“When I was twenty-something, I asked my father, “When did you start feeling like a grownup?” His response: “Never.” ~ Shannon Celebi

Okay so I’m going to be 29 this year and no, I don’t feel that old at all. A lot has happened since I was 20.

Most notably, my dad died when I was 20. After that, I went to college and a couple of full-time jobs before I’ve come to where I’m today, a passionate writer and a Bboy (breakdancer).

Though I do what I love every day and lead a very fulfilling life, there are a lot of things I wish I knew then and also did differently. A far cry from beauty contestants saying they wouldn’t want to change a thing in their life because it led them to be in the pageant eh?

10 Pieces of Real Life Advice I Wish I Had Throughout My 20s

Here’s 10 pieces of real life advice I wish I had throughout my twenties

1. Bad things happen to good people

It does. It really does. The average, fortunate person in life mostly reads about tragedies and bad things from the state of the world in the news only.

I had to watch my dad wither away slowly from the dreadful disease, ALS before he passed on. It was a very surreal event to see someone you grew up with be taken away like that.

Yet, I think that we should all be prepared for the unpredictability of life at a young age. Maybe it wouldn’t happen on such a drastic scale, but don’t be too surprised, or hurt when something totally unexpected happens to you, making you feel a new low you’ve never felt before.

2. People change

I’ve fallen out with a handful of friends as my twenties progressed. I even knew one of them for over twenty years. I knew it was a good decision to let them go, but it was still sad as I used to be close to all of them.

Alas, people change. Even you change. And as a result, there would always be that conflict in values. And sadly, sometimes it cannot be resolved peacefully.

I say then, don’t be too surprised when somebody doesn’t fit in your life anymore. The best thing to do is to simply let them go. Mulling over it would only be hurtful while forcing the relationship would only be toxic.

3. Partying gets old really quick

I spent many of my weekends partying. I loved the music, the company, the drinking and the girls. It was fun while it lasted. But to be honest, partying is only fun because it’s the easiest way to have fun. Nothing really meaningful comes out from it.

In fact, I felt rather traumatized from some unfortunate incidents that happened at the club. I witnessed my friends getting into fights and even girls stealing our drinks, only to get sworn at by them when we took back our drinks.

If I’d known earlier, I’d taken up more meaningful activities like reading, meditating at a park or saving up my money to travel.

4. Read more

There are so many distractions in the world today that we forget about the little wonder of reading. Books are amazing, but we forget them for other mindless things.

I wish I started the habit of reading more. Not only would it improve your language, but also boost your confidence as a whole. Inspiration from books alone would definitely affect your life on a positive level.

5. Be extremely wary of successful people

Looking up to successful people and being inspired by them is honestly a tricky thing.

It sounds good, but as a fresh graduate with strong ambitions, I find that it’s easy to fall prey to patronizing bs successful people tell you since you don’t have much experience.

E.g. I’ve been told by other internet marketers stuff like, “You’re lucky because now I’m on my break” or “I don’t normally do this for others, but for you, I will.”

Don’t be fooled by these guys. More often than not, they’d then try to sell you on their expensive coaching packages or whatever. Or if you do actually follow what they say and then not get the results you want, they’d lay the blame on you for not working hard enough.

Sometimes, you just have to trust your own gut and do what you want instead. So believe in yourself.

6. You can’t “bro” your way out of everything

Wasn’t it fun when you guys were in college? You guys would “bro” it up, exchanging high-fives and all.

But like partying, that doesn’t last. Reality and growing up would set in. Things that used to be fun and games would suddenly become more important, and you’d wouldn’t think it’s that fun at all.

So don’t be surprised when you realize that you and your friends become more sensitive and aware of old issues. Settle it peacefully if you can. Don’t “bro” it out and sweep it under the rug.

7.  Give yourself the chance to fall in love

Because sometimes you just need to go with your feelings and love that person for who he or she is. Stop over-analyzing and just be happy. Stop looking back in the past (of failed relationships) because they don’t matter anymore.

8. Yet, have the courage to break away from toxic relationships

Because not only is life too short, but you only have one, single life. You owe it to yourself to be happy with somebody you truly love. There’s no point sticking to a relationship for the mere comfort while the romance has all but dissipated. Worse, if you’re sticking to a relationship that you know deep down isn’t healthy for you, but you’re scared to end it for fear of feeling sad or being alone, you aren’t doing anybody any favors.

Besides, at such a young age, it’s not a bad thing to be single. You are definitely going to meet a lot of people.

9. You’re not your job

Even though you spend a high number of hours at the office and rely on that paycheck, you’re not your job. Yes, it’s normal to work for stability and stuff, but your identity comes from your innate talents and personality.

I find that a lot of twenty-somethings become their job, so much so that their work seeps into their lifestyle. They start becoming tired all the time, disillusioned from work because of an abusive boss or obsessed with money, amongst other things. That’s a total image change from the eager college student who was ready to take on the world with his hopes and dreams.

10. Find passion, hold on to it and never let it go

I can go on and on about why passion is so awesome and important. But essentially, passion is what identifies you and creates happiness for you, regardless of whatever is going on in your life.

So hold on to it. Many people would be all too ready to tell you what truly creates a happy life, like chasing money. But all of them depends on too many unstable factors.

Find passion instead, and be good at it. Stop caring about what others think and let that inner fire drive your life.

“When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bonds: Your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction, and you find yourself in a new, great and wonderful world. Dormant forces, faculties, and talents become alive, and you discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be.” ~ Patanjali

What are some of the lessons you wish you had throughout your 20’s? You can share your comment by joining the conversation below :)

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Alden Tan

Alden Tan writes about personal development at his blog in unconventional ways. His two main passions are Bboying and writing. To learn more about Alden, visit www.alden-tan.com

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