Grand things I Learnt in my Early 20s

I didn’t want to start my blog with some serious first post, but I just had my nth birthday on September 1 and it’s supposed to mark a milestone of sorts. So I did some reflecting, and today I will be sharing the most important life lessons that I learnt in the ~first half of my twenties. (Hell of a ride!)

To my descendants, if ever you stumble on this, pay attention!

To you, dear reader, if you’re a yuppie/yuccie millenial like me, some things to think about.

Here are the grand things that I learnt in my early 20s:


grand things i learnt in my early 20s, advice for your 20s, getting through a quart life crisis, how to survive quarter life crisis, quarter life crisis advice, tips for your 20s


1. Life is not a race.

I was already warned about the rat race when I graduated but I still got dragged into it many times. It’s difficult not to. I was lost at life some times and I had to look around what others were doing to get a clue — and saw, every single time, that everybody’s doing pretty damn well. Or at least they seemed on Facebook. That’s how life got pretty sad and cruel.

Thanks to experience, I learnt that I don’t have to achieve the FIRST, the BEST, and the MOST among my peers especially if that achievement doesn’t make me happy and fulfilled. I learnt that I don’t have to prove anything to anyone but myself. (And my parents, occasionally.)

Thanks to online articles, I learnt that ‘Facebook envy’ is real and what I see on social media is a mosaic of  filtered, “shareable” portions of people’s lives. The truth is: everyone my age is struggling with life after college and nobody really knows what he’s/she’s doing.

Thanks to MacLeod, I learnt that, instead of a race, each one of us has his/her own private Mount Everest and it’s one’s life mission to climb that mountain to the top — in whatever way, manner, and rate he/she wishes. I learnt to look straight ahead and pay less attention to what others are doing.


2. It’s not about how big your paycheck is.

It’s about how much you’ve saved. Although I earn less than some of my peers, I have fewer liabilities and have a low-maintenance lifestyle than they. I have a small savings on the bank, and I don’t live payday to payday. So in this sense, I’m doing okay with my finances and I’m thankful about it. No need to loathe those who earn five times than I do and claw my way “up” to their ranks.

Second, it’s about working the job you love. I learnt that my happiness and mental health are far more important than money, prestige, or other people’s opinion of me. If a job makes me feel dead inside, no amount of paycheck can compensate for that. On the flip side: “We accept the pay we think we deserve.” If my paycheck can’t buy me good food, Internet, and beers, how will I be happy?


3. Know your non-negotiables.

When I started working, I didn’t know what my non-negotiables were and would jump at any opportunity to make money and climb “the ladder.” This is natural though. As we age, we learn more about ourselves and what things put us off big time. Now I know that it’s okay to say no to an opportunity, no matter how grand, if it feels wrong or not worth it. This advice extends to all aspects of my life. This is also the love advice I tell myself. *coughs*


4. It’s okay not to do what most people do.

Case in point: Most of my friends like indie stuff and they “disapprove” most things mainstream. (They have reasons though.) I like indie stuff too and I like some things mainstream like Taylor Swift songs, today’s top hits, JaDine, and AlDub. I’ve learnt to be confident about this through time. I’ve learnt to be more vocal about liking what they don’t like.

Many other similar incidents have happened that I choose to remain unnamed.

In all these, I’ve learnt that I don’t have to side with the majority to earn their friendship / esteem.  What I have to do, at this age, is to stand up for the person I really am. This is not high school. If we can’t get along, so what? *flips hair*

(Dear hipster friends, thank you for loving me and accepting me for who I really am. I LURVE U, GUISE. ❤︎)


5. It’s okay (and natural) to divorce some friends.

I found out that friendships are actually work. They eat up time, energy, and money, and I have a limited amount of these. I learnt that I will have to choose the people I’d spend my resources on if I want quality friendships. I learnt that I’d have to surround myself with the right people if I want to be successful. So if a friendship becomes toxic or irreversibly pointless, I don’t have to hold on because of the good times.

There had been times though that I drifted away from very good friends. I waited them all out.


6. Refuse to be dragged into arguments.

Arguments are draining and destructive. I’ve learnt that if I want to be happy, I will have to say no to almost all provocations to argument — even those that “test” my creed (and are just, oh, so tempting to blow up). I’ve learnt that I should NOT assign intent on other people’s actions. I should NOT call out every stupidity I see. I should just walk away, laugh it off, and conserve my energy for more important things. I’ve learnt that I owe it to myself to keep ~zen~ and protect my ~zen~ from being tainted by other people’s shits.

But I won’t be a hypocrite about this. This is the hardest one to do and sometimes I can’t stop myself from glaring at offenders and spitting out some sarcasm (in a low voice). Hahaha! But Lorde knows I’m trying my best to keep my cool all the time. So help me, Lorde!




So how did you find it? 🙂

This is just the FIRST HALF of my list. Part 2 can be found here.


5 thoughts on “Grand things I Learnt in my Early 20s

  1. Hi Mailan! being in the early 20’s is indeed a challenging period in one’s life. I’m quite relieved that you also share some of my sentiments as some people have a hard time admitting the things that you just mentioned. They have this notion that every moment should be legendary, cool and memorable that they forget to live life. now on to our late 20’s! 🙂


    1. Jaime ❤ I'm glad that we share similar "adulting" sentiments. Yes, the early 20s is really challenging. We transition into a lot of things that It felt like the second coming of high school. But it gets better. Yes, especially if one learns to live life and not be limited by unrealistic notions / expectations. Onto our late 20s indeed. 🙂


  2. Totally agree with this list! Although I’m just about to turn twenty, these were my realizations for the past year. Although I’m still ‘materialistic’ but I’m really trying to get rid of it. I guess my new project is learning how to be contented materially and aesthetically. LOL. Adulting is difficult isn’t it? But it does feel fulfilling when you’ve learned something ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Adulting is like the second-coming of high school, so it’s difficult. Everyone’s unsure of what she’s doing and what she wants to do. But being in your 20s really opens up a lot of possibilities so it’s kinda scary and liberating at the same time. But once you get the hang of it, it’s really great. 🙂

      I don’t think being “materialistic” is bad. I mean, if you can afford that lifestyle but still have money on the bank, you’re doing it right. This is how I stopped myself from being guilty about every eat-out and overpriced coffee. 🙂

      I sincerely wish that you strike out every item on your bucket list. It looks really exciting and promising. ❤


  3. ” each one of us has his/her own private Mount Everest and it’s one’s life mission to climb that mountain to the top”
    This quote is ❤

    Thanks for reminding me that its ok to be lost and not to be the best/first/most. Good read for a graduating student like me who is currently confuse with life after college. :))))


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s