The Age of “Twenty-Something”

[A Letter To Those Currently Living In/Entering This Frightening Decade]

Food for thought: the decisions you make in this quintessential age of “twenty-something” will change the rest of your life (for the most part). *Sigh* Well that sounds pretty damn scary or rather depressing if you ask me.

As a fellow “twenty-something” I’ve come to accept the realities of this life-changing decade and have developed a simple strategy to steer away from the don’ts and focus my energy towards the do’s. So here’s my checklist or as I like to call my “plan of attack” to combat the beastly age of “twenty-something.”

[] Craft your identity

Now’s the time to figure out who you are. Determine what makes you, you. It’s okay to experiment through trial-and-error if that’s what it takes because it’s a lot harder to re-invent yourself once you’re old (LOL). Trust your gut and don’t apologize for who you are or where you stand at this point in your life. And yes, it’s nice to get love, support, respect and approval from others. But if you have your own back, eliminate self-doubt and realize self-love, then that’s all you need. Learn to be your own hero for a change.

[] Finish school

Seriously. Jobs/employers want you to finish school. I’ve been learning that an undergraduate degree is the bare minimum for many and most careers nowadays and if that’s the case, you need to finish school. I know there are people that have managed to slide their way into a well-paying job without completing college — but that’s the minority. So challenge yourself.

And let me tell you — It’s been quite the challenge. I’ve gone through endless nights trying to comprehend classic literature, staring at a white board full of isotopic structures, cramming 2o page reports, attempting to learn the process of sodium-potassium ion pumps and at one point I began to think that college wasn’t for me. I’ve failed classes, gone back-and-forth about changing my major and thought about leaving my school for a seemingly easier path at a Junior college or vocational school.

However, the years of money and time you spend getting through college are an investment into your future. What’s 4…5…6 even 7+ years of college to a lifetime of success?

I can proudly say that I’ve already completed my first semester of Junior year and *crossing my fingers* am scheduled to graduate in a year. Go Gaels!

[] F*ck your comfort zone (aka take risks :P)

I’ve always been a rather introverted person with dreams of becoming a confident and adventurous person. Loud personalities and boisterous voices often hinder my ability to speak out and be confident in the decisions I make. And although I struggle to this day when it comes to voicing my opinion, I’m learning every day to put myself out there more.

As my mother always drills into my freakin’ skull, “the squeaky wheel gets the grease.” As annoying as it is to hear that from my mom all. the. time — she’s right. You can’t reap the benefits unless you put yourself out there, be proactive and go grab it yourself. Thanks mom!

Living a monotonous life with strict schedules, stringent rules and guidelines is most definitely reassuring. But sometimes you need to spice up your life and change up the script.

“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

[] Don’t be afraid to fail

Yes, I know I said to steer away from don’ts. But this one is so important. Failure is not a bad thing so don’t be afraid to fail (or make mistakes). Make the mistakes now. Life isn’t about seeing how little mistakes you can make but rather how well you can get back up, acknowledge what you did wrong and learn from it. Cheesy, I know. But it’s 100% true.

“Failure is feedback. Learn from it. Grow from it. And never be afraid to start over.”

As you progress through this age of “twenty-something,” it’s not a bad idea to have a Plan B…Plan C…even Plan D — just for safe measures. And if you fail 8 times. Stand up 9 times.

[] Find your passion

There’s nothing I want more than to have a successful career in the healthcare field. Whether it be practicing as an M.D, P.A, RN — or whatever it may be — I just can’t see myself pursuing a career in any other field. I believe that I have a real passion for providing care and simply helping others.

So find what you’re passionate about — and indulge in it. If you end up pursuing a career in which you have no true interest in, you may hate yourself or regret taking this path. So use this time to figure out what makes you most happy in life and stand by it confidently. Let your passion be your drive and let it take you farther than you would have ever thought.

[] Count your blessings

Just think of it this way — there’s always someone out there worse off than you. Instead of dwelling on the problems you may be facing, take a step back and think about the privileges you have and never take them for granted. The idea is not to feel guilty about having these privileges. But rather, you should just take account for them and even try to compensate for them. You can do this by giving back once in awhile. My grandmother has been truly instrumental in helping me develop a more compassionate perspective towards others which has helped me reach significant growth and maturity.

[] Take care of your body

“Mens Sana In Corpore Sano”

This is a Latin phrase that literally translates to “A Sound Mind In A Sound Body.” This is one of the fundamental or over-arching themes in the discipline of Kinesiology. As a Kines major, I study health and human performance in all aspects and I can’t stress this enough: health and nutrition is a major key to long term success. (Shoutout to DJ Khaled)

Those all-nighters spent studying and stress eating, binge-drinking on the weekend, or just watching Netflix for hours-on-end will eventually catch up to you. I’ve been learning to be more conscientious of my health by sticking to a few simple rules:

  • Develop a healthy and well-balanced diet
  • Exercise regularly
  • Avoid the ingestion of harmful substances (ie: alcohol/tobacco/Jack in the Box Munchie Meals)

With my family history, I am at high risk for all kinds of diseases and health-related issues. Heart disease, cancer, diabetes, overweight tendencies — you name it. Because of this, I’m sure to hit the gym at least 3 times a week and eat fairly healthy.

If you develop bad habits at an early age, your chances of suffering from bad health later in life are significantly higher. My hope is to maintain a healthy lifestyle so that I can fully enjoy all aspects of life and enjoy every moment especially when I start my own family.

If you’ve read this far, I hope this was meaningful even the slightest. I can honestly say I’m excited to hit the ground running and I’m looking forward to taking on the next 10 years. I must admit, I got pretty banged up in my rookie year of “twenty-something” but hey — I’m still alive. I guess I’ll just take it one day at a time.

Next stop: my first big milestone: the big and bad 21. What’s up Vegas?

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