A new year and a new decade get people thinking a lot about age, time, and life experiences. We reflect back upon our earlier life decisions and behaviors, and we set intentions for our future. And as parents of teens and young adults, we often struggle with walking that razor-thin line between over-offering advice and sitting back and watching our kids make their own mistakes.
My own two kids have both now entered their twenties, a decade in life that presents one with many choices of paths to begin down, and thankfully, still countless exits to depart one path, and to start journeying along a fresh one. On some days my grown children actively seek out parental advice, and on others, they seem to want no part of any kind of guidance.
But I see the twenties as a watershed decade, with childhood decidedly in the rearview mirror, and a whole lot of responsibility being added each year to the backpack that we all carry through life. It’s a time period when many of us felt that we didn’t need any more parental advice, yet decades later, we realized just how young and naïve we really were.
So, for my kids and for any young adults out there who will be beginning and/or spending much of their twenties in the 2020s, here are some simple nuggets of life advice that I’m tucking into your backpack’s pocket, should you wish to contemplate them on your journey.
Advice for People in Their 20s
- Getting good sleep is super important. Like, really, really important. Make it a priority, as it affects every aspect of your life. That whole “You can sleep when you’re dead” line is BS.
- People over technology. Always.
- Travel now as far as you can and as much as your finances allow. Life will soon bring you commitments that will likely make travel much more cumbersome.
- Learn how to cook at least a couple really good meals.
- Your 20s may take you far from family, both physically and perhaps emotionally, but work hard to keep connected with them as they will become even more important to you with each passing decade.
- Sunscreen. Sunscreen. Sunscreen. (Also water, water, water!)
- Marry someone with your same sense of humor. You will need laughter throughout your lifetime, in both the good times and (especially) the bad.
- Don’t waste more than 15 minutes on a new show or movie. If you’re not feeling it, move on. You have endless choices.
- Some people never, ever mature. You will meet 50-year-old mean girls and 60-year-old dudes who haven’t grown out of high school locker room mentality. Cross to the other side of the street and keep walking.
- Always be open to advice and criticism from others but take it all in with a filter of self-knowledge. What might be effective for someone else, may be meaningless to you.
- One drink of alcohol is usually enough. Special occasions may warrant two, but more than that usually just results in regrets.
- Exercise. Regularly.
- Read at least four good books a year.
- Don’t stay in a job, relationship or city that you have to convince yourself you care about.
- With fashion and in your home, spend money on quality basics in neutral colors. Accessorize on the cheap.
- Seek out friends with differing viewpoints and backgrounds so you can listen and learn from them.
- Always read the entire article, not just the headline or the tweet.
- Educate yourself on issues and candidates and get in the lifelong habit of voting.
- Never be afraid to ask a stupid question. Because it’s almost certainly not stupid.
- There are multiple reasons to be grateful every single day. Acknowledge and focus on them.
Your twenties are a time to explore the world, educate yourself, and expand your horizons. Seize the day(s).
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