I’m officially 30 and a half. Officially old. And I’m good with that. Sometimes I prefer to stay in and watch TV instead of getting dressed up and going downtown. I try to make sensible meals, and I even make my bed every day. I don’t have a cat yet, but if anyone can find me one that looks like Grumpy Cat, I am totally in. (These are all the exciting things you have to look forward to, 20-somethings!)
I don’t mind being “in my 30s,” because I realize how much I learned and grew during my 20s. When I was 22, I moved away from Minnesota and came to Colorado to start my first real job, get my first real apartment, buy my first “nice” car, and so many other new things. It was a great time for me to really learn how to make decisions and become my own person. “7 Skills to Develop In Your Twenties” over on RELEVANT Magazine highlights some things that I learned as I started out my adulthood. The article highlights budgeting, loving unselfishly, keeping up with the news, and staying committed to work as a few important things to learn while in your 20s. The author, Eric Tippin, also says that your 20s are a great time to lengthen your attention span:
Meaningful work and large projects require long attention spans, but mobile technology with its constant notifications and newsfeeds makes this more difficult than in past generations. It takes practice, discipline and a conscious choice to, once in a while, turn off smart phones, tablets or TVs.
When I started my first job as an assistant editor at Focus on the Family, I was overwhelmed by the idea of sitting at a desk for eight hours each day. I had just spent four years in college, going to class for an hour or two and then back to my dorm room for a quick nap before my next class. Eight hours in a cubicle seemed impossible and boring. But I quickly adjusted to my new schedule. I tackled projects and took short walking breaks; I was able to focus better than I thought I could. (I still took my fair share of Facebook breaks — don’t worry.)
Another one of Tippin’s points was about how to use basic logic. This was a big one for me in my early 20s. Not only did I learn how to get around a new place, make decisions about car repairs, and think through my budget, but I also was challenged to figure out my beliefs for myself. I had to decide if I agreed with everything my parents thought or if I had opinions that were slightly different than theirs. I learned how to think through what I believed and why I believed it.
Another thing that was really helpful to me in my 20s was good community. I learned a lot from my friends, and our group was able to — in a way — “grow up” together. Many of us were from other states, so we spent Thanksgivings and Easters together. We learned how to be good hosts, and how to interact with a variety of people with different traditions and norms.
Ultimately, when I look back on my 20s, I am grateful for all the things I experienced. Not everything went the way I hoped (or assumed), but I think about the majority of my 20-something years with great fondness. I did a lot, I learned a lot, and (hopefully) I grew a lot. (And now that I’m about to graduate from grad school and seek out a full-time job again, I almost feel like I’m back in my 20s. The cycle continues.)
What are some things you’re learning as you navigate the 20-something years?
Copyright 2019 Denise Morris Snyder. All rights reserved.