Navigating your defining decade, or your 20s, can be super overwhelming. Personal growth in your 20s is huge. What do you learn in your 20s? You can expect to learn some profound truths during this strange time of transitioning from young adult to adulthood. I have put together my top 20 things I learned in my 20s so far (I’m 24 when writing this!). Here are my top money, career, travel, love and self lessons I have learnt. This was super hard to narrow down to just 20 as I continue to grow every day. But here goes, 20 things I learned in my 20s.
“Your 20’s are your ‘selfish’ years. It’s a decade to immerse yourself in every single thing possible. Be selfish with your time, and all the aspects of your. Tinker with shit, travel, explore, love a lot, love a little, and never touch the ground.”Kyoko Escamila
20 Things I Learned In My 20s – Money Lessons to Achieve Financial Freedom.
- Start investing
Start investing as soon as you can! I personally waited until I had $5000 in savings that I was able to invest (which has now turned into $30,000, 2 years later, check out how here!). I wish I had started even earlier. Determine your best beginner investment options and investment strategies with my quick guides! I also recommend checking out She’s on The Money book by Victoria Devine for the ultimate millennial money guide, from the creator of Australia’s #1 finance podcast.
- Start saving money early
Save as soon as you get your first pay-check. Whether you put away $5 or $500 a month, it will add up and future you will thank you later. To start investing and earning passive income you need some savings to spare so start saving early! Make a budget, set a goal and hold yourself accountable! Limit yourself to 1 barista made coffee a week if that’s what it takes!
- Spend money on experiences not possessions
Our experiences are a bigger part of ourselves than our material goods. Your experiences are part of you and memories can last a lifetime. The thrill of purchasing things fades but the happiness and memories of experiences, from epic adventures to minute encounters, can last a lifetime. Same goes for buying presents for loved ones. Experiences are often much more appreciated and valued. Red Balloon is my go to for buying thoughtful experience gifts.
- Moving out of home is expensive
Moving out of home for the first time is exhausting and expensive! There are savvy ways around though which you can read more in my first house must haves guide or check out my top tips for how to land your dream rental
20 Things I Learned In My 20s – Career Lessons to inspire you to achieve a successful and fulfilled career.
- Good culture is imperative
Going to work everyday is so much more than just a pay check and the actual work you do. Culture, work atmosphere, social opportunities, benefits and the people you work with are essential to having a happy and successful career. I have made lifelong friends at my workplace and that was really facilitated by the culture my company fostered. When looking for jobs, culture fit is just as important as skills and experience.
- Get a job you love
You spend most of your week and life at work so don’t settle for just any job. If you aren’t happy in your job, this will undoubtedly have an adverse effect on your personal life. Try new things, ask others in your organisation about other positions, network with other organisations and explore other career avenues until you find your dream job. It’s never too late or too soon for a career change.
- It’s ok to say no
When you are starting out in your career, it can be easy to accept too much extra work or work late nights to impress your boss. This is a mistake. Be sure to only take on extra work that you can complete to a high standard. It’s the businesses problem if they are under resourced. It is not your responsibility to pick up the slack every day.
- Work life balance
Set boundaries when it comes to work life balance and stick to them! You don’t have to turn into a workaholic who is super stressed out working long hours with little time left to nurture relationships or enjoy a hobby. Success is not defined by how many hours you work, at least not in my books! If working 10-12 hours a day is what it takes to be successful then I don’t want to be successful! I want to have it all, a successful career, family, social life, travel, hobbies and more! I have other values outside of work that I cannot and will not neglect. It’s even been proven—the long-term negative effects far outweigh the short-term gains from working longer hours. Start setting and maintaining work life balance boundaries by using some of my strategies I swear by!
20 Things I Learned In My 20s – Travel lessons to live a life of adventure.
- Travel is solid investment
This quote pretty much sums up my point! And again it goes back to investing in experiences not possessions.
“Travel is the best investment you can make in yourself. It teaches you that there are many ways to live a good, fulfilled life. It broadens your world view, yet makes you appreciate home all the more.”joel sartore
- Travel more in your own backyard
Appreciate the beauty in your city or country! Great travel adventures don’t have to be international. Explore more of your backyard over long weekends, whilst also saving some money on airfares. Check out some of my favourite destinations in my backyard, or Queensland, for some inspiration.
- Appreciate all you have on a regular basis.
We’re often so busy in day to day life that we forget to appreciate the little things and all we have. When you travel you treasure the beauty of things we often take for granted, like watching the sunset, savouring a delicious meal, and meeting new people. Travel teaches us it’s the little things that count. It also teaches us that we must be more grateful of all we have, even the basics such as health, shelter, food and clean water. I am more excited and thankful about life than I ever was because of my travels.
- Step outside of your comfort zone
If you’re comfortable, then you’re not growing. Travel teaches us that we can push the boundaries and step outside of our comfort zones. That’s when we learn the most and create the most memorable experiences. Embrace the unknown, leave behind the familiar and take on a world of new things. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable! Continue to stretch yourself and push your limits to continue growing and developing.
