Answered by Arpan Roy
I have been a noticing a lot of these “what has my 20s or 30s taught me articles” around on the interweb recently. Turning 30 this year in September, I have spent most of my time during the last decade getting my ass kicked by the university of life as well as most of my beliefs from my earlier years broken. I will try to summarize below the little things that I wished I knew 10 years ago.
Parents are not always correct..
Things may not be as light hearted as the monkey cap issue but one thing my 20s have taught me that my parents are not always correct. Sure they want the best for you all the time (there is no denying that), but their understanding of this world and definition of success is completely different from mine. My parents grew up in an India plagued by unemployment and power cuts and their definition of success was getting an Engineering degree (preferably in Computer Science or Electronics). Growing up with constant financial insecurity, my parents like most parents did cost benefit analysis to determine what is right for me. An engineering degree would probably mean a secure job where I would stay probably for the rest of my life.
However, what if you feel different from them. What if you do not hold the aims and aspirations as them. After all your parents are human and humans are not correct all the time. You should always respect their views because they meant well for you but listening to them blindly may not be the ideal.
There is an expiry date on blaming your parents..
So you listened to you parents blindly and things did not turn out as amazing at you thought you would. You are now in a dead end job working odd hours and hardly have anytime to breathe and probably living in an expensive city without any saving.
It is easy to not take the blame on yourself and point finger at others. Yes, your parents told you the path would have taken you to glory and respect and you ended up being a tiny gear in an enormous machine with no importance. However as JK Rowling said ” There is an expiry date on blaming your parents.” As you go from the early twenties to you late twenties, it is very important to take responsibility for all your life’s events including failures upon yourself and this is the only way you can progress. Otherwise you will forever be stuck in a vicious cycle of finger pointing and self pity.
Your college romance will probably not last forever..
I never had a girlfriend during my undergrad years due to a extremely bad habit of odd behavior and inappropriate sense of humor but enough about me. However, all my friends did and 90 % of their romances ended soon after they graduated even though they thought it would last forever.
Graduation and employment change people. People gain confidence slowly in their own abilities and perhaps the need for moral support is not that urgent. It also opens the mind through exposure and reorganizes the person’s priorities. Most of the time this change affects friendships and relationships. You lose your college sweetheart along with some friends because they do not seem to be the same person anymore.
Get a life partner who will supplement your skills..
We are not perfect human beings and most of us especially me are lacking in a lot of areas. I think the best solution is if your partner can supplement the skills you are lacking and this would make you guys a great team.
For example, among a lot of things, I am terrible with finance and suffer from crippling social awkwardness. Fortunately, my significant other is amazing in both of those and ensures that we will never get bankrupt or socially excommunicated. I would have to go back and think hard if I actually possess some skill she lacks and I supplement.
Spend time on self reflection and stop listening to others..
I think 97.7% of all people do not know what they are doing and are just following others. We should really stop listening to people around us because as per the point above, they are probably as clueless as we are.
I found self reflection is the key to really understanding what you really want and this time is hard to get when we are always busy trying to figure out who liked out latest post on Facebook or busy putting unnecessary hashtags on Instagram.
If more time is spent in trying to find what you really want, we would not be doing things out of the need of social acceptance and rather just what makes us really happy.
Facebook and Instagram will mostly make you feel bad..
Unless you are an attractive girl whose selfies look amazing and a huge entourage, Facebook and Instagram will make you feel pretty bad about yourself. End of the day, if you have 400 friends (wayyy.. more than I have), what you are seeing on your news feed is the combined best moments of all these people. Yes you are probably having a crummy day with a hint of flu and looking at some guy you know going on a road trip through Tuscany is not going to help the case at all.
Keep doing a thing which makes you happy..
You need to be true to yourself and do a thing which makes you really happy. Not happy according to social approval like the ridiculous 100happydays shit which has been going on Instagram where people are pretending to smile on Instagram to convince themselves they are really happy.
Binge watching netflix lying down with crumbs of food makes me happy. I do it so that once I am happy I perform better in other aspects of life. Similarly writing answers and blogs with inappropriate jokes also make me happy. I really do not care about social acceptance.
Do not let your body weight pile up and get enough sleep..
My metabolism is no where what it used to be like. If I gain weight it takes forever and all of my will power to lose it. So please do not gain any weight in the 20s because it will be exponentially hard to lose it in the 30s and 40s.
Treasure sleep like anything. I love sleeping and waking up refreshed. It is the only way you can tackle the shit the world will throw at you. Do not spend weekends staying out late doing things you hate in the fear of being boycotted from you group. Go home and get a lot of sleep.
People have no room for sentiments, it is all cost benefit..
One thing which shocked me when I moved out of the protection of high school was that people do not really care for you. There are no sentiments, no second chances and it is all cost benefit for everyone. If you are a liability, people will drop you in an instant however hard you plead. Thus while negotiating and getting what you want, do not appeal to the person’s sentiment but show what benefit they can get from you.