If you wore x, drove y, and smoked z, you nailed “cool.” It’s like some set equation we’ve all tried to follow at one point. Fast-forward to our 20s and there’s a new set of rules: none. No definition or formula. But one thing’s clear: The “popular” ones are the trailblazers that naturally attract people along their path. Popularity is a just a nice side effect now, no longer the goal. So just be you, because the rest will follow.
Perfection is an illusion, a destination that eludes us every time it appears close. We create scenarios in our minds: the perfect job, relationship, body, and life; and yet, they never materialize. That’s because they are nonexistent. In our 20s, we realize perfection is not the ideal — balance is. So find a job that’s not painful waking up for every morning, even if it just pays the rent. Be with someone who chooses all of you, not the perfect you. Love your body because if you won’t, who will? And create your own story, not just follow someone else’s.
When we’re young, we’re all superheroes: indestructible. We believe that tragedies only happen in movies. In my 20s, I learned a hard lesson over and over again: modern-day evils we call sickness, disease, and death are merciless. I have seen cancer turn the perfectly strong into frail shadows of themselves. Sadly, death claims lives without any prejudice about age. We are not immortal; our bodies and lives are both precious and temporary. So live in the moment for yourself and those no longer able to. Make an impact every day because we may not be forever, but our legacy is.
Talent is a wonderful thing and there is no doubt that we are all naturally gifted. Some are born geniuses, athletes, or leaders. Although raw talent provides a springboard, it is not a guarantee for success. In our 20s, competition catches up and talent alone just doesn’t cut it. Any goal worth accomplishing takes hard work, invested time, but mostly just hard work. Talent is a muscle and staying ahead requires constant exercise. So do not just rely on your abilities because your abilities are, in fact, relying on you.
Judgment is a reflex for any feeling of discomfort. It could be that we are threatened, perplexed or uninformed. We’re always so quick to criticize “differences” in the way people talk, act or look. In our 20s, we know better. By this point, we’ve all navigated, gracefully or not, through numerous piles of crap. Our life experience may be light, but we’re experts at empathy and compassion. Judgment is just a weak shield for the ignorant, fearful and naïve to hide behind. So become open; be both the student and teacher for one another because wisdom is more powerful shared.