Dealing with change can be stressful. And like it or not, your twenties are a time that is full of change. Most of us enter our twenties while still in school, still not feeling totally like an adult or having entered the real world. Your twenties also bring major transitions like graduating from college, starting a career, entering the real world really on your own for the first time, starting and ending relationships, and maybe even starting a family. It’s a lot of change to take on in one decade.
I’ve entered the changes I’ve gone through in my twenties with a mixture of excitement and anxiety, as I think most of us do. Some changes I’ve handled well, and others, not so much. Either way, I’ve learned a lot from them. In this post, I’m sharing some of the lessons I’ve learned from dealing with change in my twenties. I’ll continue to lean on these lessons as I make my way through the last few years of my twenties, and want to share them so you can implement them as well!
Get to Know Yourself
I’ve changed a lot in the seven years I’ve been in my twenties. I spent the late years of my teens and the beginning of my twenties unconfident and not really sure who I was. Now at 27, I’m going through what can only be described as a major life change, and I’m in a position where I’m being forced to really get to know myself all over again. It’s definitely scary, but I can confidently say that spending some time getting to know myself, my wants, needs, fears, strengths, weaknesses, etc., has made it a learning process and a much easier one at that.
There’s no doubt you’re going to change a lot in your twenties. But whatever age you’re at, it’s important to really get in touch with yourself and not forget about your own identity.
Create a Budget
I think one of the most stressful parts of being in your twenties for many of us is the financial stress of really being on your own for the first time and financially supporting yourself in a time where you’re still just starting your career and likely working with an entry-level income. A central worry of every change I’ve gone through in my twenties has been the financial stress. It was there during college. It was there over four years ago when I graduated college and got my first job. And it’s there now, as I’m several years into my career. It doesn’t go away. In order to be more prepared to deal with the financial stress that will come with every other change in your twenties, learn how to budget early on so you can start to ease that stress. You’ll have plenty of other stressors to deal with, trust me!
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Network (Even if Your Hate Networking)
Let me preface this by saying that I hate networking. So that should tell you that if I’m giving you this advice, it’s because it’s actually important. One thing I have learned in the four years I’ve been in my career, as well as the years before that in college, is that getting to know people in my field has been invaluable when it comes to advancing my career. Having been in my field for several years now, I’ve had the opportunity to meet and network with more people in a natural way. But when you’re first starting out, it will likely mean really putting yourself out there and getting your name and face in front of others. Making connections early on, along with the hard work I have put in over the years to prove myself, allowed me to find a job in my field shortly after graduation and has gotten me to the position I am in today.
Step Outside Your Comfort Zone
If there is one thing I think has held me back over the years, it is having a small comfort zone and being too afraid or too shy to meet new people and have new experiences. I’ve come a long way in this area over the years, but definitely still have a long ways to go. Wandering outside your comfort zone will allow you to have experiences you wouldn’t have otherwise thought possible. It’s not only important for professional growth, but for personal growth as well. Stepping outside your comfort zone will not only help you to create your own positive change in your life but will also better equip you to deal with change as it comes.
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Set Goals For Yourself
One of the central themes of our twenties that applies to just about every area of our life is preparing for our future. Your time in school, the early years of your career, the way you handle your finances, and the relationships (of all kinds) that you form will follow you long after your twenties are over. And while setting short-term goals is great and productive, setting long-term goals that will take you into the next decades of your life is also important.
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Learn From Every Experience
Every experience, whether a good one or a bad one (and especially the bad ones), is a learning opportunity. Yes, setbacks suck. And at the time they almost certainly feel like nothing positive can come from them. I’ve definitely felt that way about the biggest setbacks I’ve faced both personally and professionally. It’s a scary and frustrating feeling and brings feelings of major panic. But looking back, those situations that have really tested me have also been huge learning opportunities and I’m using those life lessons still today for sure.
Keep Moving, Growing, and Adapting
Regardless of what setbacks you face or what situations you find yourself in, the world is going to keep moving and you’ll need to keep moving with it. When you’re in your twenties you’ve still got a heck of a lot of life left to live, and the experiences you have now are stepping stones to what comes next. Focus on continuing to move forward in life and grow as a person.
When you do face setbacks, remember that regardless of how they feel at the time, you never know what positive change may come because of them. More than anything I think your twenties is really about learning to deal with life as it comes at you.