20 Life Lessons From My 20s

On life, work, people and travel

Photo by Fernando Brasil on Unsplash

You don’t become wise when you turn 30.

You get a bit wiser every day, at any age, by putting yourself out there, being vulnerable, experimenting and taking chances.

I did a lot of that in my 20s, and these are the learnings I carry with me in my 30s because they make me a happier person. I hope they help to make you a bit happier too.


On Life

1. Life is not a race . . .

You don’t need to do everything today, fearing you will be dead tomorrow. Take time to enjoy the beauty around you, and to share moments with those who matter to you.

2. . . . but it also doesn’t last forever

Don’t keep pushing what matters. If you want something, go get it. No one will do it for you.

3. Still on timelines: long-term thinking is key

It gives you the perspective you need to find meaning in the mundane, and to work consistently to achieve what you want.

4. Nothing is either good or bad

Everything is relative. The way you look at people, places, and situations dictates how you perceive life around you.

5. It’s ok to be yourself

In fact, it’s the only thing you should be. Don’t be afraid or ashamed. It’s not worth it to hide yourself because of other’s opinions.


On Work

6. You don’t need to know what you want to do

In your 20s, you should experiment. How are you supposed to know you enjoy doing something before actually doing it? Figure it out one experiment at a time.

7. People and purpose matter, not so much the money

Sure, you need to pay the bills, and there is a minimum limit for your salary. But once that is met, prioritize working with good people, in a project that excites you. You will be happy for 8hr per day.

8. Overtime is overrated

You don’t need to impress your boss by staying in the office longer than you have to. Do your best during working hours, then get out and live life. It’s what humans are meant to do.

9. You should give back when necessary

Don’t make overtime a routine, but be available to walk the extra mile when needed. Don’t develop an employee mentality, but rather a team player attitude.

10. Your career doesn’t need a straight path

In my 20s, I was a journalist, a hotel receptionist, a biography writer, a sulphuric acid reporter, an entrepreneur, a Youtuber, and a business analyst. You don’t need to climb the corporate ladder. Just do whatever pleases you, it’s that simple.


On People

11. Family will support you more than you imagine

We all fear disappointing our loved ones at some point. We all do it, sooner or later. But their love is endless.

12. It’s ok to let friends go

They change, you change. Sometimes, you just cease being a good fit for each other. There is nothing wrong with that, appreciate these friendships for what they gave you while they lasted.

13. But other friends are forever

You will know who these people are. They don’t need to be around all the time or even live close to you. But the day you need them, they are there.

14. Most people are good

We tend to generalize and blame humans for the source of all evil. But think about the people around you. How many of them are truly bad people? Not that many, right?

15. Romantic relationships don’t have to last to be meaningful

Sometimes, the short stories are the best. Appreciate each person for what they brought into your life. And when the time comes, let them go with a grateful heart.


On Travel

16. Traveling teaches you more than anything else

About yourself, the others, and the world. It makes you a better human, more tolerant, empathic and sensitive. As they say, it’s the only thing you can buy that makes you richer.

17. Backpacking is a must-have experience

I only learned this at 29. Luckily, it’s something you can do in your 30s too. Or in your 70s.

18. Traveling alone is the best

So much so, that I wrote a whole article about it.

Read: 3 Reasons For Traveling Alone

19. People will help you on the road

Most people have sympathy for travelers. If you are in trouble somewhere away from home, you will find friendly people who will lend you a hand. Try it.

20. Paradise is in the Balkans

This is a very personal one. I love that area of Europe. The nature, the people, the weather, the vibes . . . I can’t recommend it enough.


In Summary

My learnings can only inspire you. They can’t make you feel the excitement of my travels, the depth of my friendships, the pain of my breakups, or the joy of my victories.

No matter how much you read about life, you need to experience it by yourself. That’s the greatest lesson I’ve learned: life is meant to be lived to the fullest, every day, with an open heart.

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