It’s exactly one month since I started the #Chroniclesofa20something write ups! It’s something I never wanted to write about, at least it’s not my area of expertise. No, I just had no confidence writing about what I am still going through. I was inspired by a book that I read in October called ‘The Defining Decade’ by Meg Jay. It’s a book I wish I read earlier as I couldn’t put it down to the very day, I finished it. I know I wanted to finish reading yet I kept on wishing there were more words the closer I got to the end of the book. All credit herein is to the writer of that life-changing book.
I pulled up thoughts and quotations to share with anyone who cared to read. Most of this article content was edited and paraphrased to suit what I needed to put across. As I write this, today is the first day of November! The first day of the holiday season! At least according to my own sense of time, this is the time you get to rewrite your tomorrow. With a small notebook and a quiet place which is my house most of the times, you get to reflect on what life brought your way in 2019! You laugh at the funny ones, you wonder how you overcame the tough times and finally you marvel at the miracles you possible missed to thank God for. No wonder ‘life is lived forward, yet understood backwards’.
Looking at the past ten months, you probably are not where you used to be and definitely not where you want to be. The art and science of growing and learning are for the free mind. To grow is beautiful, to grow with your peers is the most beautiful experience. To outgrow your peers is pretty normal and inevitable. I remember my childhood friends, high school mates and campus buddies who are living their dreams, they are painfully yet progressively writing their own history; something I call #Chroniclesofa20something. Here are some few thoughts I find interesting on this subject;
‘Life is 1% what happens to us and 99% how we react to it. “We have lost great things in life because of the way we react to situations. Sometimes we have even attempted to hurt those who made us what we are today because of a simple misunderstanding.” Master the art and virtue of self-control.’
Right on time!
‘Our twenties are when we have to start creating our own sense of time, our own plans about how the years ahead will unfold. It is difficult to know how to start our careers or when to start our families. It is tempting to stay distracted and keep everything at a distance. But twentysomethings who live beyond time usually aren’t happy. It’s like living in a cave where we never know what time it is or what we ought to do or why sometimes until it is too late. You can travel into your future or fall back into your past. The choice is yours. Create, I repeat! Create your own sense of time.’
“Again, and again, twentysomethings hear they have infinite time for the dreaded adult things but so little time for the purportedly good stuff. This makes living in the present easy. It’s connecting the present with the future that takes work. As we said earlier, present bias is especially strong in twentysomethings who put a lot of psychological distance between now and later. Love or work can seem far off in time. The future can also seem socially distant when we hang out with people who are not talking about it either…”
“But twentysomethings are especially prone to present bias. Their brains are still developing the forward-thinking it takes to anticipate consequences and plan for the future. Many, especially those who surround themselves with other twentysomethings—have trouble anticipating life. They need ways to remember they are going to live. They need something to remind them that life is going to continue on past their twenties and that it might even be great. Spending time with a grandparent or a thirty, fourth, fifty or sixty-something is always an antidote.”
“If you are paying attention to your life as a twentysomething, the real glory days are still to come. The future isn’t written in the stars. There are no guarantees. So, claim your adulthood. Be intentional. Get to work. Pick your family. Do the math. Make your own certainty. Don’t be defined by what you didn’t know or didn’t do.”
‘Most 20somethings have to make a choice between monopathy and polymathy. That it’s easier to learn when you’re young isn’t completely wrong, or at least it has a real basis in neurology. However, the pessimistic assumption that learning somehow ‘stops’ when you leave school or university or hit thirty is at odds with the evidence. Those who only want to pursue what they learnt at the university have very limited options in a world where innovation is a top skill. Who wants to employ single-minded 20somethings? We hear the descriptive words psychopath and sociopath all the time, but here’s a new one: Monopath. It means a person with a narrow mind, a one-track brain, a bore, a super-specialist, an expert with no other interests…’
‘The easiest people to advise are the 20somethings, they are prime at learning. However, the probability of implementing what you tell them is limited. Most of those ahead of them (in their thirties and above) tell them ‘you are still young, you have enough time.’ This cliché does not work for the 20somethings who know that urgency with limited time makes them do things right and do the right things as well. Vision boards become part of their life because they know the difference between having a life in their thirties and starting a life in their thirties.’
Career and employment!
‘”In a growing population, unemployment is at its highest in decades. An unpaid internship is the new starter job. About a quarter of twentysomethings are out of work and another quarter work only part-time. Twentysomethings who do have paying jobs earn less than their 1970s counterparts when adjusted for inflation.” Twentysomething jobs teach us about regulating our emotions and negotiating the complicated social interactions that makeup adult life. Paying bills, budgeting, giving back and sometimes investment. Twentysomething work and school are our best chance to acquire the technical, sophisticated skills needed in so many careers today. Twentysomething relationships are prepping us for marriage and other long-term opportunities…’
’20somethings may find a job that isn’t safe or easy. To stay or not is a choice they have to deal with. With no freshman class to huddle in, you may find yourself all alone at the absolute bottom. At the top may be bosses, who are in positions of power because of their talent or experience rather than their managerial skills. Some bosses are not interested in being mentors. Others don’t know how to. These very same bosses are often the ones who are tasked with teaching twentysomethings how to navigate the brand-new world of work. It may be a match made in hell, but that’s the way it is, only quit when you find a better job.’
