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What I wish I knew in my twenties

15 February 2021 - By Justine Curtis

For many of us, our twenties are the defining decade. We emerge into adulthood only somewhat prepared for the real world and quickly realise there is so much we don’t know.

We make mistakes and hopefully learn from those mistakes to make better decisions in the future.

One thing I’ve learnt is that life experience can put the past in a whole different light. If I could go back in time, these are some of the things I’d tell my 20-something self…

Follow your dreams and don't be too afraid to jump off and build your wings on the way down.

There are so many opportunities open to young people in their twenties and for me, it was the perfect time to carve a new path for myself.

There is this idea that you need to get on the “right path” early on and to avoid taking risks that might affect your future. But the truth is, you don’t need to have all the answers before you set off on an adventure—you just need to be driven and willing to go for it. Trust that everything will fall into place eventually.

If you have a vision, a dream or a passion about something listen to your intuition and follow it. I know I would have done so much sooner.

Learn a new skill every six-months

Never stop learning. Take the time to learn a new skill as often as you can, it’s much easier to do when you’re young because you have the time, energy and enthusiasm to make it happen.

Cook real food, and don't spend uni eating things out of a packet!

 The difference between real food and food from a packet becomes very obvious the older you get. Nourish your body with the right food and you’ll notice the benefits immediately. Not to mention, real food tastes A LOT better.

Cherish your grandparents and record some of their incredible stories

Older generations have so much wisdom to impart. Listening to your grandparents talk about their upbringing and experiences is truly a privilege. Your grandparents won’t be around forever, but you can keep their memory alive by holding on to their stories.

Hold onto those really cool Doc Marten boots, your daughter will love them one day!

Definitely should have kept them!

Move, move, move—exercise and dance as much as you can

There is an ancient saying “flowing water never stagnates” and the same can be said about exercise. Moving your body keeps you active and maintains your energy levels. It keeps you from stagnating. When you have to work long hours, you start to believe you can’t make time for exercise but it’s absolutely vital for your overall mental and physical wellbeing. Also, dancing is fun!

Don't skip uni lessons

If there’s one thing I regret about my uni days, it’s skipping the occasional class and not thinking much of it at the time.

Attending lectures can feel like a slog when you’re trying to live in the moment, but in the grand scheme of things you’re only going to be there for a few precious years—so why not just knuckle down and learn something while you’re there? There is plenty of time between classes to meet up with friends and have fun.

You’re paying for your education, so it makes sense that you take full advantage of it. You never know what you’re going to miss out on—so don’t skip those classes.

Learn to meditate now, and do it daily

Meditation is a big part of my life and it’s key to helping me maintain a balanced perspective. I spent a good part of my twenties stressing about things I had no control over and searching for answers to the wrong questions. It took time for me to come to a place of peace—with the help of meditation as well as talking to those who had wisdom they were willing to share with me.

There are no negative side effects from meditating, it’s a habit that when done consistently has a lasting positive impact.

Explore more of the UK, you may not live there forever!

Although I’ve always loved to travel abroad, I didn’t always appreciate home as much as I craved the unfamiliar. I also did not expect to set up a new life in a completely different country! I do wish I explored more of the UK when I had the chance, I’m sure one day I will and I’ll take my family with me!

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