Being 20-something in the time of a pandemic may feel unfair, and we might be going through some hardships that we wouldn’t be going through under normal circumstances. However, there are still many valuable lessons and insights we can glean from this unique experience. Here are some tips and pointers for making the most of our of your 20s in a time of a pandemic and recession.
The time to start being financially literate was yesterday.
Financial literacy is simply the art, science, and discipline of managing our finances: How we make it, how to manage and invest it, and how to expend it to extend help to others. If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that we can never be 100 percent prepared for global disasters like the COVID-19 crisis, but there are ways to cushion ourselves from being hit to the point of losing everything.
If you haven’t started making long-term financial plans and goals, don’t fret because it’s never too late to start. Take a course, read up on finance articles and trends, and consult with experts. There are plenty of ways to start learning how to handle your income well and prepare for your future.
Learn how to prioritize.
Know your values and where to spend your important resources like time, money, and energy. Now is a good time to learn how to choose your battles and knowing what’s worth engaging in and what’s not. This may involve relationships, activities, and even politics. One day you want to look back and know that you invested your youth and resources in all the right things.
Find your life’s passion and pursue it, but be realistic.
Your 20s are a good time to discover what you want to do for the rest of your life. Discover what fuels and energizes you, what makes you come alive with excitement and joy. If you dream of starting your own business, now is the time to start working towards that goal. Don’t do or delay things out of fear of failure or rejection. After all, most successful people in the world experienced closed doors at one point or another.
Understand the value of hard work.
In the time of instant-everything, young generations have lost the value of hard work and delayed gratification. The reality of life is this: Good things don’t just come to those who wait; good things come to those who work hard. Happiness and satisfaction are also investments that require a lot of work, time, attention, nurturing, and intention. Breakaway from society’s expectations of what you should have achieved by now and work at your own pace and on your own timeline.
Form good and healthy habits.
You can’t smoke three packs of cigarettes a day not expect it to have consequences on your health later on. As a healthy, functioning human being, so much of your future depends on the health and lifestyle habits you form today, so don’t waste your invincible 20s. Allow your older self the opportunity to thank you one day.
Extend help to those who need it.
You won’t be any younger than you are now, and one day you will have too many responsibilities to the point where you won’t be able to extend much help to people outside of your family. Look around you and see what simple needs you can help meet: That friend who needs help with moving, your high-risk elderly neighbors who need assistance with their groceries, and children in third-world countries who need financial support for their education. Resources that are used to help others are never wasted.
While many believe that our 20s should be the time for partying and socialization, our current circumstances preclude us from it. While we should never detach from our healthy relationships and friendships (video calls still exist, after all), the pandemic should be a time when we learn how to be with ourselves and be satisfied with solitude. There’s plenty to gain from the quiet and being independent.
Embrace the value of rest.
And lastly, don’t overextend yourself to the point of burnout. While it’s true that your 20s should be a time of learning to hustle and building habits that can help you succeed, learning how to rest is a crucial part of that process, too. Don’t feel guilty for taking breaks or slowing down from time to time.
Your early adulthood is a time to build deep and strong foundations, which means it might take the longest. So be patient with yourself and believe that all of your hard work will pay off one day.