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A Reminder To Anyone In Their Twenties




How’s everyone keeping up with your life?


Life in the 20s has been hard to navigate for many of us, including myself, who is slowly approaching my mid-20s. Things get hard as the many life lessons during our twenties are usually not taught in schools, and no one is there to tell us whether every minute life choice we make is right or wrong. On social media, we see how people are relatively doing better than us in life. Whether they have walked down the aisle and started a new family with their partner or accomplished a great milestone in their career endeavor. There is certainly an unbeknownst sense of urgency and pressure that we continuously need to compete with people to not let ourselves fall behind. The idea of not feeling satisfied with our lives and questioning our decisions thus far has brewed a looming anxiety that is slowly clouding our outlook on the future. While we are struggling to see what lies next, there is constantly an endless list of expectations that we feel obliged to satisfy.


Often, I would hear people going through a quarter-life crisis, as they face an identity crisis in their mid-to-late twenties. They feel uncertain about their future, not knowing what sparks their passions in life. In addition to the current economic gloom with swelling inflation, low living wages, and a high unemployment rate, the hustle culture in work has set the trend of the “tang ping” movement amongst Chinese young people to not overwork and slack off, eventually withdrawn themselves from the rat race of life, as if they have given up on the golden age of their twenties. Nonetheless, most older people I know would want to relive their 20s if they ever have a chance.


This led me to wonder what I should do in my 20s to make my life more fulfilled and be more resilient to face this uncertain future. Here are 3 little pieces of advice that I have laid out for myself to try while I am still in my 20s, and perhaps they will be useful to you too.



1. Make life an exploration.


The author of “The Defining Decade” and a clinical psychologist, Meg Jay delivered a meaningful TED talk about why our 20s are the most important decade throughout our lives. She emphasized the importance of exploring new things in life and gaining identity capital that adds value to shape who we are as an individual. Ultimately, every work, different friend, or new adventure we explore accumulates bits of information about ourselves. 


I remember every year back in my SJKC (Malaysian vernacular primary school) days, I found it intimidating when I was asked by my class teacher to write down my future ambitions because I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. As I grew up, the many life experiences I have been through are the ones that take shape to what I know of myself today. Ever since the student exchange programs that I took part in years before this, I love learning about foreign cultures, and I find it intriguing to gain historical and geographic knowledge, which I find the most intriguing. I also learned from the experience that I am not great at socializing with a large group of new people. In fact, I really suck at it. 


However, these explorations in life beyond our comfort zones form small puzzle pieces to inform me of who I am as a person. I think there is so much of myself that I am unaware of, and during my 20s, I wish to explore more in life by trying new things and having new experiences to find what truly excites me. Perhaps, it is time to smash my reading goal for the year and to attend more networking events.


2. Building financial awareness


Stepping into the 20s also means that we should be held accountable for our financial decisions, and it is a good time to practice our financial awareness.


The pandemic a few years ago alongside the wars that resulted in the current inflation we are facing now is a reminder that developing good financial habits is utterly important. As I am residing in the UK, I have witnessed how the daily grocery prices have skyrocketed dramatically since the time before the pandemic in 2020. Back then, a week of groceries would only cost me around £15-20, but it has doubled since. While such phenomena are rare, establishing an emergency fund and being secured financially put us in a better position. It allows us to be more resilient and gives peace of mind to any unforeseen circumstances that might happen in the future.


Besides, the 20s is the time when most people start planning their lives for the future, either to buy their first house or to own a car. Either way, saving money by avoiding unnecessary debt or spending could prepare us for a great start as we continue to progress in our lives. There are many great tips on saving money on the internet, so just google it and I believe anyone will find a suitable way for themselves to save up money.


3. Appreciate what you have around you.


Ever since we enter our 20s, most of us would have started our tertiary education and career journey. Some might move to a city away from home, and some might find themselves struggling to maintain their work-life balance. It is times like this when we often forget about the present and the people around us. We might neglect to take care of our mental and physical well-being which support us to carry out our daily activities. We might be too caught up with work or making new friends that we forget to ask how our family is doing. Eventually, time might slip through our hands while we are pursuing betterment in our lives.


What I am trying to say is that we should enjoy the present and be mindful of what we have now because nothing lasts forever. However, mindfulness is a skill that develops over time with regular practice. Recently, I have started writing diary entries every day to recap my day. In the process, I found myself being more aware of the emotions I experience throughout the day, and it makes me happier because I often end up feeling grateful for things after each reflection. I feel more positive and focused on what truly matters to me. Eventually, it increases clarity on how I feel and cultivates a deeper appreciation for the positive moments of my day. Since our time is occupied with more and more responsibilities and commitments as we grow, it is important to practice mindfulness and be appreciative of the present.


This sums up the 3 small pieces of advice that I would like to remind myself on how to spend my 20s. I am definitely incapable of giving good advice to people on how to live their twenties, but if we are true to ourselves, stay open-minded, and embrace the opportunities that come our way, the journey of our twenties will still be amazing and unique. If you are thirty-something and above, please feel free to comment below if you would like to add more tips for people in their twenties. Meanwhile, anyone in their twenties or below, feel free to share what you have learned about yourself.


✨Wishing you the best of luck!✨


By,

Ronin Lim,

Journalist,

Charisma Movement 23/24


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