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MANILA, Philippines – Being in your 20s is wonderful! You don’t have a curfew anymore, you get to have a job and earn money, and people start to take you seriously simply because you’re not a teenager anymore.
But there are downsides to being in your 20s too. People will think you’re extremely boring if you don’t really like to party hard, you may work at a job you hate and people start to judge you harshly because you’re not protected by the innocence of being a teenager anymore.
With all the stress, frustration, responsibilities, and anxiety attached to being in your 20s, how can you survive through it?
How can you even manage to be happy, earn enough money, and stay sane enough to make it through your 30s?
It pays to remember these 20 tips and practice them accordingly:
1. Learn to be grateful. Every day.
Being positive in your life dictates that you also need to be grateful – always. It seems hard to do when you’re laboring over a job you hate while working for a boss you hate and sacrificing your time just to set up a meeting with colleagues who hate you, right?
Be thankful you’re alive. Be thankful you have a job. Be thankful you’re given the chance to spend time with the people you love. Be thankful you’re here to hopefully make a positive difference.
Keep in mind that being thankful is a lot of hard work. It’s like working out – extremely difficult to do at first, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be sexy and fit in no time!
2. Your emotions should never dictate the state of your bank account.
Your boyfriend broke up with you so you’re going to spend the whole week bar-hopping? No, you’ll feel better at first, but at what cost? P5,000? P10,000? P15,000?
You didn’t get the job you wanted so you’re withdrawing money to do some retail therapy? Honey, don’t do it. You’re only digging yourself a deeper hole.
Your mean colleague at work just called you fat so you wanted to treat everyone else in the office but her? It may seem like a good idea – but I bet your bank account balance would say otherwise.
In a way, your bank account is a bit like your ex. Don’t approach this when you’re feeling depressed or frustrated – getting back together may seem blissful at first, but you’ll definitely hate yourself after the deed has been done.
3. “No” is already a complete sentence.
You don’t need to justify your rejection all the time. Also, you don’t need to apologize if you really haven’t made a mistake.
Don’t let peer pressure force you into saying yes. Honestly speaking, you don’t really owe anybody anything. If you feel like you’re being forced or violated, speak up and say no.
4. Dedicate time for exercising.
Sure, you might not realize the importance of sweating it out yet when you can still manage to eat unlimited instant noodles & Oreos without gaining a pound, but remember that all good things come to an end.
Your metabolism won’t be as fast as it used to be.
If you don’t exercise while you’re still young and fit, it’s going to be harder to start when you’re already old and overweight. By this time, all the unhealthy foods you’ve eaten will come back and bite you in your hips, thighs, and belly.
5. Don’t let anyone tell you what you can and cannot do in your life.
Your Tita says you won’t ever amount to anything just because you never finished college? Prove her wrong and make her see that you don’t necessarily need a degree to be successful in life.
You want to self-publish a CD with all the songs you’ve made but you’re scared because your grandma says you sound like a singing chicken with its head cut off? Go ahead and self-publish it anyway.
You want to put up your own T-shirt printing business but your parents say you should be employed as a nurse instead? Talk to them and make them know what your plans are. Be firm with what you want but be accountable to yourself as well.
6. Only invest in something you can really understand.
Don’t let greed take you over and cloud your judgment.
Make sure you know what your money will do for you before you even consider investing it. Ignorance is terribly expensive.
7. Don’t settle.
Your 20s is the time for you to experiment and achieve things that you thought you weren’t capable of.
Don’t settle for mediocrity. Always look for better opportunities.
If there aren’t opportunities, what’s stopping you from creating one yourself?
8. Lend money with the mindset that you’re never going to get it back.
You’re not a lending institution so you don’t really have a collateral to fall back on, in case your friend fails to return his borrowed money.
Even so, a lot of people still fail to pay the money they borrowed from banks! If some people can’t pay official lending institutions, what makes you think that your friend is different?
I’m sorry, but your friendship isn’t enough to pay your bills, right?
Whenever someone borrows money from you, ask yourself, “Can I afford to lose this money?”
If you can, then go, lend it. You may or you may not get it back. (Tip: You probably won’t…)
If you can’t, say no instead.
9. Surround yourself with emotionally supportive people.
Life’s too short and too precious to spend with people who don’t appreciate your worth.
Be with people who support and challenge your ideas – not with people who bring you down all the time.
10. Pursue something that you’re sincerely passionate about.
Assuming you’re not a relative of Janet Lim-Napoles, if you had a billion pesos right now, what would you like to do instead?
Sing encouraging songs?
Dance inspirational moves?
Bake for the poor?
Talk for a living?
Coach basketball players to success?
What is that one thing that empowers you, that inspires you, and that motivates you to be your very best self? Go ahead and pursue that.
11. Don’t post unflattering photos online.
Your employer won’t appreciate the fact that you were drinking beer while typing the report he told you to make. Your boss won’t like that you partied so hard last Tuesday that’s why you were late for your early Wednesday meeting. And seriously, no one would actually think you’re pretty when your eyes are all bloodshot and droopy, right?
