Your 20s are the years of personal freedom. They are the years that you get to be unapologetically selfish. The years you will always look back on. The years that will cause you to experience a sense of nostalgia every time you find an old, outdated, piece of forgotten clothing just sitting in a box in the back of your closet. Your 20s are the years you need to make the most of, because, well let’s face it, you will never get them back.
With this in mind, these are just some of the reasons why it’s okay to be selfish in your 20s:
1. The only one experiencing your life is YOU, so live it!
You are always going to have people commenting on how they believe you should live your life. For some odd reason, others seem to think they are entitled to an opinion on your life decisions. Your parents may think that because they pay for your education, they get a say in what you study. Your friends may think that because they care so much about you, they know what’s best for you, so they feel an obligation to guide you. Your significant other may think they know you the best, so they must know exactly what you should do in every situation. Despite all this intervention, here’s something you must remember: YOU ARE YOUR OWN PERSON! No one owns you, and there is not a single person who knows you or what’s best for you better than your own self. Whether it’s deciding on a major, studying abroad, getting a job, quitting a job, or just going on a trip, make these decisions with your best interest at heart and don’t consider anyone else’s feelings. If the people in your life can’t seem to understand and accept your life decisions, then those people aren’t meant to be in your life in the first place.
2. These are the times to figure out who you are on your own.
You are in college. You are figuring out what it is you want to do, what makes you happy, and who you are as a person. These four years are supposed to be the best years of your life, so it’s time to get out of your comfort zone, stop worrying about everyone else’s perspective of you, and go experience everything you can. Join a club. Play a sport. Go to a party. Worry about your happiness, and your happiness alone. Don’t let anyone pressure you into doing some silly club or activity you don’t want to do. Figure out what peaks your interest and roll with that. Do everything and anything you want to, because now is the time.
3. That boy you are holding onto from your childhood, it’s okay to let him go.
I know you love him. I know he’s familiar and you’re scared to lose him, but I also know you don’t feel the same. You’re longing for new experiences, wondering what life is life beyond this relationship you’ve secluded yourself in. You’re wanting to experience life on your own. You ponder what it would be like to be single, only having to think about yourself, your wants, and your feelings. You’re questioning whether or not you should stick it out and hope it was worth it in the end, or if you should just let go. To all these questions I have one answer: it’s time to let him go. I know you don’t want to hurt him or experience the hurt yourself, but any form of doubt within a relationship at this age is a sign that it’s not meant to be. People change. Their values change, and their ideas as to what they want out of a relationship change, and chances are, if you are having doubts, you yourself have changed. You’re young. You’re just only starting out. There’s no need to base your life off of a teenage relationship right now. There’s so much out there for you, and it’s not likely that you will push yourself to experience those things if you are still hiding within the security of a long-term relationship that’s comfortable for you. I promise you will be okay. You’ll fall in love many times before you find the one, but always remember that first you must learn to love yourself before you can fully love anyone else. So let go, and go focus on loving yourself.
4. Those “friends” that cause you more stress than happiness, you don’t need them.
Honestly, at this age you’ll probably change your friend groups more than you change your underwear, and that’s perfectly normal. I’m sorry to break it to you, but those high school friendships don’t last. You lose touch, you grow apart, you move on and make new friends– that’s just how it goes. Not only will some friends just drift away, but there will be some you have to cut out of your life. You’ll come across friendships that only stress you out, and are more work than they’re worth. These “friends” are toxic, and you don’t need them. Anyone who claims to be your friend, yet hurts you more than they help you, is not your friend. Seperate yourself from the negativity that these people bring, and focus on the friends that care about you. Focus on the people that ask you about your day and actually care enough to listen. Focus on the people that are always there for you no matter the circumstances, the people that bring you up when you’re down, and the people that only want the absolute best for you. These are the friends you want to keep in your life. As for anyone else, they don’t deserve your friendship. You should have no hesitations when it comes to cutting them out of your life, because they didn’t deserve to be a part of it in the first place.
5. When it comes to entering the workforce, don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself.
Although this may not be considered a selfish act, it’s something one must do when searching for jobs and internships. Many jobs may try to take advantage of you because you are young and starting out, but don’t be naive. You can and should ask about your pay. We often avoid this conversation because it can be awkward, but it is important to assure you are getting the payment you deserve. While you should be grateful for every opportunity you get, you don’t need to take a job that won’t benefit you, and you don’t need to stay in a job that isn’t treating you fairly. This doesn’t mean that you should pass up opportunities that could potentially further you in your career just because you don’t think a job is perfect for you. Unfortunately, we all have to take some jobs we don’t love. This a part of getting started, and it’s something we all go through. Still, this doesn’t mean you should let your superiors mistreat you. Make it a point to be assertive and know exactly what you want and intend to get out of a job experience. If you do this, while of course being respectful and acting appropriately, you will do just fine.
At this point in your life, you’re just starting to figure things out. You’re curious, you’re anxious, you’re confused, and you’re excited for what’s to come. No one expects you to have it all figured out right now, so don’t worry. It’s inevitable that many will try to interfere with your life and your decisions, but it’s important that you remember it is YOUR LIFE. Do whatever you feel is best for yourself, and live your life to its fullest potential. Be adventurous, be spontaneous, be smart, and be SELFISH, because your life is not going to benefit anyone else. This life is yours, so live it.