Today I turned 25, making me a quarter century old. My early 20’s have been interesting years filled with amazing adventures. I have learned, gained, and lost many things in life as I got older. There were even some hard lessons I got through while attending college. In the long run, I truly figured out things about myself that I couldn’t learn in the classroom.
Being in your 20’s is an exciting time, but it can be scary at certain points. I read about 5 important lessons that helped make my life less scary. Here are 5 key lessons I took away during my early 20’s:
Lesson #1: Be weirder and less fake. I was never someone who wanted to fit in with the crowd and I became friends who were just as weird as I was. Making friends is about finding people who share common interests with you, not someone who you need to work hard to be friends with. Enjoy the quirky hobbies/interests that make you happy in life and don’t be swayed at what people believe is popular. Popularity may have been a deal breaker in high school, but none of that matters now as you get older. For me, I never liked going to nightclubs and watching random douche-bags doing Jägermeister shots at the bar. I could never see myself nightclubbing in the city, so it’s pointless to find friends when I have no interest in that type of environment. A more suitable environment would be sipping brews around a bonfire in the beach as the sun goes down. Now THAT’S what I call a great time!
Lesson #2: Experiment with your life. Get out there and try new things once in a while! I’m not saying to attempt anything dangerous, but you should search for new activities that you find interesting. Whenever I would head into a new bar or restaurant, I noticed these unique beers I have never heard of that were crafted in micro-brewers. Tasting these intriguing beers sparked my interest in craft beers around the country. Not only did I discover a new hobby, but it also sparked a new activity with my new friends. Get out there and look for something new that you have never done before; who knows, you might even find a new best friend through this new hobby of yours.
Lesson #3: Put yourself in uncomfortable situations. Growing up means stepping out of your comfort zone and exploring the unknown. As I got older, I learned to step farther out of my comfort zone to explore new things. One example was attending various networking events while in Boston. Boston hosts various events each night where professionals network with other professionals over drinks and small appetizers. I wasn’t expecting anything big to come out of it, but I did want to meet new people. Attending these social events turned out to be a great thing because I met new friends that I know will be there for me.
Lesson #4: It’s OK to be clueless about your life. Admit it: you really DON’T know what you will be doing with your life after college is over. That’s OK because everyone is on the same exact boat as you are. I have talked with friends at Champlain College who recently graduated and they still have NO idea what they are doing with their degree. Don’t feel so pressured to have your life figured out because plans always change. Life is supposed to be lived, so enjoy the ride and take in every new adventure that it throws at you.
Lesson #5: Choose your friends wisely. One of the hardest lessons I’ve learned was about choosing true friends in life. I have lost a few childhood friends in my life and I distanced myself from these “friends” that never cared for any of my passions. Your circle of friends gets shifted as you get older, which provides you the wonderful opportunity to meet new people. Weeding out the bad friends motivates you to seek out better friends that share common interests in your life. Find new friends that also ask you about your hobbies/passions in your life. Always cherish the old friends that have always been there for you, but also make room for the new people.
These are 5 important lessons from me to you. Your 20s are the most exciting time of your life. Get outside and explore new adventures that are on the horizon!