Thought Catalog

15 Non-Negotiable Rules For Navigating The World Of Your Twenties

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With hardship comes experience. With change comes knowledge. When life punches you in the face, things get really real. Real life kicks you in the ass, and real things happen.

I used to live my life very differently, and one day, my perspective shifted. Everything used to be so serious—life was merely a set of goals that I needed to get through: going to college, getting a job, getting married, buying a house, having kids, etc., etc., etc….

I woke up one day and realized that wasn’t how I wanted to live my life anymore—I realized that I may have been “happy,” but I wasn’t free. It was time to make some changes, and I came to find that it’s the little things that matter the most. Sometimes, however, those are the most difficult to attain. Once you do get there though, it’s totally worth it…

I was very resistant to taking advice from others, and I thought I knew exactly what I was doing. Little did I know, but I didn’t have all the answers. I learned to live life in a way that would provide me with balance, happiness, and fulfillment.

Here’s what I found…

1. Take things with a grain of salt.

This is, by far, is the most valuable thing I’ve learned. Very few things are worth being upset over. Let it go. Laugh it off. It’s most likely not worth the upset and stress.

2. Choose your friends wisely.

Surround yourself with people you can trust—people who inspire and motivate you, and people who support you no matter what. The truest form of friendship is when someone loves you exactly as you are.

3. Travel.

These are the experiences that will teach you the most about who you are, and shape you as an individual. These are the adventures and encounters that provide you the opportunity to create the memories you will forever remember.

4. Have no regrets.

Life happens—it is what it is. Regardless of the situation, you must have been able to take something valuable away from even the most awful moments. Life itself is a huge learning experience. Embrace the good and the bad—find the silver lining. The things you learn will come in handy someday.

5. It’s about you.

People will talk no matter what you do. Live your life for you. Make decisions based on your best interests (while not hurting others, of course). At the end of the day, you’re the one living with those decisions—make them worthwhile.

6. Laugh.

Just laugh. There is nothing better for the mind, body, and soul than laughter. Studies have shown that laughter decreases depression and anxiety. Also, the physiological reaction the body experiencing during laughter is good for you. Laugh ‘til your face falls off.

7. Keep it together.

Making irrational, impulsive decisions can be super fun, but it can also be seriously detrimental. Keep it together. Take a second, think things through, and then move forward. Rushing into something should never be an option…unless you’re choosing ice cream flavors. Then yes, please continue with the impulsivity.

8. Be open to change.

Change is good. It can definitely be frightening, but it’s usually for the best. Embrace it and enjoy the ride.

9. Find balance.

Finding balance in life is crucial. Make time for the people and activities you love most. Work won’t always be there for you, but it’s the people in your life that will.

10. Learn to say no.

Time is valuable. Spend it with those you love most, doing things that are meaningful and bring you happiness. Don’t waste your time doing things that won’t positively contribute to your life. Just say no.

11. Be grateful.

Happiness is a choice, even though it may not always feel that way. Gratitude is also a choice, and it can be easy to forget how lucky we are. Yes, we all go through rough patches, but it’s only temporary. Remember, there is always a silver lining to be found.

12. Spend time with family.

You don’t know how long they’ll be around–enjoy them, spoil them, laugh with them, and love them. You’ll truly miss them when they’re gone.

13. Listen to your parents.

I hate to say it, but our parents are usually right. Not to mention, they know us better than anyone else. Please don’t tell my dad I said that…

14. Live a minimalistic life.

Less is better. We really don’t need all of the things we think we need. You will feel lighter, I promise.

15. Plan ahead.

Yes, it’s important to focus on today and live in the moment, but don’t forget about the life you are trying to build for yourself. Stay motivated, set your goals, and achieve them. Continue to work hard to create the life you desire. TC mark

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