While this is a blog dedicated to travel, I don’t want this to exclude me from writing about other things that matter. Blogs are meant to help readers gain information, and I want there to be more than just travel advice to peruse. At 23, you might think my advise is shallow or that I’m too young to be making posts about advice to people my age. However, I disagree with this. We all have something to share.
A few years back my uncle gave me a book about 20-something’s. Honestly, it seemed lame. But it was summer and I had some free time so I decided to read it. While it wasn’t all golden nuggets, there were a few tips in there that I’ve cherished and have expanded on in my own life. Let me share them with you.
1. Cherish your time. Try not to waste time online (except with this blog of course) looking through sites that don’t add meaning to your life. If you have trouble disciplining yourself, you can set up a plugin like Google’s Strict Workflow that will shut off your activity to certain sites so that you can concentrate on getting your work done. You should also cherish your time by spending it with people who treat you right. Don’t waste your time in a mediocre relationship just because you’ve been with the person for 6 years. Don’t let the toxic friend squeeze all the life out of you anymore. Don’t let abusive people in your life. Choose friends who see you for the wonderful person you are.
2. Value yourself. I think this is a hard thing for people our age. When you’re fresh out of college with debt, and the job market wants you to have 10 years of work experience while still being 22, you tend to jump at whatever job offer comes your way. Don’t do this. Or maybe do this, but only for a little while. The hardest job to get is the first one. They’re taking a chance on you, so maybe it’s true that you can’t expect too much. But after you’ve worked hard there and proved yourself, ask for a raise. Ask to move to a bigger, better position. If you look for a job after this one, only look up. I’ve seen myself and those around underestimate themselves and their worth. You shouldn’t feel entitled, but you should know how much your hard work is worth and demand to be compensated fairly.
3. Do work relevant to your goal. If you’re still in school, you may want to get a coffee shop job so that you can make some extra cash. It’s relaxed and you know a friend that works there too, so it’s an easy option. Please do yourself a favor and try to look a little more. The best decision you can make is to find a job, even a shitty job, that somehow relates to your future dream job. Work experience is one of those things that takes time, and the best way to take advantage of your time is by starting early.
4. Trust your intuition, develop it and listen to it. I feel like this one is pretty straightforward, yet I see so many people disregard it. Your intuition is ALWAYS right, even though you’re brain might not be able to understand why at first. If a job, a person, a place or anything does seem right in your life then move on. Follow where your soul’s whisper takes you.
5. You don’t need to have it all figured out. The most reassuring thing about being a 23-year-old, flailing awkwardly around life is the realization that most other people my age are doing the same exact thing. Don’t pressure yourself to have your life’s purpose pinned down. It can take a lifetime to learn what makes you tick. That’s just a part of the journey, so enjoy it. Remember that you have the freedom to change your mind. I once heard that on average, undergraduate students will change their major seven times. Seven times. Also, once you graduate you will see that you and 80% of your friends will do work that is completely unrelated to your field of study. Congratulations, we have all worked four years for something that is now irrelevant. Embrace the irony of life.
6. Aim True. If you know of Kathryn Budig, then you know her philosophy of ‘aiming true’. I heard a quote recently that exemplifies this. It said that you will excel most in life when you do something that aligns with who you are. This is me paraphrasing a really moving statement, so I apologize for butchering it. Something in this resonated with me. I think it partially stems from the fact that my job doesn’t stir up any passion in me. It’s a great job with kind people and decent pay, yet my quality of life is not improved by doing it (besides financially of course). My friend Katie recently said that she wants her job to be something that she would want to do when she got home from work. We all have something like this, and almost anything is monetizable these days. I say we get creative and realize our dreams.
7. After college is scary yet exciting. Every one is terrified after college. Most of us won’t have a job or anything figured out. This unknown is very challenging for some people. However, I urge you to see this as an exciting time. There probably won’t be another time in your life where there are endless possibilities for how your life can turn out. When you’re 50 and look back, you will cherish these moments, so you should also cherish them now.
8. Have a vision. I’ve read quite a few business books, and while there’s usually a bunch of mumbo jumbo to sift through, there is always a part in it that will tell you to visualize your dreams. Brian Tracey’s audiobook “The Luck Factor” has a part in it that says if you write down 10 goals on a piece of paper and visualize them, that you will achieve 80% of those goals by the end of the year. Is it true? Who knows. But it’s certainly worth a shot!
9. Don’t let adversity cause self-doubt. If you have big goals, you will have big hurdles. Work hard, be determined, and never waver in your confidence to succeed.
10. You don’t have to go to college or graduate school. In fact, if you’re planning on attending graduate school, I would watch this video in its entirety first, then decide. The man in this video said something like, “There are many different paths to a good life”, and I couldn’t agree more. You know how Robert Frost talks about the road less traveled? This is the same thing. The structure of today’s society likes you to think that you need to go to school and need to follow steps A, B and C sequentially in order to have a good life. While this might work for some people, most others will differ. Maybe you need to have a kid before you get married. Maybe you want to start a business instead of going to school. Maybe you need to travel the world working mediocre jobs until you’re 45. It’s your life. Remember that you are the one who has to live with its consequences daily. Don’t do school for your parents, don’t go to school because of society, do it for you.
11. Don’t make decisions out of fear. Yoga girl taught me this little nugget of wisdom. I had driven down from Maryland to South Carolina to attend one of her yoga classes. As I walked in the door with a thousand other yoga students filing in behind me, I wondered how she got so famous. After she stood up and started talking to the class, sharing her life’s wisdom, I realized it was because people connected with what she said. There was one thing in particular that I connected with, and that was the warning she gave us to not make decisions out of fear. If you want to know more about this, listen to her second podcast, “Manifesting Abundance“. I highly recommend it.
12. Take advantage of the Law of Attraction. I suppose this piggybacks heavily on number 8, but it’s so important it deserves another bullet point. The universe is not a biased place. What it does is give you everything you think about, or I should say harp upon. If you concentrate on negative emotions, you will find more of this in your life. On the other hand, if you have positive thoughts of abundance, you will see more good things come your way. When I was living in Spain two years ago, I imagined myself sitting with my dog Luna, in the apartment that I have, doing exactly what I’m doing. I spent hours thinking about the exact scenario I’m living now. I wanted a quiet, European-looking apartment on a cul-de-sac. Close to the city, but also close to a trail where I could take Luna for long walks. I wanted to be in a place where they had vegan food, yoga studies and yet be close to campus. Literally every single thing I imagined came true. If you believe it will happen. It’s only fate because your thoughts made it so. Also, I should mention that most of the people in my life said I shouldn’t pursue my master’s, as it would put me in a great deal of debt. I didn’t listen because I was positive that somehow it would all work out. One day the person who used to live in this apartment decided to stop by for her mail that was still being delivered here. She asked me what I studied, and we talked for a bit. After a few minutes, she told me about a job offering where she works. Fast forward two months, you see me at my new job that provides me full tuition remission. Never underestimate the power of your own imagination.
13. Balance practicality with your dreams. You want to quit your job and travel the world, but you have no money? Try to save first. You have to work hard and sometimes put in time doing things that aren’t necessarily your passion in order to achieve your long-term goals. If finding your dream job was an overnight task, it would make it much less rewarding.
14. Be you. It’s very important to learn from others, and I’m a big fan of modeling off successful people. However, modeling does not mean copying. Even in this over saturated blogging market I decided to make my own. Why? Because we all are so unique. I knew that while I may not be the best writer, or most interesting person, there is still no one else out there like me. Or you. So don’t be afraid to stand out!
15. Give to others. Life is much more fulfilling when you have purpose beyond yourself.