20 lessons I learnt in my twenties
- You will not become the person you thought you would at twenty
In our early twenties, we thought we had a plan: by thirty we’d both be living in London, both working in academia and both married. None of the above has happened and we’re more than happy with that. A decade is a long time for someone not to undergo many changes.
2) Most people do not know what they’re doing: life is full of fakers
You’re not the only one who doesn’t know what they’re doing: be it in life, work or relationships. Above the water adults might look like gliding swans, but underneath their legs are paddling like mad to keep them afloat.
3) You are not an adult at University
You’ve cooked yourself a ready meal, you’ve written and essay, heck you’ve even graduated, but fully fledged adult you are not. These are still your younger years: embrace the freedom and don’t take yourself too seriously.
4) Friends will come and go
As you move from school, to university, to different cities, you will amass more friends and sometimes it can feel impossible to maintain all of these relationships. Don’t force it. Your closest friends will always be there, even if you haven’t spoken to them for six months. Other friends will be there at certain times in your life and then leave. Allow friendships to evolve, progress, re-establish or come to an end. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad person.
5) The dazzling career you were promised immediately after university is actually another twenty years away
Making coffee and endlessly fixing the jammed photocopier is all part of the experience of entering the world of work. Be patient.
6) The dazzling career you thought you wanted at twenty is probably not what you’ll want at thirty
And that’s OK. Travel blogging was definitely not a route suggested to us at university, but it makes us far happier than anything else we’ve done. Allow your interests and motivations to evolve and change; don’t be scared to listen to your gut instinct.
7) Your metabolism will slow down
In our early twenties, we would pride ourselves on our ability to eat anything we wanted and to still stay slim. We thought we were metabolically invincible. Turns out we’re not. Look after your body, even if you do have the metabolism of an energetic five year old. It will catch you up.
8) Dry shampoo is your best friend
Being an adult means the hours spent just ‘playing’ with hairstyles, or washing it each day, are long gone. Dry shampoo and a non-discript pony tail are your best friend.
9) Moving your belongings in a black bin liner every six months is normal
You will be a nomad for a large part of your twenties and you will be able to fit your worldly posessions in three black bin bags.
10) Comparison to others is a one way street to misery
Measuring yourself against your friends’ careers, love lives, body shapes (the list goes on) is ultimately a waste of time. Concentrate on you, and be modest with your achievements and honest in your mistakes.
11) You can’t do everything
You cannot and will not ever be completely satisfied with your life, but that’s OK. Your twenties are a time to learn what you’re most passionate about and prioritise two or three key things. Nothing else is important.
12) Your parents were right — time really does fly
As a child, summer holidays felt like an eternity and long afternoons of nothing to do were something to dread. Now, you hardly have time to notice the fact that the season has changed, let alone spend an afternoon watching the clouds roll past.
13) People on social media lie
Take any social media posts as 60% truth and 40% enhanced manipulation of the truth.
14) For the most part, you will be broke
You will never have enough money but that’s OK. If you’re clean, fed and waking up every day looking forward to doing something you love, you’re doing great.
15) Wishing you were older will invariably become wishing you were younger
Looking back at Facebook photos of yourself in your early twenties and realising you’ve most definitely physically peaked will happen at some point in your later twenties.
16) Life is not linear: it is messy, confusing and often goes wrong
Be kind to yourself. Life is unpredictable, sometimes in a brilliant way and sometimes in a terrible way. Perfection is not achievable. Learn to enjoy the highs and be accepting of the lows.
17) Although you keep waiting, you will never feel like an adult
Yep, we’re still waiting for that to kick in…
18) The love of your life at 22 will most probably be gone by 30
We’re sorry to say it but just like friends, lovers will come and go. Let your heart break if it needs to, and then learn from the experience and move on. Every heartbreak only adds to the patchwork of life.
19) Your parents become some of the people you hang out with most
Remember when you used to make your Mum hide around the corner whilst she waited to collect you from the cinema? Now, she’s the friend you go to the cinema with. Oh, how times have changed.
20) Nothing brings more happiness than seeing the world with someone you love
Don’t let this opportunity pass you by. Travel makes you story-tellers and memories rich. Do it as early as you can for as long as you can.
Originally published at twinsthattravel.com on March 12, 2016.