I came across this recently and to be honest, it has helped me tremendously which is why I felt the need to share with you all. I wish I could take credit for this because quite a lot of these guides have either already formed an integral part of my personage or just being incorporated into my life. Incidentally, however, Ms. Shauna Niequest did me sufficient justice by properly expressing some of my feelings and frustrations through this article. Though this is particularly intended to address the 25-year olds, I strongly feel that this is something that a lot of people who fall within the post-college bracket can relate with, especially because of the fact that I have not reached the quarter century mark, yet I find it comfortable to relate with. There are 11 principles or guides that you should really take to heart especially for those who are presently at a crossroad of which direction they should take with their lives. So please take the time to really meditate on what you are about to read. This article will be broken up in to 2 session, The first session is what you are about to read. Be on the look out for the second session. I am quite sure that as you continue reading, you will go from, “Hey that’s me!” to “Alright, I get it.’’ So, on behalf of Ms. Niequest, happy reading!
When you are 25-ish, you are old enough to know what kind of music you love, regardless of what your last boyfriend or roommate always used to play. You know how to walk in heels, how to tie a necktie, how to give a good toast at a wedding and how to make something for dinner. You do not have to think much about skin care, home ownership or your retirement plan. Your life can be in different ways when you are 25: single, dating, engaged, married. You are working in dream jobs, pay-the-bills jobs, and downright horrible jobs. You are young enough to believe that anything is possible, and you are old enough to make that belief a reality.
1. You Have Time to Find a Job You Love
Now is the time to figure out what kind of work you love to do. What are you good at? What makes you feel alive? What do you dream about? You can go back to school now, switch directions entirely. You can work for almost nothing, or live in another country or volunteer long hours for something that moves you. There will be a time when finances and schedules make this a little trickier, so do it now. Try it, apply for it, get up and do it.
When I was 25, I was in my third job in as many years—all in the same area at a church, but the responsibilities were different each time. I was frustrated at the end of the third year because I did not know exactly what I wanted to do next. I did not feel like I had found my place yet. I met with my boss who was in his 50s, I told him how anxious I was about finding the one perfect job for me. He asked me how old I was, and when I told him I was 25, he told me I could not complain to him about finding the right job until I was 32. In his opinion, it takes about 10 years after college to find the right fit, and anyone who finds it earlier than that is just plain lucky. So use every bit of your 10 years: try things, take classes, start over.
2. Get Out of Debt and Stay Out of Debt
Part of being a healthy and mature adult is learning to live within your means all the time, even if that means going without things you think you need, or doing work you don’t love for a while to be responsible financially. The ability to adjust your spending according to your income is a skill that will serve you your whole life.
There will be times when you have more money than you need. In those seasons, tithe as always, save like crazy, and then let yourself buy fancy shampoo or an iPad or whatever it is you really get a kick out of. When the money is not rolling in, buy your shampoo from the grocery store and eat eggs instead of steak—a much cheaper way to get protein. If you can get the hang of living within your means all the time—always tithing, never going into debt—you will be ahead of the game when life surprises you with bad financial news. I know a lot of people who have bright, passionate dreams but who cannot give their lives to those dreams because of the debt they carry. Do not miss out on a great adventure God calls you to, because you have been careless about debt.
3. Don’t Rush Dating and Marriage
Now is also the time to get serious about relationships. And “serious” might mean walking away from a dating relationship that is good but not great. Some of the most life-shaping decisions you’ll make during this time will be about walking away from good-enough, in search of can’t-live-without. One of the only truly devastating mistakes you can make in this season is staying with the wrong person even though you know he or she is the wrong person. It is not fair to that person, and it is not fair to you.
“Who are you dating?” “Do you think he is the one?” “Have you looked at rings?” It is easy to be seduced by the romance-dating-marriage narrative. We confer a lot of status and respect on people who are getting married—we buy them presents and consider them as more adult and more responsible.
