Being in your 20’s is a crazy time, because you’re going from being an oversize child, who survives off junk food and good luck (me aged 18-22), to a responsible adult who can not only look after themselves, but possibly tiny humans (not me)!
I feel like being in your 20s is all about coming into your own, discovering who you are outside your parents house, and learn what you do and don’t want. I think it’s also a time for investing in yourself and who you want to be. Obviously I think you should invest in yourself at all time periods of your life, but I can only speak to what I have experienced.
I am soon about to turn 25, so I technically half a decade to go, and while I don’t feel like I wasted the first half of my 20’s, I definitely want to spend more time investing in myself and who I want to be, so here are the ways I want to invest in myself for the rest of my twenties…
1) Indulge in all your weird interests and hobbies: Hobbies are the best ways to be fulfilled and learn new and interesting things, it helps me to feel connected and relieve stress from things like work and paying bills. I have really been indulging in any habit that really interests me, from bouldering, to dodgeball to candle making, and it has been so much fun! I feel like I have learnt so much, and it has given me skills and knowledge that I otherwise wouldn’t have. I love learning new things and I can’t wait to continue learning new things through any random interest I decide on during the day.
2) Find a mentor: I have had to good luck of having a couple of amazing mentors in my life, and a good mentor can make all the difference in your work and life. I have written about mentors here. Find someone whose work you admire, and ask them to be your mentor. Aside from making sure your mentor is related to your field, or even if they arnt and you just think they are cool. Also look for someone who will tell you like it is — even when you’ve done something wrong, Honesty is what makes a mentor invaluable.
3) Find a way to be healthy that you don’t hate: The longer you wait to make exercise a regular occurrence, the harder it will be to make it a consistent part of your life. Exercise shouldn’t be something you do to punish your body, trust me on this, exercise should bring joy into your life, not be something you dread. Try out different forms of exercise to see which ones you enjoy most, and begin making those a regular activity you partake in.
4) Develop that healthy self esteem that everyone is always talking about: The way you treat your body in your twenties sets the stage for the body you’ll have in your thirties, forties, and fifties. Now is the time to ensure better health for the rest of your life — this includes choosing to fuel your body with the right foods, as well as making time for exercise. It also includes creating a healthy relationship with yourself, and I know how cliche this sounds, but you have to live with yourself for the rest of your life, so it may as well be someone you don’t hate.
5) Learn some basic life skills- like cooking: In the interest of honesty, its important to note that I thought I hated cooking for a really long time, my mum hated cooking, and I just adopted that mindset. When I moved out, I just survived on take out, or food I didn’t have to cook. Which meant it was expensive and full of salt. My partner loves cooking, and is really creative in the kitchen, and his natural joy for the process intrigued me and made me want to learn. Now that I have mastered some basic skills and some basic recipes, I really enjoy cooking and baking and it’s not something I actively despise anymore. I even meal prep now, crazy right?
Cooking is an essential skill that all young adults should acquire. Cooking your own food is cheaper than eating out all the time, and knowing how to cook also means you’ll be able to contribute delicious dishes whenever you go to a party, potluck, or holiday gathering.
6) Learn… Everything: Books, podcasts, conferences… anything… One of the best things you can do for yourself in your twenties is to start reading books or learning about things that appeal to you. Reading is one of the best ways to continue your education after school, and its also cheap(ish) and accessable, and to learn more about yourself as well as the world around you. Start picking up books that jump out at you, and see what you like
7) Develop good friendships: There’s nothing wrong with having a lot of friends, but as you get older, it becomes more important to have a few very close friends you can always rely on. During my twenties, I have found friends who are genuinely there for me in every thing that I do, and I do the same for them.
8) Get Standards: My twenties have been an experiment in what I will accept, from relationships, friendships, myself and from life in general, and I am developing my standards and what I will accept for myself. Some of my standards were too rigid, and in some aspects of my life I didn’t have any standards at all. But overall it has been incredibly important part of my development and I want to continue exploring that for the rest of my life.
9) Find what you like: I do not have a lot of money to spend on high-end fashion pieces, but thats totally normal and okay. But I know what I like, and it means I will spend more money on things that I like instead of spending money on fast fashion that I don’t like. Think of the long game when you go shopping in your twenties so you have a wardrobe capable of carrying you through several life phases.
10) Find what you believe in: This goes for who you are as a person, a professional, and in my lifestyle in general. Your twenties are the time to figure out what you stand for, what you want to be known for, and how you want to behave as a human. I want to live my twenties with the intention of deciding who I am in all facets of your life, so the years to come are all focused on achieving your goals and being happy
11) Understand how money works: Budgeting is a hard lesson to learn, and I’m very much still in the learning phase, however, I think it’s one of the most essential life skills you can have. I’m so glad I have the time and space to learn before I have adult responsibilities like a mortgage and a family. I recommend talking with your parents about how to create a budget (or borrow my parents).
12) Travel This is really something I want to prioritise in every time period of my life, but when possible, I want to travel everywhere possible. I think the best way to challenge myself, learn new things or new experiences is to travel as much as possible.
What do you think the best way to invest in yourself is?