It's a wonderful time to be a 20-something. It seems to be the time we acknowledge and celebrate almost every aspect of our lives, except the most important one: ourselves.
Think about it.
In your early 20s, you're celebrating graduation. By your mid 20s, you're celebrating that first real job or promotion on Facebook, LinkedIn or whatever place irks your peers the most. By your late 20s, you're celebrating either a wedding, child or both.
I hate to break it to you, but it really is all downhill from there.
If your head's screwed on right, you're mainly focusing on your career in your 30s. In your 40s, you begin your subtle midlife crisis, wondering if you picked the right career or right partner. By your 50s, you find yourself questioning everything and wanting to venture into something (or someone) completely different.
It's normal. And quite frankly, it's common.
The reason this happens to a lot of people is because they didn't use their 20s for the correction reason... namely, learning who you are as a person.
You may not realize it now, but if you're in your 20s, you're almost done with your youth. You're at that stage where you're smart enough to know better, but still young enough not to care.
This is the greatest time of your life. You are young.
So, here's my advice: Be selfish.
You've spent all these years dancing to the beat of other people's drums, following other people's rules and loving everyone else but the person who needed your love the most.
For once, choose yourself. Focus on yourself. Love yourself. Use this time to discover all the weird and wonderful things that make you unique.
I got engaged at 25, which is fairly young. But it was the season I spent with myself that truly molded me into who I am today. It defined the rest of my life.
It's important to take your time in each season you find yourself in. Don't feel pressured to enter the next season of your life prematurely.
So, to my beautiful, fierce and daring 20-somethings, here are a few selfish tips:
1. Learn a skill.
A lot of 20-somethings are afraid of unemployment. Most people I know would rather stay in dead-end jobs just to say they have one, rather than being unemployed for a few years just to "figure things out."
The more confident you get in terms of who you are as a person, the more you will know that just because you are doing nothing right now, that doesn't mean you will do nothing forever. It's important to put that into perspective.
So take some time, learn something extra and know that you're valuable... even if it means taking some time off.
2. Allow yourself to love someone you may not marry.
A lot of relationships with young couples are centered around one goal: marriage.
While there's nothing entirely wrong with this mindset, it's not entirely right, either. Most young people think if it's not leading to marriage, it's a waste of time.
But some of my most wonderful relationships weren't even relationships. It were these instances that taught me more about relationships than I could have ever learned by watching reruns of "Sex and the City."
It's important to allow yourself to love freely without worrying about the outcome because attachment to outcome is what leads to suffering. It were these situations that made me realize what I truly wanted when it was time for me to get married. In fact, it's what helped me recognize the right one had come along.
You have to be in the season for what it is that you want. Don't force a season that is premature, but live and enjoy it before it ends and your new one begins.
Go to one new country a year. That was my motto when I graduated college and got my first job.
I spent my entire college career working and making what I'd consider "lunch money." But when I graduated, I was making enough money to take myself on vacations just because I felt like.
4. Say yes and try everything.
I didn't do much until I was 22. This might have also been because I didn't have much money until I was 22.
But now, I'm glad I can afford to do the things I want. I think that's ultimately the beauty of financial freedom, and it should be everyone's goal.
5. Live abroad.
I didn't get to do this, but I hope you do.
But I did get to travel to my home country, Nigeria. I stayed there for three months, and the experience brought a sense of appreciation that I never knew I needed.
So, go ahead: Be selfish.