We hear people saying this a lot, but it’s really important and means something different for everyone: Be selfish when you’re in your 20s. Your life is really just beginning and you’re just starting to figure things out. After graduating high school or even college, you don’t always know who you are or who you want to be and jumping into situations that will define that for you may not be the right thing to do. When it comes to being selfish, that doesn’t necessarily mean be single and never marry. Being selfish for your own good means somethings different for everyone.
This could mean not taking jobs that don’t feed your passion, or not going into the family business because that’s what you parents want or not going the pre-med route because that’s what your doctor dad told you to do. Being selfish means making your own choices, based on what you want to do and what’s going to benefit you.
Being a woman, there is a lot of pressure to find a man, get married, and start a family, but don’t let the outdated (and low) goals of others create the path for your life. Marriage is nice but it’s not an accomplishment nor does it define you as a woman. As women we spend our entire lives being pressured to do things that men don’t hear a word about. You’re supposed to be married but no one is bugging your boyfriend about proposing – just you. You need to have kids before it’s too late, but no one is asking your husband how he will juggle career and family - just you. Really take the time to think about what you want in life, where you see yourself 10-20 years from now and work towards that. The idea with being selfish is that you’re getting what you want, on your terms and making your happiness a priority.
When planning or (not planning) your life out, here are some important things to keep in mind.
Think long term – Don’t worry about the short term setbacks but focus on building a sustainable lifestyle. For example it might make more sense to move back home after graduating and develop your skills in new ways instead of taking a job you know you’ll hate. Everything will always work out in the end, so don’t be afraid of taking your time, putting your head down and doing the work. Ten years of hard work will make you look like an overnight success. In everything you do, think how it will serve you long term and short term decide if it’s worth pursuing.
Make a bucket list – You won’t go anywhere if you have no idea where you’re headed. Make a list of all the things you want to do, professionally and personally and dedicate every day to getting closer to accomplishing them. If you find yourself married with kids before you thought you’d be, that’s okay as long as you don’t ignore your dreams. People often go through quarter and mid-life crisis because they aren’t where they thought they’d be in their lives. It’s very possible to support others as you relentlessly chase your own dreams. Don’t think that your only way out is through your children or husband being successful. Invest in yourself. Bet on yourself, it will always be worth it.
Keep the right people around – Not everyone is meant to be in your life forever. Some people are meant to teach us some lessons, show us a good time and learn about what we need from those close to us. Mourning the loss of someone who is still alive and well is hard but don’t be afraid to let go. When you are doing what’s right for you, the people who are meant to be in your life, we will be and the ones who aren’t will find their way out. Embrace your small circle while expanding your network and enjoy being single while figuring out what you need in a partner.
Take care of yourself – Self-care is key to your health and happiness. Whatever self-car means for you, practice that as much as possible. As women, we sometimes automatically put the needs and wants of other before our own but it doesn’t have to be that way. Take time to treat yourself, and make sure you’re okay. Eat healthy, workout or even take a day to just relax and indulge in all your guilty pleasures. Use your 20s to understand what makes you happy and what “me time” means to you.