25 Sep 10 Lessons On Life I Learned During My 20s
When I turned 21, I blacked out at a six hour open bar at a college soccer formal.
I found myself breaking my heels after dancing for hours, walking barefoot on the campus streets, then eating mozzarella sticks at the 24-hour market drunk as shit, then hugging the toilet at the end of the night to barf out toxic sludge. I guess you can say my 20s started off with a bang.
Back then, which was 8 years ago, I was immature, pompous, and stupid.
I mean come on…I was a 4-year soccer starter on a winning college team, leading goal scorer, and serial heart breaker with long, black hair and blue eyes that could crush innocent souls.
OF COURSE I was going to party like a rockstar. And not only did I think I was hot shit…I thought I was invincible.
Like any college asshole.
Now, I’m a couple months away from turning 29, and my life has taken a sharp pivot.
Though, when I do turn 29 soon, you bet I will be out in Washington DC slaying a night on the town in my luxurious, Millenial streetwear.
However, this time around, I’m happy to broadcast that I’m far less of an asshole nowadays. And wear more clothes than my college days.
I’m more elegant.
And you bet after 8 years, I had enough time to evolve into a better human being physically, mentally, and spiritually.
Too, I’d argue, our 20s are the most critical time to learn certain gems to propel us to the next level in personal development, business, school, and relationships. A stellar book I read on the topic, The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter, sure lit a fire under my ass to consider getting “my shit together” before I grow grey hairs and dabbled in social security funds.
Now that my shit is semi-together, here’s what I learned in my 20s. Hope this helps.
1. Do shit you enjoy.
This much I know: life is too short to do shit you hate.
Now, I’m not saying follow your passion, quit your 9-to-5, and free fall through life, but start doing things that bring you happiness.
This could mean picking up a new hobby outside of your job, or starting an Etsy shop for your jewelry crafts, beginning a side hustle selling skin care, or writing a travel blog. Just do something that fills you with life. Anything.
And if you’re as adventurous as me, then go quit your full-time job with a set salary and PTO and see what happens.
I’ll argue you wont’ regret it. Though this may sound morbid, but you will die soon. Do shit you enjoy while you’re here.
2. Messing up is inevitable.
High school was certainly not good prep for my 20s.
Think about it: we were expected to get good grades, ace the SAT, and get into college. At no point were we truly taught how to handle adversity. Perfection was expected of us and nothing less.
Alas, my 20s were a pleasant slap across the face, making perfectionism wash down the drain.
Left and right, whether this was in soccer, academics, and relationships, I was fucking up ALL THE TIME.
And it took a while to realize this was actually how humans should live – totally imperfect and falling short of expectations. Daily.
Which brings me to…
3. Learn to fail gracefully.
It’s totally okay to fail, but do so gracefully.
There have been a multitude of times in my business I’ve failed.
As an example, my boys soccer players sifted through my social media and found a scandalous picture of me from the past.
For me, this was a massive failure, but I handled it gracefully by owning up to it, and moving on.
I received a tremendous amount of respect, and was propelled to continue to focus on being a good coach and mentor.
Failure is the impetus for growth, after all. So make space for it.
Planet Earth is massive.
Why wouldn’t you get out and explore?
Not only does travel allow us to see the magic that blooms in this world, but it allows us to see the magic in ourselves.
If I hadn’t traveled to the Amazon Jungle and ate maggots for dinner, caught piranhas, slept in a hammock, and learned Portuguese to escape the jungle, I wouldn’t have learned adaptability, patience, or resilience.
Thank you, Amazon survival tour.
5. Make time for friends.
Humans are put on this Earth to connect. I know it sounds like New Age, spiritual bullshit, but let me ask you this: how have you been able to grow as an individual?
Our growth is dependent upon relationships with others. Even people who trigger us or call us out, are there for a reason: to teach us more about ourselves and needs.
But seriously, make time for other humans. Do you really want to enslave yourself to your work and lie on your death bed 50 years from now and say, ‘man, I wish I’d gone out for drinks with my bff.’
Yeah. I think not.
6. Make time for family.
This is self explanatory. Make time for family. They’ve been there for you since day one.
It’s also important to mention that society teaches us to veer away from family as we go through our adolescent years.
My mom, for example, I didn’t want to be seen with at my high school orientation because I was a typical teenager who wanted to “be cool” and someone “who didn’t need mommy to hold my hand.”
Wait. A. Minute. Like what the actual fuck?
Now, rather than being embarrassed around her, I’m proud to be around her. My mom is fucking cool, yo. And I’ll blast this shit on Facebook, in person, and on my blog. And I’ll hold her hand in public. In fact, put my arm around her.
7. Save your money.
Start a 401K or IRA ASAP.
As much as I say “money doesn’t matter,” sometimes we have to realize it does. Especially when it comes to emergency funds, healthcare, family matters, etc. It’s better to have money set aside so you cover your ass.
8. No one knows what the fuck is going on.
Sure, maybe everyone is getting engaged, posting baby pictures, or buying new homes, but that doesn’t mean everyone has it all figured out.
Social media is a funny medium – it tends to showcase everyone’s highlight reels to make it appear shit is going smoothly, when in actuality, a bird is about to shit on you during a classy girls’ night out.
No one knows what the fuck they’re doing or what’s going to happen next. And I don’t care if you’re 20, 29, 40, or 60, people have no idea what the world’s next move is going to be.
Its tantamount to a video game. Will Mario eat a power boosting mushroom? Or will Bowser fuck your shit up and sidetrack you? No. One. Knows.
Truthfully, I believe we can marvel at this uncertainty, almost laugh at it and say, ‘what now Universe? Hit me with your best shot.’
9. Make your physical health a priority.
Do you want arthritis? Osteoporosis? A heart attack?
Do you want to look sexy longer?
Do you want to be the top profile on Seniorcitizensmeet.com?
^ I just made that up, sorry.
Start getting stronger.
For confidence, longevity, and health reasons, don’t ignore this piece of advice.
Or I’ll break into your house fully armed with a set of battling ropes and dumbbells.
10. Make your mental health a bigger priority.
Just like your body, your mind needs to be trained as well.
Meditate. Accept adversity. In fact, overcome adversity.
The last thing you want to do is to succumb to life’s stressors and not be productive.
This reminds me, any time something bad happens, I do several things 1) move into acceptance 2) take action and 3) reach out to others.
Remember, you’re never alone. Humans thrive on relationships with others, so utilize and nourish them wisely.
So there you have it.
10 lessons I learned during my 20s.
I hope these resonated with you and I’m curious to hear how you’ve grown from this critical decade.
Thank you and stay sober.
Errr, I mean more sober than your 20s.