The best and worst part about being a twenty-something is that every decision you make can change the rest of your life. Once you’re in your 30’s or 40’s, it gets harder and harder to re-invent yourself. Did we worry about the right things? Are we where we should be now? The best way to prepare for those questions and answer them to the best of our abilities is to make sure we spend time on what really matters and what may help us in the future. We took a look at some online threads that had great advice for people in their 20s who may be wondering what some of the important things to invest time in may be, and here is what we found:
If you form a solid mainstay of people, you are exposed to more opportunities and potential for success in both your career and in your personal life. Build bridges, because you never know when you might be looking to cross them. As Karan Jaiswani put it, “the 20s are all about utilizing your today and structuring your future.”
- Read a lot.
There is nothing more productive than taking the time to read. Read whatever you can get your hands on — current news, non-fiction, fiction, career advice, self-help books — anything! The more you know and understand about people around you, yourself and the world, the more easily and successfully you can navigate those very things. “This will keep your mind stimulated and open to ideas. You will get a number of ideas for each author that you can implement in your life. You will also get opinions from across the globe,” says Rizwan Aseem.
- Take care of your body.
Making time at night to wash your face, exercise, and remembering to apply (and re-apply) sunscreen may not be on the top of your priority list, but it should be. General health care is something that, later in life, you will be glad you considered in your 20s. As Aseem points out “No matter what you do in your life, you will do it in your body. You cannot replace it, get a new one, or trade it in. This is your body and you will live in it.”
- Use your time and money on education.
Education is an invaluable resource that you are unlikely to ever regret having. Money is well spent when it is used to broaden your mind and pool of knowledge, especially when honing skills to be applied to your career path. Anuj Kumar advises you to “try different things and find out where your passion lies . . . and then find ways to make a career doing that, adding that if you need further education, get it.”
- Pay attention to your mental health and well-being.
While your physical health is extremely important, investing time into taking care of your mind should not be forgotten. Stimulate it, challenge it, be conscious of what you’re exposing it to daily, and take care of yourself. Aseem makes the point that, “The mind, like anything else, has the characteristics of a muscle. You use it, or lose it. And as long as you are using it, it will remain fit and healthy. The minutes you stop using it, it will decay and rust.” So use it!
- Learn new skills (and master them).
While the advice to “follow your passion” can be good in the general sense, John J. Bowman urges those in their 20s to master and control a set of skills that can be used to benefit you within the field you are passionate about.
- Create and maintain good habits.
The hardest part of creating good habits is getting started, but once you are able to master them, they will have an undeniably positive impact on your day-to-day as well as your future, because, as Rizwan notes, “once a habit is established it lasts for a life time.”
- Build meaningful relationships.
Now it’s the time to drop the fair-weather friends and make time only for those who are really going to stick around and be positive forces in your life. As you mature, so should your relationships, so you don’t have time to waste on people who will be harmful rather than helpful in your pursuit of your future goals.
- Eat well.
Spend time planning meals, learning healthy recipes, and overall taking what you’re eating into consideration regularly. Gone are the days when donuts, chips, and sodas can pass as a full day’s meal. Even it if takes a little more time and effort, your future self will thank you when you find yourself maintaining your energy and healthy body as you age.
- Establish a system for handling finances.
Sit down and figure out how you are spending money, what you are spending it on, and what your ongoing expenses are. “If you take care of your finances starting today they will take care of you when you most need them. When you are old, or sick, or sending your kids to school, or helping a parent through sickness your finances will help you,” Aseem says. Big pitfalls to avoid: Bad business opportunities (if it seems too good to be true — it is), over-use of credit cards, and choosing not to save or put money aside for a rainy day.
In your 20s, you’re full of enthusiasm and energy and usually have the mobility to indulge a bit of wanderlust. So indulge it. Experience new cultures, countries, and challenges. You will learn things that you can take with you and apply to your life back at home.
- Communicate with loved ones.
Make an effort to remember birthdays, holidays, and important events. Your family and close friends can act as your support system when you need it, but you should put the time in and return the favor. Small gestures that show you are thinking about the people who love you go a long way, so take the extra five minutes to write a nice card and stick it in the mail, or schedule that quick SMS— you won’t regret it.
- Examine what you really want in life.
It’s easy to get caught up in everything going on throughout your 20s, and people often forget to actually sit down and contemplate what exactly they really want. Tonya Turpin advised that you “actively, and with intent, become aware of the world and everything it holds. Not just about the outside world, but also the one in your head. Spend time alone because it is the only true way to get to know yourself. Be curious and question everything.” Make the time to figure out what you love, and map out a plan of how to get it.
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