How To Make The Best Of Your 20s In An Endemic Future
The last two years have been difficult for many of us – some might have lost their jobs and others are struggling in their homes. For those of us in our 20s, we spent the early years of our adulthood navigating through these uncertain circumstances, feeling like many opportunities have been ripped off of us.
However, not all is lost and wasted! Personally, I was sad about my mid-20s “wasting away”, but I also then realize that we live in unique times that can actually be maximized. So here are some ways you can adopt a positive mindset and make the best of this endemic future:
1. Make your money work for you.
For those of us who are fortunate enough to have a job and reduced costs – either from being rent-free, loan-free or simply from eating out less – we are actually able to save up a lot more compared to when we were working in the office full-time. We don’t often realize it, but eating out for lunch daily and the costs of socializing amounts to a huge sum! Although shopping online is very tempting (and controlled amounts of it are justifiable as we cope with such tough times!), it is especially important to set these finances aside. Not to just keep it in one savings account, but to invest wisely and let the interest compound.
If you don’t know where to start, don’t worry! Crunch is always posting financial tips and often organizes events related to personal finances. Here are some articles to help you kickstart your investing journey:
If you’re like me and find this very confusing, just remember one principle: the earlier you start investing, the better. You don’t have to plunge right into it, but you can start small:
- Reach out to a friend with experience – I’m sure we all have a friend who’s interested in investing, ask them about it!
- Only commit once you’re informed and ready – Be careful not to get sucked into any long-term investment plans or Multi-Level Marketing schemes unless you’re fully aware of the stakes involved.
- Always refer to multiple sources – There are plenty of podcasts, YouTube channels and blogs that talk about investing. The key is to rely on multiple sources. If only one person or channel advocates for a particular method or stock, its credibility is small; however, if multiple sources agree on the same principles, then it’s more trustworthy
For further reading, check out this article on 5 things we wish we knew about money in our early 20s.
2. Expand your technical expertise.
The market demands are constantly evolving: one day your role might be crucial, the very next day it might be obsolete. It is important then to establish expertise to ensure long-term job sustainability. Being a Subject Matter Expert (SME) is not easy – it takes effort and a lot of time. Fortunately, some of us have a lot more time on our hands because of the current Work From Home arrangements. There are many online courses and free webinars that you can leverage in order to advance your technical expertise. This would really help catapult your career!
- Watching documentaries – Reading or merely listening to lectures might be boring, but many recent documentaries are now very interesting and well directed!
- Reach out to professionals on LinkedIn – Many professionals are actually more than willing to offer advice or coaching sessions, it’s just a matter of taking the first step to slip into their message boxes.
- Get a coach/mentor – A coach or mentor is someone who would be able to give a fresh perspective and guide you towards your goals. Similarly, reach out to them, leverage on the digital sessions they are offering or simply learn from their experiences.
3. Stop making excuses, pursue a hobby.
As young adults or fresh graduates, we often pour our 20s into building our careers and revolve our identities around our work. This includes a lot of time spent on overtime and even at work social events in order to network with the right people. However, having hobbies outside of work is essential to strike a balance in life and prevent burnout! Don’t spend your 30s or 40s regretting not exploring more hobbies when you are young and have the energy.
We are going through a unique experience: we have a lot of time on our hands and very little peer pressure to show up for events we don’t actually want to attend. That leaves us with the opportunity to explore new hobbies. Remember all the things you’ve wanted to try but never had the time? Now is a good time to revisit them!
- Don’t be afraid to do things alone – In fact, it might be more fun to try things alone. There is no embarrassment of “doing things wrong” or “making mistakes”. You are simply enjoying the process.
- Start small, start cheap – Some might think that you need to put in a “capital” so you would commit to it. Remember buying yourself an expensive bicycle so you have the motivation to exercise? I think it’s actually wiser to start small and cheap. If you buy a small painting kit and realize you don’t like it, then you can move on. However, if you go big and buy an expensive paint set and then realize you don’t enjoy it, you would’ve wasted a lot of money!
The sheer act of trying new things has ripple effects – it could spark new levels of creativity in your workplace or inspire you to handle your relationships in a refreshing way. Don’t worry about producing high-quality outputs, just enjoy the process.
4. Give online dating a try!
Yes, long gone are the taboos attached to online dating. In fact, if you are single and ready to mingle, this is the best time to try it! Why?
- It’s actually safer to e-meet people now than to meet them physically anyway!
- You don’t have to fake an excuse to avoid meeting them in person. – Previously, it was awkward to turn down an offer to “meet up” or go on a date with a person you meet online. Now, you have an easy way out!
- You get to filter out people without having to experience a bad date. – You have a longer runway to get to know someone better first (either through chatting or calls) because you have an excuse to postpone meeting them in person. This gives you a chance to really get to know them personally first. At the least, you can also filter out people who aren’t ready to commit.
- You get to spend time thinking through your approaches and responses (which is really helpful if you are new to the dating scene).
If you’re new to the online dating scene, it might be intimidating. But if you really think about it: what do you have to lose? You’re in your 20s (and probably at your peak!), and you can afford to try new things and meet new people.
5. Build your online presence.
In this digital era, having an online presence will be increasingly important – either for future job prospects or to simply make yourself more visible. Building an online presence can also be very easy and low maintenance (depending on your goals).
- Identify your aims and your platform – The industry in which you want to expand in matters. As a quick guide: LinkedIn is very corporate; whereas Tiktok and Instagram are more for creatives (Keep in mind that this may change when new platforms pop up). It helps to identify the one platform that is more relevant to your industry, Then, invest in consistent posting on that platform rather than putting mediocre effort into multiple channels.
- Provide the details – If you don’t have the time to be posting twice a week, that’s okay too. However, when you do have the time to update your profile, give details! Explain what you’ve been involved in and more importantly, how you have contributed to those projects or events. Even if your updates are not recent, at least your audience, recruiters or headhunters can get a good idea of what you have previously done and would be able to gauge the depths of your skills.
- It can be simple – It can be sharing short posts or vlogging. Whatever it at be, it is a good stage to explore these online avenues and expand your branding.
Fellow 20-year-olds (and 90s babies), though it might feel like our best days are wasting away, don’t be discouraged! This is merely a short phase in the entire span of our lives. This doesn’t dismiss the difficult situations some of us are experiencing, but do take comfort in knowing that you are not in this alone. We are all trying to figure out how to live our best lives, and we are all stumbling along the way.
As we approach this endemic future, move forward with a more positive mindset and allow yourself to try new things! You might be surprised at the outcomes of stepping outside your comfort zones.