Well still running in my early 20s, but having travelled quite a bit, interacted with so many people of different cultures and habitat, staying on the other end of the world, having fallen down, faced a few of my fears, gone through some ups and downs and yes accepted failures and overcome a few, I felt about writing from my experience and my learnings which in turn might save you or at the most make you aware of what life might look like in 20s.
- Making worthwhile and long lasting relations and connections – Social media is a boon, it might sound like an addiction or a waste of time, but networking will get all of us going real time. Make healthy relationships and nurture them, not only professionally but even on a private level. Because you are still climbing up the ladder of life, and we never where we might meet someone in the long run.
- Listening and Communication Skills – Communication is the key to almost everything on this planet, in most of the situations. It does not mean just talking and making your point but two way communication is a must. Articulate yourself in a way others will understand and yes effectively, it is necessary to put forth your point clearly. You should aim at inspiring people through your conversations, so that you are the powerhouse of a group and your enthusiastic spirit can help others as well, be a good motivator to your fellows. Also learn to digest information in this phase which is effective listening. Being readily available to hear makes you a sort after person where people can discuss their problems with you. It is good to be of help.
- Getting rid of negativity and bad influences around you – I do not think this needs more explanation, but stay away from negative conversations, music and dark talks. This will not make your mind evil, always think about sunshine and that the grass on the other side is greener so that you keep moving away from unnecessary people, talks and situations. Bad influences which take the short cut way are not good in the long run. Drinking and Smoking do not count as bad influences here, it is the hideous and heinous habits that I mean here, may be not respecting the opposite gender, racism , no kindness, spendthrifts etc.
- Relationships and Commitments – Think twice before you get into a commitment. Breaking up is ok, unless you are sure of getting married to that person. Relationships are like a stepping stone to a successful marriage, if you ever get into a serious one. Think hundred times before you spend your parents hard earned money on relationship expenses including so many other things and pampering your partner. This might sound not so romantic but is the reality of life, some people might just be using you for emotional, financial or physical comfort. Be aware of these things. So get into a relationship but be darn clear about commitments. One night stand is fine if both the partners are fine with the concept, nothing should be forced upon. We are young, wild and free spirited in this age, we all will fall in love, trust me all the partners in your life will let you discover more about yourself and life in general.
- Family is the best thing to happen to you – The only people genuinely concerned about you are your direct family members. They care, love and worry. They also want the best of you. They empathize and sacrifice half of their lives building the best future foundations for you. However you may treat them the only thing they want for you is to be happy and satisfied with whatever you are pursuing. Ultimately it is because of your family that the whole messy and shit stuff that we take up in life becomes worthwhile. Respect them and make time for your family, once you start yours, it will be a mutual feeling. Almost 70% of all the times, your parents will be right about you, because they know us in and out.
- Shit is an integral part of our life – The more you experience and roll over it, the more familiar we will feel with it, life throws many jabs at us, you will be blind to it, even when you see it coming, unless you are badly kicked by it, the integral part becomes true, when you do not get knocked down and emerge stronger, cry if you have to, tear down papers, break glasses if you have to, and let the feeling go, when shit strikes, have lemonade and ice-cream, tuck yourself into bed after a warm shower and go to sleep. The shit will be a part of the body with renewed energy, I have tried this and this works.
- Travel and Make Memories – Travel when you are young, hale, hearty, come with less amount of responsibilities and because retirement savings can also make a small portion of your saving plan. This does not imply splurge on travel, but make it a part and parcel of your year plan to gain new perspectives at different places. The whole world is not the same, we are in a nutshell, wherever we go, and there lies the wide, open world ready to be unravelled. Travel alone, with friends, with family, with your partners and new strangers, each travel journey should be different, may be at least thrice a year in your 20s. Keep a travel fund, so you do not have to shell out from your savings account, each month shed a few dollars or bills, euros or rupees for this purpose. You could reduce your smoking and drinking intake but travel is a must as you make memories along the way.
- All People and Friends will not stay with you Forever – Most of us work or study full-time, move around, develop important daily demands and shift into different stages of our lives as we get older, friendships become a little less convenient. During this time, the company we keep is the company we make a conscious effort to keep. Don’t view this as a negative change, but instead learn to invest in the people who invest in you. Understand the difference between a friend who is fun to grab a drink with occasionally, and someone who you would call if you were in trouble. There are some people who would enjoy your company and there would be others who would be really available. Everyone has stuff planned and they might be busy with it, so people will move around, marriage, jobs, children, promotions, responsibilities, the way they make their image ans status in the society will keep on evolving, and we all need to respect that change happening around us. Being in touch is a wonderful thing but we need to know where to draw the line and say yes I am there when you need me, but cannot be available 24 by 7 to talk and give comfort. Ultimately you are the one who will solve problems, friends and people will only counsel or be a guiding light.
- Some Things will always remain a Mystery – How much ever we all try to solve the puzzle of life our lives will remain a mystery forever. Our University degree, our graduation and masters, the marks and all things done just for the sake of it, will make you ponder over what you had done, it is only people, places, knowledge, wisdom and experiences that will make sense. Read, ask questions, consider other answers, debate topics, admit when you’re wrong and surround yourself with people who are equally passionate and curious, as they will help propel you forward. Universities don’t teach critical life skills like financial planning and management, negotiation, how to read and interpret a contract, how to read another person, etc. Even after learning for your whole life at the end of the day, we will come and wonder as to why we did something or the significance of some moments in our lives, why we loved someone with all our heart, why we married, why we studied etc. The search for Nirvana will be on unless we are Gautam Buddha.
- Financial Planning, the limit to Splurging and where to Spend Right – Last but not the least as they say, this is the key to your whole future. Unless your father or mother is a famous personality or has loads of cash saved for you, we all have to fend for ourselves. Irrespective of the fact that anyone else saves for, take onus of your savings and expenses, and spend right, shopping is awesome, partying is wonderful, travelling even more better, spending on your favourite gadget worth it, but not at the cost of not having a single penny in your bank account till your next pay cheque comes in. Keep a tab on risk related investments and what is best for you. Invest accordingly, conservative and modern funds with risk, may be a house or a piece of land too, since the prices will appreciate, if you are the conservative type buy gold ans keep it in the locker. All this may sound stupid to read and too cautious, but I am pretty damn sure, once we all turn 35, all these things will become a treasure because we do not have to rely on debts but on our own funds to live life to the fullest. My mom is the best example of this arrangement.
As I end this short article I also want to add on some quick points that can be daily motivators. Do not be afraid to make mistakes, hang out with people of younger and older age to know wider perspectives, be open to change and consistency both. Change is good they say but routine is lethal.At some point we need to settle down. Enjoy life but be serious about fending for yourself. Reputation matters in the society not based on color and religion, but your achievements. Try your best to make a difference to the society and personal life. Inspire through your actions and be integral to the things you love. Life is indeed short, but not to be wasted , to be enriched!!!
Rucha Sudhir Khot