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What's the best way to spend one's 20s?

  1. Mar 25, 2016 #1
    I'm 24. I've spent time in university, thinking that I was behind everyone else and I was missing out on having a life. I also spent time out of university and now I know that I wasn't missing anything. I now realize that the most important than I can spend my 20's doing is building a career. I'm enrolling in college part-time while I work so I can pay as I go.

    Time goes by fast. 4 years ago, I was in college. I could have gotten a master's degree in the same time I spent just living.

    I thought about what I would be missing out on if I work and go to the college at the same time.

    • Parties/bars/drugs ; Been there, done that, waste of time.
    • Sex Life ; I'm more interested in a serious relationship with a woman in a similar situation as me who will understand than racking up partners. Also, I'm probably more likely to meet her at college than anywhere else I've been going.
    • Luxury ; I won't have a nice apartment of my own, a nice car, a PS4 and so on for a while, but I learned a very important lesson last year when I living at my ex-girlfriend's house with nothing but a small suitcase full of things. Having a lot of possessions isn't what make me happy.
    • Hobbies ; I used to spread myself thin but I cut out most of my lesser hobbies and I'm keeping the important ones.
    • Social life ; Would be easier to make friends in college than work alone. Less time, but more quality time.
    • Artistic Pursuits ; I am working on singing and producing music. But I can still fit that into a tight schedule. I can just record quick demos in 5 minutes during a busy school week, and then record the full version of those songs during Spring/Break.
    • Entertainment ; I won't have time for every movie and video game that comes out, but there's still enough time for the few most essential ones.
    • Sports ; Instead of joining a time consuming league, I can just play intramural sports whenever I'm free to do so.
    • Fitness ; I used to lift daily. P90x is fine now. Diet is 80% of it.
    • Kids ; It would best for my future child that I'm older, wiser and more stable.
    • Traveling ; Okay, this one I feel sad about.
    • Excitement ; Most bucket list items like skydiving and parasailing can be done in just a few hours.
    Almost all of these things that I felt like I was a missing out on can be done later in life, can be done in moderation while I study or isn't essential at all. Some of these, in fact, are even easier to do in a college setting. I'm young and still have a lot to learn, but I do know that living and having fun doesn't end when I'm 30.
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2016
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 25, 2016 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

  4. Mar 25, 2016 #3
  5. Mar 25, 2016 #4


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    Russ is a man of few words... :smile:
  6. Mar 25, 2016 #5


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    This is very important, IMO.

    You have the right idea that focusing on finishing your education now is the best path. Work hard now, to set up the rest of your life. :smile:
  7. Mar 25, 2016 #6


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    The only things that have true value are things that will last, i.e., that you can take with you as grow old and less attractive.

    - Knowledge (which is harder to absorb as your brain ages),

    - Money (prudently and diversely invested for the medium- and long-term),

    - Option preservation (so you can modify your path and situation as you age, instead of being trapped). The previous 2 items ensure options.
  8. Mar 25, 2016 #7


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    I'm not sure this is a question where there's a single optimal solution that fits everyone.

    In a lot of ways, it can be important that you make mistakes in your 20s that you learn from to make your 30s and beyond that much better.

    Generally when you're in your 20s it's a good time in your life to focus on yourself. You gain your education, learn your trade, discover your passions. This is a good time in your life to make mistakes because you don't have as many responsibilities and dependents as you may later in life.

    The 30s tend to be more about settling into long term roles - marriage, mortgage, parenting, climbing the ladder of your career, raising children, etc. The 40s are about carrying those commitments through, and by the time you get into your 50s, you start to have a few more freedoms as the kids are getting older, the mortgage gets paid down, and you are largely earning more money. (These are of course broad generalizations - your mileage may vary.)
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