6 Things You Need to Stop Doing Once You’re Twenty.

In a few months, I turn twenty-one. While that is incredibly exciting, in the last year I have realised that this decade of life – your twenties – are, simply put, when everything changes. It is inevitably when life is going to throw you the biggest curveballs of all. Even though I have only really begun my journey into my twenties, I have made a pact with myself to try and change a few things about my thinking and behaviour. So, here are the six things I believe you need to stop doing once you are twenty.

1. Stop being a door mat.
Once you leave school, it’s different. It’s not rocket science – more time and effort has to go into maintaining the friendships you had growing up. Make time for your friends, but don’t forget that it goes both ways. All relationships work better when equal amounts of effort is put in by everyone involved. Some friendships are going to drift and you will feel one of two things: numbness or pain. If it is painful, it mattered. We are taught to stand up for ourselves and not let others use you. You’re not a door mat. Welcome people in to your life, but don’t let those people stand there and wipe their feet clean as they walk all over you. Be a kind person, but don’t let others take that for granted. You deserve friends that treat you right. Don’t you dare settle for less than you deserve.

2. Stop saying yes.
As you get older, you naturally accept more responsibility. Responsibility is great – it not only allows you to show others that you are mature and organised, but you learn how to prioritise and manage your time efficiently. However, don’t forget that you are also allowed to say ‘no’ every once in a while. Don’t spread yourself too thin. Don’t take on so much responsibility that you are no longer passionate or enthusiastic about a certain cause. At the end of the day, those two things are exactly what drives your motivation to do well at something. If you are lacking both passion and enthusiasm, you will find that your performance will gradually decline. Don’t feel like you have to say yes to people. If someone asks you to help them out or take on a particular role, spend some time really considering it, especially if it is a weighty decision. Often if someone knows that you are a ‘yes’ person, they will use you as their go-to person. While you should not feel obliged to always say yes, it doesn’t mean you should stop altogether.

3. Stop saying no.
If you say ‘no’ too frequently, the amount of opportunities that have the potential to come your way will diminish – and it will happen fast. If you close yourself off, then you will never gain that extra bit of experience that could point you in the right direction. Don’t be scared of stepping outside of the confines of your comfort zone. Often, that is where the magic happens. It can be terrifying, don’t get me wrong, but you will always end up better for it on the other end. Whether you have learnt something new or acquired a new skill or maybe even had the opportunity to share your talents with others, you will find that you have also had the chance to grow as well. Sometimes you will get lucky and something new will land in your lap because of a person you have met or something you have done in the past. However, this typically doesn’t always happen, so you need to be open to trying new things. You may be adamant that your internship application will just be a speck in the hundreds of others that apply, but what have you got to lose? Show them you are passionate. Show them you are different from the rest and ready to tackle new challenges head on. Don’t wait for opportunities to find you, actively seek them instead. Patience can only get you so far, but eagerness and a curious mind will always lead you to open doors.

4. Stop waiting for your family to ring you.
Make a conscious decision that once or twice a week you will take five minutes out of your day to ring your family. Whether that is a parent, sibling, grandparent, aunt, uncle or cousin – make it a priority. About a year or two ago,  I realised that I was constantly leaving it up to both my grandmother’s to ring and check up on me. I quickly decided that I wanted this to change. The relationship you have with your family is something so special and I was taking it for granted. Now, I make a conscious effort to ring them both at least once every week or two, depending on how busy my schedule is and what time I get home from Uni or work. Every time I end the phone call or give them a hug goodbye after seeing them, I now make sure I say, ‘love you!’ While this shouldn’t be some crazy, new phenomenon – for some reason it often feels natural to tell our partner that we love them every day, but when it comes to family, we ignore the simple ‘I love you’. Why do we find it so awkward to speak words of affirmation to our family? You don’t want it to be too late and have any regrets, so stop waiting for your family to ring you. Everyone gets busy and fitting in time to have a decent conversation can be difficult, but these relationships are incredibly special and you don’t want to lose that, because you’ll need them more than ever. Never underestimate the importance of a quick phone call or the importance of an ‘I love you’.

5. Stop worrying about what others think of you.
You know what they say – us ‘Millennials’ are experiencing the most severe identity crisis of all. Due to the emergence of social media within the last two decades, it’s pretty damn hard to argue against that. We constantly compare ourselves with the lives of those we may or may not know that appear on our screens. We pick and choose the parts of our lives that we showcase to others and we get so caught up on following the latest trends. We are growing up more socially awkward than ever, because we aren’t used to holding conversations that are not requiring us to only move our fingers and thumbs. We have become one of the most narcissistic generations in history – spending our own time (and sometimes money) trying to acquire people to be interested more in our lives rather than their own. Welcome to 2017! Placing your worth in the values that society has created will do nothing but feed the voices telling you that you will never be enough. If you keep seeking validation from people or things that don’t have the right to be dictating the way you live your life, then you will never be happy. You will find yourself temporarily happy until someone else tells you there is ‘just one more thing’ you can do or change to be even happier – it’s a never-ending cycle. Stop constantly trying to please other people rather than doing things for yourself.

