With each passing year is another chance for a new beginning
When I first turned 20, I remember feeling excited about the idea that I was finally turning into an adult with new responsibilities and the drive to make things happen. It seemed weird at the time because my teenage years seemed very inconsistent. Having reached puberty in the latter half of it, it made complete sense and took a while to get to grips with what it’s like at being a young adult.
But it really wasn’t until my twenties when I realized just how much growing up I needed to do in order to be the mature man that I was inevitably becoming. My twenties was what I called my ‘adult adolescent’ period since it took me a while to get used to being a young man with more responsibilities and the ability to make decisions.
The most difficult thing about it was that every action I took that didn’t quite work out made a dramatic impact on my overall development, which also affected the trust of my peers.
When you’re a teenager and in school, mistakes come with the territory since it’s expected of you to go out and live life on the edge and rather recklessly.
But the key thing many of us do not realize until much later is that it’s during these phases of your life that defines who you grow to become in the future.
The things I learned
Having just turned 29 and looking back on these last 19 years of my development. I’ve come to learn crucial things, which in some way was very fortunate to discover and learn as it helped define who I’m slowly but surely becoming as I’m approaching my thirties.
For anyone who’s about to reach their twenties, be sure to take notes:
1) Nobody cares about you besides your family.
When you’re a teenager, it’s really easy and quite common to look at your family as a distraction to your otherwise ‘fun’ life. you want to go out partying with your friends, but your parents are constantly calling you up asking where you are and what time you’ll be home. Or maybe they’ll spend a lot of time lecturing you to try and convince you to try things that may not fit in line with what you think is the right thing to do.
The biggest clash you’ll often find is that as you grow up, you naturally start to think independently, which is normal but is often a very crucial stage in your development since it’s very easy to steer in the wrong path due to a lack of experience.
The older you become, however, the more you start to see how precious your family actually is. Because most of your friends who had your back at a young age, almost certainly move on to form their own lives. Your bosses and managers are quick to let you go the minute they think you’re lacking in performance, regardless of how punctual or loyal you are to the company. Your girlfriends/boyfriends will be quick to break up with you if they feel ‘they’re no longer happy.
You start to understand that the only people who could ever give you unconditional love are your family. This understanding makes you realize that everything they ever said and done all of those years was all because of ‘unconditional love and not because of something that ‘made them happy’ like most people around you who you thought had your back when you were younger.
2) What you give is what you get
When you’re younger, everything seems straightforward – You study, take exams, and depending on how well you revised, will get good grades and potentially excel at a top university. The real world however isn’t as straightforward.
At first, it seemed unfair. I was a nice guy who was a good citizen, did all the things necessary to live a comfortable life, and yet here I was, single with no friends and with a dire job that I wasn’t happy with. It didn’t quite add up.
You begin to realize that life really isn’t fair and that like everything in life, you reap what you sow. It’s during this phase when you begin to realize that everything that happens in your life is all down to you and that there are no rules to making things happen. Your life is a blank canvas and the only way to truly make something of yourself is to try and fail. And fail some more. Unlike school, you can do all the right things and yet still fail. Yet it’s your personal responsibility to dust yourself off and carry on.
3) Your value is everything
Despite the importance of getting a good education, it is no match to what you do outside of it. What do you spend most of your spare time on? Are you taking care of yourself?
You learn very quickly that the more value you have to people, the better and easier your life actually becomes. I never learned this until far later in my twenties and understood that if I was to get the best, I would have to be the best by improving myself as much as possible.
– Your future employers start to care less about your grades and more about what you can actually provide for the company.
– Your future girlfriends/boyfriends start to care less about how good-looking and beautiful you are and more about what you can actually provide for them in the long term.
If you spend most of your twenties focusing on building your personal value, you will find as you approach your thirties, things will start to get a little easier.
4) Material possessions aren’t important
You will often be convinced by the media that in order to feel good about yourself, you will need to spend it buying bigger and better things – A nicer car, a bigger house, and more ‘toys’ that will raise your ranks higher in the social pyramid in society.
The truth is, the more of those things you purchase, the more it seems to lower your personal happiness. What really did it for me was when I decided to stop buying what I thought I wanted and instead went out and created a social life for myself.
– I went traveling.
– I made new friends.
– I took part in new hobbies and experienced a whole new side to my world that I never knew existed.
Spend your time investing in ‘experiences rather than material possessions. It will serve you well in the future and will make you into an interesting and worldly person with lots of interesting stories.
5) Learn to let go
Based on what I said in point #1 you will face loads of disappointments – People will ultimately let you down. Things won’t go how you expected, you’ll break off from a great relationship that you thought would last forever. You’ll leave a job you thought was your dream job. As my friend Trevor Wilson explains in his awesome article, you have to let go of things if you’re to achieve great things.
More often than not, the more you attempt to make stuff happen, the more it seems to resist. Most of my successes looking back have all come from ultimately enjoying the journey and not caring about the end result.
6) Explore yourself
What do you currently know about yourself? What have you yet to know? As I started to go out and try new things over the years, I began to enjoy things that I never thought I would enjoy:
– I took up Salsa dancing.
– I trained in Martial Arts.
– I learned to become more extroverted having spent the majority of my time previously indoors playing video games.
Spend your time doing as many new things as possible and finding who you truly are. There are many things in life that can be explored, and there’s really no better time to do it than in your twenties.
7) Let go of fear
Fear is what stopped me from doing anything in the latter half of my teens and early twenties. The more I understood its aid in developing my experience and skills, the more I learned to embrace it as a natural part of life. This will naturally help with point #6 where you will doubt your abilities in performing a new skill.
Ultimately, it is all a character-building exercise that will serve you as you reach the latter half of your twenties.
As I approach my thirties, I sit back now and wonder what my thirties will bring and what lessons I’ll learn along the way.
Perhaps in the next 10 years, I could look back at this very article and realize how little I actually knew and see things from a deeper perspective. I definitely look forward to finding out!