4 ways to make the most of life in your 20s (and restart if you have to)
If you’ve found yourself in a place in your 20s where the thought of scaling back on this whole “adulting” thing may sound like a good idea right now, this goes out to you.
If you’re stressing out about your 20s and this whole “adulting” thing, you’re not alone.
Towards the end of a stressful semester of college last year, I found myself feeling like I had lost direction in my life. I drastically changed my major at the start of the semester and worried about trying to graduate in less than two years. In addition to paying tuition out of pocket while making sub-par grades, I was sinking.
My bank account was in a constant negative balance from countless overdrafts. PLUS, I walked away from long-term friendships to grow within my own spiritual journey. I could not understand just how and why I had gotten to this point in my life. I would dream that it would all be so different in the past. I had PLANS. I wanted great credit, excellent grades, awesome friendships and the ultimate “young adult experience”.
I was overwhelmed with my own expectations and the reality that was going on around me. I was not where I wanted to be in the years that everyone considers as prime.
So, this is what I did to reset my 20 something life. And you should follow along.
1. Notice what your distractions are.
And what I mean by this is to jot down everything that’s throwing your life off balance internally and externally that may have gotten you in such a rut. Whether they are voluntary or involuntary distractions, list them all. Your voluntary distractions may be a series of mistakes you made or bad habits you’ve picked up that got you off track. Maybe you always spend too much money on food or never take the time out to study or workout. You must retrace your steps so that you know what NOT to do again. It’s a hard-necessary pill to swallow, but to get out of your own way, you have to confront yourself.
But then there’s the involuntary distractions. Which could be major life changes that you weren’t expecting and didn’t plan. Like you or a family member got sick, you got laid off, your car broke down. These things absolutely suck and may leave you in a hole, but you can always crawl out.
There was a time when my car broke down while I was living with a friend and worked at McDonalds. I became dedicated to burgers and fries because I knew it would be my only way to get my car up and running again. During these inconveniences, you should always keep a sense of gratitude. Yes I said it, GRA-TI-TUDE.
Your circumstances are not the bad guy, they’re teachers, and always be a teachers pet to life’s lessons.
2. Come back down to yourself.
Do you remember what it is that you wanted during this time? And um, exactly why? Knowing what you want for your life now and for the next 5-10 years sets the track for re-alignment. It brings you back to your purpose. Some people forget why they went off to school out of town or why they always wanted to be an artist or what it meant for them to have their own place.
This is square one. Resparking your passion is like a natural high.
Here’s where it gets good. Begin to think about small goals and actionable steps to reach those goals that will take you towards what it is that you want in your young life. Then you can create bigger goals. And no you don’t have to begin perfectly, just start from where you are right now. You kind of have no choice.
3. Google it, plan it, practice it. Just do it.
I had become horrible with money over the past 3 years (hence the various overdrafts) so I googled how to manage my finances, and viola! I had valuable information that lead me to create goals and how to achieve it.
But take heed and watch yourself, or the you that is against you. The perfectionist.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting things to be great and of high quality, but if you find yourself damn-near having an anxiety attack because something isn’t as “right” as you need it to be, then we have a problem.
Ignore the protectionist in you.
It took me a while to get rid of the perfectionist part of me. I wanted everything I did to go off and succeed without a hitch. Freeing myself from this perspective actually allowed me to step into the things I wanted to do but was afraid I wouldn’t be perfect at. Practicing perfectionism can have the same setbacks as fear. It’s something that you just cannot have or be. We all have one big trial and error of a life and it’s all a part of the inevitable.
4. Learn how to cope beyond your “perfect” plans.
The quote that says life is part of what happens to you and the other part is how you respond it is REAL. When things change, that doesn’t mean that EVERYTHING around you shakes. Handle the issue at hand and boss up accordingly.
Don’t allow the thought of feeling like you’re so “off” track stop you from proceeding in the right direction.
Believe it or not, you’re secretly still on the right track.
Yes, you’re young and senior year didn’t teach you how to be an adult. Just about Beowulf. However, you need to kill off all preconceived notions that you should waste your young adulthood and just coast by. Specifically, your twenties.
You have 10 years for this and you don’t want to only remember drunken nights, bad relationships and graduating college. I know it’s a buzz kill to mention but, practice being an adult. Learn about your finances, your passions, and most importantly YOURSELF!
Just find the balance. Yes, you’re young and poppin, but that won’t be enough to pay the mortgage in your 30s.
Lastly, and most importantly, bounce back. Just like Big Sean.