When we get to 18, they say life begins at 18, then we get to 21 and they say life begins at 21, the same for when you turn 25, and then 30, 40, 50, 60, and so on. Seems like people are just trying to put a positive spin on getting older, when really the reality is, you are just getting old—sad times. Let’s face it: Nothing is the new 20.
Just kidding…there’s never a right or wrong time to start LIVING YOUR LIFE!
I’m in my mid-20s right now and as depressing as it is that I’ve hit a quarter of a century, I actually think this time of my life is pretty gold. It’s in your 20s that so much happens, but also so much CAN happen. If you’re in your 20s, now’s the time to really make the most out of life and what you can potentially achieve. It’s the time to set yourself up for your 30s, 40s, 50s, etc., so that you maybe getting old doesn’t seem so horrific. Here are 8 reasons why I think your 20s are crucial.
1. You are in your image and social prime.
Yes that’s right, it’s in your 20s that you will potentially look your best and feel your best. Youth will radiate from you with that touch of maturity. You’ll be at your most agile, and potentially most capable. You’ve stopped growing, even if your ears and nose are still going, but essentially your boobs aren’t getting any bigger, your feet aren’t getting any bigger and if you’re 5ft at 25, it’s likely that you’re 5ft fo’ lifey. Embrace this and flaunt it whilst you’ve got it. Be proud of how you look; enjoy that supple skin before the wrinkles kick in! Not only that, but it’s likely that your 20s are your most socially active. People say that college is where you really broaden your social horizons the most, but I have to disagree. It’s true to an extent, but being in college is also like being in a big fat bubble where you only really communicate with other students. When you’re out into the real world, you meet so many people from so many different walks of life, and this is really where you start to build a meaningful social network.
2. Your responsibilities aren’t so serious.
Now this really depends on your own personal circumstances. Provided you’re the type that wants to settle down and have a family, most people nowadays don’t think about that until their late 20s, early 30’s, so any time before that is…PARTY TIME! I joke—maybe not so irresponsible as to think you can just chip your money into the air in a nightclub, but it may well be that those really adult things like paying a mortgage, funding your child’s education, paying for a wedding, etc., are not going to be for a while and therefore can be pushed to the side a little. You are still young while in your 20s, and as society has set the ‘commitment cap’ a lot later in life now, there is more time to focus on yourself and the things you want to do. The likelihood is that you can still go on a weekend bender and not have to think about too much more than putting your work clothes on successfully on Monday morning.
3. You’re making money.
That’s right baby, you’re finally bringing home the Benjamins! In your 20s, you move out of that life-limiting situation of figuring out how on earth you’re going to survive the next 2 weeks of college on $30 and now start thinking about ordering a starter, side, dessert, drink AND EVEN an actual main meal when you go to a restaurant. And that’s because you’re making money and can afford to splash out a little. It’s in this time you move from Tesco Value to Tesco Finest, cheese and bread to cheese and wine nights and Glen’s vodka to Grey Goose—and let’s face it, you know you’ve made it when you move to the premium selection of the alcohol aisle. On a serious side note, though, making money does mean learning to become responsible, so indulge and splash out on things you want and can afford, but save money too and don’t spend beyond your means, because you could find yourself feeling like you’re back at college again!
4. People take you seriously.
This is particularly evident within the workplace. There’s nothing more annoying to Martin that has been at the company 35 years than fresh, new, side-parting, skinny-suit grads walking through the door getting the immediate responsibility that took Martin 20-odd years to earn. There’s a massive culture particularly within the professional world which is, if you’ve been educated in this generation, you must have an infinite number of skills that allow you excel pretty quickly and just be awesome at life. 20-somethings have the chance to relish opportunities that are put in front of them, and this is because people actually take them seriously. They see these individuals as being so motivated, driven, passionate and ambitious that this equates to success and innovation. Employers love fresh meat, because a lot can be learned from those young ones who are willing to do anything!
5. 80% of a person’s greatest achievements in life happen before the age of 35…apparently.
That really depends on what you define as an achievement, but clinical psychologist Meg Jay stated in her talk “Why 30 is not the new 20” that 80% of life’s most defining moments happen in your 20s. Two-thirds of lifetime wage growth happens during the first ten years of a career, personality can change more during our 20s than at any other decade in life, female fertility peaks at 28 (joy), and you are potentially at your hungriest. 20-somethings are hungry for success, happiness and fulfillment, which can lead to some pretty amazing things. People in their 20s are often led to believe that they should use their 20s to think about their future—which is true—but it’s also thinking about having an actual life in your 30’s and into the future rather than just starting your life again at every major age milestone.
6. It’s the best time to invest in yourself!
Like I’ve said previously, although you have more responsibilities in your 20s, they aren’t as serious as they could be…yet. Even if you do have lots of them, it is still the best time to invest in yourself. Do the things you want to do and start building the foundations for your future. Your 20s are the time to really develop yourself while you have the means, the freedom and the capabilities. It’s also a fab time to learn something new, maybe a language, an instrument…or how to tie your shoelaces. What a skill! It’s a time to really experiment and discover what makes you happy.
7. You can take risks.
Your 20s are a good time to really be spontaneous and take a couple of risks. I don’t mean gambling all your money away or taking up free-running (unless you’re really into that). I mean that you can potentially take on new ventures and explore new ideas without that ultra-guilty feeling of risking all you’ve worked for. It’s the time to get creative and discover your passions. They say that in this modern age, a person will have around 4 to 5 CAREERS…not jobs, but actual careers. We now have the flexibility and the resources to do whatever we want to do, and we may spend our lives searching for the perfect job that makes us the happiest, so why not use your 20s as a chance to springboard you into that?
8. Your brain has its last growth spurt.
When it comes to adult development, the 20s are the prime age. You will have the final stage of brain development before it starts to deteriorate (just stating the inevitable), so it’s a chance to use all of your brain to its full potential while it’s at its peak. Opening up your brain and mind to endless possibilities will help you to realize you can achieve anything you want to. If only our noses stopped growing, too.
The best and also probably the worst part of being in your 20s is that pretty much every decision you make can change the rest of your life. In the world we live, it’s becoming harder and harder to reinvent yourself in your 30s and 40s, never mind any later. So if you’re in your 20s, make the most of it because you’re adult enough to do whatever you want but not so adult that you have to care too much about doing whatever you want!
Hope that’s made you feel happy if you’re in your 20s, and I’m sorry if you’re above that age and are now feeling a bit depressed.