At the age of 31, I moved back with my parents. Sleeping on the couch in my parent’s basement, I reflected on the “dumb” choices I’d made. I realized that at the root of my problems was my inability to manage my impulses. However, had I not fallen on my a** – several times – I don’t think I would have been able to see the error of my ways.
My 20’s was a crucial time in my life; full of temptations and distractions. But with great reflection, I realized all the decisions I made dictated my future. Here are a few “big” mistakes inexperienced youth make, as well as advice that may help those throughout their journey as a 20-something.
Quick Quick Slow
Be patient while giving it your best! Working hard for monumental success is like being in the gym. It is time to hustle, make mistakes, learn from those mistakes and repeat. Get dirty and sweaty! Do the work no one wants to do. Most internships don’t pay, and the entry-level job pays pennies, but the experience you gain is invaluable. If you show eagerness to learn and a great work ethic when you’re at the bottom of the food chain, you sparkle. And it pays off. Like a shiny object on the ocean floor, you will be noticed by the people looking for bright new talent.
I am “Grown”
“Acting Grown” and learning how to become a responsible adult are two different things. Instead of rushing to buy a brand-new condo or a car, think of the responsibility that comes with those things. Be real and ask yourself, can I afford to make monthly payments – for an entire year? If the answer is no, listen to conscience. Your conscience is there to point you in the right direction, so let it do its job. Research how to make smart investments. If you’re not sure, ask a financial advisor. Stay focused on your career. The amount of time you spend pretending to be “hot-$h*!” could have been spent becoming the person you actually want to be. Bills pile up, and financial burdens will feel like you’re being buried alive. Chill out! Be cautious and don’t cut corners. You will shine when the time is right, but you’ve got to put in the work. Staying on track is not easy. However, discovering what you want will help you prioritize. Consistency is key: do what it takes to accomplish your goals and in time you will see yourself getting closer to achieving your dreams. Whether it is a house, model wife, or a hot car – whatever tickles your fancy, you will have it.
The Blame Game
Be accountable. Many of us want to blame others for our problems or misfortune. Stop! Blaming anyone else will not lead you to create solutions for yourself. Hold yourself accountable daily; it’s sobering but do it kindly and respectfully. We are allowed to slip-up sometimes but don’t make it a habit. Whether it was the circumstances that lead you to drop out of college or the effects of lousy parenting, you have power over it all. No one is responsible for your peace, success, or happiness, except for you. Listen to the song, “Man in the Mirror” by Michael Jackson; it is a great reference for “owning your $h*!.”
What Goes Around Comes Around
I’m not telling you to make good investments because I did such an excellent job saving during my 20’s. Nope! I crashed, and it resulted in me living at my parent’s house to rebuild from my mistakes. Did I burn bridges with people I loved? Yes. Sometimes an apology sufficed to help mend a broken relationship, but often I had to accept that my own mistakes ruptured a valuable relationship beyond repair. Karma is the biggest “jerk” you will ever meet in life. What goes around comes around, is a lesson that becomes very apparent when discovering who you are in your 20’s. “Baby girl” and “baby boy” you are not immune to the vast forces that be.
I am a realist, and I know the human spirit “will do what thou wilt,” though I challenge you to live your best life. You can’t escape falling victim to life’s woes; it is a package deal we all received at birth, so don’t feel short-changed. Be that as it may, I hope you will take my advice. Educate yourself so that you’ll be prepared for life’s challenges and the responsibilities that come with being an adult in your 20’s.
This morning I dropped my daughter off at school and then I went to Starbucks. I ate a ham and cheese croissant and caramel latte.