1. These are the years of choice, and you can choose to stop building and start being. You are an unfolding. Everything you are and will be is within you, you just have to be given the right circumstances to see it. Your own growth and development isn’t about you moving away from who you once were, it’s about peeling and stripping off the layers of the ego that you crafted around yourself as a defense mechanism. Your 20s are usually the last big chunk of time you can do this without serious consequences– it’s nearly expected at this point. But what really has to be said is that as much as this is your chance to choose your life, this is your time to decide what you choose.
2. You can also choose to take your first steps in freedom. You can claim that your financial restraints prevent you from moving out, moving on, whatever it is you most deeply want, but I promise you, there is always a way, even if it means 5 roommates and 3 part-time jobs. The only way you can’t is if you tell yourself you can’t. You will spend your whole life waiting for when you’re swimming in financial security, are with the love of your life, happily pursuing your dream job and living like your college-self always dreamed, or you can start now, and go on the great adventure of unknowing that usually leads us places far greater than where we thought we could be.
3. You can go out for hours and wander around a great big city with your friends and be a little irresponsible. Be a little reckless. Be a little of whatever it is you want to be.
4. You will never be this young again, and it is also the oldest you’ve ever been. It’s an incredible equilibrium, if you think about it. You’re farther along than you ever have been, but this will also be the last point of your life that you are as young, able and youthful as you are now. Enjoy the ability of your body. Use it.
5. You can lay foundations and start ripple effects of relationships and careers and dreams that will follow you through your own life. You can always choose where you want to go, but you might not always be able to do so without having to sacrifice what you’ve already chosen. You are a clean slate right now. Take advantage of that as much as you absolutely possibly can.
6. You can love people, even if you know you don’t want to love them forever, but especially if you do. If I could tell you anything, I would say that you should love who you know you love, and stop hurting other people for your own benefit. Be honest. Tell someone if they aren’t your forever. Don’t let them believe they are until one day you move on and they are reeling. You know who you love. Stop being afraid of everything they’ll bring up within you.
7. You can finally deal with the unresolved issues that your youth plagued you with, before they become underlying causes of what you do and don’t choose to do with your time. The things that crafted you while you were young will always, without fail, catch up with you eventually. You’re finally at the point where you can have awareness of this, but the mobility (both mentally and physically) to finally deal with it, and not keep running away.
8. You can carve out enough time to travel within the recesses of your mind if doing so physically isn’t possible. Until now, we have been inundated with deadlines and school work and parent’s expectations, and a little after this period, we’ll probably caught up in that again. We can just sit and let ourselves come to the surface. We are standing at a great precipice.
9. Instead of growth spurts, you’ll have thought spurts. Before you fall into the expectations of your everyday life, into mind-numbing routine and boredom, you realize that with the great possibility of the first years you can run free, comes your greatest inspiration. Write these things down. Let your thoughts run free and follow them, watch where they go. If they want to run rampant in a direction that isn’t so pleasing, let them, but know that you don’t always have to follow their lead. You are more than the little explosions of thought that sustain or inhibit you; you are the one who undergoes a metamorphosis because of the circumstances they set for you. You will, more often than not, set up obstacles within your mind only to overcome yourself. You will be your own challenge. Learn to stop fighting dirty with yourself: it’s the time you can finally garner enough awareness to.