Life is short. As people, we constantly look back on our past and think about all the things we’ve done, all the things we wish we had done differently, and all the things we still want to do. This is a fact of life that will continue throughout adulthood. There are things you have to do, things you have to begin to understand, things you have to change, and things you’ll miss if you don’t find balance.
It’s for this reason that your 20s are a perfect time to create a solid foundation to set yourself up for a successful future and build a life you’ll adore. While everyone has fears and regrets, this is a crucial time in your life to learn and grow. Don’t let them hold you back. Make your 20s a decade to remember for the rest of your life! Here are 20 things you should do to ensure you set yourself up for greatness and absolutely enjoy your life while creating unforgettable memories:
20 Get A Pet
No matter if it’s a goldfish, cat, dog, or even a lizard, take care of a pet as a young adult. Having a pet at home will make you more responsible and loving, and could even make you feel more rooted in your life. If you get a pet you have to train, you will also learn so much about your patience that you will begin to wonder how elementary school teachers handle their lives if you can’t even control a puppy. But once you get over the hard part, you will have a companion to share some fun times with.
The love that is shared between a pet and an owner is unconditional, and seeing your pet’s excitement as you walk through the door is a beautiful thing. They will love you. Always. Even better, pets are shown to reduce stress, and at times, entertain you for hours upon hours.
19 Read The News Every Day
In this day and age, newspapers are pretty much things of the past. With so many news outlets to choose from, the amount of information flooding the internet is totally overwhelming at times. Regardless, learning to stay updated with the world around you will pay off both now and in the future.
The people that know what’s going on in the world are able to have exciting conversations, whether with friends, co-workers, hiring managers, or complete strangers. This is something that could make all the difference when it comes to killing a job interview or grabbing a cute guy’s number at the bar. And then there’s always the added benefit of learning something new every day, which will keep your mind fresh and moving forward. You will learn words you may have never seen in print before, hear exciting and forward-thinking ideas you may not have considered, and begin to form your own opinions on things you never really cared about, such as presidential debates and world issues like poverty.
18 Unplug From The World Once In A While
We live in a day and age where technology dominates everything. Most people have multiple devices that are constantly streaming notifications and calling for attention 24/7. Technology has some amazing benefits, which is exactly why we use it every day. But it’s really easy to become over-attached and let technology completely control your life, and if you’re like the thousands of people who work in front of a screen all day, that temptation will only be stronger.
By taking some time to unplug every once in a while, you can escape into a peaceful, quieter place where technology can’t rule your life. There are so many studies out there that prove how powering down your devices can help you feel happier, productive, and reconnect to a simpler time when people regarded human contact as communication. Just because we live in a technology-stuffed world doesn’t mean there’s not still value in knowing how to communicate face-to-face, especially when it comes to your personal and professional life.
17 Keep In Touch With People From Your Past
Whether we’re talking about friends from high school, college study buddies, or previous coworkers, keeping in touch with the people you’ve encountered throughout your life is insanely beneficial. You don’t have to remain best friends with everyone or even hang out all the time by any means, merely speaking from time to time is fine as well. And just because you no longer see each other all the time doesn’t mean you won’t still get along splendidly. Taking a trip down memory lane with a friend is great, and it’s good to stay involved in other people’s lives (leaving you less time to focus solely on yours).
The best part is, the network you create throughout your life can help you later down the line when, for example, you’re looking for a new job and a girl you hung out with in college just so happens to currently work for them, and she’d love to put in a good word with her boss.
16 Volunteer For A Worthwhile Cause
Generosity is one of the best ways to learn about the world and grow as a person, and volunteering is the perfect opportunity to work together with other like-minded people, possibly even from very different backgrounds, that are passionate about the same things.
If there’s a cause that you really care about, you should absolutely never regret the lack of funds volunteering adds to your bank account. Not only has volunteering been shown to promote personal and emotional growth, it can really boost your self-esteem and level of happiness as you work on something you love.
Giving back to the community you live in shows that every person, no matter how big or small, can make a difference. This is something that every 20-something-year-old should strive for. You’ll learn about the people around you, their needs and concerns, and how the government functions from working with a non-profit – all of which will make you more empathetic and involved in the world around you. Who knows? You may make a new best friend, meet the guy you will someday marry, or lock down a killer dream job all thanks to your awesome experience.
15 Try Something Out Of Your Comfort Zone
Break away from the mundane, and try out something new every once in a while. Challenge yourself both emotionally and physically, and you will be amazed when you find out what you can do if you put your mind to it. Trying new things, especially things you find scary, allows you to see the world differently and pay attention to the little things you may have missed. Your future self will thank you. Testing out new adventures is the best way to learn about yourself, expand your mind and social network, and ensure that you never become bored with your life.
When you begin to feel like life is turning stale, experiment with something you’ve never experienced before. Try authentic Asian cuisine, say hello to a stranger, or check out a new park. If you make a habit of trying new things, you can progress further in life as you learn to be more open as person – to change, experiences, and possibilities.
