Recently, I was waiting in the CAT Center before a meeting with Serena Eddy to go over my resume. Meanwhile, my wandering eyes spotted a book called, 101 Secrets For Your Twenties, by Paul Angone. I was immediately interested because well, I’m in my twenties and who doesn’t love reading about secrets? I picked up the book and like most books, it started with an introduction. However, this introduction was different than most. It was something I could directly relate to and understand.
So far this book was doing an excellent job at catching and keeping my attention. Then, the author talked about an article he had written years ago called “21 Secrets For Your 20s”. This article went viral faster than a squirrel on water skis. Clearly I had to read these secrets and I found that I could really relate to some of them. Some of them even made me burst out laughing. Then, the light bulb clicked in my head and I thought, “I’m in college, how many other people know about these things? I should definitely share Paul’s article.”
I think that these “secrets” apply to more folks than just twenty-somethings and they’re very thought-provoking. I also think it could help prepare some of us that have not quite hit your 20s yet. Living in your 20s can be a roaring place, but as Angone states, “sometimes surviving your 20s is nothing more than just holding on for dear life on the back of an inner tube like a kid being whipped around by a speedboat” and “your only chance of survival is to just let go.”
I highly recommend that everyone at a minimum go to Paul’s website, www.allgrownup.com, and read the 21 secrets for your 20’s article. You might find some extra secrets on his website or pick up his book, 101 Secrets For Your 20’s.
So here are Paul Angone’s 21 Secrets:
1. Never looking at your budget and never making a budget is the exact same thing.
2. The possibility for greatness and embarrassment both exist in the same space. If you’re not willing to be embarrassed, you’re probably not willing to be great.
3. Feel no shame in seeking help from a counselor or therapist. We all have crap we try to wrap and hide under the Christmas tree. Get rid of it before it smells up your entire holiday.
4. All job listings on Craigslist lead you to a warehouse in downtown LA “wearing something nice with shoes you can walk in”.
5. Don’t ever, ever check Facebook when you’re:
C. Depressed and Drinking.
E. Anytime after 9:17 pm.
F. Struggling with being blessed with singleness while all your friends seem to be blessed with 2.4 kids and that blazing white-picket-fence shining with the glory of Jesus Christ himself.
6. All those amazing college friends you swore you’d never lose contact with after college yeah, well, you might lose contact. Moving all over the country, getting married, and having kids all make that forty-five minute conversation with your sophomore roommate a little more complicated than it used to be over a game of Mario Kart. Making and keeping friends in our 20s takes intentionality.
7. Your 20s will produce more failures than you’ll choose to remember. The key is when you fail, don’t begin calling yourself a failure.
8. Every break up has two break ups. I’m no physicist, but this is a law of physics, of this I am certain. Yes you’ll have the first tearful “It’s over” sitting in the front seat of your Honda or on a park swing. Then 1-2 months later after there’s “been talk”, you’ll have the “real breakup” because she forgets to call like she used to or he checks out the waitress like he’s a judge for Miss USA. And gird those loins because in the second break up there will be a lot more breaking.
9. The Freshman-Fifteen is nothing compared to the Cubicle-Cincuenta. Don’t sit at your computer perched like a Roman gargoyle. Don’t let office birthday cake be forced on you like a cigarette behind your middle school. Bust out before your butt does.
10. And yes, cubicles don’t make sense to anybody other than upper-management. I would be willing to bet that only 3% of all “Cubicle Americans” actually have a positive outlook on life. And half of that 3% is stealing from their company. You need to own, hone, refine, and define what I call your Signature Sauce so that you can say goodbye to your cubicle, and hello to a purposeful and profitable life.
11. If at some point from 21 years old to 29 years old, you feel like you’re six years old again, lost and alone at the San Diego Zoo (it’s a big-frickin-zoo), frantically searching for a familiar face — hold tight, you’re experiencing a bit of a Quarter Life Crisis. Stay put. Pray a lot. And in no time someone will call your name across the loudspeaker to tell you where you can be found.
While going through a quarter life crisis will make you feel crazy and slightly petrified– a quarter life crisis still might be the best thing to ever happen to you.
12. Reckless drinking and reckless flirting have a direct correlation. Friends don’t let friends drive, or flirt, drunk.
13. If you grew up going to church, at some point in your 20s you’ll probably stop going to church. If you grew up with faith as a central part of your life, at some point in your 20s faith might move to the outskirts of town next to the trailer park and three-legged squirrel refuge. Your 20s are a process of making faith your own apart from your parents and childhood. Sometimes that means staggering away so you know what you’re coming back to.
14. Don’t ever begin dating someone you first met whilst in swimsuits. Doubly-don’t if you’re both in swimsuits whilst holding an alcoholic beverage.
15. Obsessive Comparison Disorder is the smallpox of our generation. 9 out of 10 doctor’s agree this disorder is the leading cause to eating a whole sleeve of Oreo’s while watching Real Housewives of OC. Say no to obsessive comparison disorder before it starts. Remember everyone’s too busy putting a PR spin on their Facebook profile to care much about yours.
16. Life will never feel like it’s “supposed to”. Being twentysomething can feel like death by unmet expectations. However, let me be so brash to say that you are right now, at this moment, exactly where you need to be. But you’ll only be able to see that five years and thirty-eight days from today.
17. Success in your 20s is more about setting the table than enjoying the feast. Success is your 20s is about owning, honing, refining, and defining what I call your Signature 18. Sauce — the unique flavor you bring to the world where your passion, purpose, and career collide.
19. Marriage WILL NOT fix any of your problems. No, instead marriage will put a magnifying glass on how many problems you really have. We grow up carrying bags with our insecurities, fears, bad relationships, problems with our parents — you name it. Begin to ditch these bags now. Newly married and living in a small apartment is no place to store a luggage set full of shiz.
An assortment of crappy jobs are a twentysomething rite of passage. Figure out what you need to learn there and learn it. If you don’t, an assortment of crappy jobs might be your thirty, forty and fiftysomething rite of passage as well.
20. Great ideas alone mean nothing. Your ability to persevere through 16 major setbacks, a lack of passion, forgetting why you started this great idea in the first place, and all the people who allude that your great idea is actually quite terrible — well, that means everything.
21. The grass is always greener on the other side, until you get there and realize it’s because of all the manure.