6. Stop thinking you have to ‘do life’ a certain way.
It’s not hard to see why we are so easily falling into the trap of an identity crisis. Individuals asking themselves why their lives don’t quite match up to where it’s “supposed to be”. For starters – that’s a load of poo. The values and ideals that society creates to be ‘normal’ is not reality, but rather an augmented version of it that is unattainable. Stop comparing yourself to where others are in life – whether they are financially stable, have moved out of home, are in a relationship, have an amazing new job, or ha, just have a job. It is completely normal to freak the heck out when you reach your twenties! You not only have a slight existential crisis, but suddenly you realise that oh, this is where it gets real. Society tells you that in the next ten years you should basically have checked graduating, getting your first real job, finding a lifelong partner, moving out of home, potentially moving to another job, getting married, travelling and having kids, off the list. Sounds ideal, right? But who says this is the way it has to go? Set goals and have dreams that you aspire to achieve, but don’t freak out if it’s not all happening the way you planned – because, spoiler alert: it probably won’t.

While I am only skirting around the borders of turning twenty-one, I still have so much to learn when it comes to growing up. All I can say is, every year brings more opportunities to do just that and I will continue to use what I already know to help me become the best version of myself as I work through my twenties. So, to all my twenty-something year old friends out there, this one is for you. Let’s do this crazy decade together.

Keep smiling. x

pay it forward.

So I will be honest, this week has been pretty chaotic. There is a lot going on and I have been an emotional wreck. However, amid all of the chaos that life has been throwing at me lately, there are a few things that have happened throughout the week that I am trying to focus on in an attempt to realign my attention on positive situations that outweigh the negative and ultimately change my attitude as a result. 
A few days ago my Nan was at a bus stop in Parramatta when she found a mobile phone sitting on the bench next to her. Instead of just handing it into the information or security desk, she decided to take it home and then ring up my sister and I. She told us that the screen was black, so we told her to press the circular button down the bottom. Please, take a guess as to just how well that went. Yeah, terribly. We gave her instructions to see whether the phone was turned on and unlocked, but note to self: teaching your eighty-one year old grandmother the basics of an iPhone over the phone is as difficult as getting out of a pair of jeans that are two sizes too small…while the zipper is still up…and you are wearing a belt – ya feel me?
Instead, we decided to do ourselves a favour and drive over to my Nan’s house the next day, check the phone and see if we could locate the owner. The entire time, we were joking about whether we would get some money as a reward if we could pull it off – however, I use the term ‘joking’ loosely, because deep down I think we both were somewhat serious.
We used our detective skills to discover that it was a teenage soccer player who had flown all the way from New Zealand with his football team and accidentally left his phone at the bus stop. We tried ringing his contacts labelled ‘Mum’ and ‘Dad’, but every contact was an overseas number and we were unable to reach them. At this point, my Nan just said, “Why don’t you wipe everything off the phone and just use it for yourselves. You won’t find him and it’s his fault for losing it”. Aimee and I just laughed. Challenge accepted.
In the end, we successfully found his girlfriend on Facebook and messaged her from my account letting her know what had happened. It was this part that was the most rewarding, because I was able to start a friendship with someone in a completely different country – yay friends! We spoke for a bit, helping each other out in the endeavour to get her boyfriend’s phone back to him as soon as possible. We contacted the manager of his football club and were able to drop his phone off at the Leagues Club he was playing at. The manager asked us if we would like anything in return, like a football jersey, but Dad just responded with “No mate, thanks all the same, but we just wanted to pay it forward.”
I was at work at the time, but when Dad told me what he had said, I was left a little disappointed at the fact we could have scored a free Parra jersey, but moreso, it taught me a lesson. We should do good things just for the heck of it. Not for what we might get out of it, the potential reward or our own benefit. I guess it all comes down to intention. And let’s be real, at the start, my intention wasn’t great – but hey, neither was my Nan’s to be perfectly honest. That said, I’m so grateful that we didn’t give up on finding the owner. It’s not only so rewarding just finding the person and being able to return the lost phone, but being able to use the experience to get to know someone in another country and make a friend, no monetary reward could beat that – that was priceless.
Keep smiling. x