Your twenties are arguably one of the best decades of your life. You get to experience freedom as an adult for the first time, you’re more established and know yourself better than when you were in your teens, but it’s still ok to make mistakes. You can be selfish and focus on yourself, before you have a family to care for you can make life interesting by travelling, focusing on your career and seeing friends. You can study, work or both without too many limitations, and it’s generally a time to figure out who you are and what you’re about. Where do you want to go in life? What do you stand for? What are your passions, and what makes you tick? Here are some examples of things you can do throughout this decade to really make the most of it.
Find your style
Most of us experiment with our look in our teens, but we tend to be a little clueless at that age. We follow trends even though they don’t suit us, we don’t have the money to buy the things we need for certain looks and we’re so insecure that we rarely feel that we can pull these things off. In our twenties, we know ourselves better. We can afford to buy clothes, go to the hairdresser and buy the products we need and want. So it can be a good time to experiment, you could try a new hair colour or cut or a new clothing style. You could buy some makeup and play around with different looks, there are loads of tutorials online. Try out different colours and accessories, try on all kinds of shoes and jackets. Find a look that reflects you as a person today, and not just the same old looks you’ve been rocking for years. Don’t be afraid to push the boat out- if you want to wear dresses but you never have before- do it! If you want to wear bright or bold lipstick and nail polish, go for it! If you’re worried about friends and family being shocked, they’ll soon get used to your new style.
As a student it’s accepted that you can live on a diet of booze and baked beans on toast. But no one wants to go into adulthood living this way! Start making changes in your lifestyle now that will put you on a healthy path for the rest of your life. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, hit the gym after work and get enough sleep. Quit your dangerous vices such as smoking and binge drinking, and find other things that are enjoyable but good for you. Going to spas, pampering yourself and spending your money on things that are actually worth it are much better options. Find productive ways to cope with stress, seeing as this is something we’ll all have to deal with from time to time.
There’s no better time in life to travel than in your twenties. You’ve got your own income and don’t have some of the limitations that can come later on. When you’re further in your career and have a family to look after, travelling for anything more than a week or two can be really difficult. If you have the opportunity to travel, grab it with both hands. Go backpacking, sleep in travel hostels, in RVs, tents and motels. See destinations beyond the glamorous tourist traps- chat to the locals, enjoy the street food and really immerse yourself in a place. Visit places in the world that aren’t so obvious- just see, do and experience as much as you can. It’s not to say you won’t get the chance to travel later on, but you might find it more difficult than it is right now.
Move into your own permanent home
Most of us tend to move around a bit in our late teens and early twenties. We live in university accommodation and shared houses while we’re studying, and then often go on to rent a small apartment or share with others after this. Some people decide to go back home and live with parents. But sooner or later, you reach a point where you just want your own long term home. Decide whether you’re able to save up and get a mortgage, or if you want to rent. Either way, aim to move into a place that you’ll be staying in for the foreseeable future. Decorate it in a way that makes you happy, but nice, long lasting furniture. Invest in a good bed and sofa, and fill it with beautiful items like plants, photo frames and mementos from your travels. A stable home gives you a good ‘base’ to return to each day. Somewhere you can rest, relax and feel refreshed- so that you can get back out there and deal with whatever life throws at you. Things like high quality sheets on your bed, fluffy towels and nice art are all things you can buy and surround yourself with when you have a home to call your own.
Set some career goals
Our twenties are often dedicated to career, and it makes sense to get as far ahead as you can before starting a family. It allows you to earn more money, giving you the opportunity to save up, and it can make returning to work after having children easier as your job is more safe. From where you are now, decide where you want to be and what steps you can take to get there. If you plan on starting your own business, perhaps you could set it up from home and run it in your spare time as a side hustle. Then later down the line when it’s doing well, you could quit your full time job and do this instead. If you want to further your education, you could go back to college or university, or you could study online part time. Set some goals and then do what you can to work towards them. This is a time in your life where you can really focus on yourself and get to where you want to be, so make the most if it. Hard work now will set you up for success and financial stability later down the line and make it easier once you have a family.
Sort out your budget
When you’re a little younger and still living at home, you can pretty much spend your income on whatever you want. But as you get older, it’s important to start being more thoughtful with where your hard earned cash is going. Do you want to save for a house or a new car? Do you want to save to travel, or just make sure you’re budgeting properly to live the kind of life you want? You need to ensure that all of your bills are paid, costs to get around are covered (such as your car, or public transport to work) and groceries are bought before you start spending on anything else. Finding a system that works for you is important, and there’s lots of ways you can go about it. One is to open a new bank account, and set all of your bills to come out of here by direct debit. That way you can transfer a set amount each week (or month, depending on how you get paid) and everything comes out and takes care of itself. You dont have to pay bills individually, and you never accidentally spend the money since it’s all from a separate account. Otherwise, use a calendar, notepad or app so that you know exactly what needs to be paid, and when.
As you move through your twenties, your style of socialising can change a lot. You and your friends might have once frequented nightclubs and parties, but now prefer something a little more laid back. You don’t have to hang up your dancing shoes for good, but think of ways you can spend time with friends that suits all of your lifestyles a little better. Double dates with your partner, your friend and their partner can be a lot of fun. You could host dinner parties at home, or arrange to meet friends in a restaurant and enjoy some good food, drink and conversation. You could arrange trips together, thanks to sites like Wowcher and Groupon it’s easy to book a getaway for next to nothing and these kinds of things can work well for groups. As we get older and we’re working more, starting families and gaining more responsibility, it’s easy to drift apart from friends where we’re not nurturing those connections. But friendships are important, just because your group no longer likes to go out drinking every weekend doesn’t mean you should grow apart. Come up with things that you all like to do now instead.