You know how there are all these motivational quotes on Pinterest, and Instagram about your twenties being some of the most crucial years of your life? The years you have the most room to fail, make mistakes, try new things and grow? Well, maybe there is something to this whole theory. I mean, nobody's twenties can be held against them, it doesn't matter how many faux pas you end up making, as long as you learn from them.
1. Saving for your future
This is one is quite evident, the pay gap isn't close to being remedied anytime soon, and we can't wait on that whole process to come to fruition to start thinking of our financial security. This isn't to say that your twenties should be spent penny-pinching, but, learning when and where to spend money is definitely worth it. So, think about how to start investing in mutual funds, stocks and consider getting health insurance.
2. Start taking care of your mental health
Whether you decide to do this by going to a therapist. Or, by maintaining bullet journals to track your mental health, meditating, taking healthy breaks and doing self-care rituals - your twenties are a great time to start recognising the importance of your mental health and taking care of it.
3. Stop being afraid of authority figures
As women (especially desi women) we're often taught to respect and follow the lead of authority figures almost blindly. And naturally, this can lead to fears around speaking up in front of older people, school teachers or bosses. But this fear is rooted in a societal norm that is used to keep children from becoming a danger to themselves and the people around them. It isn't a very sustainable practice beyond that point.
Besides, women are policed way too much, and their autonomy isn't taken very seriously. So to take control of ones narrative by speaking up in front of authority figures is an act of bravery that frankly deserves to be followed through more often.
4. Start working on your confidence levels
Your twenties are a great time to allow yourself to look silly, and shed any self-limiting beliefs you've been carrying around. Especially about how the world views you. For all you know, you are your biggest critic, and your mistakes aren't as gigantic as you make them out to be in your mind. So, read as many self-help books, listen to as many life coaches and do one thing every day that scares the heck out of you, until you realise confidence is less about your image and reputation, and more about how you see yourself.
5. Find a good gynaecologist for yourself
This is a no brainer. A non-negotiable clause. Taking responsibility for yourself also includes taking care of your body, loving it and protecting it like you would a loved ones. Women are constantly going through it when it comes to their hormonal and reproductive health, so it's really important to find a gynaecologist you feel super comfortable around, trust wholeheartedly, and can stick to for the long haul.
6. Start investing in a capsule wardrobe
As frivolous or as vain as this sounds, it's actually a great way to manage your finances for the long run. Clothes are an investment, and if you have ten basic, high-quality pieces in your closet that you can style eighty different ways, with a few experimental items - you'll save the money you'd be spending on clothes that might get tattered in six months. This is also a great way to curb the habit of going on compulsive (and pocket-burning) shopping sprees.
7. Prioritise travelling more often
Experiences teach you a lot and stay with you your whole life. Rather than cluttering your house, they'll take up meaningful space in your mind as good memories. So, spending money on a travel experience is never a waste of money, or time. Especially if you make sure to learn about the different cultures you get to see.
8. Invest in educating yourself.
Whether it's going back to school to get a master's degree or taking up online courses, or reading up on a certain subject - learning something new will add substance to your personality, and help you build a healthy relationship with yourself. It'll teach you self-trust and independence on whole new level.
9. Stop being afraid to make mistakes
Allowing yourself the room to make mistakes builds resilience and leads to wisdom that can be used to better your future. Your twenties are the best (but not the only) decade to stop judging yourself and to push yourself past your comfort zone. It's okay if you just got out of college and want to pursue a career that's unrelated to your degree, or if you don't even know what you want to do in life, confusion doesn't always spell disaster. Without a bit of confusion, there would be no incentive to find clarity and discernment
10. Stop laughing at jokes you don't find funny
Often, women are conditioned to sit in discomfort and let any kind of disrespect slide, but you don't have to continue living with the same set of beliefs. You can start living on your own terms and have healthy boundaries with people. And, boundaries are a lot about not accepting mistreatment, disrespect, or derogatory remarks especially if they're disguised as jokes.
This doesn't mean you need to shut a joke down by being rude or disrespectful in return, but it is important to learn how to remove yourself from toxic situations and dynamics that cost you your mental health. You don't have to play along with someone who is actively trying to make you feel uncomfortable.
11. Start prioritizing your physical health
Your physical health has a lot fo do with your brain chemistry. It's all over the internet, all those studies about which chemicals release while we exercise and the hormones it helps balance out. So, clearly working out has its benefits. But, this does not mean you've to kill yourself in the gym or chase an unrealistic body standard. All you've to do is move your body and get some blood pumpin'.
12. Find a solid support system
Life is hard. And adulting is even harder. most people start adulting fully in their twenties. Just as spending some alone time and building a healthy relationship with yourself is important, making time for your family, and friends is also important. As you get older, life only gets busier, and more complicated, and we all need support through that. We all need a home team or a soul tribe, even if that's just our two best friends from 7th grade.
I mean, I know I need to follow through with a few of these myself.