14 Incorporate A Healthy Lifestyle Plan
Learn how to take care of yourself now because you will definitely need it later. Everything you put into your body now will be reflected later. You might not worry about your body currently because you can eat anything you want and still not gain a pound, yes, but that will fade. Spend a little of your spare time learning how to cook a few meals that are healthy and delicious, and find a type of exercise you prefer. If you like what you’re doing, exercise won’t be a chore. Instead, it will be a fun new hobby.
Basically, anything you can do to take care of your body is crucial at this point in your life. Not only are you at a time where you are forming habits that will stick with you throughout a good portion of your adult life, you are only given one body so you might as well take care of it as well as you possibly can, right?
13 Figure Out Who Matters The Most And Invest Time In Them
Life is way too short to spend your precious time invested in a toxic friendship. If you have a friendship that no longer serves a purpose in your life and makes you unhappy, create new friendships that are more fulfilling. Now, that doesn’t mean you should end a lifelong friendship because your friend has been going through a rough patch lately and has been extra mopey as a result. Ending a friendship should never be taken lightly.
Try talking to your friend about how their behavior is getting under your skin before you cut any ties. No one is a mind reader, and sometimes, we have a way of becoming completely oblivious to how our actions can affect other people. However, if your friend still doesn’t see reason and there’s no improvement, it’s time to move on to something better.
The same goes for relationships. If you’re holding onto a boyfriend simply for nostalgic reasons, there’s really no reason to keep him around anymore either. Surround yourself with family and friends that care about you, and show it.
12 Love Wholeheartedly, But Don’t Make Rash Decisions
In your 20s, you’ll notice all your friends start having children and getting married left and right. It might seem like some strange conspiracy at first, and then it will force you to consider your own life choices. Don’t let this make you feel like you need to settle down too. Who knows if “the one” really exists? There a possibility that prince charming is right around the corner, and when you find love you should always hold on. However, you’re allowed to get on your own two feet before letting someone else sweep you off them.
This is a time you should find yourself, discover who you are, and figure out where you want to go, something you should do before you walk down the aisle. Take time for you, explore the world. You might not have another opportunity to focus on yourself for a while after marriage and kids come into the picture, so depend on yourself for a while.
11 Live In The Now
There are 50 million different things you could be worrying about at any given moment. What if I don’t get an A on my Calculus final and then I can’t get into law school? What if I don’t maintain a high enough credit rate to ever get a good APR? What if I don’t ever find a high paying job that I truly adore? The truth is, what ifs will never end. You have to stop them.
Think about your future and make plans for what you want to happen, but don’t get too caught up in the logistics and details. Balance is key when it comes to your mental health, which is exactly why you need to focus on your future and ensure you’re still living in the present. Think about what you can do today or right now. How will that change your future? There’s really only one way to find out.
10 Pay Attention To Your Mental Health
Monitoring your mental health is as important as keeping an eye on your physical health. Many of us grasp the importance of taking care of our bodies but lack an understanding of our mental well-being. Have you ever felt like you had everything under control only to experience a complete meltdown during finals week? When life gets busy, it can be really easy to forget to check in with your stress levels and take care of your emotions. Then, your problems get swept under the rug where they grow and fester.
Consider this: how we feel, even under the surface, directly affects how we act and think as well. So if you’re feeling a lot of negativity like stress, it will change the way you operate and interact with the people around you. Try working a few relaxing activities into your day such as, going for a short walk, watch a funny video, or spend some time with the people you love.
9 Take Advantage Of Every New Opportunity
Moments will pop up throughout your entire life that could be the opportunity of a lifetime. Seize them. When you’re young without a husband or kids to take care of all the time, you have the ability to tackle chances at a moment’s notice. You need to be quick if you want to get the most out of them, so don’t hesitate. Let your curiosity take the reins.
Rather than worry about unimportant things, don’t let anything stop you. Opportunities won’t last forever. Apply for your dream job even if it’s low-paid, try out an internship at your favorite local company, sign up for a class you know absolutely nothing about, try out a new, funky hairstyle, and check out study abroad programs. There’s always a chance you might not actually love it, but at least you tried something new, took a chance, and gambled on yourself. Trust me, you’ll appreciate the opportunity later.
8 Travel Alone
Spending a vacation alone may not seem like your first choice if you want to enjoy time with your friends and loved ones, but traveling alone teaches you a lot about yourself. When was the last time you actually listened only to your thoughts or only entertained your dreams? A solo trip can be a powerful and life-changing experience where you can meet new people, figure out how to navigate confusing airports, and feel confident in yourself.
You’ll realize you don’t need someone else around to have a good time. You can go where you want, when you want, and do what you want to on your own time frame without worrying about someone else. Not only will this make planning the trip itself way easier, your entire trip will be completely dedicated to things you enjoy without needing to compromise with someone that may not share the same interest. All you have to do is get there.
