Anyone who has been reading CF for a while knows that I’m not here to tell anyone how to live their life. I’m am very firmly on team “you do you, live your life,” as long as you’re not hurting yourself or others.
That said, there are always things I wish someone had told me sooner. I turned 27 this year and with this birthday, I’ve been reflecting on the last few years of my life. During these years I changed jobs, bought a house, struggled with my mental health, rediscovered my love for writing, and re-evaluated my dreams and goals. I also did a lot of soul-searching and soul-growing.
There are so many skills that I’ve had to hone in the last two years, just to keep myself from drowning. I wish I had developed these skills much earlier in life.
Of course, all of these skills are not have/have not skills, but things you’ll have to learn and re-learn throughout your whole life as the tapestry weaves itself. That said, by the time you’re 27, I hope you’ve learned to do all of the following things:
When you’re young and still finding yourself, it can be tempting to say yes to everyone and everything, whether it’s for the sake of self-exploration, not wanting to let anyone down, or proving your worthiness to yourself and others. You can’t sustain this everything-to-everyone momentum for long before you start to burn out and lose sight of what’s important to you.
At some point, you’ll realize that saying no to someone can mean saying yes to yourself instead. You won’t be able to make everyone in the world happy, but you can make yourself happy, and that happiness should be what you prioritize first. So learn to say no to the things that don’t make you happy, don’t bring you joy, or don’t bring you fulfillment. Life is too short to waste on that ish.
When I say self-care here, I’m not talking about the indulgent self-care of face masks and bubble baths and glasses of wine, though it’s nice to indulge in those things if they make you feel good and like you’re taking care of yourself.
I’m talking about doing the things that help you be the best version of yourself — the things that help you feel like you. This could include working out regularly, making sure you’re drinking enough water, eating healthy foods that make you feel good, and nurturing your beautiful creative soul as well as your brilliant mind.
By the time you’ve reached your mid to late twenties, you should have found a rhythm that gives you balance. This routine should allow you to sustain your momentum without sacrificing the health of any aspect of yourself. You won’t always be able to maintain balance (I mean, if you always can, please, share your secrets with us mere mortals) but you’ll always have a solid routine to come home to when you feel off track.
Get Yourself Through It
In the same vein as self-care…sometimes life is quiet and simple, and sometimes it comes at you hard and fast and cruel. You’ll be challenged, you’ll be hurt, you’ll be changed. These are the times where you’ll be going through it. And by the time you reach your mid to late 20s you’ll need some strategies to help you move through that place, rather than sinking down into it forever.
Feel your feelings — listen to your favorite sad music, eat ice cream and drink wine and watch your favorite romcoms, journal and make art and scream into a pillow. Surround yourself with loved ones who support you and bolster you. Know yourself well enough to know what will help you productively move through problems. And then learn — learn about yourself, recognize your strength and resiliency. And know you’ll have to move through it, again and again and again.
You’ve got this, don’t worry.
Follow a Budget
Ugh, yep. Budgets seem boring and unsexy and limiting. But spending more than you’re making is a great way to saddle yourself with prohibitive debt for the rest of your life.
Knowing what you bring in and what you need to spend to, y’know, have shelter and food and electricity, actually gives you a clear idea of how much of your money is for you – for you to spend on yourself. It’s freeing to know that money is yours to spend however you feel, whether that’s to save up for vacation, to revamp your wardrobe, or to invest in hobbies and things you love.
Just make sure you’re setting aside at least a little bit of it in a rainy-day savings account!
Nothing, for me, anyway, hurts worse than realizing that you’ve made a mistake or hurt someone through your words, your actions, or, even worse, your ignorance or carelessness. In these moments, the easiest and most compassionate thing you can do is apologize, sincerely.
Know that you are not every mistake you make or every person you’ve hurt, but also take the time to understand why what you did was hurtful and what you can learn from it. It can be difficult to admit you were wrong about something, or to realize that a worldview you’ve held close is wrong or flawed. Seek the knowledge of others and learn from your mistakes — it’s not enough to just apologize, especially if that leads you to making the same mistake over and over.
What do you think?
What are the things everyone should learn to do by the time they’re in their late 20s? Let me know in the comments below!