Our twenties are probably the weirdest times of our lives. One minute you feel like you’re at the top of the world, and the next you’re feeling cornered by the harder truths of adult life. Like a baby with a new toy, we get caught up in our newly earned independence, whilst also shook by the harsh realities that come with the territory. Like any other young adult I know it can get really hard figuring out how to make the best of all the highs and lows, that’s why I sought out those who walked before us for some help on how to best write this to you all.

The 20-somethings are fun, lonely, euphoric, and sometimes horrific but nothing short of constant life lessons and defining moments. As young as I am I often hear and read the same things when I’m trying to get some advice on how to finesse this life thing. Statements like, “Your opinion about yourself is the only one that matters,” and “if you love what you do, it’ll never feel like a job” are very common. We are blessed to have people who take the time to lend us an ear and speak some words of wisdom, so it’s only right we share those same blessings with those around us.

I decided to group these words of advice into three different categories.

  1. Living Life
  2. Learning Life
  3. Loving Life

When we’re living

We usually get so caught up in the fast pace of growing up that we don’t pay attention to the nuances of our youthful existence. We miss out on the finer details that could make all the difference. We overlook the smaller moments, hoping that our biggest achievements will one day fulfil us. 

Sad to say they never do.

You wanna know what will?

Tuning out the noise. Pay attention to you and your needs. Attend to your thoughts and feelings when you know you need to. It’s okay to be selfless every once in a while but you really need to be selfish with your time, energy and attention every so often.  As corny as it sounds, life really is too short to not put your happiness first. If you don’t, who will?

Invest in experiences as much as possible. There’s always gonna be materialistic things to buy throughout life, but we can’t say the same thing about this time we have to spend on trips, travelling and adventuring. With so much freedom and generally minimal responsibilities, it’s probably the best time to site-see, spend weekends bar hopping with friends or let loose at a music festival. Whatever your fancy is, it’ll never be a bad idea to treat yourself to a good time.

As you’ll get older you’ll figure out what you love and have a passion for. And what is better than to turn your passion into an income stream? It doesn’t always turn out that way but we owe it to ourselves to at least try to structure our lives in a way that is meaningful and fulfilling to us, otherwise what’s the point?

Build good connections and relations for the future. No man is an island. Whether you’re in university, part-time work or on a sports team, try to form good relationships in these early years with the people you associate with. Those might be the board members of your next start-up company or the person to come and help you out at 3am when your car has broken down in the middle of nowhere. So try be kind and open to new people. Don’t shy away from making new friends.

Your dreams need sacrifice in order to make them a reality. There is a famous quote that says ‘Success doesn’t just come out and find you, you have to go out and get it’. A good thing rarely falls into our laps ‘just cause’. The best things in life are the ones we work hard for. Whether it’s a bomb summer body or your own top of the line skin care brand, anything of the sort needs you to put in the hours, hard work and sweat to see results. If you really want it, you’ll make it happen.

Life Lessons

Everyday should be better than the last, and what we learnt yesterday should make for a better tomorrow. It’s always a great feeling when our elders, without acting too overbearing and condescending, impart some words of wisdom and make us feel like we aren’t a total mess up. So here are some takeaways to help pave a better path for your own journey:

Have a well-balanced opinion about yourself. Everyone wants to have a say or take on how you should conduct your life, but rarely are those people there to pick up the pieces if things go sideways. This isn’t to say you should throw out your close friends and family’s concerns, advice or two cents, but weigh them all out and take only that which adds value to you. At the end of the day, only you know what’s best for you, so don’t be easily swayed by what other people think you should do with your life.

Find a balance between living in the moment and preparing for your future. I am a big advocate for being mentally present in every experience that comes along and enjoying it to its fullest, but that should never come at the expense of the life you are trying to build for the future. It’s not every day you’re gonna be on your grind. Your ‘me-days’ and weekends away with family and friends should be just as plentiful, after all, that’s why we work so hard. However, in the midst of taking it easy, don't get lost in the sauce and do something that could be detrimental to the future you’ve envisioned. You gotta watch yourself, always.

 Learn from your failures. Your success won’t be measured by how many times you fell off but rather by how many times you got back on track. You can only get better by fixing your faults and strengthening your weaknesses. So every time things fall apart, know that they will only get better the next time round. It’s never a loss. It’s always a lesson.

Money is a tool not a toy. As you get older and wiser, the need for financial security and maintaining a sense of comfortability gradually increases. When we’re young we are afforded the luxury of spending without thinking much of it. This stage of life varies from person to person but what is true for us all is that a time will come when you have to prioritise your bills and needs over your wants and luxuries. So it’s probably in your best interest to learn a thing or two about financial literacy. Ask your financially savvy parents, elders or caregivers on how to budget and start building a habit of saving more and carelessly spending less. In years to come, you’ll thank yourself for learning how to use money to make more of your own, instead of stuffing your own into someone else’s pockets.

Loving Life

This is the icing on the cake. Making room for the things that bring us joy and peace are a big part of why we wake up wanting to conquer the world before our feet. Here are some ways to make your own world that much sweeter:

Surround yourself with company you actually enjoy having. Many of us often stay in toxic relationships, friendships and circles that do nothing for us. But that’s not the way to live. Your time with them shouldn’t feel like a chore. It should feel like a blessing. So sometimes it’s okay to be a loner. It’s okay to have just one friend. Associate with people who want and bring out the best in you. If they don’t add value, you should probably subtract yourself from the equation.

Be grateful. Every day is a blessing so you should take a couple of moments to appreciate it every once in a while. I know life gets busy and we’re often caught up in a work-school-hustle-social life cycle or some variation of it, but there’s more to it. Big or small, the family you have, the roof over your head, the food on your plate, are all to value and never take for granted. Whatever it may be we need to be thankful for every moment we are afforded in this life. Every day is so much better when you see it as a graceful gift, so you need to appreciate it as such.

Make time for the things you enjoy doing. We’ve all heard some story about someone on their deathbed regretting unaccomplished goals and dreams. Although life doesn’t always give us a chance to do everything we want and our responsibilities sometimes pile up on us, choose to make and allow yourself to be happy. Every once in a while go and eat at that restaurant you’re always talking about. Go for that holiday you’ve been planning for so long. Even if it means doing it on your own, you’ll still be fulfilled knowing you’re checking things off your bucket list slowly but surely.

Be true to yourself and those around you. Know yourself. Really take the time to figure yourself out. If that means taking time off school or work to heal from whatever trauma you may have gone through or just slowing down the pace of your walk through life, do it. When you’re mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically aligned in your own being, you’ll be of greater service to yourself and your community. You’ll be able to love and live wholeheartedly.

Most things aren’t that deep. You only have one life to live. Remember that next time you feel like that moment of rejection or failed assignment is too much to bear. If you take every loss to heart it’ll eventually weigh you down. At the same time don’t get too attached to every person or thing that comes into your life. Some are for a lifetime, others are for a season. All in all, everything passes with time. So enjoy it but don’t get lost in it.

These are some of the best years of our lives. We need to fill them with joy, purpose, bliss and some of that other stuff we see in the movies. We owe it to ourselves to make the best of every moment we have, and I hope this piece helps do exactly that.

“Build, Rise and Win”

February 9, 2022

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