Our 20s are such an unstable and unpredictable phase. So many things go right and wrong in this age. We are basically clueless and just wing things as we go. Work problems, relationship problems, unstable friendships, drama, anxiety, self-doubt, and so on. It is at this phase we learn so much about ourselves and come closer to knowing who we really are.
On Twitter, I saw a tweet that read “Your 20s are for living” but was rebuffed by another tweet that read “Your whole life is for living”. And while I agree with the second tweet, some things should be experienced and attempted in your 20s. If you can, I mean why not?
1/ Travel and Explore
If you can, leave your environment for a while. It could be with your girlfriends or a solo trip. Take a break from work, pack your bags and leave for a new place so you can experience new things outside what you know, and what you’re used to. Try new food, learn about other cultures, again, experience new things.
It’s okay if you don’t have enough for Maldives, Bora Bora and other fancy places Instagram has subconsciously put into our minds. There are breathtaking, fancy places right here in Nigeria. Especially if you live in Lagos, take it as an opportunity to unwind and leave the hustle bustle of Lagos for a while.
If it is a trip with your girlfriends, it could be an avenue to have undiluted fun. If it’s a solo trip, it could be a way to clear your head and thoughts. Either way, it would be refreshing for you and your mental health.
2/ Try New Things Outside Your Comfort Zone
Most rich people didn’t get it right on their first trial. While social media is a great tool, one of its disadvantages is that it makes you believe that other people are doing better than you. You might feel left out because you think your peers are more established than you are, but what you don’t know is that nobody has cheat codes to this life thing and that people are just winging it as they go.
You might not know where your skill lies yet, and that’s fine. Try your hands at different things, things you like or things that spark your interest. Most importantly, step out of your comfort zone. You’ll learn new things and meet new people that can elevate you and bring new opportunities your way.
There’s no rush, things will work out in your favor in the end. Be persistent but also gentle with yourself.
3/ Invest Your Time, Energy And Money
Invest your time and energy into things and people that make you happy. It’s likely that you will meet many people with bad intentions in this phase of life, so look out for the ones that are genuine, and the ones that aren’t. Don’t be worried about those that leave, nurse the heartbreak but open the door for other people to walk in. Be optimistic.
Be there for your friends, support their crafts and be their shoulder to lean on. Life can be hard, but moving through it with people that you love and love you in return would make it bearable and worthwhile.
If you have the resources, you should invest or save money for rainy days or future projects. This is a good time to start the financial foundation of your life.
4/ Sample Romantic Partners
You might find “the one”, you might not. There is honestly no rush. Go into romantic relationships with your heart pure and open. There’s no need for games. If they can’t give you want, leave. Your own person will come at the right time. This would set precedent for future relationships.
Remember that things do not have to be so serious all the time. As long as you’re having safe and consensual sex, its okay to have stress free casual sex sometimes. Especially when you aren’t looking for long term relationships because you may have your mind focused on other things like your goals and career.
There are varieties to romantic relationships – open relationships, polyamorous relationships, polygamous relationships, polyandrous relationships, etc. Fall in love with men and/or women, if that is what works for you. Don’t forget that you don’t have all the answers, you’re learning as you go.
5/ Own Yourself, And Be Selfish With Your Time
Shut out the noise and study yourself. Learn your likes and dislikes, your favorite colors and favorite meals. Love yourself and your body. Live your life for yourself and not for men or any other person. Learn your love languages and practice them on yourself. Do things that make you happy and wear clothes that make you feel confident. Take calculated risks and be open to trying new things. Be optimistic, you might not be where you want to yet but persistence and hard work will take you there. Work on your craft, grow your portfolio and don’t be afraid to apply for jobs you think are above your skills, as long as you are open to learning. What is the worst that could happen anyway? You might get rejected but don’t be deterred. What is for you will work in your favor.
Journaling is great. I just got into it myself. When you are overwhelmed, pick up a book and write down your thoughts. Write about interesting and mundane things that happened during your day too. On days when things are good or bad, you can go back to your journal to remind yourself that things used to be worse or better. Life is about ups and downs and finding a balance between the good and bad.
Affirmations are also a great habit to familiarize yourself with. When it seems like everything is crumbling, remind yourself that you are amazing and loved. You’ve got this!
It’s already hard enough growing into an adult in a country like Nigeria, where everything is stacked against you but growing into a woman is harder. There’s the added oppression of sexism, inequality and misogyny meted against us but we’ll pull through. Familiarize yourself with female focused publications, women only group chats and women communities. There’s always a woman or group of women willing to carry a sister along.
Here at 21, we will always root for you.