Coming from our teens, we tend to put so much pressure on ourselves to achieve so much during our twenties. There’s really no surprise there, especially since pop culture has made it out to be the best years of anyone’s life. You’ve just graduated from school, on the cusp of a new career, with new relationships, and new environments to explore.
With all the milestones that society has dictated by way of movies and TV shows, our twenties can definitely be overwhelmingly exciting and scary at the same time.
If you’re about to turn 20, this article is for you! Here’s a list of eight things that you should know before getting to the big two-zero:
1. Your expectations are the only ones that matter
First, and most important of all, your expectations are the only ones that should matter to you. You will be surrounded by varying opinions and advice that are not necessarily applicable to the path you are gearing yourself for. Whatever society has implanted in your mind, forget it, especially if it’s not aligned with what is important to you. Set your own goals, and create your own timeline. Your expectations should be your number one consideration—never other people’s.
2. Talent is valuable, but grit is what takes you places
Coming from school, you will pretty much have an idea about what things you are good at. As you enter the real world, you should know that your skills and talents only make up half the battle. The other half is grit, and it is the value that will carry you forward— arguably even farther than any skill can. So work hard, and give at least a 100% every time you take up a task, whether at work or other endeavors—because contrary to popular belief, it’s actually perseverance that turns dreams into realities.
3. Money (kind of) makes the world go round
As a teenager, you surely have great ideals that you expect to carry into your adult life. One of which is possible “Money does not make the world go round,” an incredibly idealistic mindset that’s great to have. Ironically, it is also one that’s easily proven wrong by the often savage real world. Sometimes, our passions aren’t necessarily profitable, so we have to work doubly hard to keep up with bills and living expenses, especially if we’re planning to move out of our parents’ house.
However, do not be discouraged. It’s not really as grim as it sounds. It only means that you have to be a lot more careful with money. It can be hard to earn, but easy to splurge. So, a great piece of advice to keep in your pocket is to always save for rainy days because money kind of makes the world go round.
4. There is a lot more to learn outside school
School may be over, but learning definitely isn’t! As you graduate from your school, you are released into the real world where your day-to-day activities aren’t guided by teachers or school administrators. You will be enrolled in a new program called Life, and you will have so many new things that you have to learn or unlearn.
As you experience more things and meet new people, you will observe yourself maturing, and shifting your values as you go. Undoubtedly, your first lesson will involve Accountability 101, which means that you will have a broader set of responsibilities that go beyond doing your homework. So, be prepared to get out in the real world and take note of valuable lessons that life will teach you.
5. Friends come and go
20-something people will tell you that one of the most painful realities about growing older is growing apart from our friends. As you mature, you will experience friends coming and going, and that’s alright. Life can get in the way of hanging out, what with differing schedules and being physically distant from one another. At the end of the day, your real friends are those who are there with you during your most important moments—highs or lows.
6. Being alone is awesome
As people, we have this inherent fear of being alone. But as we grow older, we realize that there’s nothing wrong with occasionally being distant from other people. Life can get hectic in your 20s, so the quiet of being by your lonesome is precious. Look at it as a pause from the business of work or school. You work so hard, so take a day to pause and recharge your energies!
7. Time is everything
Yup, time is gold. Your early days of being idle are gone. During your 20s, you will realize that your days can get really busy, especially since you are at the beginning of your career. Time is the most expensive currency, so you have to be more discerning about how you spend it. Be intentional about what you do during your days by knowing your priorities and non-negotiables. Keep in mind that your schedule will most likely reflect what you value the most.
8. It’s okay to be different
Last, and most definitely not least, it’s okay to be you. Gone are the days of having to fit into cliques and friendship circles. In the real world, being weird is embraced because it’s usually the weird ones who have something great on their minds. So in a world full of people who are under pressure to become someone, always choose to be you.