To My 20 Year Old Self

Dear Nyle,

By the time this article is published, you will already have turned 20 years old.

To many (especially those comfortable and well into their 20s), this will seem like no big deal, but to you  -- a recent graduate of your teen years -- it seems like your 20s will be the most important decade of your life. You feel like there is no room for mess ups or do-overs. This is because many people perceive your 20s to be the ideal time to achieve…well, everything. 

Many people see your 20s as your prime time. The clock is ticking, and soon enough your body will be too tired to make investments that you will need later in your life. So you've got to act quick -- you've got to achieve now.

While there are studies that prove that your 20s is the defining decade of your adult life, what you should actually improve as you head into your 20s is actually yourself. If you search what are things you absolutely need to accomplish by the time you hit 30, very few articles will actually recommend jumpstarting your entrepreneurial business or immediately landing your dream job. If anything, they say that your 20s is the decade you need (not want) to solidify who you are, what you stand for, and what direction you want your life to take. 

With growing up comes change, and change is hard -- saying good-bye to your teen years is hard. However, here are some things worth saying good-bye to as you say hello to your 20s.

                                                              Girl blowing out candles


Learning to love and be kind to yourself are skills that will help you deal with people who can not see your worth. Whether they are blind to it by accident or choice, knowing yourself gives you the opportunity to put your best foot forward (because you actually know which foot is the best!). These skills are especially important when learning to negotiate yourself, in, say, your career. Your salary, promotions, and raises may depend on it! If you know yourself and how you operate, you can prove to your employers that you are a worthwhile investment.



Although your 20s is said to be a formative decade for adulthood, nothing is set in stone. There is always time for you to pick up something new and learn from it. That class that piqued your interest during your freshman year in college? Take it! That immersive nature trail hike you've been dying to visit? Go there! Your 20s, if anything, is a time of big opportunities. We shouldn't be afraid to explore new directions even though the change may seem scary or daunting, such as moving to a new city by yourself or a career change. If it isn't helping you improve or progress in life, perhaps it's time for change, change, change!

However, just as we are open to different directions, we also should be open to asking for them. Asking help from people isn't a sign of weakness -- rather, it is a sign of maturity and acknowledgment that you can't do this alone.



Comparison and competition are good if done for the right reason. If you're comparing yourself to your peers in order to learn from their strengths and weaknesses --  good. If you're comparing yourself to your peers and questioning why you aren't on the same of level -- not so great. Especially now in this age of social media, we really can't help ourselves from seeing what our friends are up to and comparing to see what they have that we don't. We get stuck in this cycle of discontentment rather than finding ways to better ourselves.

Everyone grows in their own time. We cannot help whether we are early developers or late bloomers. Life is a marathon, not a sprint, and marathons take more time, require more planning, and are harder to some. However, we will all get to the finish line in our own time.

                                                                    The expectation and pressure society has on one's 20s can make growing out of your teen years extremely daunting. Figuring your entire life is always easier said than done. It is important to remember that the journey is just as important as the destination. We all progress in our own time, in our own pace, and improvement should not be solely limited to our 20s. It is a lifelong process we must work on.

To my 20 year old self (well as 19-going-20 year olds out there), saying good-bye is hard. However, saying hello is the start of a new adventure.


Sincerely, Your 19 year old self,