Welcome to the first in a four-part series. How to survive your… respective decade! I’ll be writing the first piece (being in the later part of my twenties) and I have a three incredible and inspirational women lined up to write about their thirties, forties and fifties.
But for all you young ‘uns out there, here are the cruel life lessons I’ve learned (so you don’t have to) that have helped me to write this guide on…
How to survive your twenties
♥ Listen more than you speak – particularly in your first job. After being encouraged to express yourself at school and possibly at uni, it’s easy to take the can-do attitude and enthusiasm and go overboard. I did, and I saw lots of other grads making similar mistakes. Less is more when it comes to easing yourself into a whole new professional way of life. Even if you think you have the best idea of your career, write it down and wait to be asked.
♥ Leave the toilet humour at university. Professionalism is a tough lesson, especially if you’ve just come from a hub of banter and shock-factor comedy. Don’t learn it the hard way when you find nobody’s laughing.
♥ Pay cheques are like little magic slips calling you towards the shops… don’t ignore them (from the girl who bought shoes with her first ever pay cheque) but save a little for bills and food – there’s nothing worse than working for a month only to have to beg living money from your parents.
♥ Think before you post online. The difference with our generation and previous ones is that we’re living our most mistake-filled decades (arguably our teens and twenties) online where it can be really hard to erase embarrassing posts.
♥ Keep a journal. It will stop you from getting overwhelmed and let your thoughts out in a healthy way (and not on the Internet).
♥ Don’t be afraid to ask for help. The temptation when you first leave home for good and start out in the world is to rebel by pretending everything’s amazing, even when it isn’t. You’re only human and shutting out those who love you isn’t a great long-term prospect.
♥ Don’t beat yourself up. Period.
♥ Don’t try to have it all worked out. You don’t have to be the CEO of a successful company plus the author of a bestselling book and a mother of five by the time you’re 23. If you haven’t done very much in your twenties, it certainly doesn’t make you a failure, so don’t write yourself off! Most people spend their twenties trying to work out how they want to get started, not whizzing up the game of life.
♥ Have fun! You can chill out and settle down later. A small disclaimer, having a great job or being in a committed relationship doesn’t mean you can’t have fun – but if you don’t have either of those things, fun really is OK – your twenties is the right age to do get everything out of your system.
♥ Use protection, wear sunscreen etc. etc. Yes, your twenties = trial and error – but you don’t want those mistakes to haunt you later on. Play, have the time of your life – but be safe about it all and don’t do yourself any permanent damage!