Our generation is often associated with introspection — working to understand the how and the why of our decisions. When asked the question, “Tell me about yourself,” many of us respond with facts. “I work at X company, I graduated from Y university,” etc. We consider ourselves to be self-aware individuals, but how much do we really know about ourselves?
The evolutionary process of getting to know yourself as an adult is one that will open your eyes to experiences and opportunities that you never would have seen. If done correctly, it will shake the ground on which you walk. For example, imagine that you and your best friend do not have as much in common as you once did. That's okay. Your twenties are for learning about who you are as an individual, not who you are in terms of your relationships.
Are you an introvert or an extrovert?
This is not the most important quality you must to know about yourself, but it is up there. Are you more energized by a group of people or by being by yourself? Do you love an on-the-go lifestyle or do you need to take a step back to recharge?
Part of becoming an adult means knowing what makes you the happiest, then doing it. Don't stay an extra hour at the dinner party if you really want to cuddle up with a book. Don't shy away from joining another running group because others have mentioned that you are "doing too much." Embrace yourself for who you are.
Too often, we characterize extroverts as the cool kids: the fun loving, outgoing, talkative lives of the party. Introverts often get the shaft for being reserved or solitary. Let’s break away from our Myers-Briggs perceptions and understand that the most outgoing of us could be introverted, simply because they need time to recharge alone. Quieter friends may actually be extroverts who get energy from being around other people. Discover what replenishes and recharges you and respect it. Learn to be as comfortable with saying "no" as you are saying "yes."
Yoga or skijoring?
Fitness, like other things, tends to come in fads. Right now the fad is a yoga and a few years ago it was Zumba. Fitness fads are awesome because they popularize activities you may have never tried. But what if you don't like the current fad? What if you paid the $150 fee for a monthly yoga membership and don't love it? Stop going. Get into something else. You won’t always like what other people do; part of being an adult means making the conscious decision to find something that lights you on fire.
I have a friend who is great at trying new things. She was doing triathlons and trail runs before they were trendy. Recently, she’s gotten into "skijoring" which is pretty much the equivalent of having your dog harnessed to you while you’re on cross-country skis. She tries new things to discover what she likes and continues accordingly.
Theist or atheist?
More than likely, you were raised to embrace a certain belief, which may have colored the way you looked at the world. Now is the time to discover the core of your beliefs, as well as what you know to be true and what you want to believe.
Many of us are sensitive about the possibility of offending our families. We don't want to offend or rock the boat, so we stagnantly nod our heads and secretly check out conversations regarding our beliefs. The problem with this is that at some point, your most identifiable life role in your family will not be daughter or son. You may have a spouse or children of your own someday. Then, your job will be to show them how you navigate the world of plentiful belief systems. When this happens, you are going to want to be able to answer some pointed questions about your own beliefs.
By the time you hit your mid-thirties, it will be abundantly clear, who of your peers spent their twenties getting to know themselves and who did not. Make sure you are on the right side of this. Take the time now. Ask questions, do some research, read a book. Your twenties are for you — for finding who you are and what makes you come alive.
You won't find yourself in your normal routine. You will find it by trying a cooking class, by joining a book club and by taking out your ear buds and having a conversation with a stranger. Your twenties are for you — use your time wisely.
Photo credit: 9Gag