Here are 10 things that I would recommend doing in your twenties…
I grew up in Maine, and attended the University of Maine for my undergraduate degree. However, I took advantage of opportunities presented to me, and have landed in many different locations over the past ten years. I studied abroad in Australia, traveled to New Zealand, took a field studies course in Brazil, lived and worked on an organic farm in Ireland, backpacked the United Kingdom, hitch-hiked around Scotland, and moved across the country to Jackson, Wyoming by myself without knowing a soul. I believe that if you have not traveled, there are certain realities of life that you do not know. Whether traveling humbles you, educates you, introduces you to life-long friends, or simply helps you to appreciate where you are, travel is a necessary ingredient in living. The scale of which you choose to travel is up to you.
“Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.”-Terry Pratchett
“Travel brings power and love back into your life.” -Rumi
“Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.” -Gustave Flaubert
2. Try new things.
How are you ever supposed to grow as an individual if you do not try new things? Living in Jackson, Wyoming makes this easy. This summer alone, I have mountain biked for the first time, wake/skate-surfed for the first time, and committed to a full-time salaried job for the first time. It feels good to put yourself out there. It feels good to take risks. You make new friends, you see new places, and you gain an incredible sense of accomplishment. Failing at trying something new is just as valuable as succeeding.
“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” -Walt Disney
“Don’t fear failure so much that you refuse to try new things. The saddest summary of a life contains three descriptions: could have, might have, and should have.”-Louis E. Boone
“You will enrich your life immeasurably if you approach it with a sense of wonder and discovery, and always challenge yourself to try new things.” -Nate Berkus
3. Don’t feel silly getting CREATIVE.
I have mentioned in many of my posts how important imagination and creativity is to me. I will continue to mention it. I truly believe that allowing yourself to open up, and create something, is vital in exercising your mind and proving to yourself that you are an individual. That you can make something amazing from nothing. I wore a set of fox ears around the office the other day that I made from construction paper, and I am currently in the process of building a dreamcatcher. I also have recently begun cutting out the pattern for a new summer dress. Creativity makes you feel free. I like feeling free. I like feeling like I am creating something that no one else has ever created. It makes me feel of importance in this world.
“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guildy because tehy didnt really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s beacuse they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things.”-Steve Jobs
“Creativity takes courage. ” -Henri Matisse
“To be creative means to be in love with life. You can be creative only if you love life enough that you want to enhance its beauty, you want to bring a little more music to it, a little more poetry to it, a little more dance to it.” -Osho
4. Put yourself out there for love.
We have all been broken-hearted. Some maybe more than others. It tears you down and makes you feel helpless. BUT-during those moments before the pain, the feeling of being loved and loving back is unmatched by anything else (maybe skiing a new line for the first time in chest deep powder gets close..). I am addicted to this feeling.
I am currently on my own, and will be for some time to come. By choice. This is important for me. It is important so that I may regain a sense of confidence and sense of self that I lost in the past year. However, once I gain the hilarious, sarcastic, fun-loving, independent confident Becca back, I am not afraid to love someone again. I cannot wait until the day comes along when I meet that person, make that connection, and feel it again. It is something to look forward to in life. That being said, love is just a chapter of my life, and right now, the other chapters come first.
“We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.”-Kurt Vonnegut
“It is a risk to love. What if it doesn’t work out? Ah, but what if it does?”-Peter McWilliams
“There is no intensity of love or feeling that does not involve the risk of crippling hurt. It is a duty to take this risk, to love and feel without defense or reserve.” -William S. Burroughs
“My heart might be bruised, but it will recover and become capable of seeing beauty of life once more. It’s happened before, it will happen again, I’m sure. When someone leaves, it’s because someone else is about to arrive–I’ll find love again.” -Paulo Coelho
5. Make the effort to eat healthy and exercise. Now is the time.
We aren’t going to be in our twenties forever. We need to appreciate the fact that we have the ability to be in great shape right now. Taking care of your body is the number one thing that you should concentrate on in your twenties. This doesn’t mean giving up delicious chocolate ice cream, or your drunken Friday nights. This means eating breakfast, and giving your body the fuel it needs for the activities you do. This means getting outside and moving around for at least an hour or two every day. Don’t eat ice cream for breakfast. Don’t black out four nights a week. You are in your prime, take care of the gift you were given. If your body doesn’t perform, neither will your heart or your mind.
