In six months I will reach the final year of my twenties. I feel old just saying this. I won’t be a twenty-something anymore in a little while. If ever mankind will find a way to travel back in time, I wouldn’t mind reliving my twenties all over again. Here are 20 things I think you should at least do in your twenties:
1. Explore your passions
Explore what you’re really passionate about. Get to know yourself and discover what thrives you and what lifts your spirit just thinking about it. Borrow your father’s vintage camera and start shooting! Take that guitar from the basement and start taking lessons (or teach yourself, which is way cooler)! If there is a time to discover what your passions are, this is it. You’ll never be able to learn, discover and explore as freely (once you start working, time is money) as you will now. Learn what makes you tick.
A lot! On a budget, in style, whatever you do, try to travel as much as you can. Take that trip to Italy or go backpacking in Norway. Book that ticket to Paris to start living an artsy-fartsy life (even if for just a moment) in Montmartre or Saint Germain. It will be an experience no one can take away from you. You’ll be a different person every time you do and the best thing is: traveling doesn’t have to be expensive!
3. Know who your friends are
People will come and go in your life and you have to accept that. At one point, you will know who your true friends are. people who stick by you through thick and thin. People who hold your hair back when you’ve had too much tequila. People who will laugh and cry with you at the same time. People you can be yourself with. Put effort into your friendships. But also know that the best friendships don’t need a lot of your time and that the best friends are sometimes there for you even if you haven’t spoken to them in ages.
4. Party, hard!
When you do know who your friends are, don’t be afraid to go crazy with them. Party with your friends, dance the night away and enjoy it. In your sixties you will all talk about how insane it all was and you’ll remember your most memorable parties with your friends forever.
5. Learn to say ‘no’
This is probably one of the hardest things you’ll learn in your life. Heck, I don’t even know how to say ‘no’ sometimes. Stop trying to be friends with everybody. Be okay with the fact that not everyone will like you. And start saying that frightening two-letter word as loud as you can: NO! It feels good, doesn’t it?
6. Get out of that comfort zone
In your twenties, you make mistakes – a ton of them even. But you know what, you’re allowed to make them. So take risks. Go crazy. And do just about anything you never thought you would (or could) do. Just because you can!
7. Fall in love, heavily
There is only one happiness in this life, to love and be loved. – George Sand
8. Learn to cook
When you get older and you move out of your parents’ house, you’ll want to know how to cook for yourself! Start with the easiest things. I remember my mother always trying to teach me how to cook. My mother is a god in the kitchen. She is a great cook and baker. She always complains about how she will probably take her ‘cooking secrets’ to her grave as she was never able to pass them on to me and my sisters when we still lived at home. I’ll have to really get her to teach me how to make her infamous ‘spekkoek’ cake, Indonesian yellow rice and Taiwanese pineapple cookies because I miss them like crazy.
9. Work out and eat healthier
Basically, take better care of your body. In your late twenties you will start to notice the changes of your body. Look into organic food and try to limit your fast food intake to a minimum. Even if you aren’t into sports, try to exercise or go for a run every once in a while. You’ll feel healthier and energised more than ever.
10. Get to know your family
In your teenage years, you were probably the problem child. In your twenties, make up for it! Spend time with your parents and get to know them better. Let them get to know you! At family parties, talk to your aunties and uncles you never speak to and try to inspire your younger cousins and nephews. If your parents were immigrants like mine, get to know their story. Don’t leave their story untold and at least make a real effort to get to know your family.
11. Study abroad
I always look back at my time in Cambridge with joy and much pleasure. It was an experience of a lifetime. I would urge all people in their twenties to at least spend a semester abroad or do some kind of exchange program. It will shape you and your personality. Learn different cultures, learn a different language. Learn to survive in another world than your own and make the most of that time!
12. Learn to dance to Missy Elliott all by yourself
Put on your comfortable pj’s, turn on the music and dance! Learn to be comfortable with yourself. When I was young, I had a Truman syndrome. I believed that with everything that I did, I was being watched. So if I would fall on the street, even if no one would be around, I would feel embarrassed. As if someone was watching and laughing at me. Learn to not feel embarrassed in your twenties, be confident! Basically, just don’t give a fck!
13. Save money
Start earning your own money in your twenties. Spend money, but also learn how to save money. I had a parttime job at a bank when I was a student. I earned quite well and instead of spending it all, I saved it all. Alright, most of it. There will come a day when your savings will come in handy. And you will never hear a person say he/she regrets saving a lot of money.
14. Cut the clutter
You will run into people in your life who will try to get you down just because they feel like they can. People who are jealous, people who don’t want you to succeed and people who talk bad behind your back. Hopefully you’ll only have to deal with these people in the beginning of your twenties. When you do, cut them loose. Don’t let them drag you down. Learn to cut off all things negative, you don’t need it.
15. Revisit the past
Call that old friend you haven’t spoken to in a long time and ask her/him out for a coffee. Look back in old photo albums and relive your childhood. Read your old diaries and notebooks and see how you’ve evolved. It’s little things like these that keep you grounded in life.
16. Get to know your principles
Stand for something, or fall for anything. Learn who you are and don’t be afraid to show it.
17. Take a road trip
You’ll have to do this at least once in your life. I did my first road trip back in June when we traveled Norway. It was all about freedom and serenity and I wish I could go back again. Take a tent with you and go camping while you’re at it. I know I already have my next road trip planned: the US West Coast!
18. See your favorite band
Or musical or ballet dancer. You may have heard it thousands of times on record or you may have seen a clip here and there on Youtube. Go see it live, there’s nothing like it. Enjoy it and let it inspire you.
19. Read up on or know the classics
Don’t know what people are talking about when they say Monet, Locke or Debussy? Learn who they are! If anything your twenties is about learning and discovering. And don’t be afraid of people laughing at you when you mention Bach. There is nothing more attractive than a person who knows the classics. Always broaden your horizon.
20. Be yourself
This post is all about what you should or shouldn’t do in your twenties. But really, no one can tell you what is best other than yourself. So be yourself and don’t let anyone tell you who you are or should be. Live life the way YOU want. Don’t hold back. And let it all happen. Because that is exactly what being in your twenties is all about.