Q+A: Advice for your early 20’s

girl with long hair, wearing sunglasses and a short white dress, carrying sandals and a straw beach bag, standing in the sand looking off in the distance
Life’s better at the beach when you have sun, surf, and sand.

There are so many things I wish I had known going into my early 20’s but the most important lesson I’ve learned is to not compare my timeline with others so I can fully appreciate and live in the present moment. I remember feeling anxious any time my friends would start talking about the future and share things they hoped to accomplish before a certain age. I didn’t know what my purpose was and it seemed as if everyone but me had it all figured out, and truth be told, it felt like I was running out of time to get my life together. It wasn’t until I stopped focusing on everyone else’s opinions did I find my peace. The moment I finally let myself believe there is no set timeline was the moment I felt a weight, one which I had unknowingly set upon myself, instantly lift off my shoulders. It’s okay not knowing your purpose! It’s okay not knowing when-this or if-that and it’s okay if you don’t have all the answers… and it’s okay to be anxious for the future. It’s okay to not be okay.

In the early stages of building the framework for what would eventually develop into HC the brand, I found myself worrying and doubting more than I ever had. I wish I had spent more time focusing on how I would be impacting others with my work versus wasting valuable time worrying about the future and nonexistent worst-case scenarios. I remember a particular conversation I had with one of my mentors about starting a business as I had yet to launch my business and remember asking, “what if it doesn’t work out? I mean, what if I fail and waste all of my time? I’ll have nothing to show by the time I’m ___ years old.” After a slight pause, he said this to me:

“You’re never too young to start something new and you’ll never be too old to try something new. That corporate life you’re leaving in order to create your own path will still be there if you decide this path isn’t one you want to take. Let’s say you launch and your business takes off faster than you could have ever forseen – isn’t that a nicer scenario to prepare for?”

It was like a switch suddenly flipped on and I realized that because I was spending so much time focusing on everything that could go wrong, I was unknowingly missing this chapter in my life where I was discovering my passions and purpose. I’ve overheard countless people say “I blinked and don’t know where all the years went,” whenever they begin reminiscing on the past, and I can’t help but wonder how or why that statement is so commonplace. I don’t have an answer for that but I know one surefire way to ensure that scenario happening is to spend the present worrying about the future that you miss living in the moment. Now, it’s important to anticipate and prepare for the goals you want to achieve, however, don’t rush the process as it is during this time of trial and error that you discover who you are. There’s a distinct difference between anticipating the future and worrying about the future. Don’t get the two confused. Don’t rush your present chapter because you think everything will get better when you have this or that, or when you’re ____ years old. It’s incredibly easy to get caught up in what everyone else your age is doing – social media has made it virtually impossible to not know what’s going on with everyone else’s life. Know that no matter how seemingly “put-together” someone or their life is, know that they have their own struggles and obstacles, too. Focus on your today and how you can prepare for a better tomorrow.

We all have our talents, our hobbies, our likes and dislikes; It’s okay not knowing what you’re passionate about as that’s exactly what these formative years are for: discovering self. Focus on doing more of what feels right for you. Know that it’s okay to not move at the same speed or have the same likes or dislikes as everyone else. Personally, I find uniqueness something that should be celebrated and protected at all costs – there’s nothing more terrifying than the thought of living a “normal” life. Don’t dim your personality to fit in with the rest of the crowd. Who knows, you may be the reassurance someone else needs.

A very important focus of mine was and still is to this day, community. Your community is your lifeline. I know I’ve barely made a dent in my list of things I want to accomplish in life but never in a million years would I imagine having the most supportive, kind-hearted, life-loving people in my life that I do now. I owe a sizeable amount of thanks to the people who believed in me before I was capable of believing in myself. When life gets tough, as it often can, don’t forget to ask others for help. There is never any shame in relying on your community for assistance. Part of understanding who you are is knowing the role you play in your community.

My final thoughts on advice for someone in their early 20s?

  • Focus on the relationship you have with yourself
  • Do what makes you happy
  • Invest time in those who bring out the best in you

Just know that where you are now is exactly where you are meant to be. Realize that life does not start at _____ years old nor does it begin when “you figure it all out.” Your life is happening now, right at this very moment, and how you spend this moment is completely up to you. You’re in control of your actions and the results of your actions. You have the power to make life as joyful as a journey as you want it to be. The question is whether or not you’re ready to free yourself from the weight of everyone else’s opinions. All of this to say, always stay true to who you are. The more you focus on yourself, the less time you’ll have to focus on others.

