Apr 4, 2023

What I'm doing in my 20s

Today I came across this tweet from a fellow maker:

I think all the items on the list are solid! Nothing on this seems outrageous at all.

However, it helped me notice a wider trend on my Twitter feed to constantly pressure 20 year olds to only focus on career, hustle and work.

This isn't a harmless phenomenon: impressionable youngsters eat hustle culture advice for breakfast. I know I once did, and it led me towards a very destructive path.

I'd rather push an alternative take. Here's a list of priorities for anyone who's 20-30 (it's a list I'm personally following).

  1. Don't guilt yourself over "habits". Nobody's lifestyle looks like those productivity gurus you follow. Living so rigidly isn't very satisfying either.
  2. Be financially responsible, crush debt and save aggressively.
  3. Once you start receiving checks, push a solid portion into index funds and selected stocks you believe in (take some risk, aye!).
  4. Begin a side hustle if you're passionate about something, or need extra money on the side.
  5. Listen, learn and ask questions. Don't assume knowledge. I suffer from this often.
  6. Spend money developing hobbies and interests.
  7. Develop creative skills: writing, photography, videography, design, whatever.
  8. Spend on self improvement (personal care).
  9. Spend on unique experiences. Skydiving, anyone?
  10. Separate time for self-love in your routine.
  11. Go to the beach often.
  12. Hang out with friends, party hard, develop friendships. You're 20, live a little. Everything in moderation.
  13. Eat healthy.
  14. If it scares you, evaluate why.
  15. Don't drop out. University can be a drag sometimes, but if you can afford it, it's an enriching experience. As a bonus, it helps you pace things: there's no need to rush into adulthood so fast.
  16. Prioritize your time aggressively. Learn to say no, but also take on new and scary things every once in a while.

I once was that impressionable kid. I bought the hustle narrative wholesale. It's not an enriching life, and after I escaped that rat race – that's when all the fun and learning began.

In a truly intense "daily hustle", you don't learn or do much. It's repetitive, boring and too structured.

We grow via new experiences, both in and out of the career ambit. Well-rounded people don't result out of "the right moves" or "the correct 20s playbook", they result from a wide array of experiences across many facets of life.

Hustle culture typically encourages depth of knowledge via structure and repetition. The most successful individuals, however, appear to combine their deep expertise of one field with a wide array of experiences across many fields.

Don't just go deep into your career, go wide across many facets of life. Enjoy the warmth of great friendships, the depth of many interests, and the serendipity that comes from stepping into the unknown.

Someday, these experiences will serve as useful tools. They're the edge you'll need in a room of hyperfocused career-ites.

That's the only routine one should have in their 20s: going wide while going deep. But mostly, going wide.