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20 Pieces of Advice for 20-Somethings


We are the average of the five people we spend the most time with, according to Jim Rohn. – Photo courtesy of State Farm (CC BY-SA 2.0)


By Robyn Dutton

Hindsight is 20/20, they say. We all look back on earlier years wishing we knew more, lived wiser and had more awareness about what was best for us. You hear your grandparents and teachers rattle off cliché quotes about living to the fullest or about the legacy you should create. I’m here to provide some insight about 20 things that are important for all 20-somethings to recognize and implement into their lives.

1 – Read the news. Newspapers, online outlets and Twitter are great ways to stay up to date on what’s going on. I’d also recommend reading The Skimm, a concise and lively email service.

2 – Travel as much as your budget can possibly allow. Seeing new places will open your mind and teach you about new cultures. As often as your scenery changes, you will also change in accordance.

3 – Quality over quantity. This goes for friends and anyone who surrounds you. As long as you have a few good people you can trust, consider yourself lucky.

4 – See number three. Same goes for clothing. Invest in pieces you will have for a long time and can wear out to a nice dinner, a job interview or just lounge in. This will make you feel good about yourself, which will reflect exponentially in your life.

5 – Invest. Even if it’s only $5 a week (the equivalent of that Starbucks you’re drinking), put money away for your future. It will multiply and you will be thankful you did.

6 – Know your worth. If the person you are dating isn’t treating you right or someone you know is not making you feel respected… leave. It sounds hard, but I promise it ends up being a lot easier than staying.

7 – Do some sort of physical activity every day, whether it’s going to the gym, doing yoga, taking the dog for a walk, playing sports or playing around in your backyard. Even the smallest changes can have a large impact on your mental and physical wellbeing.

8 – Appreciate your parents. You may not truly recognize all they did for you until you yourself have a child, but try to respect the decisions and sacrifices they made. It was all coming from a place of love. Love for you.

9 – Stay positive. Hundreds of studies have shown that positive thoughts and words have a physical manifestation in your life. Be careful what you think and say because without being consciously aware of it, you are shaping your world.

10 – Spend at least one full year living in a new city. It may be the hardest year of your life, but it will also be the most rewarding.

11 – Give back. Again, even if it’s just $5 here and there, it will make you feel all warm and fuzzy, as well as make a difference in the world. As time goes on, you will recognize more and more that we are all one.

12 – Take it easy on yourself. We all make mistakes and the important thing is how you bounce back from said mistakes. A setback is just an opportunity for a comeback.

13 – Challenge others. You may be somewhat young, but you are smart and your ideas are worthy. If you disagree on a matter with someone, even your elder, speak your mind. Every person you meet has something to teach you, and vice versa.

14 – Work a job you’re enamored with. According to Reference, the average human spends around 30 years of their life working. You may as well enjoy it, right?

15 – Be a student of life. Read books, e-books, audiobooks… whatever. And then read some more.

16 – Be conscious of your environment. Thought about going vegan? Want to learn ways to save energy? Or water? Do everything in your power to leave the world just as magnificent for your grandkids.

17 – Ask questions. The best way to be interesting is to be interested. Engage people with conversations about their life and you will leave an impression. Maya Angelou once said, “people will forget you what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel.”

18 – Volunteer. You will meet likeminded people and have a blast while doing it. Not to mention, it looks great on a resume. Here is a list of organizations that are changing the world.

19 – Laugh! Don’t take yourself too seriously, life is a crazy adventure and no one has the answers, so use your sense of humor to navigate the difficult paths you may take.

20 – And finally, trust your gut… because it will never lead you astray.

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