I just turned 23, and while I feel life begin to settle down, as if drifting in the slow tide towards my thirties, I realize that I'm not done yet.
If you're anything like me, you can believe the most adventurous years of your twenties were in the beginning, like the time you turned 21, and then subsequently 22. Now life is showing up to work, deciding what to make for dinner, and who to hang out with. Life slows down after 22.
Yet again, if you're also like me, you've decided to not drift towards your next decade. People talk about the twentysomethings decade because this time of our lives truly does matter, and it's up to us to make it that way.
Maybe our twenties only matter when we don't settle, when we pick up our lives and make the formative, habit-shaping decisions to last a lifetime. Maybe our twenties define us once we choose to make them matter every year of this decade.
I've made that decision, and because I have, the world is going to be a different place in this next year. I'm making this year mater by making a difference.
Here are 23 ways I'm keeping my twenties alive:
- Don't let your age define your action. People will try to say you can't do something because you're too young, and that might be true, but don't surrender to this idea before you try anything.
- Arrange your money around what you want to do. Don't let your available funds dictate what you're willing to do.
- If you don't have enough money, sell things or fundraise. Your need for experience should trump your lack of money.
- Start a small business. Risk with your passions while you're young, and maybe the risk will pave the path forward for having a sustainable income from a business you love.
- Learn to give more than you receive. Forget about the profit behind your service. Give your time, talent, and energy for free sometimes. Some things are worth sharing for free. After all, that's how some of the best ideas are spread.
- Support a child in a foreign country. You might not have enough money to give 10 dollars or so a month to a child in a third-world country, but imagine how cool it would be to watch your child grow up. If you start young, you'll reap the rewards later.
- Find opportunities to travel as much as you can. Not all travel requires you to sell a leg. There are cheaper options to see the world.
- Move to a city or town that'll grow your passion. Don't stay in a place that suffocates your dreams. Environments are powerful tools in shaping who we become.
- If you find love, keep it and care for it. Make sure it continues to move forward, even if that means getting married young. It's better to move and grow love than it is to be complacent with it.
- Stick around the people who support your values and dreams. The people who don't support you are toxic to your life.
- Just because a friend is a devil's advocate does not mean they don't support you. We need devil's advocates to see the whole picture. Stick with those friends as well.
- Take one picture (that's anything but a selfie) for every day, and remind yourself that beauty is not hidden from us; it's just waiting for us to open our eyes to it.
- Read books about anything you want to learn more about. We don't only learn from teachers in school. Sometimes, we just need to teach ourselves.
- Put away money into a savings account every month, even if it's just 10 dollars. Learning the habit of saving is worth more than any amount you accumulate in that account.
- Learn to let go of the things holding you down. Bitterness, grudges, and poisonous relationships are all choices in life, not necessities. We can do without them.
- Stay classy in all that you do. If someone is taking a picture of you looking stupid, untag yourself from it or just remove yourself from the picture. It's better to not have things you'll regret later.
- Discover what you believe about the world. Everyone believes something, whether it's in a God or his or her own ability. Just make sure your belief is something that benefits others as well.
- Wait a couple minutes before you post something on social media. Learn to live in the moment before you share it to the world.
- Be aware of how many times you're posting to social media. If your whole life is going on the Internet, it could communicate something about your life that you might or might not be the truth. In other words, it's not necessary to share everything with the world, but it is necessary to share with your loved ones around you.
- Realize you can't change the world by posting a tweet or a blog about a problem. All that does is bring about awareness. What we need is the action that comes from awareness. Respond to the problem with your own character, not a tweet.
- If you think the whole world is getting married and you're still single, STOP. Don't grow cynical about love and don't grow desperate for it. You're not falling behind in life and you're not too good for love. The minute you start forming opinions on love is the moment you treat it like something it's not.
- Pursue what you love to do, not what you're told to pursue. If you get a job you end up hating in the future, chase after the job that'll make your spirit alive and healthy, not what will make your money plentiful.
- Develop at least one idea to change the world. Devote one minute a day to think about this idea and watch it evolve into a passion that needs to make a difference.
We live in an age where age no longer defines our impact. We can literally begin the gruesome work of change at any age in our lives.
Let this year be your year for greatness. Don't wait till your twenties are over. Make each decade, each year, and each day count for something.
That's what I've resolved to do with this year. And I'm just getting started.