If you are in your twenties, you likely view your thirties with an impending sense of dread and doom. There is a sad misconception that by the time you hit the big 3-0 you will officially be old and have to give up on all of your hopes, dreams, and ambitions in order to become an approximation of your parents. But that is pretty far from the truth, especially in this more enlightened age where we are less bound by other people’s expectations of us. Whether you are just turning 20 or are well into your 29th year your twenties can be a confusing, exasperating, and stressful time. You may feel as though you are supposed to have your life fully on the right track by now, or that you have wasted your life if you are still renting and do not have enough money saved for a deposit on a home of your own.
But this mentality can cause you to live the best years of your life in a state of heightened anxiety. Life is a journey, not a destination. It is okay if you have not established yourself in your career. It is okay if you are not married, engaged, or even in a long term relationship. It is perfectly fine to not be quite sure what you want to be when you grow up.
Your life after 29 will be every bit as wondrous and as magical as it was before. That said, you can be cognizant of the future without making yourself a slave to it. If you are worried about getting the most out of your twenties, here are some things that are worth thinking about while you are still at this point in your life:
Know Yourself Before You Get Into A Lifelong Relationship
We are all looking for the validation and acceptance that come with being in a relationship with someone we love. But if you do not take the time to really get to know yourself and what you want from a relationship before actively pursuing one, it is easy to mistake Mr. Right Now for Mr. Right.
Lots of people find themselves in long term relationships in their early 20s or even younger. There are many happily married couples out there right now who met at university. But there should certainly be no pressure to join the ranks of smug coupledom in your early 20s. In fact, this can actually be an impediment to your personal growth.
Go on vacation on your own, plan lots of activities with different groups of friends. Take the time to know yourself. Because if you have been in a relationship all of your adult life you risk viewing yourself only through the prism of that relationship.
Seeing The World
Speaking of getting to know yourself, there is no better way to do this than travel. Being able to see the world and immerse yourself in other places and cultures can benefit your mind in a number of ways. It allows you to put some distance between yourself and the stresses of work and your social / personal life. Travel shakes you out of your comfort zone and encourages you to engage more actively with your new surroundings, whereas in our day to day lives we can tend to coast through each day on autopilot. Engaging with different people from around the world (especially if you try to do so in their own native tongue) can lead to more meaningful and memorable social interactions than you tend to get at home.
Whether you travel alone, with friends or with a partner, it is certainly advisable to see as much of the world as you can while you are in your twenties, Immersing yourself in the sounds, sights, scents, and tastes of other countries can enrich your life and personality, as well as leaving you with memories that you will treasure for the rest of your life and potential friends with whom you will always stay in touch and arrange memorable reunions.
Your Future Fertility
You may not be sure whether or not you ever want kids. You may know for sure that you do want kids, but not want them right away. It is sad to say that a lot of women of all ages feel tremendous pressure by society to have kids. And while you certainly should not feel pressured into starting a family in your twenties or at any age, your future fertility is something that you may need to be aware of. Lots of career-minded women want to establish a strong professional reputation and a sterling income before they think about having children. However, in some cases, by the time they are ready to start trying for a baby, they are much less fertile, which is why it is a good idea to think about the benefits of freezing your eggs now. It could save you a lot of expense, frustration, and heartache later on down the line. Even if you are a way off getting married, starting a family, or even finding a certain someone to settle down with.
You Do Not Have To Put All Your Eggs In One Basket When It Comes To Your Career
Speaking of eggs, it is important that you do not have to assume that yours are all in one basket where your career is concerned. Our education system has perpetuated a myth. One that dictates that you have to start yourself on a career path that you will stay on for the rest of your life by the time you leave university. But this is a fallacy. Sure, by all means pursue a career path that you find interesting and fulfilling. But do not assume that you have to stick to it for the rest of your life.
There are many people who retrain and jump onto new career paths in their twenties and beyond. Likewise, a lot of people find more fulfillment not from their day jobs, but their side hustles. The important thing is to keep your options open, never stop learning, and keep actively seeking out opportunities to learn, develop, and enrich your skill set.
Take Control Of Your Money Now And It Will Pay Off Later
Money management is a skill that many people in their twenties have yet to learn. And while they may pithily reply “That is because we never have any!” it is never too early to master the money management skills that will continue to pay off throughout your life in work and retirement. Skills like:
- Start using a household budget template. It is a great way to keep track of all the little expenses that soon add up.
- Get into the habit of paying into your savings every month. By all means reduce the amount you pay in when times are lean, but make sure you are always paying something in.
- Never pay the minimum installments on credit card debts. Not only will it make the debt last much longer, you will waste a fortune on interest, and your credit rating will look less than stellar.
Look After Your Brain Now And It Will Look After You All Your Life
Finally, when you are young it is easy to assume that you will look and feel youthful forever. But the truth is that the things you do today can help you to feel youthful for many years to come. And we are not just talking about your skincare regimen. We are talking about keeping your mind active and well nourished, so that you retain the same cognitive focus, recall, and clarity in your later years. Regular exercise, a healthy diet, and a great range of cognitively challenging activities from reading to crossword puzzles and learning new languages or musical instruments can all go a long way to keeping your mind agile as you get older.