For women, 20s means the threshold from teenage into adulthood, coupled with the liberation that comes from college life and financial freedom when you begin working. But the hangover of teenage still lingers and it makes us take some immature, impulsive and confusing decisions. Being in our 20’s is no joke the decisions you make, the words you choose can stay up with you for the rest of your life. Similarly handling the burden of this new adulthood can be complex and confusing at the same time. So we spoke to women who have been through this phase because experience speaks and the advice they have to offer can actually help you be better at adulting.

Be independent

In our 20’s we do feel like we are now adults and nobody should tell us what to do and what not to do. But are we really that independent? It’s very important, especially for girls to stand up on their own feet and not to be dependent on the men in our family. As in a patriarchal society, our future and all the big or small decisions are taken by the head of our family, mostly father, grandfather or even brother. So being financially independent in our life gives us an opportunity to develop money management skills. That brings along the confidence to have a voice for oneself. “Life is beautiful. Situations and circumstances for women are going good. So have a goal/ dream and work towards realizing it patiently & boldly”, said Ratna Prabha Former Chief Secretary Govt of Karnataka.

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” Want to do something in life? start working toward it. Do it! Don’t dream. Work to have a career, not a job. Learn to manage adversity. Life is not a cakewalk- too many young privileged youths do not know what failure is or how to handle it,” wrote Aparna Jain, corporate leadership coach, author. HanneK added to this, “Can not stress enough how important this is. Also learn to do your taxes, budget your expenses, know your insurance policy. Don’t leave this to your partner because it’s complicated stuff. Set yourself up for success.”

You are awesome

This is the age where you will feel self-conscious or not ‘good enough’. Coping up to match the standards set by society is a major struggle for all the 20-year-olds. We feel a constant need to have those branded clothes, flawless skin, perfect body shape, etc. This superficial norms set by the society about ‘how an ideal girl should be’ is a hoax. No one is born perfect or there’s no definite definition of beauty. You need to believe in yourself, have faith and confidence, outer appearance is just superficial. Your thoughts, approach and your confidence makes you beautiful so work towards that.  “Life of others is not as perfect as it looks on social media. Focus on yourself than on others,” said writer Bijal Nishant. Don’t do anything just to please someone. “You have one life to live. Live it to make yourself happy and not pleasing others. Because it is only after years of reflection you will understand that happiness is an inside job, and another person or another job won’t do it for you” said Co-founder of tmff, Compulsive Locker.

Care for yourself

The 20s for most of us is this never-ending rat race, where we are just running to surpass our colleagues, cousins, friends, etc. In this rat race, we often forget the most basic thing we all learned in our school, that is “health is wealth. We are just running towards our goals without even realizing how important good health is. Without being healthy and hearty we cannot focus on our work. So even following a light fitness routine to maintain your body is necessary for this tender age. Ignoring health problems especially for women can cost you big time in your later stages. “Don’t bother much about what others say. Find a hobby. Never do drugs. Never ever try to please people. Say ‘No’ whenever needed”, said Savitha, who lives in Dubai. Garima Mahajan, a digital marketer in making and former TV producer adds, “Invest in your health. Save your energy and time to do things that matter. Be independent love unconditionally”.

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Spend money judiciously

Some of us proudly claim that we are ‘shopaholics’ or only buy a certain brand or eat at a popular restaurant. Pampering oneself is not bad, but burning a hole in your pocket is something one may come to regret later. Parents constantly remind us to save for our future which is actually valuable advice. Not only saving, but investing judiciously early on is helpful in later stages of life. “Don’t just be financially independent but also financially savvy. Treat every expense as an investment in your future. Here’s what my mentee in her early 20s is learning from a not-yet 35-year-old woman” said,  Shipra Baranwal from HEC Paris Business School. Also, Anita Umashankar, a diploma-holder in financial planning, from Australia suggested, “Educate yourself. Get a job. Let every cent you spend be yours. And only yours. Don’t have children until you are ready. Start saving for retirement.”Anupama Rao Singh  an oncologist on the other hand said, “Invest money early! Start being financially independent early”.

Read Also: How Goal Based Financial Planning Can Make Your Life Easier

Do not hurry to get married

Marriage remains one of the most crucial decisions any person takes in their life. “Take your time and make a wise decision whenever ‘you’ are ready. Don’t marry early. Take your time. Build a career. Develop a hobby,” wrote the twitter handle Hema Řekha & Jaya. “There’s more to life than men! Learn the difference between needing and wanting a man. Don’t rush into marriage. Exercise, read, save, work, play, live! Learn…about life, work, relationships and most importantly, learn about yourself, what makes you come alive and pursue it fearlessly,” said Gulshan Walia, Founder at Infinitzus Consulting.

Take risks

Getting out of one’s comfort zone is the first step towards success. So go out take risks and have fun. “This world is not fair. Patriarchy won’t go away overnight. Keep at it and do your bit to bring about positive changes in your life and society. Life begins where your comfort zone ends. Empathize and help those in need. You don’t have to wait to become older to help others” said, Urvashi Prasad who is working as a public policy maker at NITI Aayog.

It’s ok you can relax

Explore, experiment and enjoy, as these days won’t come back. You are young, energetic and healthy, so use this time to be with your friends, go to your favorite destination, party hard, etc. It’s obvious that it’s a crucial time which can make or break your life. But you have to realize that taking a break for oneself is equally important and especially for women as in the later stages of our lives we will be expected to fulfill certain responsibilities. So take some time out from your busy schedule and treat yourself. “Write a journal. You’ll forget most of it in two decades. Take more pictures. (I’m sure this generation is covered here!). Take that solo vacation to a place where you don’t understand the language. Don’t suffer fools. Build that sisterhood,” said Manjima Bhattacharjya, author of the book Mannequin: Working Women in India’s Glamour Industry. To perfectly sum up all the advice, Arpita Das, publisher and founder of YodaPress wrote, “Hang in there. It gets better”.

Picture credits: glamour.com

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Divya Tripathi is an intern with SheThePeople.TV

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