Recently, I have come across many articles about how difficult it is to be in your 20s. Between graduating college, getting a job, paying bills and trying to date, 20s just seem like a detrimental ball of stress that keeps rolling and rolling until collapse.
If I am honest, I have felt this way many times, and I am not even 23 yet. So, you can imagine my despair when time after time I hear, “Your life doesn’t start to improve until you’re 30.” Great. Fabulous. Sign me up for seven more years of hell…
But, then I started thinking, why do we have to wait until we are 30 for our lives to improve? Why do we have to wait until we are 30 to get the job of our dreams, to spend time traveling or to do something ridiculous?
I understand about financial stability and all of that, but having more money and buying more things doesn’t make you a happier person, and it definitely doesn’t make life easier. There are ways to be successful and enjoy life even in your 20s.
1. Stop reading about how tough life is in your 20s.
Seriously. Have you ever heard of the phrase, “Out of sight, out of mind”? Well, it doesn’t just apply to past relationships! It applies to everything in your life. If you completely surround yourself with negative thoughts about being in your 20s, then you will never really appreciate how amazing being young can be!
2. Along with that, quit complaining about how rough your life is.
I’ll admit, I am a HUGE complainer about how expensive everything is, how hard paying bills are, how entry level jobs are so exhausting and how I cannot wait until I am 30 and have a “real career”. Uhm, newsflash, complaining solves nothing. In fact, it just makes the problem bigger and bigger until you cannot think of anything else. Instead of focusing on the negatives, focus on everything positive in life. Focus on the fact that you are able to make rent every month! That’s a big deal! Focus on the fact that you can provide for yourself, manage a budget and STILL afford to buy groceries. Be proud of the little things.
3. Don’t compare yourself to someone else.
Everyone moves at different speeds in life, and someone will ALWAYS be ahead of us, in careers, in relationships, in adventures and in skills. It doesn’t help to try and “catch up” or complain that someone else has their life together more than you do. They have their own struggles and chances are, they are envious of someone else’s life, too. Insecurities are a part of life, but you can take control of your comparisons and focus on your day-to-day improvements.
4. Focus on someone other than yourself.
Nothing is more gratifying than giving back to your community. Whether that means giving a dollar to the homeless person on the road or volunteering to read to children. You will never feel more fulfilled or more joyful than when you give back.
5. Don’t wait to travel.
Sure, you may have more money in your 30s, but you will also have more responsibility. If you have a dream to travel someplace, don’t put it off! There are ways to make extra money, and there are definitely ways to save extra money. Put some of your “alcohol fund” (don’t pretend you don’t have one, too) toward a vacation. Get a frequent flyer credit card, and start racking up points! If you’re going to have a credit card, you might as well get something out of it. (Follow The Points Guy, he has great tips on how to make the most of your credit card miles).
6. Be reckless.
Don’t be harmful to yourself, but take little risks. Want to move to a different city? Do it. There is no other time in your life where you will be able to move anywhere without any strings attached. Once you hit 30, you will have a career, a family a mortgage or all of the above. This makes it more difficult to stay out until the sun comes up, move on a moment’s notice, jump off a cliff or take a weekend trip with your best friends. Not that being 30 makes you boring, but there is a lot more to think about when you take risks as you get older. So, make the most of being young and literally having no worries.
7. Apply yourself.
Don’t wait for the perfect opportunity to just fall miraculously in your lap, because you will be waiting for a long, long time. If you want to be successful, then WORK HARD! There is no reason you need to be home by 5:00 p.m. You can definitely stay a little later at work, write a little more before you go home (if you’re like me) or catch up with friends. Friends and acquaintances are JUST as important to your future career as working hard. You never know who might have a job opportunity for you.
Just because everyone else says the 20s are tough, that doesn’t mean we have to let it affect our happiness! Sure, they are tough, but we also have our whole life and future wide open to make whatever we want to of ourselves, and I don’t believe we will be able to say that in our 30s when supposedly everything gets so much better.
At the end of the day if you still feel depressed about how rough life is in your 20s then think of it this way, you will probably never be this poor again, and that is something to be excited about.