20 Things I Learned In My 20s – Love lessons to help you navigate dating, love and heartbreak.
- Dating is hard!
Dating will toss you around, test your self-confidence and teach you a whole range of lessons! The most important lesson I learnt was that the majority of the time it isn’t personal. If it was meant to be it would be! Oh and don’t ever forget!!! If he wanted to he would have. Let me rephrase to make sure it sunk in! If he wanted a 4th date he would have organised one, if he was thinking about how you are, he would have checked in with you, and if he wanted you to be his girlfriend he would have worked for it. Don’t settle and don’t let your confidence suffer because of someone else’s actions or lack there of.
- Pain for heartbreak is the same as physical pain
Emotional pain can often feel as strong as physical pain and at times can even cause symptoms of pain throughout the body. Love and heartbreak is painful, I won’t sugar coat it. What I have learnt, the hard way, is that pain fades and wounds heal. Trust me you will recover and put all the pieces back together. I guarantee you that in time, you will be ok. You may look back and still feel a little pain, but you will also gain a new perspective and gain strength to push forward. Do not lower your personal standards and value for anyone, even if it means short term pain relief.
- Love means letting go of expectations.
Sure, we all want people to behave the way we want them to. We want them to be more affectionate, more outgoing, more intelligent, or more ambitious. All of these things are expectations. Expectations are just your requirements for “acceptability” of loving someone. But true love has no expectations. It simply loves “as is.”
- He’s out there I promise. You just have to be patient
Love takes time and it will find you when you least expect it. That being said, if you don’t put yourself out there, don’t expect him or her to come knocking on your door. You get what you put into it. I met my boyfriend on a dating app, which was a lotta work. Several dates, a couple heart breaks and countless hours spent messaging a range of guys. I put in the work and I got the reward. You have to create your own destiny and take charge of your love life!
20 Things I Learned In My 20s – Self lessons for health, wellness and prosperity.
- Where sunscreen and get your skin checked
Wear sunscreen every day to protect your beautiful youthful skin! I’d also recommend getting your skin checked yearly by a Doctor or skin Specialist, particularly if you live here in sunny Australia. I have also set a 3 monthly reminder on my phone to self-check my moles. Learn more information on self-checking your skin from Cancer Council and be sure to contact your Doctor if ever in doubt.
- No one cares about you as much as you do (and that’s a good thing)
It may be harsh but it must be said! When properly understood, this is incredibly freeing and valuable. How awesome is it that you don’t need to worry so much about what other people think of you! Because chances are they aren’t noticing the insecurities you constantly overthink! Early in my career, the fear of failure drove most of my decisions. But in the end no one will remember your mistakes and no one really cares, especially about the small stuff — and that’s great. Don’t sweat the small stuff, easier said than done right. Find what makes you happy, work hard, and live fearlessly. If you screw up, no one cares. Neither should you.
- Prioritise your mental health
You invest in your physical health by signing up to a gym and eating a healthy diet so why don’t we invest in our mental health and personal growth in your 20s. We all have struggles, rough periods, highs and lows and areas for improvement. Investing in mental health treatment can be incredibly beneficial to your overall happiness. Seeing a therapist can be expensive, so I’d recommend talking to your GP about a mental health care plan to access treatment for a discounted price. Alternatively there are loads of great resources available such as books and online resources. A therapist recommended Change your Thinking book by Sarah Edelman which I found to be a great starting point for understanding Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and the mental flaws and shortcuts that affect us all. I also accessed free mental health treatment via an Employee Assistance Program through my workplace which entitled me to 3 free sessions, so I’d check with your employer what options are available.
- Exercise is incredibly important and can be fun
Shake up your workout routine every now and again to keep it fun! I am a huge fan of the Les Mills classes, they are super upbeat, challenging and use a whole range of muscles. There are options for everyone and you can truly see and feel the difference with consistent training. Some other top exercise recommendations I love are: reformer pilates, barre, RPM and playing social sport with your friends.
BONUS!! I don’t have to accomplish everything in my 20s.
My last lesson, and probably the most important, is that I don’t have to accomplish everything in my 20s. Why are your 20’s so hard? Because we put so much pressure on them to be the best times of our lives and put a timeframe of 10 years to accomplish our bucket list and achieve happiness! Ridiculous right! Sure our twenties are a big decade for lots of us, with degrees, new careers, relationships and new adventures and experiences. But that doesn’t mean that everything big has to happen in your twenties. There are so many big goals that you should be excited to pursue in the next ten years and so on. Your 20s don’t have to be the “best time of your life.” We are growing into ourselves across a whole lifetime, not just throughout one decade. Perhaps what makes your 20s the defining decade is realising that we can strive for a good life not just a good decade.
And there you have it, 20 Things I Learned In My 20s! Take a moment to reflect on what you’ve learnt in your twenties, or what you’re yet to tick off from your bucket list. Be selfish, be you and never stop growing!