I’ve lost count of all the times I’ve watched “Hello, My Twenties.” Maybe it’s my longing for that kind of female friendships or the fact that Belle Epoque has the college dorm aesthetic I never had, but it’s just a great feel-good series to unwind to and think about the 20s I wish I was having.
Not to say that I hate my experience now, since we all go through this bleak stage in our lives differently. Some are having the time of their lives, some are working on finding themselves while some are focused on preparing to secure their future. All of those are valid, don’t let movie tropes and societal expectations say otherwise.
I admit I don’t remember all of the lessons I learn as I grow, since there’s no rulebook, manual or tutorial phase for those plunging into their 20s. But I’m dumping all this here so I have a place to look back on and remind myself every now and then, and hopefully help some other wandering twentysomething who needs a no-filter pep talk.
Hello, failure, we meet again. Let’s talk
You’re gonna fail. You’re gonna eff up more times than you can count and that’s natural. Feeling bad about it is natural, too, but comparing ourselves to others and concluding immediately that we’ve failed isn’t it. Success has different faces, after all.
A lot of things are gonna waste your time
You have modules to work on but your mindless IG feed scrolling has been going on for a while now. You have deadlines later but hey, there’s a Twitter feud brewing. That person you’ve been intimately talking to for weeks but isn’t replying recently? Probably best not to wait for their replies. Procrastination will both comfort you and sabotage your to-do list. It’s gonna be hard to stay on track when you feel like a toddler lost in the colorful aisles of a toy store but as a young adult, you choose who and what gets a chunk of your precious time.
Should have slept while you can when you were a kid
Defied the siesta rule as a kid? Guilty. Regretting it and currently serving my insomniac sentence. A PSA to kids out there: sleep. Your future selves will thank you.
Take a break, too
We normalize a lot of things, and one of the most important ones is taking a mental health day every now and then. It’s dangerous to push yourself to mental exhaustion to the point you’re neglecting your own physical health.
Connections are, admittedly, important
As an introvert, this still peeves me. I recognize that connections are helpful (my guidance counselors never failed to feed this to me in career development seminars), and that’s true, no matter how much I hate being put on the spot with other people. Connections also mean opportunities, and for young people with big dreams, that’s important. Just remember to create connections with value.
You may or may not get ghosted a lot
In your journey of seeking more connections, you’ll get ghosted a lot, and it’s not just with a fling. The online seller you inquired about an item three days ago and never answered back? Ghosted you. Potential employers can ghost you, too, and occasionally so will the close people in your life.
Walk away from toxic relationships
That said, maybe you’ll soon realize that some relationships you have are trails of red flags you didn’t notice before. There are some relationships that aren’t worth keeping (or salvaging), so don’t feed into the guilt of walking away for your sake.
Social media is a shithole
Having some form of virtual presence these days seems more necessary now, with many relying on these online platforms for information, services and connection with other people. It can be draining, too, since everyone is always on their damn phones. Like in toxic relationships, stepping away from the toxicity in social media is valid.
Your thesis defense is (or was) just the beginning
My thesis defense era was an experience: An emotional, frustrating phase that’s so frustrating I actually said I couldn’t wait to graduate so I can start working already. Imagine the reality check after that.
Things won’t always go as planned after graduation
Funny story: I once had an assignment in high school in which we had to make timelines for our future plans. I wrote “get married” at age 25 and “get promoted” three to four years later. Now here I am, nearing that age and at my first job, no wedding in sight (thank god because boy, am I not emotionally and financially prepared for that) and I’m okay with that. Your career path will likely shift and so will your other plans.
Job-hunting won’t be easy
And here’s reality check number two. The “hunt” in the name is real. It’ll be exhausting, and you’ll feel discouraged a couple of times especially when you don’t get that expected call back. Take it as an opportunity to review what you’re submitting and change a few things if you have to. You don’t step out of college and expect multiple offers right away like the straight-A scholars in the movies. Finding the career that you’re happy with is a whole learning process, too.
Nerd out. Who TF cares either?
This is more of a personal aspect but I grew up being judged simply by my interests. It baffles people that I love shows like “Totally Spies” and read horror manga like it’s no big deal. And it isn’t, really. Who cares? They’re your interests, let people enjoy things.
Like who you like, who gives a crap?
As long as you’re not hurting anyone, like who you like.
Single? Embrace it.
That pressure to find an SO right away in your 20s is pure B.S., too.
You’ll struggle between two S’s: spoiling yourself and saving up
Whether you’ll treat yourself or save for rainy days, it’s your hard-earned money and you decide how to spend it. Spend if you have the budget and save when you do have some extra cash because NGL, it’ll come in handy someday.
Investment? Didn’t know her then, should have met her sooner
That word actually intimidates me: investment. Like my head immediately pictures corporate people in their fancy suits, smiling, because they’re secure with their financial worries. But in reality, investment could mean the idea of adulthood itself. Yeah, it’s intimidating, but like the intimidating people in your life, there are layers to adulthood and you’ll get to it one at a time.
Teenage insecurities may or may not still be there
Sometimes you might be too hard on yourself and you won’t realize that until later, when you’re too deep into the endless cycle of comparing yourself to others and instinctively trying to please everyone even in the slightest ways.
Support your support system
Even your cheerful, optimistic friends who always have your back need support, too.
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You can say no more often
I can’t blame anyone for the instinct to please certain people because deep down, we all want to be liked. We all want to feel part of something, perhaps because we were raised to be obedient as kids or we’re simply social beings. That said, as we grow, we start thinking for ourselves and recognize the things we don’t like, and it’s important that we get that across.
Get comfy with accountability
But let’s expound on the first thing on this list. Yes, you’re gonna fail. Yes, it’s fine, but it’s also important to own up to these shortcomings rather than excuse them. You deserve better, so strive harder to achieve that. Being in your 20s means growth, and it starts with making decisions for yourself and owning up to them.
Still from “Hello, My Twenties”