8 Life Lessons
That Hit You
in Your 20s
By Camille Bacsa
Life and adulting are incredibly hard in this world full of demands, considering the endless need to balance work, family, social life, love life (or the search thereof), me time, and what-not. Above the daily decision of choosing between getting a venti latte, or a fancy dinner after office, or saving that money for an out-of-the-country travel, there are the deep lessons that hit us after ridiculously testing times of our young lives, or even during mundane moments like when we are in the middle of our commute in the parking lot we call EDSA (because really, we do spend a LOT of time there). No matter what inspires these epiphanies though, we all have our fair share of relatable stories to the following millennial lessons:
1. There is nothing in this world that cannot be learned.
All millennials have big dreams whether they keep it a secret or not. Some seem insurmountable, for the simple reason that it is so far-flung from what you might have studied in college, or the kind of work that you do in your day job. Experience is the currency of life – and the more you seek it through learning, failing, and trying again – the more you’ll be convinced that your big vision is possible, you might just have to adjust here and there, and pick up some new skills along the way. Key thought: there’s always a way.
2. Constraints must be challenged.
Rules were put in place to standardize people’s responses – but not everything should remain status quo. After all, all great inventions worth knowing are products of going above and beyond standards. The only way to achieve the greatness and the higher purpose that millennials seek in life is by first understanding why these rules and obligations were put in place, filter out the sensible and still-applicable reasons, then challenge the rest of it with the aim of producing a better output. In the end, the only question is: why just be this, when you can be so much more?
3. Communication is key.
As much as we wish to sometimes live solo on an island to escape all the pressures of modern life, we have to accept that the solitary life is not applicable to most of us and to maximize our co-dependent existence, we really need to learn how to communicate well. This single skill can make or break anything – and it’s amazing how a little investment to improve your EQ can do wonders for your career and relationships. If there’s anything we’ve learned, words unsaid are always the hardest to swallow – so it’s important to learn how to say them all, with poise, tactfulness, and kindness.
4. Procrastination does nobody any favors.
Procrastination is simply agony extended. Putting off an annoying task only means that you have to do it later, and lengthen the time you have to spend thinking that you have to do that dreaded task. In the end, the biggest sufferer in this game of putting things off is yourself. JUST. DON’T.
5. Being supportive is very different from being consenting.
Supporting loved ones in their endeavors and life turning events is what any good, self-respecting person should do. It should, however, set a limit when the doing-in-question is bordering on the wrong. If you know it’s going to hurt someone, whether your loved one or someone else or put them at unnecessary risk, don’t go with the flow and say your concerns! Don’t be consenting of bad behaviour – unless your heart can handle seeing them hurt down the road.
6. You can’t live for other people.
It’s noble to believe that we can align all of your goals for another person’s happiness – but this can make you lose someone very important – yourself. It’s especially true for new parents or those who have just jumped in a new relationship who tend to want to build their entire life around the apples of their eyes. Attentiveness is key and it’s only normal to meet halfway on some goals as you build a new world together, but make sure to leave ample space for yourself, your lifelong dreams, and never forget that you are a 100% functioning individual with or without them.
7. Self-love is always a good start.
Social media makes it harder to believe that we are enough – that the work we do is fruitful and interesting and that the lives we lead are well-rounded. Even our good days struggle to compete with the seemingly perfect images we see online – but that’s the catch because it took many unfabulous hours or even years before they got there. They also didn’t get there alone. Everybody has a different timeline (no Facebook references intended) and the best we can do is love ourselves so we can grow into our best selves.
8. When something goes wrong, wallow for a while, then move forward.
All these demands in life and we are bound to make mistakes from time to time. It’s hard not to let it get to you – but you can’t afford to let it get to you for the rest of your day, let alone the rest of your life. You can’t let one mistake rob you of the otherwise good things that can happen (or have actually happened, but you failed to notice) during your day. We are not our mistakes. We are, instead, the collective product of how we respond to our successes and failures. We experience change and growth every day anyway, we might as well just move forward.
Got any other inspiring life lessons you’d like to share? Tell us in the comments!