Congrats! You’re probably embarking on the greatest and scariest journey of your life. You might often find yourself having a crooked sense of what being a mature and independent adult actually means. This is mostly due to the people who surround you and, of course, the media. See where you might be erring:
1. Reinvent yourself starting with DIY projects.
As a young professional, you might feel the need or desire to reinvent yourself (and to mostly prove a point). After all, being in control is quite thrilling and nothing spells success like fixing, designing, and doing things with your hands and on your own. Whatever you do, don’t take it out on your home! You might end up with some appalling home improvement projects.
2. Start over.
While going off on your own and starting anew is quite the dream nowadays, it’s not for everyone. The reset button won’t necessarily make things better.
Check your motives for wanting to start over. Avoidance rather than confrontation won’t really solve anything.
3. Dodge, even resent, parental guidance.
As grownup and mature as you might think you are, you’ll still want to listen to your parents’ advice. Those lines on their foreheads and endless bouts of wise words show they’ve been around. There’s truth and wisdom to what they say. Listen up.
4. Work 24/7.
Being young means you have a lot to prove, but don’t enslave yourself to work. That’s not a life worth living and certainly not what you need. Prioritize relationships with your loved ones. No career is worth sacrificing any relationship, or health, over.
5. Buy grownup stuff immediately.
Investing in cars and apartments may be a young professional staple but not when there’s no real need -- or budget. These things, while good investments, shouldn’t be rushed. Spending money you don’t have yet isn’t a mark of an independent individual.
6. Behave like everyone else.
Being like everyone else is not only boring, but also hampers your potential for self-growth. Do things that’ll allow you to go beyond your limitations and discover new things about yourself. If not, you’ll really end up just like everyone else -- average.
7. Decide who you are.
Your 20s are certainly too early to decide who you’re going to be for the rest of your life. You’re too raw to decide on what you can and can’t do, and too premature to know your expertise and limitations. Leave some room for the future. You just might like what you’ll find.
8. Have your life completely figured out.
You’re only in your 20s -- get a grip! You don’t have to, and aren’t expected to, have it all figured out. Doing so closes up future opportunities. At least have an end goal to guide you. The journey is the rest of your life.
9. Discount the past.
Burning bridges with people from your childhood to make room for new ones isn’t the way to go. Some of life’s greatest lessons are learned from past experiences and people you’ve met along the way. Remember to look back in order to move forward.
10. Avoid making mistakes.
Mistakes are opportunities for growth and further learning. If anything, this is the time to make mistakes. Avoiding mistakes will stunt your personal growth without learning vital lessons, leaving you where you started.
11. Take everything seriously.
Some things, while they may not be entirely helpful to your career, aren’t so bad for your character. Don’t grow up too fast. The rest of the world is brimming with those folks. A word of caution: be childlike, not childish.
12. Sacrifice existing relationships for a new life.
Independence doesn’t mean you have to let go of and move on from everyone. If anything, the people who’ve been in your life through the good and bad are the ones worth keeping. They can honestly tell if you’ve become the best version of yourself, or if you’ve changed for the worse.
13. Only concentrate on yourself.
Look around; you’re not the only person in this world. Social responsibility is the fundamental mark of humanity. The world needs a functional society, not just a few great people. Give back.
14. Go to grad school because everyone else is.
Do so only if it’ll truly be a stepping-stone to your future plans. Otherwise, you’re better off spending time and money on something else worthwhile.
15. Fall in love based on paper.
If it feels forced, it probably is. While surrounding yourself with driven, goal-oriented people may be good for your betterment, such a circle isn't the only place you can look for love. Titles and money can only do so much. Love still triumphs all.
Faking independence with these decisions can only go so far. Eventually you’ll realize that true maturity comes from learning; learning comes from the challenges we face.
Although it may seem like the defining years of your life, your 20s are just the beginning. You can always look forward to a brighter tomorrow, hopefully, with a wiser version of yourself.