For you, by you

Here are your responses for this round’s Q+A: “Advice for your early 20s”

“Keep going, just keep going. Even when you don’t think it’s worth it, just keep going.”

“Save your money.”

“Call your parents, your family, your loved ones more. There’s no such thing as too much time with loved ones”

“Care less about what other people think of you. Most people don’t like themselves!”

“Don’t be afraid to respectfully challenge different opinions. Not everyone is always right, not even you.”

“Don’t worry about what other people think of you.”

“Save your money.”

“Drink more water.”

“Less comparing is key to more happiness.”

“Believe more in yourself. Try all the things even if they scare you!”

“Spend as much time as you can learning about what you love doing. Then, spend time doing those things!”

“Don’t compare yourself with anyone else!”

“You don’t need to be in a relationship to be happy. Learn to love yourself first, yes quirks and all, before you love others.”

“You’re going to meet all sorts of people, you won’t like them all and there’s a good chance a few of those people won’t like you either. It’s okay, that’s life.”

“Don’t let others opinions of you affect how you see yourself”

“Permanent solutions are never the answer to temporary problems.”

“Divorce doesn’t mean you’re a failure.”

“Learn how to cook as early on as possible and try everything! You might even discover a new cuisine that will become a lifelong favorite.”

“Have the courage to stand up for yourself. Don’t let others make your choices for you.”

“Have patience with yourself, invest time into learning your own passions.”

“Save money. Get rid of your debt ASAP!”

“Take time to think things through; Don’t rush important decisions.”

“Trust and value yourself, know your worth. Don’t compare. Lean into your own journey.”

“You are stronger than you realize. don’t settle! Don’t settle in love, work, friends, anything…”

“Save money…”

“Don’t rush exploring your passions. Also, your passions don’t have to match everyone else’s”

“You don’t have to be married with kids and in a home by 25. It’s ridiculous pressure to put on such a young generation”

“I don’t remember the pain of early mornings but do I remember those sunrises.”

“Don’t let others make you feel bad for your decisions! Care less about what other people think. It’s your life!”

“The bar will still be there tomorrow!”

“Relax. Just relax and live your own truth.”

“There’s literally no rush.”

“Even if it feels weird, tell your family you love them or miss them. my family never talked about our emotions and I lost a loved one in my mid 20’s. I regret not telling them I love you or I miss you more.”

“Begin saving and investing money. Hire someone to do it for you if you don’t know how.”

“Pull out.”

“Drink more water between alcohol.”

“Hmm…be spontaneous but responsible. Responsible spontaneity! Life is fun, enjoy the ride!”

“Don’t rush through important decisions: marriage, career, settling down, etc…”

“It’s okay to say no to your friends. True friends will remain no matter what.”

“Don’t be afraid, just go for it! Spend less time worrying about what people think because most people aren’t paying attention anyway.”

“Follow through with your ideas. Evaluate how you manage your time and create good habits.”

“Be patient.”

“It’s okay if something doesn’t work out after the first or second try. If it matters, it’s worth it to try again and again.”

“Marry your best friend when you’re ready to – not who or when your family or friends tell you to.”

“Life isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon.”

“Form a good organization and cleaning habit as early as possible.”

“You can’t pray enough.”

“Start learning how to save and invest your money.”

“Use your sick days.”

“Learn how to stand up for yourself.”

“Don’t be afraid to start over or reinvent yourself.”

“Have a plan set before you graduate to pay off student debt ASAP.”

“Don’t be afraid to start/pivot your business if intuition tells you to. Invest what you can.”

“Freeze your eggs if you’re not going to have kids until your late 30’s or 40’s.”

“It’s okay to say no but don’t forget to use kindness while doing so.”

“There’s a big world and you shouldn’t settle.”

“Start focusing on living in the moment. work hard towards your future but be sure to balance work and living life”

“It is okay not to have children until your 30’s or later. Don’t panic!”

“Invest in property or in real estate.”

“Learn about your employer and who you’re actually working for. If your workplace offers benefits, learn as much about them too.”

“You can go out and party later. Focus on yourself, your mental health, and overall wellbeing.”

“The bars will be there next weekend. Your body needs a break.”

“It’s okay to not have found THE ONE before a certain age. There’s no rush.”

“Drink more water and then drink some more.”

“Be proud of where you are and your accomplishments!”

Love always,

HC

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