So we’ve all had our fair share of lessons throughout our 20s. Unfortunately, most of them come to us the hard way. I myself have had some real doozies. So now that I am rapidly approaching 28 I “thought” I should reflect and “catalog” these great lessons while they are fresh. So here is what I consider the toughest lessons of my 20’s… or life even, so far.
1. Sometimes you have to fight for the things you truly want. For most of my life I believed if I was a good person and I worked hard —the things I wanted out of life would come to me, of course, because I deserved it. If that were true, I wouldn’t have seen so many people I believed to be undeserving take what I wanted. And by “fight”, I don’t mean kick and scream, or compromise your morals to get what you want. You have to assert yourself and make your wants and desires known, and sometimes even demand them if you truly believe it is what you deserve. In business and in love, there is always another person that has a hand in your fate. If they don’t know what you want, they can’t begin to give it to you. This assertiveness did not come to me naturally, and a part of me still wishes it wasn’t necessary, but at the end of the day, it gives me more control of my destiny.
2. You can’t lose faith in people. This is an easy thing to do in your 20’s. By my logic— the radius at which we operate in during our 20’s is much larger than it was at any other point in our lives so far. Our parents no longer have a say about the circles with which we run in. We are almost all at once endowed the ability to drive, go to college, join the workforce, and of course, party our brains out. All things that increase our radius. And within that radius we come into contact with an array of diverse characters. Some characters good, and some bad. You will meet a few amazing people that will change your life for the better, but you will also come into contact with many individuals that seem to have not a single redeemable quality. People that will make you question your faith in humanity. But through it all I’ve learned that good people, even those “amazing” people can do awful things. And even a seemingly bad person is capable of good. We have to have faith that we can all be better people if we so choose it. Otherwise, what’s the point?
3. Whether karma is real or not, it is a good principle to live by. I’m going to nerd out for a second and quote Sally Jupiter from “The Watchmen” who is quoting the Book of Matthew— “It rains on the just and unjust alike…”, however, I’ve found that the rain stings when you feel like you had it coming to you. Unfortunate things happen from time to time, but it really sucks when it seems the universe is returning the favor. So make a valiant effort to be kind and be patient, and when bad shit happens, at least you can pick yourself up instead of beat yourself up.
4. Moderation is not easy, but necessary. We’ve all heard our mothers say it, “Too much of fill anything in this blank is bad for you”. Well, and I say this grudgingly, they were so right. Too much of anything is pretty much always a bad idea. The most harmless I’ve yet to see is— Chap stick addiction. Yes, I have friend with a Chap stick problem. But even that can get costly and control your life— for instance, not being able to get through a job interview without applying Chap Stick. What they didn’t tell us enough is: moderation is easier said than done and takes some serious practice. Young adulthood is the time when you constantly have to check yourself before you completely wreck yourself. And you may wreck yourself on multiple occasions, but you can always regain control when you admit and deal with bad habits.
5. This day and age, there is no longer a timeline for what you “should” be doing. With today’s social media craze it is so easy to get wrapped up in the lives of others. And it always seems someone else is doing something you want to do or wish you were already doing. Traveling, baby making, marriage, purchasing a house, getting the big promotion etc. are all moments we see blowing up our news feeds on the regular. It can make anyone question whether or not they’ve fallen behind their peers. But in the end it doesn’t matter, because we are all the stars of our own story. And when and where we are in our lives is ultimately up to us. Be happy for those doing well, be inspired by their success and then close your laptop and do something that means the something to you.