Being a 20-something

Friday, November 22, 2013

I recently came across this article on Elite Daily called "The 20 Mistakes You Don't Want to make in your 20s." I found it incredibly interesting and so so on point to my life right now, that I just had to share my top 10 of those 20 things that really spoke to me. I really do think that these are important for 2o-somethings, but even if you're not a a GEN-Yer, it is still good advice. 

1. Working for money, not for building your dreams. 
Being in law school, it is not so much of the working for money as it is accumulating massive amounts of debt, but I think that makes this statement even more stark. There are always going to be people who go to law school for the wrong reasons, they think they're going to make millions being a high-power criminal defense attorney, or some big-shot corporate lawyer, but the reality is there are many many more jobs in the legal field that are NOT one of those two options. I am always humbled by my classmates and close friends when we talk about our aspirations and goals and how many of them are in law school for incredibly selfless reasons and while they know it may be pretty darn hard to pay off this debt they are accumulating in their chosen field, they have such a passion for what they want to do that it doesn't matter to them. For me, I don't have necessarily have a specific field of practice that I know for certain I want to be in, but my passion for helping others drives me each day to work hard so that someday I can make a difference in someone's life or impact the direction of our legal world in a positive way. 

2. Thinking that this is the right time to fall in love.
Lord have mercy, I should probably have this tattooed on my forehead. I think our society has somewhat of a stigma that by 30, 'normal' females should be settled down and starting to have babies. While I am 100% not opposed to that, and I am so so excited for all my friends that are going down this path in life right now, it is not the end of the world if we all are not! Trust me, I know it is by no means easy to be a single girl, and when your friends begin to settle down, it becomes infinitely harder but for 20-s thus far have been dedicated to graduating with two Bachelor's degrees, getting into law school, moving 13 hours away from my home state, starting law school. Now, that is nothing to sneeze at! Yes, I will have graduated law school before 30, I will *hopefully* be starting my career right around then and will be working perhaps harder then than I am now! Don't get me wrong, I am all about getting married and having kiddos but as I mature (?) I have realize that everything happens in good time and focusing valuable time and energy into working hard and developing my professional skills will start a foundation that will make my future life that much better. 

3. Making friends instead of earning trust. 
This. This is probably the most important thing people need to realize. Yes, life is all about networking but all your networking efforts don't mean squat if people don't think you are a trustworthy person. Trust EARNS respect and respect gets you where you need to be. This one might be hard to swallow, but the way I look at is that it is great to have lots of friends, but what is greater is when those friends will stick their neck out there for you, without hesitation, in a hard time because you have earned their trust. 

4. Not Caring because you only live once. 
This is just nonsense. Yes, you only live once but wouldn't you want to make the most of that life and not live on a self destructive path? I am all about taking chances and making the most of you life, but with those decisions there must be some forethought. If you spend your 20s and heck, maybe even your 30s chain smoking Parliament lights and chugging jager-bombs because "YOLO" ...come 50 you're going to be hurting, seriously. 

5. Making your wants, needs.
I am so so guilty of this. Really, our society as a whole is. Do we need cable TV? No, but we want it. The best way I check myself with this is thinking about the homeless man I see every day on my way to school. Based upon his looks and the condition of his clothing he has been homeless for a long time. When I think about everything that I have and what bare necessities would make his life better...there is a huge difference.  

6. Forgetting that family comes first. 
Duh. Thankfully, in my life, I have not come across too many people who have forgotten this, but I do know they exist. Personally, I would not be where I am today if it were not for my family and their support, end of story. I realize not everyone is surrounded by wonderful people like I am, but that does not mean they don't matter. Regardless of your upbringing, you are where you are because of those people who raised you and life is about how you choose to handle your situation, sometimes forgiveness is the best medicine. 

7. Blaming anyone else but yourself for anything in life. 
This is one of my biggest pet-peeves about people my age, actually our society in general. I am a huge believer in personal responsibility and sometimes everyone needs to check themselves and take responsibility for their actions. At the end of the day, your life is a product of what you make it, so let's all take a little more responsibility. 

8. Thinking that you need to stop learning and growing. 
Do we ever need to stop learning and growing? No. How boring would life be if we stopped learning. Yawn. Learning is how we move ahead in life, and if we all stayed in our 20 year old maturity, we would have one heck of an immature society. Don't forget that, people! 

9. Holding on to friends that waste your time and add no value to your life. 
This is hard, and it requires a backbone, and goes hand in hand with personal responsibility. You have to have enough self awareness to know what personal qualities and values mean something to you--and then seek people who fulfill those. 

10. Forgetting about the piggy bank and spending every dollar you have. 
Personally, I don't have that many dollars to spend or save, thank you student loans, but I do know A LOT, too many in fact, of people who start their first salaried job and go.crazy. Sure, its nice to have nice things and I totally understand that having real money for the first time, ever is probably exciting and tempting, but this goes back to wants vs. needs. What are you going to tell your kids in 18-20 years? Oh Mommy and Daddy just really had to have a brand new BMW-7 series when we graduated so, sorry kid we can't pay for college, or buy you new shoes, for that matter. I know not everyone will have kids, or whatever but what about when you want to retire and all you have to show for your years of hard work is 300 pairs of designer shoes and an island in Tahiti that you can no longer afford the taxes on. Okay... that was maybe a little harsh but all I'm saying is that in this world of instant gratification is really easy to spend spend spend and forget to save save save. 

I hope you found this advice as valuable as I did. I'm glad I came across this article, sometimes we all need a reality check and a reminder of what really matters. 

* The commentary is original content, however the advice was written by Preston Waters in this article.*
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