‘Your work is not all you’ve got! Remember, commitments and genuine connection to others also foster change and your well-being. Stable relationships help twentysomethings feel more secure and responsible, whether these relationships last or not. Steady relationships reduce social anxiety and depression as they help us feel less lonely and give us the opportunity to practice our interpersonal skills. We learn about managing our emotions and conflict resolution. As we take part in partnering, we find new ways to feel competent in the adult world. And on the days we do feel bad about our twenties, these relationships can be a source of security and a more mature safe haven than that we have with our parents.’
‘Life has made 20somethings sometimes shun anything without financial returns. Call for a seminar, you need to reimburse transport, provide tea. ‘Fully sponsored’ catches our attention than paying up to acquire certain skills. Whether you have a job or not. Not every reward is financial. Some actions feed your soul, enrich your community, and model the sort of behaviours you want your peers, friends, and family members to emulate.’
‘At 20something while you are at it (your hustle/passion/gig/talent/business) you meet a lot of people, you get a lot of compliments and criticism. DON’T let compliments get to your head. DON’T let criticism get to your HEART. Not even through social media! Somewhere in our 20something, we become more emotionally stable and less tossed around by life’s ups and downs. We become more conscientious and responsible. We become more socially competent. We feel more agreeable about life and more able to cooperate with others. Overall, we become happier and more confident and less anxious and angry. But these sorts of changes don’t happen for everyone.’
‘Finally, don’t avoid social environments. They are the universities for learning ethical, moral and spiritual values for young people. Example of these is school, books, religious institutions, community, workplace, media, films and music. Such values build character. The primary responsibility for cultivating positive values falls on YOU.
“It is easy to feel overwhelmed by uncertainty, to want to lie low with the urban tribe, or our parents, until our brains just mature on their own and somehow suddenly know the sure answers to our lives. But that’s not how the brain works. And that’s not how life works. Besides, even if our brains could wait, love and work can’t. The twenties are, indeed, the time to get busy. It’s forward-thinking for an uncertain age.”
“Because our twenties are when we transition into so many new things, twentysomething life is full of new and surprising moments, even flashbulb memories. In fact, multiple studies have shown that more vivid memories come from early adulthood than any other developmental stage. Some of these memories are unusually happy, such as getting a dream job or going on a great first date. Other surprising moments are especially difficult, such as hitting Reply All on an e-mail intended for one person, missing out on a scholarship or being dumped via text message.”
“In one way or another, almost every twentysomething wonder, “Will things work out for me?” “What if this doesn’t work out?” There is no formula for a good life, and there is no right or wrong life. But there are choices and consequences, so it seems only fair that twentysomethings know about the ones that lie ahead. You know what choices to make, what consequences await you. That way, the future feels good when you get there.”
You got what it takes!
‘As a twentysomething, life is still more about potential than proof. Those who can tell a good story about who they are and what they want to leap over those who can’t.
Contrary to what we see and hear, reaching your potential isn’t even something that usually happens in your twenties—it happens in your thirties or forties or fifties. Some twenty-somethings dream too small, not understanding that their twentysomething choices matter and are, in fact, shaping the years ahead. Others dream too big, fueled more by fantasies about limitless possibilities than by experience. Part of realizing our potential is recognizing how our particular gifts and limitations fit with the world around us. We realize where our authentic potential actually lies. Take your time.”
Plan your life!
“Unaishi aje vibasic, nika kesho iko promised!” Nyashinski. Life ni kama chess! whatever you are, be a good one!
“When a lot has been left for tomorrow, there is enormous 30something/40something pressure to get ahead, get married, pick a city, make money, buy a house, enjoy life, go to graduate school, start a business, get a promotion, save for college and retirement, and have two or three children in a much shorter period of time. Many of these things are often incompatible perhaps harder to do all at the same time in our thirties, forties.”
“Let’s stop procrastinating, we gotta do what we gotta do in our twentysomething lives. Postmillennial midlife crisis is figuring out that while we were busy making sure we didn’t miss out on anything, we were setting ourselves up to miss out on some of the most important things of all. It is realizing that doing something later is not automatically the same as doing something better. Too many smart, well-meaning thirtysomethings and fortysomething can confirm this.”
Not too late. Start now!
“In the twentysomething years, even a small shift can radically change where we end up in our thirties and beyond. The twenties are an up-in-the-air and turbulent time, but if we can figure out how to navigate, even a little bit at a time, we can get further, faster, then at any other stage in life. It is a pivotal time when the things we do—and the things we don’t do—will have an enormous effect across years and even generations to come. Twentysomething years are the years when it will be easiest to start the lives we want. And no matter what we do, the twenties are an inflexion point—the great reorganization—a time when the experiences we have disproportionately influence the adult lives we will lead whether we like it or not.”
“Many twentysomethings assume life will come together quickly after thirty, and maybe it will. But it is still going to be a different life. We imagine that if nothing happens in our twenties then everything is still possible in our thirties. We think that by avoiding decisions now, we keep all of our options open for later—but not making choices is a choice all the same…”
“Today’s twentysomethings spend more time single than any generation in history. Most will spend years on their own, somewhere between their childhood homes and families of their own. This time gives many people a chance to live it up before they settle down, and to have fun with friends and lovers while the options are open. Some people find each other through friends while others connect online or around town. Some are serial monogamists while others pair with as many people as they can. Pundits and parents worry that marriage is dead, dating is in demise, and hooking up is the new relational medium.” I don’t know if I agree with any of this though.
“…the tears shed by thirtysomethings and fortysomething because they are now paying a steep price—professionally, romantically, economically, reproductively—for a lack of vision in their twenties…”
Cheers to a happy New Month! Ayam not shaving!
Please share on the comment section below what you have learnt or are currently learning in this amazing yet unpredictable times. Use #Chroniclesofa20something.