As cliché as it might sound, 20s is the most defining age of your sustenance. I left college when I turned 21, and boom! My entire life took a sharp turn. A lot of decisions, choices and sacrifices came by, and the first half of turning 21 was nothing short than a roller coaster ride. As I’m still surviving my 20s, here are the realizations that dawn upon me, and a few more which I’m still trying to decode:
Physical health is paramount
As you enter your work space, the least importance you give to, is your physical well-being. We’re most competitive in our 20s, and begin to consume more work than food. Success isn’t only defined by your work, it’s about what you chart up for your daily schedule which includes a healthy balance of professional, personal, physical and spiritual life.
Drop anything or anyone that/who threatens your mental health
We’re kids, quite unsorted. But trust me, if you your mental health isn’t at peace, you have nothing. Your career, loved ones, and almost every second thing will go downhill if you don’t become selfish about your mental space. You won’t realize it when depression will hit you, and frankly speaking, there’s nothing worse than that. Not knowing what you’re going through is not better than knowing everything and not doing anything about it. Drop anything/anyone as swiftly as sand passing through the gaps of your fingers. Being selfish helps sometimes.
Relationships need to be on top, expectations at the bottom.
I was overjoyed when my first offer letter came in. The lure of money, status and working with an “oh-my-god-you-work-with-that-organization?” led me to compromise on my relationships. In a month, I suffered a severe breakdown, and until then, I was left with friends i’d ‘chill’ with and I’d lost all of MY people. I called up my dad, someone who I never shared anything before this, and broke down. For the first time, I wanted to leave everything and go back home. I needed love, a lot of care, and someone to be there, someone to rely on. That moment, I realized the value of relationships and how nothing could take its place. I realized as you’re going to climb the ladder, you’re going to be more vulnerable, and you’ll need your loved ones by your side. I also realized that growing up means cutting out on expectations entirely, and not letting them define the depth of your relationships. It means closure from expectations, but not from loving hard.
Tune off from other people’s lives
We think we’re entitled to judge people. We judge how people dress, their ability to speak low-average-fluent English, their ability to be unapologetic-ally pretentious and other things that you believe serves as a time filler. For your soul’s sake, limit it. A great man (You know whose picture is painted on a deep quote, yeah, one of those men) once said: “Great men discuss ideas, not people.”
Don’t let liquor overpower your inhibitions.
20s is the age to get drunk, do weird stuff, and mostly make out. I’ve had my fair share of that experience, and it has done no good. Because, unfortunately, your life is not a film, and you’re not going to kiss a stranger and fall in love with them and have a happily-ever-after-bullshit. You’re just going to regret being easy. It will feel worse if you kissed a friend because that’s going to take away the friendship, no matter how much you decide to play it cool by texting each other “Oh you know, it didn’t mean anything.” So, cut the crap. If you don’t learn to hold up your liquor now, you never will.
Read Harry Potter for God’s sake if you haven’t already!
Don’t get away with this point just because you’ve watched the movies. They’re crap. Read the books. Now is the time.
Solitude is absolutely perfect (and acceptable).
I’ve always been irked by this question almost everywhere. Whether I went to cinemas or a restaurant, and they’d ask me how many people, I’d say one, and they’d be like, “Just you ma’am? Alone?” As much as I would want to break their bones, I would repeat myself with heavy composure, “Yes sir, all alone.” I’d be receiving unwelcoming stares every time they passed my table. Not a lot of people understand that it’s perfectly okay to be alone. I still go to watch movies and eat at a restaurant alone. That’s my way of spending time with myself. It doesn’t mean I have fewer friends than others do (Well, I do), but it’s about who I am, and I, for most of it, am a loner.
Lastly, stop cribbing about the purpose of life and shit. Just live, one day at a time.
For most of the days, we don’t know ‘why’ we’re merely ‘existing’. Everyone’s ultimate goal is to find their ‘purpose’ if life, while I want to enjoy the ride till I accidentally stumble on it. What most people don’t realize is, that they WON’T have a purpose to look forward to every day. And maybe, if they do, it’ll change. There’ll be times when you won’t know why you’re up to, but you do. And that irrelevant, purposeless continuance is as important as your journey to discover the purpose. In the end, it’s just a ride. Just that.
So if you’re a in your 20s and you’re wondering what’s going to happen next, let me remind you something – Don’t ask yourself if you’re made for this world. Live everyday knowing the world isn’t made for you.