When I turned 30 last month, I made a compilation of life lessons I learned in my lifetime.
But this post is about the lessons I wished young women (and even men) will learn early in their 20s.
I matured quite early on in my early 20s. Most of my colleagues & friends were already in their 40s so I’ve somehow learned from their life experiences. Add the fact that my mum happens to be my best friend so she has also imparted to me a lot of wisdom growing up.
Maturity comes with experience and you gain more wisdom and experience as you age. As for my case, I just was fortunate enough to be surrounded with more mature people that’s why growing up, I always think and act beyond my years.
But that may not be the case for you. Growing up, you may not have life mentors like I did.
And if I were to compile only the top 5 things that I wish people realized in their early 20s so they can be happier sooner rather than later, it would
1. Be financially literate.
Your early 20s is the season where you start to be fully independent and have some responsibilities . And because you’re earning money for yourself, you might want to splurge a little here and there.
Banks will try to lure young people to apply for a credit card loan because they are vulnerable and impulsive. But credit cards are the most dangerous because you can just use it to pay for things quite easily and they can compound so quickly.
They also have higher interest rates than any other kinds of bank loans.
Before you know it, you’re drowning in debt because you’re stucked paying those debts that seem impossible to knock down because of the interest.
Why do most young people get into debt So easily ? I think because they want to get into the rat race, buy things they cannot afford to please people they don’t like and portray an elevated status in society. In short, people go into debt to look rich. You slave yourself to work just to pay those debts, but does that make you happy?
Real happiness, for me, is to be financially free to do anything I love and not be tied up with debt.
If you want financial literacy so you’ll also be financially free and live an abundant life, I highly recommend reading the following books
- Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki
- Cashflow Quadrant by Robert Kiyosaki
- Retire Young Retire Rich by Robert Kiyosaki
- Smart Women Finish Rich by David Bach
- Guide to Investing by Robert Kiyosaki
- The Total Money Makeover by David Ramsey
Invest your money well and don’t get trapped in buying things that are depreciating in value and don’t be tempted by instant gratifications of “buy it now and pay it for it later” schemes.
2. Social media is not real life.
Young people love to spend most of their time scrolling through Facebook or Instagram and try to compare their lives to people they follow. And then they think life sucks because they don’t have the news phone, they can’t afford to travel to places, not having as many friends. Life just ain’t cool like theirs.
The comparison trap can be so detrimental to your self-esteem, your confidence and your mental health.
Most young people fail to realise that social media is just a compilation of your highlights in life, not the real life. Unless you’re an online drama queen who likes to wash your dirty laundry online, no one really posts their failures, setbacks, or their bad times on their social media accounts. What you’re only seeing are the best part of their lives.
And people in their 20s forget that there is life outside of social media. You don’t have to always stage your photos to look like a celebrity, you don’t have to take photos of all the food you eat or post your latest purchase. ‘If it’s not on social media, it didn’t happen’ is a load of crap. Because the best things in life don’t really need to make it to social media. You should live and cherish the moment while it happens, not the photos that come after the experience. While it’s good to have photos to remember the good memories, make sure you don’t forget to live in the moment .
3. Do what makes you happy.
Society expects us to conform to the norm, like getting married at a certain age, having babies right after marriage, be outgoing and sociable, have a career that is deemed by society as a legit profession and so on…
When you follow what other people say you should do, you wind making them happy. And in the long run, you’ll feel inadequate because it didn’t make you happy.
No matter what our goals are in life, we all share the same ultimate purpose… to be happy.
If you feel like marriage isn’t for you, don’t get married. If having babies at a later age is your thing, go do it! If you are an introvert who loves solitude, be proud of it. If you have a burning passion, follow it.
Life’s short. Do what makes You happy. Do what makes you, You.
4. Your mind is your most powerful tool, take the time to train it.
David Goggins said, “Your mind has the ultimate tactical advantage over you. It knows your insecurities, it knows your fears, it knows your self-doubts, it knows all those creepy spots that we want to steer clear of.”
And because of that, most people only use 40 percent of their true potential. Imagine what you can achieve if you have mastery over your thoughts, over those limiting beliefs, over those weak-ass dialogue you play in your mind to talk you out of your goals. You become so powerful that you become fearless and limitless.
Last year, my goal was to master my mind so that negative situations will not control my emotions. Every day, I teach myself the right mindset, silence the negativity in my head, and use my darkest demons as fuel to envision the most impossible goals and the most audacious achievements.
If you want to learn how to master your mind, start by reading this book. It’s life-changing!
Can’t Hurt Me: Master your Mind and Defy the Odds by David Goggins
5. You can never please everybody
No matter how perfect and sweet the cherry is, there will always be someone in the world who will hate cherries. No matter how you try to please people, there will always be someone who will find you despicable.
When you try to please everyone, you end up pleasing no one and you end up making yourself unhappy.
So stop trying to convince people to like you. Just keep doing your best for yourself and pay more attention to those who truly love you.
I hope girls reading this can take notes and make the most of their lives in their 20s. But if you’re passed the age, it’s never too late just so you know.
I’ve come to realise that things don’t always happen exactly when or how we want them to. And there’s no set age for having life figured out.
We all have different journeys and we shouldn’t compare our beginning to someone else’s middle. Just take one day a time, don’t be too hard on yourself. Just enjoy the journey.