But there is nothing inherently more responsible or more admirable about being married. I am thankful to be celebrating my 10th wedding anniversary this summer, but at the same time, I have a fair amount of friends whose marriages are ending—friends whose weddings we danced at, whose wedding cakes we ate, whose rings we oohed-and-aahed over, but that have been taken off fingers a long time ago.
Some people view marriage as the next step to happiness or grown-up life or some kind of legitimacy, and in their mad desire to be married, they overlook significant issues in the relationship.
Ask your friends, family members and mentors what they think of the person you are dating and your relationship. Go through premarital counseling before you are engaged, because, engagement is really about wedding planning, and it is tough to see the flaws in a relationship clearly when you are wearing a diamond and you have a deposit on an event space.
I really feel like a broken record on this. My younger friends will tell you I say the same things over and over when they talk to me about love, things like, “He seems great—what’s the rush?” and, “Yes, I like her—give it a year.” And they have heard this one a million times: “Time is on your side.” Really, it is.
4. Give Your Best to Friends and Family
While ‘twentysomethings’ can sometimes spend a little too much energy on dating and marriage, they probably spend too little energy on friendships and family. That girl you just met and now texts 76 times a day may probably not be a part of your life in the next 10 years, but the guys you lived with in college, if you keep investing in them, will be friends for a lifetime. Lots of people move around in their 20s, but even across the distance, make an effort to invest in the friendships that are important to you. Loyalty is no small thing, especially in a season during which so many other things are shifting.
Family is a tricky thing in your 20s—to learn how to be an adult out on your own but to also maintain a healthy relationship with your parents—but those relationships are really, really worth investing in. I have a new vantage point on this now that I am a parent. When my parents momentarily forget I am an adult, I remind myself that someday this little boy of ours will drive a car, get a job and buy a home. I know that even then it will be hard not to scrape his hair across his forehead or tell him his eyes are looking sleepy, and I give my parents a break for still seeing me as their little girl every once in a while.
5. Get Some Counseling
Twenty-five is also a great time to get into counseling if you have not already, or begin round two of counseling if it has been a while. You might have just enough space from your parents to start digging around your childhood a little bit. Unravel the knots that keep you from living a healthy, whole life, and do it now, before any more time passes.
Some people believe emotional and psychological issues should be solved through traditional spiritual means—that prayer and pastoral guidance are all that is necessary when facing issues of mental health. I disagree. We generally trust medical doctors to help us heal from physical ailments. We can and should trust counselors and therapists to help us resolve emotional and psychological issues. Many pastors have no training in counseling, and while they care deeply about what you’re facing, sometimes the best gift they can give you is a referral to a therapist who does have the education to help you.
Faith and counseling are not at odds with each other. Spiritual growth and emotional health are both part of God’s desire for us. Counseling—like time with a mentor, personal scriptural study, a small group experience and outside reading—can help you grow, and can help you connect more deeply with God.
So let your pastor do his or her thing, and let the person who has an advanced degree in mental health help you with yours.
6. Seek Out a Mentor
One of the most valuable relationships you can cultivate in your 20s is a mentoring relationship with someone who is a little older, a little wiser, someone who can be a listening ear and sounding board during a high change season. When I look back into my life from 22 to 26, some of the most significant growth occurred as a direct result of the time I spent with my mentor, Nancy.
The best way to find a mentor is to ask, and then to work with the parameters they give you. If someone does agree to meet with you, let it be on their terms. Nancy and I met on Wednesdays at 7 in the morning. I guarantee that was not my preference. But it was what worked for her life, so once a month I dragged myself out of the house in what felt to me like the dead of night. It also helps to keep it to a limited-time period. It is a lot to ask of someone to meet once a month until the end of time. But a one-year commitment feels pretty manageable for most people, and you can both decide to sign on for another year or not, depending on the connection you have made.
What are some of your thoughts and concerns…this is just the beginning come back for the second session which will entail more and answers all or your curiosity. Do not get stuck in the past, and do not try to fast-forward yourself into a future you have not yet earned. Give today all the love and intensity and courage you can, and keep traveling honestly along life’s path.