This list of advice is a collection of some of my deeper thoughts I’ve had over the last few years as well as some steadfast constants that I’ve maintained since childhood and have understood to be true over and over again — I hope you find them helpful.
My twenties are turning out to be the most fun I’ve had so far, and I hope yours are, too. All I want for my peers is for them to be the most adventurous, genuine, and supremely happy version of themselves during this exciting decade of life.
This one’s for you.
20 Pieces of Common Sense That Finally Clicked in My 20s
1. Realize there is no such thing as “finding yourself.”
There is only becoming more of yourself by letting others know the real you. In this process, the ones who cling to your old persona will either welcome the person you eventually become or distance themselves.
2. Learn that it’s okay to lose friends.
Some people stay in our lives forever. Some, only for a season. It’s important that you learn to distinguish between the two. There are those people whose only purpose in our lives is to show us something or teach us a valuable lesson. In turn, we often do the same for them.
3. Become friends with your parents — it’s one of life’s biggest surprises and joys.
The fact that our parents are real people outside of their duties as parental figures escapes many people. In your twenties, you are just coming out of the period of life when parental guidance is constantly needed. Now is the time to get to know your parents for who you are and for who they are now in your new roles. Create new bonds with them, learn more from them, and cherish them.
4. Find your purpose instead of settling for just a career.
Before you become overwhelmed with the pressure of your age to find a job and settle into a lifelong career, take a moment to pause and reflect on: what it is that you love, what it is that you crave to do, and how you enjoy spending the majority of your time. It is there that you will discover your purpose.
5. Know the difference between being confident and being arrogant.
So many in our generation are encouraged to be proud of their accomplishments and talents, but when they vocalize these thoughts, they are condemned as braggarts and are said to be full of themselves.
Don’t be ashamed of your unique skills & achievements. Take pride in them, but don’t overshadow or diminish the triumphs of others.
6. Prefer quality over quantity.
The popularity of social media means 2,000 acquaintances on Facebook, 500 followers on Twitter, and 100 likes on Instagram but no true friends.
A happy life is composed of those with whom you can share laughs, struggles, and achievements — not solely online popularity. Look for those special people that are made of the same stuff as you are and hold onto them.
7. Invest in your mind.
Don’t be fooled by the media or be mislead by the fear of missing out. Even though you can take in a large amount of information from the Internet, often you are not ingesting a large amount of knowledge and wisdom. Read good books that provoke questions in you and talk to those whose minds you admire.
You can learn more in one conversation with the older members of your family than you will in one day spent online.
8. If someone else did it, chances are, you can do it, too.
The “it” and the other person doesn’t matter. My grandmother once said that if she saw someone else do something, she had enough faith in herself to believe that she could do it. This has always really resonated with me.
If you have the motivation, dedication, and knowledge to get something done, you are fully capable of succeeding.
There will always be obstacles, but most obstacles in life can be overcome with the right amount of perseverance and patience. Often, our success depends on how badly we want whatever we’re going after.
9. Don’t settle for heartbreak – it doesn’t have to be the norm.
We currently reside in a “hook-up” culture that leads to many misunderstandings, hurt feelings, and bruised hearts. This is substandard and doesn’t have to be your future.
Be kind with others’ feelings and treat them the way that you expect to be treated by others. Instead of casual relationships, choose people who have the same goals and passions as you. Be particular about whom you choose to give your heart.
10. Realize that everyone hurts.
It’s no secret that most of us walk around with looks of sadness on our faces at least once in our lives. Life’s troubles affect everyone.
The problem with this is that many do not see (or choose not to see) others’ pain. Ignoring someone else’s pain doesn’t dull your own. Each person has their own private struggles. Handle people with care, and don’t take your own happiness for granted.
11. Ask for help.
No one is perfect, and we all can use a helping hand more often than we’d like to admit. If you’ve ever helped someone, you know the warmth it brings to your own day. Don’t deny someone else this same experience.
The beauty of being human is in our failures and our imperfections. Our shortcomings allow us to offer assistance to others and grow from our own weaknesses.
12. Embrace your weirdness.
Gradually, we are moving away from the social stigma associated with being different, but we still have progress to make. No one will remember your embarrassing antics or social anxiety.
Throw off society’s dictations of “normal” and find peace and joy in being yourself. If you love your quirks, others will love them, too. It is only by being ourselves that we allow others to be fully themselves and learn from each other’s nuances.
13. Make your health a top priority — it is more important now than it ever will be.
The way you treat your body, soul, and mind now is in direct correlation to how you will look and feel when you are older. As young adults, we tend to feel invincible most of the time, but this simply isn’t true nor will it ever be.
Getting adequate sleep, refreshing yourself spiritually, and nourishing your body with healthful food will help you live your life to its fullest potential.
14. Save more money than you spend.
It can be hard to hold onto your cash when everywhere you look, someone is urging you to spend it on what they have to sell. Our society fixates on those who attempt to keep up with the Joneses, but this style of living is exhausting and in the end, it isn’t sustainable for very long.
Don’t worry so much about impressing your peers. Instead, prepare for your future by putting money away for retirement, money away to invest, and money away for fun, occasional splurges, such as a vacation with your closest friends.
15. Travel as much as possible.
One of the things I would regret most in my life is if I stayed in the same place, never traveled, and never experienced different ways of living from a variety of cultures.
The whole wide world is out there waiting for you to put your mark on it. During your twenties, you more than likely have few responsibilities tying you down to one spot on the map, so make the most of this prime opportunity and explore your world — especially abroad.
16. Develop a creative outlet.
You may see yourself as an insanely creative type or you may have never picked up a paintbrush before. Regardless, you need some form of creativity to keep you sane and help you muddle through the sometimes dreary moments in life.
Whether you love singing karaoke on the weekends or drawing caricatures of your best friends, find what gets your creative juices flowing and chase after it.
17. Ignore the negativity of others.
Over the past few years, the idea of “haters” has developed; however, I don’t buy into this. To me, there is no such thing as “haters.” There are only unhappy people who are jealous of others’ light and who are too timid to make their own.
If you are happy and content with your life choices (provided they don’t harm you or anyone else), let the negativity of others roll off your back and keep on doing you.
18. Look toward the future.
The past is something you can’t change. Look back only to see how much you have progressed — your life isn’t going back that way.
The future has no definite plan or ending — it’s up to you to decide how it plays out. So, change your mind, and change your mind again. It’s your one life to live. Live in such a way that you and those who follow will be happy and proud.
19. Write every day.
Since I have my blog, I am writing and curating new content on a daily basis, but before this, I didn’t have a plan to write every day. I wish I had.
Writing is one of the few ways to completely purge what is going on inside your mind and spirit. Write to-do lists, write wishes, write dreams, write poetry, write songs, write chores, write stories, write a journal. Just write.
20. Step outside of your comfort zone – and don’t look back.
It took me awhile to accept this, but once I did, my life was never the same again. I decided I needed to break out of my shell like never before and start going after the things I wanted out of life.
I put myself in situations that made me uncomfortable, and out of those situations, I grew into a more self-assured, happy version of myself. If you take a chance and do something different than your norm, you will never look back.
By Bria McKamey
Bria McKamey is the founder and blogger behind Tendril Wild, a blog focused on self-care for sensitive souls. Connect with Bria on Twitter and at www.tendrilwild.com.