Anyone who says they have their life totally sorted in their 20s is lying. And probably is due for a sharp poke from the reality stick at that.
You learn a lot about yourself during this time. Like how even though grown ups get to own houses and buy a drink at a bar for a boozy Friday lunch, you usually still have to pay for the aforementioned houses and drinks. Suddenly, there are responsibilities, bills, appliances that break and friends who start posting about their impending nuptials on social media.
But just because your 20s are something of a learning curve doesn’t mean you can’t use them to prepare yourself for your future. Here are five things you can do now that could make the latter years much more stable.
1. Get fit
If you’re not already fit, get fit. If you’re already fit, keep it up and skip to section two.
Here’s a fun fact: Just 65 per cent of us Aussies aged over the age of 15 took part in exercise, recreation or sport at some point in the year before they were interviewed for an Australian Bureau of Statistics study. Given that the study involved a full 12 months for a time frame, that number really should be a lot higher. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) put it simply when they said 3 in 5 Aussies don’t exercise enough.
Basically, if you’re not already doing enough now – how can you expect to be healthy when you’re past your peak?
2. Learn to live without technology
It’s a radical idea, we know. And it’s not because technology is about to go away – it’s because it’s only going to keep growing.
We’ve all asked ourselves what people did before Google maps. How did anyone meet new people without Tinder? And what was the point of playing snake on that old Nokia without the promise of unlocking achievements and sharing your successes with friends?
Switch off occasionally. Learn to appreciate the moment without a camera phone recording every second or write a note to remind yourself what your handwriting looks like (hint: it’s not in Times New Roman).
3. Learn, in general
Learning doesn’t stop when school does, and it doesn’t just mean the type where you sit in a room and frantically write or tick boxes for three hours.
Read, travel, cook, communicate. If your job offers opportunities to upskill, be the first to put your name on the list. If your friend asks if you want to join their book club, why not give it a shot? Learning as an adult is much more fun – there are no tests and you get to choose your topics. Then, you get to impress everyone with your new found knowledge over by the water cooler.
4. Wear sunscreen
About 80 per cent of all newly diagnosed cancers are of the skin, and 95 to 99 per cent of those are due to sun exposure, according to the Cancer Council Australia. Sunscreen doesn’t smell bad, hurt, cost much, or look terrible, provided you don’t bathe in it like your parents used to make you do, so why wouldn’t you wear it?
Long term, this is one of the best things you can do for your future self. Seriously.
5. Start saving
When pay day rolls around you’re rolling in it, you bank roll your local watering hole and feel like you should be driving a Rolls, right? None of these images really conjures up a picture of you squirrelling away a portion of your income for a later date, but working up good savings habits now is one of the best ways to set yourself up for the future.
Don’t know what to save for? Try a house, a car, or even your retirement fund. You’ll thank yourself later.
What are you doing now that will help you in the future?