“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live,” -Jim Rohn
“Most people have no idea how good their body is designed to feel.” -Kevin Trudeau
“To keep the body in good health is a duty, otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.” -Buddha
6. Continue your education.
This doesn’t necessarily mean going back to school. This means continuing to learn after you leave an academic institution. Read a book before bed instead of watching a movie. Read the paper every day. Do the crosswords and Sudoku puzzles. Learn new skills. You have a brain, you have hard-working hands – use them. If you don’t, you will find that you feel worthless.
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” -Nelson Mandela
“Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence.” -Robert Frost
“You can never be overdressed or over-educated.” -Oscar Wilde
“Intelligence plus character-that is the goal of true education.” -Martin Luther King Jr.
7. Let go of the past to make room for the future.
Everyone has a past, and everyone has trouble letting it go. Some things are meant to be kept- in order to learn, but others should be shoved into that small, dark compartment of your brain, and locked up for good. It is simple: if it makes you happy, keep it. If it makes you sad or hurt or angry or jealous, get rid of it. Every experience is meant to give us something for the future. You cannot change other people, so concentrate on what you can change for YOURSELF from those past experiences that were not so great. Once you’ve pulled what you can learn and improve upon, dispose of the rest. There are far too many great things ahead to be dwelling on the past.
“The past has no power over the present moment.” -Eckhart Tolle
“The only thing a person can ever really do is keep moving forward. Take that big leap forward without hesitation, without once looking back. Simply forget the past and forge toward the future.” -Alyson Noel
“Life is short as breathing!
Forget Yesterday, Focus today to enjoy tomorrow!
“The purpose of life is to live it, not destroy it.” -Ebelzain Villegas
“Go back?” he thought. “No good at all! Go sideways? Impossible! Go forward? Only thing to do! On we go!” So up he got, and trotted along with his little sword held in front of him and one hand feeling the wall, and his heart all of a patter and a pitter.” -J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit
“Life is about moving on, accepting changes, and looking forward to what makes you stronger and more complete.” – Anonymous
8. Work on letting go of jealousy and hatred. They are a complete waste of your time and will get you nowhere.
I have found that as I have gotten older, I have put far more focus on not judging others or having negative thoughts about others. It is difficult to do at times, but nothing is more true than the idea that hating someone takes 10X more energy than accepting someone. This doesn’t mean you have to love everyone, but don’t despise them either. If you carry hatred and jealousy, all you are doing is surrounding yourself with insecurity and fear – and no one wants to be around that. Be the person that radiates confidence and acceptance. This is more powerful than any action of hatred will ever be.
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” -Martin Luther King Jr.
“Throughout life people will make you mad, disrespect you and treat you bad. Let God deal with the things they do, cause hate in your heart will consume you too.” -Will Smith
“In jealousy there is more self-love than love.”-François, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
“Envy is ignorance.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson
“I have decided to stick to love…Hate is too great a burden to bear.” -Martin Luther King Jr.
9. Make the effort to stay in touch.
With your childhood friends, with your family, with your neighbors. Be the one to make the effort. People notice, and it not only strengthens your relationships, but it will make a world of difference to them.
As we get older, we move away from family and friends, and it sometimes becomes a chore to stay in touch. It is amazing how long you can go without speaking to your best friend from home. Or your mother, or your sister…This is not okay.
It is easy to lose touch. You will notice that once you begin to reach out, and re-connect with those in your life, you will begin to feel happier, and more complete.
Send your sister or friend from home a text message or a short email. Mail your grandparents a hand-written letter. Send your mom a care package. Make the effort. It will feel good.
10. Don’t regret.
Try new things. Travel. Love others. Don’t hate. Don’t look back to your twenties and wish you had skied that one terrifying line you dreamt about for six years. Don’t look back and wish you had told a man/woman you loved him. Don’t look back and wonder if you could have been a professional athlete. Don’t look back and wish you hadn’t been so cruel to your neighbor. Don’t look back and wish you had quit smoking earlier.
If you are given an opportunity – take it. If someone makes you feel amazing- say yes to that date. If someone hurts you – forgive them and move forward..they have lost you, and that is punishment enough. Not forgiving others only buts a burden on you. Lose that weight. Take advantage of your life and all of the wonderful experiences that lay before you. You may fail, but that is okay. I would rather fail a thousand times than look back and wish I tried. That said, if you do fail, or you do miss an opportunity..do not dwell. Move forward and start the next day. Just like jealousy and hate, regret is a waste of time.
“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson