Sometimes we just get stuck in the trap of doing what everyone else is doing.
We go to college, get an internship, graduate, get a job, get married and then start family, all at a similar time frame of your peers. Why? Because we are programmed to think that at a certain age, we should be doing this in life, like by 28 you should be married, and then the stress of following what society calls "normal" kicks in and you end up getting married.
Have you ever stepped back to think if that is what you really want though? Do you really want to jump right into that job at 22 or 23 years old and be working a 9-5 for the next 50ish years? Have you even thought about how long 50 years is? That is over double the amount of time you have been alive, are you really looking to settle down in your prime years of life with a family and stable job?
"I need to save for retirement though." Yes, and you have your whole life to do so, who cares if you start a few years later, are you really going to work your whole life to enjoy a handful of years in retirement when you are not able to do the things you would have been able to when you were younger?
Also, have you ever thought about that in college, and right out of college, is potentially the most freedom you are going to have the rest of your life, with no huge mortgages or expenses weighing you down or no family that is depending on you. As your life goes on, you are going to have more and more responsibility, which means more and more reasons to not do the things you have always wanted to do. Eventually, you fall into a pattern that looks something like this: Wake up, drive to work, sit at work, go to the gym, come home and spend some time watching TV or with the family, go to bed and repeat. Then maybe relax or watch some extra TV on the weekend because you are tired from work.
Does that really sound fun for 50 years? Throw in a vacation or two to a random beach and that still sounds boring to me.
All while saying you will do the things you really want to do "in the future" yet they just keep getting pushed off until you find time or energy.
I really wanted to write this for myself today, as I am in my early 20's and am determined to not let myself waste this freedom that I currently have. I'm not going to be super basic and say "these are the best years of your life," because that is very subjective, meaning that every year we are going to have new goals and new focuses to make it hopefully a better year.
Consider asking yourself this, why are you trying to rush into a job? Is it to get money to buy that base level BMW and make people think you are doing well? Because if you are just looking for those material things, nobody really cares as much as you think they do about what you drive, have or wear. Just ask yourself if you would never get a compliment about that shirt you are buying, would you still buy it? Surprisingly, the answer is usually "no."
So, this is my current focus for maximizing my time and resources in my twenties, I hope you can take something from this and consider what it is really makes you happy and focus on that while you still have fewer responsibilities, instead of rushing into a job to buy things that you think will impress people.
Taking Time To Yourself
Do you even know who you really are?
This one is going to come first because it really changed my whole routine when I realized that I had all of my happiness and self-worth tied up in other people and what they were doing or what they thought of me.
I realized this when my girlfriend broke up with me and I suddenly had much more time on my hands, I really didn't know what to do because I wasn't sure what I liked anymore. I had spent so much time focused on what we were going to do next and what we were doing, that I never actually took time to see what I enjoyed doing and never enjoyed any alone time now and then.
This is actually very common in college and your twenties, even though very few people admit it. Just think about it, you are in class usually or if you aren't you are always trying to see what friend can go get lunch or go out to the bars tonight, heck most people even go to the gym with a friend and this is one of the easiest ways to create some alone time to craft your own thoughts.
Even when you are at your job, you work with people all day and then you try to hang out with people at least a handful of nights each week, never fully giving yourself more alone time, even though you likely get more than when you were in college.
The more you are constantly around other people, the more you are going to start to think the way they do, rather than crafting your own opinion or own thought patterns. This blocks out part of your personality and this is why so many friend groups seem like they are just a large group of essentially the same people.
When you take time for yourself, you can learn and start crafting ideas that are yours and even picking up hobbies or working on side projects that interest you, rather than just going and doing what other people want to do.
Don't tie all of your happiness and self worth in the people you are around, this is a mistake I have made too many times because you never really figure out who you are. Don't you want to be more interesting and attract a partner that is similar to you rather than be like everyone else and struggle to differentiate yourself in any area of life, not just relationships?
If you are looking for an easy way to start, just start eating a few meals alone or going to the gym alone and just have it be you and your thoughts, it is a very powerful thing.
Not Taking Time In Between College and Your Career
Why waste this time where you have no obligations and nothing holding you back?
If you are really excited to jump into your career, then go for it, this section might not be for you.
But, if you are like me and really don't want to get stuck down so early in life, maybe it is time to take a year or a few years off and focus on what you really want to do, whether that be traveling, art, building a business of your own, etc. A few years is not going to set you back that far and you can always fall back on a job when you are ready or if things don't turn out as planned.
There is no right way to live life, nor should you think that there is and there definitely is not a certain age at which you have to jump into your career by.
