Here are twenty pieces of advice for twenty-somethings that I learned in my twenties; they have served me well over a lifetime thus far.
- Appreciate your parents. Tell them you love them. Relationships end and/ or change in your thirties, if they haven’t already. You are not promised your parents forever.
- Get educated early in life. Very few jobs require only a high school diploma. Your lifetime income is related directly to your educational level.
- Exercise. If you weren’t a kid who was active in sports or in outdoor activities, get involved in some kind of activity now. Exercise will help you with your weight control and stress control. It will keep you healthy. Don’t wait!
- Respect your body. Being ‘friends with benefits’ might seem like a good idea now, but there is so much emotion involved with sexual relationships that later you’ll wish you hadn’t shared yourself so readily. You think I’m a fuddy duddy old lady now; it won’t be long that you’ll know that what I’m saying is right on target.
- Make new friends. Have fun. The 20’s can be a really great time in life.
- I hope you won’t make your fun all about drinking, smoking, and drug taking. I had the best 20’s decade and didn’t do any of that stuff.
- Work hard to establish your career. Always do a good job. Show up, and on time, dress apppropriately, never make your boss look bad.
- Don’t go to sleep with make-up on, no matter how tired you are!
- Limit your caffeine intake.
- Don’t ignore all those regular recommended health check-ups, including getting your teeth cleaned. They have to last you for a lifetime.
- If you’re a sun baby, use sun screen. Not only will you ward off skin cancer, but your skin will avoid deep wrinkles in your later years.
- Have children when you are ready to have children; plan your parenthood. By the time you are in your twenties you should be wise enough to do so.
- Create adult friendships with your siblings. It is a joy to have them in your life, especially as you get older. You have so many shared memories.
- Plan for your retirement now. Your 40-year career goes by faster than you can imagine and it is exciting to face retirement in a comfortable financial situation.
- Buy a house; it is the best investment.
- If you are a religious person, consider for yourself what it is that you believe. You can’t live your parents beliefs. You have to make them your own. It’s OK if they aren’t exactly the same as what your parents believed. You have to do the studying and searching, and you have to decide what will make up your belief system. It’s called a “perspective transformation” in which you break down your belief system and rebuild it, keeping what you want and discarding what you no longer hold to be true or important.
- When you decide to get married, marry for life. You don’t hold all the cards, but have the mindset that your marriage will be for a lifetime. A friend once told me, ‘everyone gets divorced once.’ Not so. If 50% of marriages end in divorce, the other 50% don’t.
- Network with professionals. Keep your former colleagues in your network. Never burn your bridges. Your career is long. You’re going to need lots of help along the way.
- If you have children, make them your number one priority. They are your legacy.
- Enjoy life to the fullest. The 20’s, in my opinion, are not the best years of life. They can be stressful and confusing. Make them as happy as they can be and remember the best is yet to come! I wish you much joy!