Young, Free, & Utterly Lost – 5 things I’ve Learned as a Twenty-Something

Hey guys!

Hope you’ve all been staying warm this holiday season.

I’ve probably been doing a bit too good of a job of it myself, hence the reason for why I’ve been MIA the last few weeks. I don’t know, man. Cold weather just has a way of keeping you glued to your bed and away from society, responsibilities, and all things productive. The #hibernationstruggle is real.

Today, I decided to write instead of executing my recent post-work routine of curling up in bed, wrapping myself with multiple blankets until I’ve effectively become a human burrito, and then proceeding to binge watch random YouTube videos for hours on end.

With the end of 2016 being not too far off in sight, I thought it’d be great to take a moment and reflect on how my year’s been and also on the things I’ve learned so far from being in my twenties.

It’s crazy to me how fast time seems to pass nowadays. Honestly, it doesn’t feel that long ago that I was still a freshman in college trying to figure out how to schedule my classes, live on my own, and, of course, meet girls.

This past year for me has been one of many successes and milestones. As I’ve mentioned before in my first post, this was the year that I finally graduated from college and started my first full-time job, both of which I’m extremely grateful for.

The toughest part so far though has definitely been transitioning out of the student mindset and into that of an adult. The thing is, while I’m now technically an “adult”, I’m still young and prone to making a lot of mistakes.

When I was in college, there were times where I used to think that life would be so much better if I didn’t have to show up to class and attend certain meetings several days of the week. There was always a set schedule laid out for me, so I always knew what was up ahead.

Now switch back over to the real world.

There’s so much freedom that comes with finally being in control of what I do with my day outside of work. The problem is, most of the time I feel like I have absolutely no clue whatsoever about what I should be doing with said extra time.

It becomes especially frustrating and demoralizing when you realize that it’s your 36th time coming straight home from work only to lie in bed again for the rest of the day feeling completely lost about life.

Thankfully, I’ve been able to lean on my friends, both new and old, who have stuck around to support me and listen to my grumbles about life.

So a big shoutout to you guys. If any of you are reading this, just know that I appreciate each and every single one of you. 🙂

2016 has generally been a positive year for me, which is great. But I would be lying if I didn’t say that it came with some very deep low points as well. There were a number of unexpected bumps along the way where, for lack of a better term, shit hit the fan and it felt like my whole life was going to fall apart.

And though I wish some of those events had never happened, in hindsight those experiences helped open me up to deeper issues within myself  that I desperately need to confront. That’s just a part of life and growing up, I suppose.

Anyways, I’d like to share with you guys 5 things I’ve learned so far as a twenty-something:

1. The world doesn’t care about you.

I recently read an article by Mark Manson, a best-selling author and blogger, that touched on a variety of important life lessons he learned from in his twenties. One that caught my eye and really resonated with me was:

The world doesn’t care about you.

It really doesn’t.

If you take that statement at face value, it does seems like a harsh thought that no one wants to hear. But as Mark mentions in his post, once one actually processes its true meaning, the thought of everyone not caring about you is actually very liberating.

“You’ll stop worrying what others think about you when you realize how seldom they do”.

Don’t let the fear of what others may think of you stop you from doing whatever makes you happy.

Be your 100% authentic self, no less. Life is way too short to be spent trying to please others by being someone you’re not.

2. Friendships change after college.

Part of growing up and entering the real world is dealing with the reality of friendships. Not along after I graduated college, I quickly began to realize how hard it was to stay close with a lot of my friends that I had become used to seeing all the time.

Some of them moved to completely new cities to start their careers while others simply moved back home or chose to remain in school and continue their educations. Over time, this diaspora of your friends becoming more distant will only continue to grow bigger and bigger.

If you’re struggling with figuring out how to handle the whole post-college friendship ordeal, here are two ideas to help you get started

1.  Go out and meet people!

Yes, I know this is MUCH easier said that done. But it doesn’t mean you have to get super creative
and all of a sudden start socializing at places you wouldn’t normally be comfortable with. Instead,
think about places you already patronize on a weekly basis and start from there.

When it comes to social interactions, start small and, as you get more comfortable, start building from there. For example, if there’s a bar you often go to for grabbing drinks, try chatting up the bartender the next time you’re there. Long line while waiting for food/coffee? Make small talk with the person next to you.

Who knows? You might just end up with a new friend who shares a common interest or two with you

2. Keep in touch with existing friends whose friendship matters to you.

As we continue to get older, it’s natural for us to slowly become more selective with the people who choose to keep in our lives. So if you’ve built strong bonds with certain friends that you hope will stick around, keep in touch with them.

Catch up in-person every once in a while if you can. If it’s not possible due to you and your friend being located in different cities or other reasons, don’t forget that we live in an age of unprecedented social connection. Simply fire up Messenger and shoot them a message. Or text them. Better yet, give that person a call. Calling simply for the sake of catching up these days in so rare. Wouldn’t you feel good if one of your friends gave you a call just to check in on how you’re doing?

At the end of the day, friendships are all about effort and reciprocation. When the other person sees that you are just as invested in the friendship as they are, it’s more likely that you will continue to have a strong friendship with that person going forward.

3. Be Selfish in your Twenties.

Now let me clear here. When I refer to being selfish, I’m not talking about turning into the kind of person who doesn’t help others and takes 7 of the 8 slices of pizza. That’s no-no.

Be selfish in terms of amassing as many experiences as you can while you still don’t have a huge amount of responsibilities. Travel to foreign places. Engage in new activities. Indulge yourself.

Yes, building a career and making money is important. But at the same time, it’s also important to not let the pursuit of money and status consume you at the expense of making memories that will enrich your life.

Remember: You can always make more money, but you cannot make more time.

There likely won’t be another period in your life where you’ll have as much time and freedom as do during your twenties, so take full advantage of it!

4. Surround yourself with people who bring out the best in you.

Jim Rohn once said, ” You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with”.

If your goal is to achieve your full potential in life, then it’s important to surround yourself with people who are smart, ambitious, and are able to bring out the best in you. Look for people who will lift you up when you fall (literally and figuratively) and give you the extra push you need whenever you start getting complacent.

Time is a valuable and scarce resource, so don’t spend it with people who add no value to your life.

5. Getting comfortable with your finances is key to a more successful, stress-free life.

When it comes to the topic of personal finance, I’ve found that a lot of people in their twenties (and even thirties) struggle with setting up themselves for financial success.

In my opinion, it’s never too early to start thinking about your retirement and how you plan to get there.

But even before you get around to tackling the bigger stuff like retirement, you first have to get a handle on the basics, like budgeting.

When you budget, you know exactly where all your money is going and coming from. By doing so, it removes a big chunk of uncertainty and stress from your life.

Personally, I don’t like having to think about whether I can afford to go out to dinner with a friend and I’m sure neither do you. Likewise, it’s not fun to check your bank account and have a mini panic attack when you realize you only have a few dollars left inside.

Start getting comfortable with your finances now, so that you can reap the benefits of a well-organized financial plan going forward and, ultimately, worry less and get on with your life.

That’s it! I hope you guys were all able to get something out of this list of lessons I put together.

Thanks for taking the time to read. If you liked the post, or think someone else you know could benefit from it, please take a moment to hit that share button! I would greatly appreciate it. 🙂





Bernie Liew

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