Producer’s note: Someone on Quora asked: What are the three most important things one should focus on in one’s twenties? Here is one of the best answers that’s been pulled from the thread. Thank you to the team at Quora for making this happen!
1. Discover yourself, who you really are through risk.
2. Discover what kind of personality you are compatible with by dating a lot.
3. Discover what you can do in society to make a lifestyle living good enough.
18 to 21/22 is when you should leave home and try being on your own. You should be training in a career, training in relationships by dating a lot, training in education, training on being on your own away from the support as well as hassle of home. Learn to cook and clean your own stuff. Train yourself to manage your money. Many buy their first big purchase, a car. Responsibility starts to be glimpsed at.
25 is big. That is when the dust should settle. That is when the first big evaluation of self takes place, give or take a year. People have finished their undergrad work, the marriage/babies might have started, the job you’ve been doing is getting clearer. You are able to look at the idea of: This really is my life, what am I doing about it?
I see all kinds of course corrections around this time. They have majors in college they took because they were told to or seemed like a good idea at the time. They have jobs they really hate. They have spouses they don’t really love. They have kids they don’t really want. When they get that first real look down the tunnel of time in the future, bleak is what they see if they continue.
The first big correction tends to take place around now. And generally, it is relatively cheap. The longer one waits after the revelation, the more costly it becomes. That is why I ask my young patients: “Don’t make any major life decision you can’t change easily until you are twenty five.”
25-30 finish up the correction. Tweek your early life decisions so they are more suited to who you are going to be. Finish grad school, get out of the military, get married, have the first kid, settle into the skill set you are developing. From thirty on, the decades with those zeros will be the evaluations of self and whether or not you are living up to your own expectations.