Maximize Your 20s: 10 Things I Thank My Vicenarian Self

10 lessons from my 20s

Last Updated on May 7, 2023

I often think about something Sir Randell Tiongson used to say; our future selves will either thank or curse our past selves.

I turned 31 today and have finally left my vicenarian stage, and even though I still have a lot of things I want to do, there are also many things that I am thankful for in the past decade of my life.

Your older you will either thank or curse your younger you.

Randell Tiongson

Last week, I watched an episode of Friends in an episode where they all turned 30. Many people often feel afraid before they enter their 30s, especially if they are not as “successful” as they hoped.

Cliche as it may be, age is just a number. The habits you built along the way will prove significant in your life. While I learned so many lessons as a vicenarian (20-29 years old), here are the top ten that I am truly thankful for.

1. Growing A Deeper Relationship With God.

God is the only constant in our ever-changing world. Though I had many bouts with my faith in my early 20s, it was also during that time that I found a deeper relationship with God.

When I was starting, I was always anxious about the future. I felt lost and didn’t know where to begin. A few years later, I was in my quarter-life crisis – that was a life-changing experience for me.

Sometimes, it will take personal struggles and the feeling of being lost before we understand that God has a plan in our lives. We need to be still and have faith that everything moves according to God’s timetable.

2. Starting A Healthy Lifestyle.

When I was growing up, I was skinny. I never imagined gaining almost half of my previous weight after the board exam. So, during my early years of working, I was a little overweight and frustrated. That is when I discovered running.

I thank my 24-year old self for starting a fitness journey and building the habit and discipline not to neglect our body.

I know a lot of people my age who significantly gained weight. They often reason out that they have no time to exercise and are constantly stressed, so they eat a lot.

However, the decision not to squeeze exercise and eat healthier will take its toll not today but two or three decades from now. Remember that our health is like a piggy bank. We get what we put in it.

3. Learning how to manage my finances.

Learning to manage my finances is one of the most helpful habits that I made. I knew that money is a good slave but a terrible master, and if we don’t practice how to tame it early, it may grow and learn to enslave us instead.

Like many of us, I also grew up in an environment where money talks are often an “adult thing” or, as my older family members used to say, “usapang pang-matanda.” But thanks to the Internet, I learned how to start.

I thank my younger self for learning how to budget and start building for the future. Though I still have a long way to go, I know that the habits and discipline that I learned along the way will prove to be very helpful in the long run.

Related: The 5 Levels of a Strong Financial Foundation

4. Continuously learning.

Learning doesn’t stop at school. In fact, it is much more critical to learn after graduation. When I was still in school, I only cared about the “major” subjects because they would appear in the board exams. However, I soon realized that it is still essential to have a vast source of knowledge.

I thank my younger self for picking up a book and picking the habit of reading. I am not kidding when I said that there was a time in my life when I hated reading and thought that it was boring. However, as I grew older, I realized that there were so many things that I wanted to learn. The best way to learn from them is by picking the brains of generations who lived before me through their works.

The need for continuous learning is also seen in professional organizations that require members to have CPD points to renew their licenses. CPD is short for continuing professional development. It is required because the law’s framers know the importance of understanding the latest trends and technologies in work and life.

Related: 12 Powerful Principles to Improve in Almost Anything

5. Starting to write a blog.

Since I started writing this blog five years ago, I have learned a lot and improved a lot. I started this blog because I want to have an online journal for my running experience – literal running.

However, as years passed, the blog transformed into what it is today, an online repository of my journey away from the rat race.

I thank my 25-year old, quarter-life crisis survivor self for starting something that can also be used as a reference for the next generation and even the older generation with the same goal.

Related: 10 Lessons From 52 Weeks of Consistent Blogging

6. Starting a minimalist lifestyle.

Early in my working years, I also wanted many things and material possessions. I want to buy the things I never had growing up and go to places I’ve never been.

However, somewhere along the road and after watching documentaries like Tidying Up with Marie Kondo and Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things, my perspective on consumerism changed.

I realized that owning more stuff does not bring the satisfaction everyone was looking for. In fact, it, more often than not, causes dissatisfaction.

However, minimalism can also mean differently between two people. Still, minimalism’s essential part is knowing which items spark joy and add value to your life.

Related: 5 Ways to Minimalism and The Beauty of Simple Living

7. Not rushing into falling in love and getting in a relationship.

I was frustrated with my lack of love life in my early 20s. Then in the latter half, I realized that it is okay to be single than to be in a bad relationship. Don’t get me wrong. I was not afraid of commitment. I just realized the qualities I was looking for in my future wife.

I spent the second half of my 20’s learning many things about life and myself. I also built a stronger relationship with God first before starting a relationship with another person.

Then in 2021, when I turned 30, I was pretty sick of answering why I was still single or when will I get married, so I wrote this post. Then a few months later, I found the love of my life.

It’s funny how things played out, but I know that this is God’s plan in my life. I also thank my younger self for staying single before the right one comes along. I realized that once you fully understand yourself through introspection, you’ll know when the right one comes along.

1. Pondering About Love, Relationship, and Singleness
2. Revisiting Love, Relationships, and Singleness

8. Studying the stock market.

The stock market is a great equalizer because it offers opportunities unavailable to everyone in the previous generations. Though I am still not where I would like to be in terms of my stock investments, I know that sooner or later, the years of learning and immersing in the market will all be worth it.

Since I started studying the stock market, I have learned more about the financial markets and, more importantly, about myself. I realized that there are more things the stock can teach us about ourselves than many books that we read. We have to be watchful.

Related: Absolute Beginner’s Guide to the Philippine Stock

9. Trying out many things.

One of the most important things that I’ve done since I started earning was to try out many things. I found my calling by exploring my vast array of interests.

I remember a season when I was never home during the weekends because I was always out for a seminar or conference, hiking or running event, teaching kids or volunteering, or meeting with friends somewhere. Even my sister had to “book” a schedule with me because I’m very busy during the weekend.

But those experiences were instrumental in finding joy in what I do and appreciating the importance of trying things out. Also, through volunteering, I learned that I love teaching. I also developed my love for writing by trying something new. I hope you do too.

Related: We Should Learn Outside Our Fields of Expertise

10. Not being afraid to change careers.

Changing a career is very scary for many because it may feel like wasting the time you spent in your previous job or profession — I also felt that. But I also knew that if I didn’t take the step out of that industry, I would fall deeper into it, and it would be much harder to leave next time.

So fresh from overcoming my bout with my quarter-life crisis and trying different things, I realized that I love teaching and that it can be an avenue to help others. My journey in the academic field may not be smooth, but everything went better than I could have expected. I am now in my third year of teaching.

Related: 5 Lessons I Learned After Shifting Industries

Final Thought:

As my vicenarian stage is over and as I enter this chapter of my life, I know that I will continue to learn many things. I will also face more adversities that were not applicable before, but I know that I can overcome them through God.

To my fellow millennials, there are many things to learn and experience in life. But also remember to be very selective in them. Don’t follow the path that leads to failure and disappointment. 

God bless you!

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