Advice from a 23 Year Old
My list of twenty-three things that every single blasted twenty-something year old should think about in the New Year- to grab hold of life and start living with excitement: These are your glory days, go out and be blessed with a spirit of adventure and excitement. Live with complete enjoyment and no regrets; become someone who you will be proud of tomorrow!
1. Stop feeling sorry for yourself!
Your not the only one with a broken heart- your not the only person sinking in a flood of tears, and the only person that you’re hurting is yourself. Stop victimizing yourself. No matter how much it sucks, leave the self pity party where it should be: in the past. Now move the hell on into a bright new today.
Lets face it: our society is sedentary and unmoving. Jobs require us to sit in a chair for eight hours; parking spaces are increasingly closer to convenience; escalators replace stairs. Everything is built for our benefit- so that we don’t have to expend more labor than we need to. That leaves it to you, the individual, to get out and move. Find what works for you, and stick to it: yoga, running, weight lifting, zumba, crossfit, sports, whatever works- just do it!
3. Take a hike
Nature is the lifeblood of our existence; there is nothing that feeds the soul like earth devoid of human footprint. Get out of linear society that just goes around and around in the same routine, and experience solitude amidst tumbling mountains and rustling valleys. You won’t regret it.
4. Get out of your comfort zone
Do something that you’re terrified of- whatever that is. If you’re scared of heights, go and skydive. If you dislike socializing, put yourself into social situations. Whatever your fear might be, go out of your way to put yourself into uncomfortable situations; you’ll see yourself grow.
5. Appreciate your friends
Even if they’re all crazy, love them tremendously. I am often guilty of forgetting what is really important when it comes to solitude vs. friendships; without a doubt, friendship is more important. Be a good friend, and you will have strong reciprocation.
Not every day and don’t hoard either. Feel like ice-cream? Go and get some. Eat well, occasionally. Live extreme, occasionally. Do everything in moderation, but still do it!
7. Stop holding yourself back
You are your own worst enemy. Your own mind limits your ultimate potential. Unloose your limitations- and stop living underneath the dread ceiling of your own construction. You can be whoever you want to be- just have to believe in yourself hard enough.
8. Take risks
The safe route is easy and provides little reward. No one ever achieved anything of significance without taking risks. I say this in all respects: love unconditionally and thoroughly, do not be afraid to expose your heart; throw yourself over the cliff of security in terms of career- make that move, take that job that doesn’t pay well; become an adventurous spirit in every endeavor.
9. Learn to love your skin
Become a self made individual- love yourself, even with all your flaws. Stop trying to change who you are; instead, love yourself unconditionally. You are completely beautiful just as you are- now learn to appreciate yourself! That being said, loving yourself sometimes means that you have to seriously purge certain habits that are detrimental; self criticism hurts, but you’ll be better for it!
10. Live with conviction
Take a stand on your beliefs. Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, to “speak what you think today in words as hard as cannon balls, and tomorrow speak what tomorrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said today.” Take that to heart: your perspective on life holds just as much value as the prestigious greats: go out and live with such conviction.
Holding grudges hurts no one but yourself. Life is too short to hold onto past wrongs; forgive. Set yourself free to live completely in today by letting go of the past.
12. Don’t lead on
Do no play with hearts. If you know that you are not in a position to begin a relationship- do not lead another on simply for short term gratification. Not only is that cruel and needless, but you will also lose the respect of others around you.
13. Become like a tree
Bend under adversity but do not break. Become strong enough to shelter others who cannot walk alone. Grow stronger- more rings, with each day that passes.
14. Be wild
You’re young; be footloose! Don’t let anything hold you down: not broken dreams, not disappointments, not expectations. These are the years of your youth; the years that you cannot relive. Take back the day with a vengeance: live every day like it’s your last!
15. Find enjoyment in the little things
Stop to smell the roses; enjoy a glass of wine; develop a craving for quality, instead quantity. Experiment and find a beer that you really like. Cultivate a taste for wine. Whatever it is, learn to appreciate the small things in life; they will stay with you for the rest of your days.
16. Be moderate
You’re too old to say that you’re stupid: stop acting like a teenager, because you are no longer one. Alcohol is not a necessary element for a good time. If you still think so, then you have some serious growing up to do.
17. Develop yourself
These are the years of tremendous personal development; now is the time to invest in yourself. Instead of looking to others for affirmation, learn to appreciate yourself and become independent. In order to effect others around you, first you need to learn to respect yourself.
18. Influence your environment
Don’t be a product of your environment; and stop using your past as an excuse for your present. Instead, become a force on everything that is around you. Become influential on your frie
nds and social groups. Take initiative; take stands; take the lead. Even if you are only leading from the back seat- do not sway with whatever is the popular trend, or blindly follow whoever is considered cool.
I cannot stress the importance of travel while in your twenties. Expanding your mind to cultures and ideas beyond your immediate sphere of influence is imperative to developing self-awareness and non-judgement. Do what you can financially- take a trip, backpack, hike, stay in hostels on the cheap, whatever you can manage to do- do it. I guarantee that you will not regret anything.
20. Educate yourself
If you have not already obtained a degree and if you are in position to pursue one- go for it. You are never to old to learn. Or if you are not in a position to go back to school, or if you have already obtained formal education, dive into personal education. Never think of yourself as having reached the peak of your ambition. Learn something new- research a field that you don’t know anything about. Teach yourself an instrument; pick up a new hobby. Emerson wrote: “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.” Do not become complacent or consistent.
Pick up that book that you put down and finish it. Find a genre that you enjoy and emerse yourself again; even if it’s just a little bit every day. Reading develops creativity; creativity is an expression of what you are feeling. In this way, you will learn more about yourself.
Emerson again wrote: “Whatever talents may be, if the man create not, the pure efflux of the Deity is not his; — cinders and smoke there may be, but not yet flame.” Don’t waste your potential- create. Something, anything; it doesn’t have to necessarily be considered ‘artistic’. Make something out of nothing.
23. Cut yourself some slack
Everyone messes up- don’t be hard on yourself when you do; rather, pick yourself back up, and continue on your course.
Above all, love your life.
Live every second like it’s your last.
You only have one go at this crazy ride: Make it count!