I’m still in the early half of my twenties, but when I started this decade of my life, I made a commitment to not regret anything when I come out on the other side.
I read a book recently that said our twenties are a time to prepare, set up the path for a greater reward to possibly come later. So that’s the lens I decided to view all the meaningless and fantastic aspects of my twenty-something’s life: that if I live passionately in this time, my reward will come soon.
But, I know that if I choose to be swallowed up by the petty annoyances I trek through, I’ll pay for it later. I believe our twenties are that important. They are the time we choose who to be, what impact we want to make, and form the habits that set us up for life.
With that being said, here are some necessities I decided to value in my twenties so that I’d live the best life possible afterwards:
Traveling overseas is a costly adventure that I can honestly say I’ve only done a handful of times in my life. And I feel guilty about this.
Yet, just because I haven’t done it doesn’t mean that I don’t see the value in it. Traveling does something funny to our hearts. It makes it sensitive and vulnerable to the workings of the world. It brings us outside of ourselves to see the world for what it truly is outside the American Dream. In other words, traveling draws us into reality, and changes our heart because of it.
2. Stay Optimistic
The worst possible thing you could do in your twenties is be consumed by all the trash life throws at you. Once we let the dirtiness of our world poison the attitude of our mind, we’ve lost. Everything becomes tainted.
Once you adopt an attitude of cynicism, you fail to acknowledge the beauty and goodness to life. You see life in terms of what’s practical and rational, instead of being swept away in the illogical and wondrous things to life, like love for instance. When this happens, cynicism usually trickles down into the minds of those we love. It’s like a plague.
Keep the wonder to life. Don’t let all the disgusting things of life empty you of your fascination, because once that happens, the world becomes an ugly place rather than the beautiful creation it was made to be.
3. Build up Grounded Confidence
There are many passionate twenty-somethings who want to follow their dreams. But many people don’t know how to dream well in our culture. Many people fail to see the power of confidence and how it allows for us to accomplish our dreams. If we have confidence propelling us, we can keep going further and further, no matter how steep the hill is.
Yet, the key is building confidence is to have grounded confidence, not false confidence. False confidence is believing you can do something seemingly impossible when reality contradicts it. It’s an emotion, when people who want you to be happy tell you what you want to hear. People will tell you that you can lift a 300-pound weight when you haven’t gone above a 100. That’s false belief.
But on the other side of that, grounded confidence is momentum, when the springs of your accomplishments and successes keep launching you higher and higher. It’s when you know you can lift 300 pounds because you lifted 295 earlier that day.
In our twenties, we have many people feeding us what we want to hear, but sometimes, these are the worst things for us. What we need is the momentum that grounded confidence provides. So keep working for your dreams, and let each success allow you to keep on going.
4. Make a Difference
My father once told me that if I don’t commit to doing the things I want to do before 25, then in the future, I’ll be working against my habits when I try to do those things. Basically, once we have a settled and habitualized life, it’s hard to shake.
This is why I told myself that I want to practice the habit of making a difference before I turn 25. This is my way of ensuring that my legacy will be paved with change rather than complacency.
It’s easy to value comfort and gratification in today’s culture, but if you’re not careful, you’ll make this a habit. Work for change today, and change will follow you for the rest of your life.
These are four lessons I’ve learned to value, and by doing so, I’m already seeing the fruits of a meaningful life begin to sprout. My hope is that you would treasure these four things. Let them become truths for your life. And may you reap what they have to offer later on down the road.