Being in your twenties is confusing AF because it’s like there’s a constant battle between our expectations and our reality. And 99% of the time, we feel like we’re going to mess it up beyond repair (well, at least I do). The truth is – I don’t exactly know how to make the most of my twenties (plus I’m still only 27). But I thought it might be helpful to share how I’m trying to make the most of my twenties. So here we are!
Also – blog posts like these are great for inspiration but completely useless if you don’t end up applying them! So my recommendation is simple. After reading this, pick one of the things I mention in this list and begin to apply it to your life. Don’t feel you have to figure out the ‘best’ thing to work on or the perfect place to start. Just choose something (anything!) and apply it.
1. Invest in yourself
Investing in myself has become one of my biggest priorities. In the last couple of years I’ve really made it a focus and started investing in business coaches, personal development programs and a personal trainer (as well as healthy food, a gym membership, buying books etc). Yes, all these things cost money and they can sometimes be hard to justify. But if I don’t believe in myself enough to invest in myself, who else will? And btw – if you’d like to know more about what I invest in and why, you can read about that in this post.
2. Don’t do things (or delay things) out of fear
I’ve read enough self-help books to know that I shouldn’t do things (or avoid things) out of fear – fear of rejection, fear of the unknown, fear of failure, fear of success, fear of change, fear of judgement (I could go on…). But it’s one thing to know it and another thing to actually do it, so this is something I’m still very much in the process of learning how to do. The biggest lesson so far has been that the fear will always be there, I just have to learn how to act in spite of it (instead of waiting for it to go away).
3. Stop feeling guilty about rest
I’m the kind of person that LOVES to feel productive (which does not come from a good place btw – it comes from the belief that if I do more then I’ll be more) so I’ve always struggled to truly enjoy downtime. I’ve started making a point to have at least one ‘unproductive’ day each week and not let myself feel guilt about it. It’s a work in progress but it’s definitely helping me feel more confident as my self-worth is less attached to how many checkmarks there are on my to-do list.
4. Say no to the things you don’t love so you can say yes to the things you do
As a chronic people pleaser, I’ve been notoriously bad at this in the past – always trying to put everyone else’s needs ahead of my own (so nobody would judge or disapprove of me). I’m learning that saying no to others doesn’t make me a bad person, especially when it’s coming from a place of self-love and self-care. At the end of the day, I’m going to have more to give to other people when I’m taking care of myself. But besides that, it’s important to look after myself – even if no one else benefits!
5. Live in the moment
Being present is SO hard! I often find myself either living in the past or living in the future – analyzing events that already gone or worrying about things that probably won’t happen. That, or I’m scrolling aimlessly through Instagram. One simple way I try to be more present is to not live my life through my phone. Memories don’t need to be filmed to be worthwhile and I find that I savor them MUCH more if I’m not watching my own life through a tiny screen. I share a few other things that help me get off my phone in this post.
6. Be grateful for the things you have so you will be grateful for the things you get
If you’re anything like me, by the time you achieve a goal you’ve already got your sights set on the next one. So when you achieve a goal, it doesn’t even feel that good because you don’t stop to appreciate it! And that cycle just repeats and repeats and repeats. Which means that relying on the achievement of a future goal will only lead to constant dissatisfaction unless I know how to appreciate it what I have! Be grateful for the things you have so you will be grateful for the things you get.
7. Don’t get caught up in busywork
I mentioned before that I’m the kind of person that wants to feel productive all the time, but it’s easy to get productivity confused with busywork. I used to spend a lot of time blogging and a lot of time studying (I finished my law degree and finance degree in 2015) thinking that I was being productive. But I wasn’t.
I was usually either procrastinating (but sitting at my desk while doing it, so I didn’t feel as bad). Or I was doing busywork – re-editing a blog post that was already good enough, fussing over formatting that nobody would notice, making my uni notes pretty instead of learning them and making perfect plans for all the things I was never going to actually do.
Now I focus on meaningful output, I hit publish as soon as something’s good enough (instead of waiting for it to be perfect) and I’m learning to be OK with letting things go that won’t truly make a difference. But it takes practice. And practice makes progress.
8. Be willing to feel really, really, really uncomfortable
Growth comes from discomfort, which is a reality I’ve always found myself wanting to avoid. But when I have leaned into discomfort (i.e. felt the fear and done it anyway, which I talked about earlier) I’ve felt my whole world expand beyond belief.
Every life-changing experience and important friendship I’ve ever had has come from doing things I’d rather not do: talk to people I don’t already know, go places I haven’t already been, meet people I haven’t already met (I’m an introvert, can you tell?), experience things I haven’t already experienced.
I’ve learned that every time I even try to put my little toe outside of my comfort zone, my brain completely freaks out and will try to convince me to stay in the world I already know. Which means I’ve learned that my brain freaking out isn’t a sign I shouldn’t do something (unless it’s accompanied by a gut feeling that I shouldn’t) and that it’s not helpful to wait for the freakout to stop – because it won’t! So the only way to create life-changing moments and important friendships is to be willing to feel really, really uncomfortable.
9. Start before you feel ready
I feel like ‘start before you feel ready’ is one of those pieces of advice I heard all the time and LOVED the idea of, but never actually wanted to do! What I wanted to do was come up with the perfect plan so I was guaranteed to succeed and wait for the perfect time so, again, I was guaranteed to succeed. Little did I know this tendency to procrastinate (i.e. wait until I had the perfect plan and it was the perfect time) was actually fear of failure, which was actually fear of judgement and shame.
But this year I’ve started to live this, by quitting my full-time job for blogging before I felt ready. I’m so damn proud of myself for doing that and hope there will be many more examples to come!
10. Remember it’s all part of it
All of the messiness and uncertainty and confusion and stumbling around that I’ve talked about in this blog post is all part of making the most of my twenties. This isn’t something I’m trying to avoid, but to embrace. Because this is what life’s all about!
I don’t need to be there already. I don’t need to have figured it all out. I’m not behind. Nothing’s gone wrong. In fact, everything has gone so wonderfully right – I am here, I am learning, I am living, I am loving.
What are you doing to make the most of your twenties? Let me know in the comments!
And just so you know, I share more advice like this on my blog Smart Twenties.