(Bonus tip! Better yet, if you’re currently unemployed, don’t flaunt your expensive purchases online. Your friends may wonder where you got all your money from. You may be kidnapped. Or worse, you can get your parents in major trouble.)
12. Drowning your problems in alcohol is not always a great idea.
Hey, we’re already mature and responsible 20-somethings. Surely we know better than to drown our sorrows and tears in alcohol?
There’s always cake and ice cream, you know.
Seriously, though, don’t drink your problems away. You can always confide to your loved ones while drinking water or iced tea.
How about exercising your frustrations instead? Your body, especially your liver, will thank you for it.
13. Don’t beat yourself up.
You’re your own best friend! Learn to speak to yourself in a more positive and encouraging manner.
You are a work in progress. Don’t expect perfection every time because it’s simply not possible.
Most people out there would love to beat your spirits down and discourage you. Don’t let yourself be your own harshest critic.
14. Buy fewer things.
Spend more on experiences rather than on stuff. Ipon muna bago iPhone!
If ever you feel down for no reason, if you feel like there’s something missing in your life, if you feel like there’s a void…
Chances are, this void is never going to be satisfied by an expensive gadget or dress.
Don’t let the amount of things you have dictate your level of happiness. You’ll never be happy if you did this.
Get the most basic cable plan – better yet, cut it all out.
If you’re still paying for the expensive cable plans, what is wrong with you?
The Internet is filled with endless sources of entertainment. You can always watch your favorite shows online. Why are you still paying extra for something that you already have access to?
If you feel it’s too inconvenient to search for your favorite show online, then this means that it’s not really worth all your time in the first place.
15. Don’t spend all your time reading fiction – read motivational non-fiction books too.
Fiction is like your escape from the hustle and bustle of life. It makes you dream, it introduces you to different places, and it entertains you endlessly.
Non-fiction is like a huge slap of reality. It faces your fears, it tells you that you still need to take charge of your life, and it disturbs your lazy way of thinking and encourages you to think more, see more and do more with your life.
Read non-fiction, too. Sometimes, we all need to get slapped once in a while. (Figuratively speaking!)
16. Challenge preconceived notions.
You don’t necessarily need to go abroad to earn a lot of money.
You’re not really supposed to be good at all your subjects in order to succeed in life.
Employment isn’t the only way to get money – entrepreneurship is another way.
Women are not submissive creatures who are scared of standing up for themselves.
“Young” does not really mean “stupid.”
Just because you’re underaged doesn’t mean you should be undercompensated and overworked.
Remember, you’re the only one who’s going to be living with the consequences of your decisions. Open your mind and listen to what the other party has to say but always make the decision for yourself in the end.
17. Learn to let go.
That guy who got you pregnant and left you for another woman? Let him go. He’s not worth your tears and sacrifices. He already left you once – what makes you think he won’t try it again?
That job which you would kill to have? It wasn’t given to you for a reason. Don’t waste your time obsessing about it.
The fact that your father left you and your family? It’s incredibly difficult, but give it time and let go of it. Constantly blaming someone for all your failures will never make you a better person.
18. Focus on the important things in life.
Live in the moment. Spend time with people who truly matter to you.
Savor your time. Enjoy your food and chew slowly.
Don’t stress a lot about choosing whether to use Instagram or Camera360 to take your picture. Embrace your imperfections and don’t spend a lot of time editing your pictures.
19. Give more to the needy. Donate your time and your resources. Aim to make a positive difference in this world.
Save at least 10% of your monthly income for your rainy day fund. After you’re done, continue allocating that 10% of your monthly income for your retirement.
20. Accept the fact that life is unfair. And that’s okay because you still have a choice.
Contrary to popular belief, life will never be fair to you.
You may be working hard and only receiving minimum wage while others may not work at all and receive millions of pesos still. You can choose to complain and curse others, while you can choose to make the most of what you have.
You may be judged harshly and criticized so hard that you’re going to spend the rest of your day crying in your bathroom while scrubbing your bathroom tiles. You can choose to silently plot the imaginary murder of your critic, or you can choose to learn and let go.
You may be bitter because Daniel Padilla is 4 years younger than you are. You can choose to ignore this fact and still pursue him or you can choose to let go and find someone else!
Life in your 20s is never going to be fair. It’s going to be messy, it’s going to hurt and it’s going to annoy the heck out of you.
But that’s okay because life is still going to be worth it.
And you know what?
You are not alone. You are doing the best that you can in order to survive.
And so is everyone else. – Rappler.com
You can also read:
- 6 things to do right now to retire
- 5 reasons to stop being a people pleaser
- 5 things lovers and investments have in common
- 7 daring ways to pursue your passion
- 12 tricks to save money
- 5 money mistakes 20-somethings should avoid
- 13 money resolutions for 20-somethings this 2013
Lianne Martha Laroya is the founder of The Wise Living, a website dedicated to educating young adults on money management and early investment without boring them to tears. She is also the author of “12-Step Guide to be a 20-SOMETHING MILLIONAIRE,” available for free. Connect with her on Twitter@MsLianneLaroya!
Partying photo from Shutterstock