in our lives.
By keeping goals and ambitions, you can work towards your future, while seeking to let go of uncertainty stress. Life can change in the blink of an eye, so find comfort in doing proactive things to better your life, and one day, it WILL work out. As Buddha once said (…or was it me? LOL!),
“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.” – Buddha
8. Having risky sex.
This immediately needs clarification. As a human, male or female, 18 or 81, you are allowed to have adult relations with whomever, whenever you deem fit. Period. Don't allow someone to tell you otherwise because this is your choice. That being said, please be smart.
No risky business; you are not Tom Cruise, and this is not 1983. Not ready for a child? Take your pick of birth control. Don't want to deal with a disease? Then make smart decisions. Also, if you're going to do something carnal with someone, just have some respect for the other person.
9. Not being open to love.
Sorry to those that disagree, but life is about love. You live it, you breathe it, and you were even made from it. While your life's focus should not be on searching for love, nor should you find validation from finding a romantic love, you should be open to it.
Life is considerably better when you are surrounded by people who adore you and whom you adore back. To those people who think it's a battle between love or career aspirations, the right person will compliment your life, not be a barrier to it.
10. Thinking you know it all.
It might be ironic coming from an article about advice, but this writer has no delusions that in the grand scheme of things, she knows basically nothing. All of us in our 20s would be smart to remember that we are still young and comparatively inexperienced.
If you don't remember that yourself, I'm sure you all have your own “K-Rollz” friends to keep you in line. P.S. This modesty should also transfer to your workplace because arrogance in the workplace is the quickest way not to move up the ladder.
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