The reason so many people end up just following the path of least resistance and jumping into their careers right away out of college, is that they are likely worried about what other people will think of them. They hold the opinions of others above their passions because they are scared of what people might say about them if they move back in with their parents or chase a passion.
The people talking are usually not close with you anyways, if they even talk, so why would you care what they say? Just know your closest friends should support you and that is what matters most.
On top of that, people will jump into a career so they can finally start buying those "toys." Say you are just out of college and lock in a job that pays 10x what you have ever made in your life, working those high school and college jobs. Then you start saving to buy all those things that you think will make you happy, like a BMW.
Sure, it may make you happy for a while, but not long term and you will have to buy that next thing to try and make yourself happy because you see your neighbor has a better car. Thus begins the never ending cycle of trying to buy happiness because you are not fulfilled.
In reality, maybe you could have taken some time off to find out what you really enjoy and make that a part of everyday life, so if you really enjoy cars, then buy the BMW, but if you realize that you would rather travel, the you will save your money, from the car that you think will impress people, and use that money to travel instead.
Taking this time off can really help you realize a lot about yourself and what you really enjoy, as I have found after moving back home and out of the college life as everyone else is spending money to go out or buy things to impress everyone else.
Not Spending Money on Experiences
Nobody cares what you are wearing as much as you think they do, rather learn to create stories.
No, we don't think you are rich because you have a Gucci belt that you spent all summer saving up for, especially when you can barely pay rent.
Wow, I could probably write 80 sections on this topic alone as it is such a problem, especially in college. People are out here spending hundreds of dollars on designer clothes for the sole reason of trying to get compliments or impress other people. To the point of overextending themselves and not being able to pay some other bills, just so that they can play the persona that they are rich. Really? Is that really what you want to be doing?
I know one kid who freshman year of college went to the mall with us and decided to "flex" and buy two pairs of $250 shoes, only to run out of money two weeks later and have to ask us to pay for lunch. Was that really worth it, we really didn't care that he even bought them, even though he thought he was probably the coolest kid ever.
How about we start creating memories and stories, spending money on experiences rather than on clothes that we are just trying to use to get the approval of others.
The goal here is to "live a great story," create a life story that you are proud to share and I'm almost positive that the $500 Gucci belt you bought will not be part of the life story you are telling your grandchildren.
Want to know what will be in that story? All of the places you went and experiences you had. Start spending your money on those stories rather than over extending yourself trying to buy nice clothes or a nicer car than you can afford.
If you are wondering how to travel for cheap in college, here is how I do so (click/ tap here) >>
Creating Good Habits
You will thank yourself a ton for this one.
Habits are something we never really think about unless we are trying to get rid of bad habits. We never take the time to actually sit down and figure out what areas of our lives we could create better habits in to get better results, as habits play a larger role in the results of your life then you might imagine. Even if you do figure out what habits to create, a lot of people just tell themselves that they will "make them a priority it in the future," which means it will not get done for years most of the time. Why would you want to wait when better habits means you could be performing better and thus be earning more money or be in better shape.
The longer you wait, the more solid your routine becomes and the harder and harder it is to add totally new habits, so why not start in your 20's?
This has been a huge focus of mine recently and boy does it feel good to have more energy, mental clarity and be getting more work done. Trade the bar twice a week for some solid habits and you are well on the way to making the most out of your days.
When you go to the bar twice a week, that is two nights a week and likely two days (when you are nursing a hangover) that you won't be able to focus on building habits and learning more or even increasing your happiness. This is a major set back when you could really be focused on yourself and help yourself actually become a little happier, something a surprising amount of college kids aren't, and I struggle as well time to time still.
Some of the major areas to focus on habits that will be life long are in the fields of diet and exercise, cognitive function (helping you remember more and problem solve better), productivity and happiness. Start taking control of these things and you'll thank yourself later.
If you are interested in learning more about how to actually start these habits and what habits are best to build, I made a free guide to help you start, just click the link below there.
Here is a little guide for some of my favorite habits, from cognitive brain functions to better sleep, all in this free guide! Click here to download >>
Thanks for stopping by, I hope you grabbed some good content from here and come back tomorrow for a post on what you will regret doing the most in your 20's. I am super excited about that one as well!
And if you would like to join the MMNTM movement and start finally getting more out of life, no matter what age you are, from finances to travel and habits.. join the community on Twitter and Instagram.
I look forward to seeing you all in the comments,
P.S. if you are looking for ways to experience more in your health, habits, income, travel and more I have a newsletter where I send a few strategies, ideas and resources per week to help you do that.
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