Content warning: mention of food, dieting.
In January, I celebrated my 22nd birthday. What’s supposed to be the best decade of my life has also been a huge learning curve for me and I’m not even half-way through. In fact, I have only just started. I’ve experienced crucial moments, impacting decisions and faced many emotions. If anyone mentions that your 20s are easy they are completely wrong. Though, I can tell you a few things of what I’ve learnt so far.
Start taking good care of yourself now! You’re the main character in your life, you hold in your hands the choices you make and the experiences you face, whether that’s a new job, a project, new friends, or even just your lifestyle!
During lockdown I’ve started taking care of my health, mostly my diet, and in experiencing 3 years of uni I realised the alcohol and the short-cut student food didn’t do me any favours. Though I’m not saying cut the drink out completely, because even I still enjoy the occasional bottle of wine with my friends. Just remember your body is the most important thing you hold! So do the things that make you feel good! Have a pamper night, go for that run, anything to give you that healthy mind.
Spend less time staring at that screen! I know with lockdown this is much more difficult than what it could be, though for now, go out for a walk and enjoy that fresh air, explore the things you have around you! When we’re allowed, go out with your friends and experience life as you’re there living and breathing instead of behind a screen. Of course, take a few pictures to remember later on in life but after put it away and live in the moment. Otherwise you’re going to miss out on so many things and regret not doing things you always wanted to do!
Don’t make excuses. You can take this two ways. The first is don’t try to run away from things you may be scared of. A lot of the time you’ll miss great opportunities or life changing moments. If you don’t succeed, what’s the worst that could happen? If it’s something you’re passionate about nothing can stop you. The second way is don’t make excuses, just apologise. With being at university or even just life, I’ve learnt a lot of younger people can be immature and don’t take their responsibilities seriously. Apologies don’t cost anything and can lift a big weight off your shoulders.
You’re going to feel lost. That’s something that has hit me quite hard recently. Especially since my graduation is only round the corner. I do believe though a lot of people are feeling the same, adulthood can be quite scary especially when you have to start thinking about what you want to do with yourself and your future, but it’s a normal thing to feel lost about.
With that in mind: Things don’t always go to plan. You can run towards something with open arms and the next you’ve hit a barrier that you hadn’t seen. Don’t let that side-track you, though; try and work round it. As people say (Warning: Cliché Alert), when one door closes, another one opens.
Take your time. Don’t start worrying about your time frame. Yes, time is precious, but don’t rush towards things, you’ll have plenty of time to do everything you aspire to do. In your 20s you probably don’t have kids, maybe a partner or a house. Take that opportunity and do what you’ve always wished to try, maybe go give that hobby a go? Travel. Experience what the world has to offer.
Stop caring about what people think of you. Seriously – stop! Like I’ve mentioned, you’re the main character. Wear that dress, dye your hair, choose that option, go against the crowd. At the end of the day you have to put yourself first regardless of what other people have to say.
Eliminate negative people. Being at university, this was one of the most IMPORTANT things I learnt. No one should have the right to bring your confidence or your thoughts down. What’s worse is if you think someone is your friend yet most of their views are negative towards your passions. You don’t need negative people in your life. Life is too short to be letting people impact you especially to the point it becomes draining. People are supposed to lift you up and if they’re bringing you down instead, get rid of them.
On that note: Love yourself.
No one is going to love you as much as you can love yourself. I learnt this the hard way. Being in your 20s can mean you’ll feel quite alone, but just be that extra person, be the person that people go to for advice, be a friend, be a good partner, a good person. Just know you’re enough. Life is short, be who you want to be and if there’s something you want to change go ahead and do it, don’t wait around for it. Believing yourself and knowing the most important person on this planet is you, will give you confidence and love that you can’t find from anyone else.
Image courtesy of Gemma Chua-Tran.