9 Ways Your Priorities Change In Your 20s

by Kaitlyn Wylde
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In our 20s, we're forced to undergo so many drastic physical changes and mentalities: We become real-life shape-shifters, transformers, Animorphs, Alex Macks, what have you. We kick off our 20s in our final years of college — a time in our lives when we're feeling inspired, free, curious, and completely uninterested in a corporate life. Then we're forced to join the adult world and turn in our freedom for work, which is a difficult yet doable process, but typically we'll end up spending years trying on positions and professions until we find one that actually fits. It's all very "hurry up and wait."

Once we actually find out what we want professionally, we have to spend the rest of our 20s chasing after it — getting fired, let go, promoted, demoted, transferred, or stuck. We spend an entire decade of our lives in a state of flux — getting pushed, pulled, squashed, inflated, deflated, elated, displaced.

The mentality we might have possessed in the beginning of our 20s as we entered the world with an immediate post-collegiate cape of confidence, naturally must change and redefine itself as we carry on into our mid and late 20s. And with changing scenery and changing thoughts, comes a change of priorities. These are some of the ways our priorities change in our 20s:

You Want To Get To Know Yourself

It will slowly but surely become more important for you to get to know yourself. Who is the real you? What kind of professional are you? What kind of friend? Partner? Daughter? Sister? Student? The answer to these questions will mean more and more to you the older you get. And being satisfied with those answers will weigh on you.

You Realize Your Mind And Body Are One

In your early 20s, you probably spent a lot of time abusing your body. You'd drink too much and not get enough sleep. If you have a bad day, you tend to make your body suffer. In your 20s, you'll start to realize that your mind and body are one, and by not seeing them as so, you're only hurting yourself. You'll begin to strive to have a better relationship with yourself and treat your body with the care your mind deserves.

You Wrap Your Head Around Saving

Though it might not be possible, the concept of saving will become a big player in your 20s. You'll start to understand why your parents put so much emphasis on it — there are unexpected doctor visits that insurance doesn't cover, accidents, vet bills, parking tickets, fines, all sorts of pains in the ass that you should create padding for.

You Value Your Rolodex

Not everyone can be your best friend and not every person you meet will be your cup of tea, but you'll realize the value in creating relationships with people in your industry. Sometimes the best co-workers are the kind of people that you'd never otherwise have a friendship with. This teaches you to be more open-minded.

You Think About The Bigger Picture

Suddenly actions will all have consequences. Before you make big decisions, you'll start to weigh out the potential effects before proceeding. You're also much more likely to think twice before you take a risk or make a major credit card purchase.

You're Concerned With Your Track Record

After you get your bit of negative feedback regarding your level of professionalism, you'll start to care a lot about the impression you leave with people. All it takes is one referral requirement to remind you how important it is to make sure that people in your field regard you as a responsible and professional person. You can be whoever you want in your private life, but when you step into the office or the spotlight, you better be sure that you're representing yourself like the walking business you are!

You Aim To Be Less Reliant On Your Parents

In your teens and your early 20s, you probably had your hand out a lot. Whatever your parents would cover, you were grateful for. But now, as you head into your mid to late 20s, you feel much better about yourself when you handle your own finances. You'll love how it feels to not have a hand out and you'll love how much respect your parents have for you because of it.

You Cherish Lessons

When you're younger and your seniors give you unsolicited advice, you're a mess of eye rolls and shoulder shrugs. You don't give AF. But as you get older, anything anyone older than you and more experienced than you has to say is wisdom you want and need. You start to treasure the lessons you're given and find yourself asking for advice more than ever.

You Want To Be Happy

Sometimes who you want to be and what you want to do don't align. As you get older, it will become increasingly important for you to find something to do in life that makes you feel good. Maybe you wanted to be a chef, but the culinary industry squashes your passion. That might mean you're a chef at home and an editor or firefighter or accountant in the office. You'll surprise yourself with how important your happiness will become, but it really is everything.

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