Your 20s are your best years.
It’s the small window in your life where you’ve started working so you have a bit of money and you still don’t have the full commitments of a family or a house. It’s the time for self-discovery, making mistakes, and figuring out life.
However, everyone benefits from some advice, so here’s what you need to know to live your 20s the right way.
Take Care of Your Teeth
A trip to the dentist sucks; you lie there hoping that the dentist doesn’t talk to you so you don’t have to awkwardly try to answer with two metal sticks in your mouth.
A smile is the best thing a person can wear; it makes you more approachable, happier, and makes you more attractive.
Now imagine being born with decent teeth and a nice smile but ruining it because you didn’t take proper care of your teeth. Sure, you’ll be able to fix your smile with some dentures or fake teeth but these obviously do not function as well as a set of healthy and natural teeth.
With the rise of health-consciousness among Singaporeans, we are taking better care of our bodies than before but are we taking good care of our teeth as well?
While we apparently have a good level of dental awareness, most of us also have fairly poor oral hygiene. While most of us (hopefully all of us) brush our teeth regularly, good dental hygiene involves much more than that. Rinsing with mouthwash, flossing, and regular dental visits are just some of the additional steps to preventing tooth decay and other dental issues.
If it sounds tedious, it’s because it is but learning good dental hygiene habits will not only spare you from the pain of tooth decay but the pain of spending exorbitant amounts on root canals, teeth fillings, and dentures in future. Plus, you’ll get to keep your natural, toothy, smile into your later years.
Nobody Knows What’s Going On
When you become an adult, you’ll realize that you actually have no idea how to be one. It’ll probably take you another 10 years to realize (unless you’re reading this) that in reality, no adult really has any idea what is going on.
Your friends seem more successful, your colleagues seem more confident, and there’s always that somebody that seems to have all their shit together. Well, the good news is that nobody has their shit together and everybody is just trying to figure out how to deal with life.
This isn’t even only true in your 20s, it’ll hold true for the rest of your life. You’ll be figuring out how to raise your kid or deal with a more worn out body in your 30s.
In your 40s, you’ll be dealing with your kid’s adolescent phase and whether he/she will turn out fine.
If you’re lucky, you’ll only have to come to terms with your kid finally growing up and leaving the house in your 50s.
If you don’t have kids, you’ll probably be dealing with whatever other issues older people have, which we’ll find out about as we get older.
Everybody looks like they have their life together because we all tend to keep our problems inside. Just like how a person’s Insta page isn’t truly reflective of their lives, the outside of a person does not reflect the inside.
Whenever you feel bad about not having your life together (and you will), remember not to compare your insides with another person’s outside.
Stop Giving Unnecessary F*cks
Don Miguel Ruiz once said that there is a huge amount of freedom that comes to you when you take nothing personally. Now, there are probably some instances where you should take things personally but the logic is sound: care less about the unimportant people and things and you’ll be happier.
We worry about what people on the street think of us and how we should act so that others will like us but the truth is that nobody on the street that you saw today will remember you tomorrow and no matter how nice or polite you are, there will be somebody that hates you.
Mean things are going to be said about you, be it at work or between two people gossiping about you. It’s not something you can control (unless you actually are a terrible person, in which case you should work on not being a terrible person) and is not something that you should try to control.
You can’t please everybody, and you should stop trying to. There is a very limited number of hours in a day, lunches in your life, and f*cks to give in your lifetime and you should allocate each of these carefully to the people and things that matter in your life.
Stop being friends with people who say horrible things about you behind your back, stop worrying about how you look to people you have never even met in your life, and most importantly, don’t let the opinions of others influence what kind of person you are.
Focus on the people who matter and the things that make you happy and you’ll feel a lot more liberated.
Don’t Be Afraid
Apply for that job you don’t think you can get. Ask that girl/guy that’s totally out of your league for their number. Travel to a place that you never imagined that you’d be in. Meet someone on Kalpha to learn that skill you’ve always wanted.
Your 20s are the best time to try things like these and build up your confidence. Challenge yourself to try something new, work towards certain goals that you have, and don’t be afraid to fail. The worst part about failing is having to start all over again but that’s also the beauty in it, being able to start over until you succeed.
It’s Okay to Be Comfortable Sometimes
Every single inforgraphic about people in the 20s and every “inspirational” Linkedin post will tell you one thing: that your comfort zone will kill you. But it won’t.
To be fair, getting comfortable is dangerous; time passes us by the older we get and we’re left to wonder about the what-ifs. Getting into a spot of comfort and never leaving could leave you with a bunch of regrets in future.
So why is staying in your comfort zone good?
Being out of your comfort zone is exhausting and there are times where you need to recharge and reorganize yourself to prepare for the next challenge. Being out of your comfort zone perpetually can be utterly overwhelming and impairs your ability to function at your best, resulting in poor performances instead.
In addition to knowing when to step out of your comfort zone, it’s also important to know yourself. Different people want different things in life but not everybody gets what they want and the reason for that is simple.
Each person has their own personal threshold and there is a certain point where it becomes too much for you to handle. Some people’s limits are higher than others and there’s no shame in recognizing where your limits are and knowing when to take a step back.
Don’t feel compelled to push yourself endlessly just because you see someone else thriving on being outside their comfort zone. Push yourself for the right reasons and trust your gut.
Save your money! Invest! Prepare for the future! Says every single person giving advice to someone in their 20s.
While it is important to make sure you don’t end up homeless in your 60s, it is also important to realize that your 20s will be likely be the best time of your life and it’s going to be downhill from here.
What does that mean? It means that it is important to indulge yourself and remember to enjoy yourself from time to time. And that means spending money on things or doing things that don’t make sense to anybody but yourself.
Want to attend that concert that you’ve been waiting for for years? Buy a Cat 1 ticket!
Dreamed of buying a Chanel Limited Edition bag? Do it!
Always wanted to fly in comfort once in your life? Get a business class ticket!
Fancy a limited-edition Lego or figurine? Buy it!
We often get so obsessed with planning for the future that we forget about living in the present. Now, it goes without saying that you shouldn’t spend your entire paycheck on something frivolous every month but you should definitely not feel guilty about treating yourself to whatever indulgence it is that you enjoy occasionally.
Save a part of your money in an account for rainy days,, give your parents some money, start investing by throwing some cash into an ETF or a robo-advisor like DBS digiportfolio, and for the love of yourself, spend some money.
Learning to treat yourself in a guilt-free and healthy way is an important part of our mental health and helps to rejuvenate us from getting overwhelmed by life and avoiding burn outs.
Remember to Have Fun
Spending your best years over-planning for the future while missing out on the present might be one of the biggest mistakes that you can make in your 20s.
Life hardly ever goes according to plan, so there’s really not much point in trying to plan every step meticulously only to get upset when life throws you curveballs.
Amidst challenging yourself and figuring life out, don’t forget to stop and smell the roses. Take a step back to unwind when life gets overwhelming and speak to someone with experience to help guide you out of your rut.
Life is a struggle for everyone but it’s the happiness in between that makes it worth it.