If I’d known at twenty what I know right now, I would have been a force to be reckoned with. Making my way through my twenties was just as scary as it was spectacular. Now is the time to not only create a foundation for your future, but also live out the stories you’ll tell your grandchildren. That said, it can be hard to find balance amidst the chaos.
When you’re in your 20s, you’ve got the energy of a teen with the wisdom of someone who’s gone through a couple of life experiences already. It’s the start of a new era of your life that can ultimately define how you’ll be living the rest of your life. It’s your turning point, but are you turning in the right direction?
What every twentysomething needs to know
While I can’t tell you exactly how to live out your twenties, I’ve got 10 pro tips that will make your ride a bit smoother.
#1 Today’s dietary sins will haunt you. As we age, our metabolism slows down. Even with regular exercise, it’s difficult to eat recklessly without feeling the wrath of the scale. Those fortunate enough to stay slim can still be affected by complications that can arise from high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Get in the habit of eating right and exercising now. You’ll thank me when you’re 29. [Read: 25 motivational tips to get you to work out]
#2 Don’t be ashamed to grow. As you move further into your twenties, you’ll have a strong desire to explore your changing tastes. Your friends may love to go out drinking, but you’ve recently grown fond of afternoon trips to the museum. If your relationship was based solely on shared interests, those interests might no longer serve their adhesive purpose.
It is completely normal to outgrow relationships. In order to grow as a person, you have to distance yourself from those who aren’t ready to grow with you. Now is the time to surround yourself with people who understand you and can nurture your growth.
#3 Extra credit. When you think of the life you truly want to live, what do you envision for yourself? A beautiful home? A fancy car? A great job? You won’t be able to get those things without a good FICO score. If you haven’t been monitoring your credit, now is a fantastic time to start.
In your twenties, it’s more common to have no credit than bad credit. Creating credit isn’t difficult. First, use your annual credit report to make sure your financial identity is safe. Then, open a secure credit card and use no more than 30% of your credit limit each month. Pay your bill on time, every time. You’ll build your credit this way and be eligible for better interest rates and higher limits in no time.
#4 You have beautiful eyes. We’re vulnerable to insecurity in our twenties, because we’re still trying find ourselves. Don’t forfeit your opportunity to embrace the things you find beautiful in an attempt to be trendy or sexy for someone else. When it comes to beauty, honey, you’ve got it, especially if you don’t fit societal ideals.
My favorite supermodel, Iman, once said, “If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, let the beholder be you.” Instead of trying to fit the conventional beauty mold, accentuate what you’ve got and glow accordingly. The sooner you embrace your beauty, the closer you’ll be to genuine happiness. [Read: 11 tips to fall in love with yourself and be a better you]
#5 Don’t be afraid of a little heartbreak. You’ll probably meet your first great love in your twenties. Unfortunately, the inevitable heartbreak that often accompanies first love is just as probable. While the pain feels unbearable in the moment, a little bit of heartbreak is good for you in the long run.
The healing process after a heartbreak prompts us to take a logical look at the things that went wrong during our relationship. We become introspective, and we attempt to find and fix our flaws. Heartbreak also gives us the opportunity to learn from both our mistakes and the experience itself.
In the end, you’ll probably realize that your relationship ended for a good reason, and you’ll be grateful for the lesson you learned from the experience. Bask in the glow of your resilience, and find someone new. [Read: What I learned when you broke my heart]
#6 On and off is for light switches. We’ve all had that one lover who was impossible to quit. You break up after every argument, then make up after promises of change and compromise. Blatant incompatibility often takes a backseat to familiarity and sexual desire, which makes breaking up to make up a very common occurrence.
While making a clean break can be difficult, it’s necessary for your personal growth. Couples in cyclical relationships often experience excessive uncertainty and dissatisfaction throughout the course of their time together. Why would you put yourself through such a waste of time?
At the end of the day, an ex is an ex for a reason. If you focus on your past, you won’t be present when your future enters the room. Be strong, learn from the failings of the relationship, and move on to greener pastures. [Read: 10 reasons you shouldn’t be in an on-off relationship]
#7 Quiet assertiveness. We find our voices during our twenties. We learn who we are, what we want, what we won’t tolerate. That said, there are ways to get what you want without shouting or letting others walk all over you. It’s called quiet assertiveness, and it works.
Imbalanced assertiveness *either too much or too little* is a sign of weakness. Quiet assertiveness allows you to show off your excellent communication skills, maturity, and strength. Eloquently speak your mind, stand your ground, and make an amazing impression.
You’re neither a bull in a china shop nor a mouse in his hole. You’re a relevant human being with thoughts and ideas that deserve honest consideration. Assert yourself accordingly, because you never know who’s watching. [Read: 10 simple ways to calmly deal with difficult people]
#8 Don’t “fall back on” a crutch. As children, our parents tell us to be whatever we’d like. When we gravitate toward artistic or athletic fields, they encourage us to learn a trade. It’s smart to have a backup plan, but Plan B can kill your dreams if you aren’t careful.
When you don’t use particular skill sets regularly, you lose them. When you shift your focus from pursuing your dreams to perfecting your backup plan, you sacrifice valuable time you could be using to hone your craft. Then, when you revisit your goal, you become discouraged when your talent doesn’t come to you as quickly as it once did.
Instead of using your backup career as a crutch, do your best to balance the pursuit of your dreams with paying your bills. Treat your passion as a part time job by dedicating time to perfecting your talent. Keep your eyes open for opportunities to turn what you love into something lucrative, and then take those opportunities!
Your parents were right, you can be *just about* anything you’d like. You just have to stay focused, stay passionate, and work hard to get to where you want to be.
#9 There’s a blessing in every lesson. It’s very easy to feel the need to prove to others that you can make it on your own. Don’t get so caught up in trying to prove yourself that you become afraid to fail. The only way to achieve greatness is to find your weak spots and fix them. Mistakes are nothing more than a spotlight that shows you the areas that need your attention. As long as you learn from your mistakes, there’s no reason to feel embarrassed.
It’s easy to get down on yourself for making even the smallest mistake. Don’t beat yourself up. Embrace your mishaps, figure out where you went wrong, and don’t let it happen again.
#10 Be patient. It’s not uncommon to wake up at twenty-five and realize that you haven’t accomplished half of the things you’d planned to have out of the way. As a matter of fact, that feeling is the foundation for a pretty solid quarter-life crisis. Relax, your hard work will pay off, and you’ll have everything you need— just not immediately.
All things come in due time. If we’re honest, you’ve still got plenty of life lessons to learn. If you don’t have much to lose, it’s the perfect time to make your mistakes, right? Enjoy the perks of the life you’re living right now. You’re young and full of life. Revel in your youth. Life’s greater later.
[Read: 30 honest life truths you need to know before you hit 30]
See, quick and painless. As I said earlier, I can’t tell you exactly how to breeze through your twenties. I can’t promise that you’ll coast into your thirties. I can tell you that these 10 tips will make your life a little bit easier and free you up for more fun. You’re welcome.
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