As a child, the world seemed infinite and powerful. Everything was worth exploring and your quest for learning was never complete. Then you awkwardly stumbled into your teens and began to understand society as a parasitic cesspool of evil people trying to take all your money, make you miserable and punish you with irrelevant rules you were desperate to challenge. Once you finally tasted freedom after crawling from the terror gauntlet known as 'high school' you began to take gratuitous advantage of things like legal drinking and credit cards....That is, until all the people your parents warned you about who were actually trying to take all your money, make you miserable and punish you with irrelevant rules succeed in doing so.
|Words from my favourite TV show character.|
Enter your mid-twenties: a time in your life when you can make decisions with the wisdom of earlier years and have fun without all the serious repercussions. It's arguably the best part of your life with the least amount of responsibility, and that makes a whole lot of awesome. While I hit my exact mid-twenties this week, I am apt to speak of all the things we quarter century old humans are ripe to take advantage of (and get away with). The list is just wonderful, and can include things like:
Times have changed in the most mind-bending, absurdly different ways, as they tend to do while humans continue to surmount every impossibility ever. One great way things are way different than they used to be lies in the case of young adults, many of whom are recent grads entering the workforce and trying to sketch some sort of path in life. Because of the recent emphasis on post-secondary education over the past few decades, 20-something year olds are spending more time in the classroom and less time in places like wedding chapels, full time jobs and namely vaginas (at least unprotected vaginas).
|'Please, sir...I want half my tuition back'|
Because of our current tendency to settle down much later in life, we've been given the social normative nod to stay more financially dependent throughout this stage of life. It's still okay to take money from older people who actually have a decent credit rating and something called 'disposable income'. We may not be operating on the most liberal budget, but the generation of young adults in the 21st century has a hell of a lot more they can do than their much more limited predecessors. There's no shame in accepting some support in doing what you really want.
|Sometimes I really question Google Images.|
Yes, our youthful bodies are still amazing capsules absorbing alcohol and pizza at a rate that will not sustain itself later in life. Remember this the next time you're downing jello shots like they're absolutely essential to your being on earth. Our recovery times consist of a sleep in and greasy breakfast and we're primed for a new night of turning our bodies into a jar of sanitizer. In ten years that shit will take an entire week before we've totally purged ourselves after a night of binge drinking.
Partying also serves an equally important function for us (other than turning into the worlds best male belly dancer): social networking. Indeed we go out because we're at the height of our social lives and combining a hip venue with excessive drinking is the best way to broaden your connections. This urge won't last forever because other things become more important, but when you have the time and energy to invest in this aspect of life you'll want to squeeze out every drop of relationship-building-ness.
Young people make excuses for this one plenty of times over, but for most people in their twenties travelling is completely feasible. There won't be any other time in your life when you'll have this kind of mobility, so take advantage of it and go where you've always wanted to. Secondly, the type of travelling your body can afford at this point isn't going to last forever. If you wait until you're old and falling apart to go anywhere, chances are you'll be watching the world pass from a wheelchair inside a climate-controlled old person tank.
|On the other hand, this is totally a bus I'd want to be on.|
That fear you feel when you know you can drop everything and go somewhere far away is usually what stops you from embarking - that's usually where the excuses come from. But I've never heard any traveled person tell me they wished they hadn't gone and stayed home and settled down early. That just doesn't happen. In fact, generally ignoring any want of travel now results in lots of regret later on, so what are you waiting for? GET OUT THERE!
Perhaps scariest of all is our ability to take risks. Now is the time to try as many new things as possible, experiment and learn about yourself. Our quest for self-knowledge is never as pertinent as it is in our twenties, but with great learning comes great risk. Luckily, at this point you probably don't have that much collateral, and having little to lose means your options are plenty. Yes, there is always a chance you'll pull and epic failure and fall flat on your face; but at this age, your recovery is minimal.
Much of your success here will rely on resiliency - something that may be a bit of use when you're older, too - so why not build it early? Heck, if you can't take a few hits, what kind of stories will you have as a senior? Your grandchildren will think you're a smelly old boring fart because you always listened to your parents and followed all the rules. Please....don't be THAT guy. For your sake and your grandchildren's.
I've hashed out a small list with a big impact on your mid-twenties. There's certainly more to add, but currently I'm too busy mooching, partying, travelling and risk-taking to write out the rest. Let's hope you are, too.