Taking risks in your twenties

Apparently, to quote TLC ‘This is how it should be done’.

People often say that your twenties are the best time to take risks and explore life.

You’re young, for many you don’t have as many responsibilities like a mortgage, home repairs and children, you might still live at home so you have a lot of expendable cash etc.

People say that your twenties are the time to do things like travel, try different jobs, move to a new city, start a business, basically just go out, find yourself and figure out who you want to be and how you wan to live.

In some ways it’s a lot of pressure and being in that age group, I ended up taking the opposite approach.

I’m almost half way into my twenties and so far I’ve been focused on things beginning with the letter S like saving, structure and stability.

In a lot of ways that’s great but on the flip-side it’s meant that I don’t often have room to take risks and explore.

But I’ve noticed my desire for those things growing and so the balancing act begins.

Its okay to be you

A few words on self acceptance.

As you take the time to explore yourself you’re likely to discover all kinds of things: the good the bad and the ugly.

You might find that there are some things about yourself that have put you at a disadvantage and they’re not always easy to accept.

The things that make you different, the things that have to be explained in order for people to understand you, the things that make you uncomfortable and maybe it’s things you wish you could just bypass.

But these challenges, the things you find difficult are probably great learning opportunities or what I like to call growth points.

Of course that doesn’t make them any easier but what I’ve learnt is that the more you push back and resist the more challenging things become. Whereas, if you’re more open, willing to accept your circumstances and explain things to the right person (or people), the situation softens.

And once it softens it becomes more malleable and in turn more manageable until eventually you overcome it or learn to handle it better.

Getting to know you

How exactly does one discover themselves?

Through exploration, experimentation and being open to the unknown.

If you live your life in the box of what you know, you may think that you know yourself. But actually, there is so much more of you to explore outside of that box.

As much as there is ‘the me I know’ inside of the box, there is also ‘the me I don’t know’ outside of it.

Granted you can’t experience every single thing in life but you can try things that are outside of your usual routine.

It can be big or it can be small.

Things like:

  • Journaling
  • Visiting a new city
  • Joining a group or class
  • Doing the thing you’ve always thought about doing but kept putting off
  • Volunteering
  • Meditation
  • Going for a walk

You might think you know yourself or that you’re content with your life. But when you do a journal prompt like ‘Describe your dream life’ you might find you’re nowhere near where you want to be. Maybe you settled for an unfulfilling ‘stable’ job and you never even took the time to figure out what you truly wanted to do for a living.

“And you? When will you begin that long journey into yourself?”

– Rumi

Making a breakthrough

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, talking helps.

When used correctly it’s an excellent tool for self exploration where you can walk away from conversations and gain insight into aspects of yourself you hadn’t yet uncovered.

The beauty of it is that you don’t have to even need talking about the thing. However, you do have to be open and vulnerable to allow things to rise to the surface.

Yes, it might feel scary or uncomfortable but you don’t have to hold onto those feelings.

Do it, because you believe that by exploring your mind it’ll help you figure some things out and that might lead to a breakthrough.

What happens when we remove worry from the equation of self?

Just as ‘you’re not you when you’re hungry’ is the same way you’re not you when you’re worried.

A person that worries chronically may end up having sleep problems, self-harming and developing fidget habits like pulling at their hair.

Those kinds of behaviours often end up overshadowing a persons core self and then others fall into thinking that those things are who they are.

But when you remove worry from the equation you feel a sense of freedom. You have room to maneuver, you have room to be.

You’ll feel like a whole new you and begin experience life in a way that is so far from what you’re familiar with.

Life will feel easier or at least much more manageable but it’s not that you’ll never worry again. It’s that the worry will come and pass like the flow of water rather than being something that stays with you long term and ends up being debilitating and reducing your quality of life.

If you have a worry habit, the idea of being without it probably sounds like bliss (with a hint of fear because you’re so familiar with worrying it seems strange to think about being without it.

It might be hard to believe but it is possible to significantly reduce worry and not have it as such a dominant part of your identity, you just have to figure out how.

Maybe writers should try painting

For about a decade I’ve written almost daily and in the past 7 months I don’t think a day has gone by that I haven’t written.

But I recently started to wonder if I should stop writing. Not altogether but to simply take a break. I’m not sure what the benefits would be but it would definitely be a challenge.

Writing is embedded in me, it’s part of who I am. It’s the thing I do when I’m bored, inspired, overwhelmed, thinking, planning or looking to capture a moment or feeling.

I suppose like with any creative thing it’s good to take breaks and refresh your mind. Or even try creating in a new medium, painting for example.

How strange it would feel to pick up a brush instead of pen. It would be like flexing a new muscle or an old one in a new way.

But perhaps in that space of strangeness, newness and unfamiliarity there’s something worth exploring.

Reasons to stop checking the stats

Focus on doing things that are helpful and try not to get distracted by the seemingly significant things that are also known as stuff.

If 764 people read this post, I might come to the conclusion that I should write ‘Reasons to…’ posts more or that this length or writing style is the winning combo.

But in doing that I wouldn’t be giving myself the freedom to explore and develop as a writer. At the crux of it when you have a passion for something it will never just be about the numbers. It’ll always be more about the feeling, something you can’t measure.

When you’re in-flow and the words pour out with an almost trance like ease it might not be the most popular piece of work you’ve created but it took something for you to create it.

Even if you find a formulas that works you still have to innovate to some degree and after a while you might get bored because you’re no longer just being creative.

The use of a formula adds rigidity and constraints.

Checking the stats could also be done for reassurance that there’s at least one persons on planet earth reading what you’ve written and there’s nothing wrong with that because nobody puts stuff out there for it to go unread.

You might find a way to convince yourself that checking the stats will make you as better writer when the truth is writing will make you a better writer. The stats are just a distraction.