I used to love having a birthday party. My adolescent years were spent wondering how I would look as an adult, who my friends would be, and how life would look. I started wondering what life would be like once I finally turned 20 years old.
As it turns out, birthdays get a little boring. You also realize things don’t come as easily. What seemed like a distant fantasy of adulthood turns into having only $50 in your bank account, two weeks of accounting homework piled up, and a car that breaks down every time you drive it over 60 miles-per-hour. Since then, the following birthdays as an adult have become a little more boring, but life continues to take me by surprise everyday.
If you’re 20 (give or take a few years), you understand how this season of life is full of unknowns (and your birthday somehow passes by without a lot of fanfare). As millennials, sometimes we need a few reminders, tips, or encouraging words to help keep us going.
Here are some reminders every 20-year-old needs to hear:
1. It’s okay to be broke.
A few weeks ago, my friend told me about a conversation she had with her mom. My friend was frustrated and, well…broke. But her mom told her something that stuck with me. She said, “Sweetheart, you’re 20. It’s okay to be broke. To be honest, until you’re 28 and in a stable job, money is going to be hard for the next few years. But it’s okay.” And it is okay. Pinch your pennies and enjoy the little (and free) things in life for now. Money will come later. Plus, it’s kind of overrated.
2. Everyone looks like they have it all together. But they don’t.
Scrolling through Instagram, my other 20-year-old friends look like they don’t have a care in the world. In my opinion, this is one of the most deceptive parts about social media. I’ve learned that many people’s lives don’t measure up to their Instagram feeds. Your life is worth far more than the photo you waited to post at 8 PM so you could hit over 200 likes.
3. After graduation, you might get a job that has nothing to do with your major.
Only 27 percent of grads find themselves in a job that was related to their major after graduation day. Don’t limit yourself. Be open to learning.
4. Millennials have a bad rep–but you don’t have to fall into the stereotypes.
Our generation gets a bad name sometimes: we don’t work hard and we expect everything to come easy. Instead of getting angry, prove them wrong.
5. Act your wage.
If you can’t really afford expensive things now (nice clothes, the new iPhone, a fancy car, etc.) you probably shouldn’t be buying them. Act your wage, stay away from Target–enough said.
6. You’re going to make mistakes, so learn from them.
No one likes to feel like a failure, but your 20s are the perfect time to fail. Fail now–and always seek the answer to why you did.
7. If you’re struggling to find employment, don’t give up.
Finding work after graduation isn’t going to be a walk in the park. Having a cover letter, a strong resumé, and letters of recommendation might make life a little easier. On the other hand, you might find yourself drowning in applications and interviews (or maybe a lack thereof). Don’t give up. You may not find your dream job right away, but that doesn’t mean you can’t keep pushing for it. Start somewhere and don’t give up.
8. While you’re growing up, your parents are growing older.
I remember reading this on Pinterest somewhere (don’t judge), then closing my computer and picking up the phone to call my mom. Sometimes we get caught in the busyness of life and growing up. This is a reminder to never forget the people who have been with you every step of the way.
9. This stage of life is meant for crossroads.
You didn’t get the job. You’re feeling uncertain about graduation. Crossroads scare us. The truth of the matter is doors will close. When one door closes and you feel the weight of disappointment, look forward to an even more exciting door to open.
10. It’s okay to take breaks.
Sometimes we need to reset. If you’ve been feeling like that Energizer Bunny lately, you may just need to slow down and take a break. Sit in silence. Turn off your phone or your TV. Pray. Just like we take lunch breaks at work, sometimes we need to take “life breaks,” too.