7 Find Your Passion And Hone Your Craft
Everyone has something they love to do. Your 20s are all about finding what makes you happy as you learn and grow. At this point in your life you never know when your random fascination with, let’s say, books may wind up landing you a killer dream job. When you’re just starting out in a career field, you don’t have as much experience under your belt but you may still be able to keep up with the big dogs if you have practiced your skills. Practice makes perfect, after all.
Nurture your hobbies and passions and see where those paths might lead you. Join a club, take a class simply because you find the topic interesting, and delve into the things you like. You may be able to create an awesome career that you find totally fulfilling. If not, you’ll still learn some new skills that could still benefit you in ways you never even realized. You never know, you may have a secret skill that even you didn’t realize that will end up having an impact later in your life. Or, you’ll at least learn what you don’t enjoy, which is just as beneficial as knowing what you do.
6 Think About Your Life Goals
Your 20s are full of fun and games. Keep in mind that it’s also a time you’re expected to begin figuring out what you want to do with your life. While no one ever has all the answers and you won’t end up exactly where you thought you would be when you were 20-years-old, the time is perfect to begin figuring out where you want your path to lead.
If you’re in college, considering your life goals becomes even more important. You want to select a major and minor that you care about, and one that might lead to a career you think you would love to take on, but you don’t want to waste thousands of dollars and spend a few extra years in school because you were too indecisive. You can always change your mind later, but you can’t always backtrack a pick up all those 100-dollar-bills you threw at a university.
5 Stay Away From Debt
When you’re in your 20s you’re at an extreme advantage because you have the energy to make things happen. Combine this with drive and determination, and you’ve got the perfect recipe for success.
Sadly, many 20-somethings don’t use this to their advantage nearly as much as they should. Think about this: If you worked your butt off in college and paid for all your expenses out of pocket instead of taking on heavy student loans to repay later, you’ll be in a better position once you’re starting out a career.
You may be thinking that once you graduate, you’ll get a high paying job and the loan repayments might not matter. But when you’re starting out a career, you will be as broke as ever and really grateful later that you did all you could to set yourself up for the best case scenario. Build your credit, without spending more than you can afford when the credit card bill comes in the mail.
4 Let Go Of The Past
While some people are fortunate enough to have constructive, loving childhoods and others are a little emptier, we all have traumatizing events from our past that affect our present. By forming a realistic understanding of your upbringing and understanding that parents don’t always have all the right answers like you thought, you can move past any unresolved issues you may still be lugging around, whether that’s related to your parents or not. Feel everything you need to feel, talk about what you can, forgive when the time is right, and wash it away.
Working through your inner conflicts when you’re young will set your future up for success. Otherwise, they will only fester and grow until they reenter your life at the most inconvenient time. Then, you might find yourself repeating the same old mistakes time and again. As you get older, time will go by much more quickly and you’ll wish you had left the past where it belongs a lot sooner.
3 Experience Something Exhilarating
Ever wonder why people run into a mid-life crisis later in life? They’re bored, more financially stable than they were in their 20s, and have a bucket list that’s brimming full of crazy risks they never got to take. Although it can be terrifying, it can also be freeing. Risk is only an expression of your own ideas, and these ideas are often pre-programmed in everyone as a way for us to realize we are not immortal.
When you focus all your energy and thoughts on fear, you only allow yourself to be dominated by your emotions. Things like skydiving, cliff jumping, and mountain climbing are three of the most common things people wish they had tried while they were younger, back when their bodies were in their prime and able to take on the challenge. So let the adrenaline flush through your veins. The fear will only last a moment, but you’ll remember the experience for the rest of your life.
2 Work Hard, Play Hard
When you’re young, the entire world is at your fingertips. You have more energy than some of your older coworkers, and your memory functions a lot better than grandmas. The point is that you are at a considerable advantage over other age groups when it comes to your stamina. Twenty-somethings can run on three hours of sleep and still jump out of bed looking fabulous and ready for the day, then study five minutes before a test and pass.
But don’t forget to play hard too. All work and no play will make you feel completely bonkers, and may make you dull, as the saying goes. Make time for your friends and savor the time you spend having fun with them until the sun comes up, especially when it comes to celebrating your big achievements. As you get older, it will be much more difficult to go without sleep and the hangovers get much, much worse. Your body can only handle so much.
1 Come To Terms With The Fact That No One Really Knows What They’re Doing
When you were a kid you probably thought that all adults have everything figured out. I know I did. It didn’t take until I was in my mid-20s to realize that no adult really knows what they’re doing. Really we’re all just trying out some things, solving problems, and creating goals to keep moving forward in hopes that something sticks. Think of it like you’re hypothesizing life.
No one has all the answers, so don’t worry too much about not knowing what to do when you come at a crossroads. Instead, do your research and go with your gut. Everyone has an opinion and can offer up some really amazing advice to help you along, but no one really knows what the best path is. You will mess up, and you will survive. Mistakes are simply learning opportunities that should be taken as a way to learn and move forward.