Here’s What I Wish I’d Known In My Early 20s

Written by on May 29, 2018

“You’ll need coffee shops and sunsets and road trips. Airplanes and passports and new songs and old songs, but people more than anything else. You will need other people and you will need to be that other person to someone else, a living breathing screaming invitation to believe better things.” –Jamie Tworkowski

Now is the time to dream big, take risks, and foster a growth mindset. Take ALL of the inspirational clichés to heart.

Now is not the time to play it safe.

This is your time to be bold.

Don’t let your life be ruled by the things you think you’re supposed to do, or the expectations of others. Don’t let the world scare you away from your dreams.

That said, don’t spend this time chasing dreams which only benefit you. Dig deeper. Foster your passions and discover how your talents make this world better. Kinder. More understanding.

Put your heart into everything you do. Don’t half-ass your life, don’t just survive. You want to fucking live life, not just get through it.

If you’re a people pleaser–get over it. Seriously. Ain’t nobody got time for that. Your twenties should be about your growth and exploration.

So go ahead and make mistakes–make all of the mistakes if you have to. Just make sure to apologize if you hurt someone.

And don’t just apologize. Figure out how to make things right. Learn how to humble yourself and apologize genuinely. You need to learn how to say you’re sorry and also how to forgive.

Travel far and travel lightly whenever possible. Travel alone. See the world from views you’ve never known or dreamed about.

Put a pause on your hunt for money or success. Figure out how to feed your soul now while it’s still not the end of the world if you’ve got to sleep on couches or live with crazy roommates for a while just to get by.

Take pictures of everything that makes your heart smile. And don’t just live online. Give yourself plenty of time IRL, out in nature, and turn off those phones sometimes. Your Facebook feed isn’t that important and you can find healthier ways to pass the time.

Be a little more discriminate about social media in general. Only keep the apps that add something beneficial to your life.

Don’t settle for a life that just feels “okay.” Don’t get so used to feeling uncomfortable that you don’t believe in anything better. If you’re unhappy, change your life–don’t be complacent.

If at any point, your mental health feels like it’s getting too worn for wear, seek out help. Don’t suffer alone when you need aid. And don’t half-heartedly try, don’t quit asking for help–even if you get pushback from people saying you’re fine.

Learn how to love if you haven’t already. The deep, messy, life-changing love that will haunt you and bring you hope for the rest of your life.

Learn how to let people love you. Learn what it means to be loved and what you need to recognize that love.

On your search for a career you love, you’ll run into managers you hate. And companies that treat you like shit. Don’t let them dictate your value. Believe in yourself and your future regardless of what the haters say.

Whatever you do, remember to place people above possessions. You may think your life can’t do without certain things, but in the end you’ll need your relationships to help carry you through the good and bad times. And you will need to carry them.

So here’s to your twenties and the hope that you’ll make the most of every year. Here’s to every birthday, wild party, bad date, terrible boss, and precious defeat. Make those years something to be proud of–a time free of regret.

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” –Howard Thurman

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