Calling BS on "Surviving Your 20s 101"
They say—you know, the proverbial they, who provide the instruction manual for absolutely everything in life—that your twenties are supposed to be your selfish years. It's okay to slack on your investments in relationships, friendships and family because you're investing in yourself. It's okay to spend money here or there on experiences because you want to buy mental memories, not physical products. It's okay to neglect your responsibilities because you're still figuring things out.
If you're waiting for the but, it's almost here.
I get it. This whole adulting thing is neither a joke nor a game. After spending my entire childhood fighting off nurses, escaping examination rooms and flooding with tears to avoid shots, yesterday I got a flu shot. Of my own volition. I don't know who I am anymore, but my identity crisis after engaging in good health practices is a post for another time.
Adulting is very different in your twenties. There is opportunity everywhere and it seems like whatever you do now sets you up for either success or failure for the next 50, 60, 70+ years, so I completely understand the desire to throw everything stressful or tainted with the slightest scent of responsibility to the wayside in pursuit of exploration, discovery and adventure.
You are in the perfect place.
Your instincts were right: what you do now could set you up for success or failure for the next 50 years to a century. However, lucky for you, it's not a make-or-break, melodramatic success or failure like the movies or television would have you believe. It's micro-level, incremental, long-term gratification success or minor-folly, two-steps-back-after-one-step-forward failure. This is where we learn perseverance, persistence and stamina. It's where life asks us: is this what you really want? And how hard are you willing to work for it?
It's where we find balance. Go on the trip with your girls. Make it to homecoming. Splurge a little on those shoes. But be sure you're throwing stacks at your 401k, credit card statement and rainy day fund as well.
Sow the long-term seeds. And celebrate the short-term fruits. But the key is to sow as much as you reap—and vice versa. Balance, remember?