How to Save and Make Money in Your Twenties at KristaAoki.com, a lifestyle and travel blog. personal finance tips, entrepreneurial advice, and savings tips for the millennial

Life Lessons (from a Socially Awkward Twenty-Something)

January 28, 2017

I thought that after I graduated high school I totally knew everything there is to know about life.  Yeah, I realize now that this sounds stupid in retrospect. But, with every mistake, I’ve learned to pick up on the life lessons it creates.

I’ve made plenty of mistakes in my twenties.  Just in the past two years alone, I pushed myself away from people I truly care about. There were many times I tried juggling too much, or I missed out on family gatherings only to work. There were a few times I overlooked the potential of creating a new friendship. Oh, and let’s not talk about the time I moved to Los Angeles only to realize the huge cost of the city and navigating around it.

Ugh, right?

As cringe-worthy as my mistakes sound in retrospect, I’m grateful for every moment. If the events in my twenties didn’t turn out like they did, I wouldn’t be here to write about them, right? So hopefully you can learn a few life lessons from me, the socially awkward twenty-something.

Don’t be Afraid to Take Risks

One lesson I’ve learned while working in sales is to try – always try.  And if at first you don’t succeed, don’t just try again, but try something different.  

If my sales pitch isn’t working, I try something different.  I ask questions to learn what my customer needs.  For some people, this approach is intimidating.  But I figure the worst a customer can say is no.

So, how does that apply to life?  In sales, you constantly experiment and you constantly learn.  Treat life the same way. Experiment with something new. Learn the basics about something intimidating.  Then, learn more about it.

Face your fears. Jump off that cliff.

Apply for that job.  Even if you don’t get it, try to analyze what about that interview you could have improved.  Sometimes, the decision is based solely on qualifications.  If that is the case, then figure out a way you can stand out more next time you’re sitting in that interview chair.  Maybe you need to work on your sales pitch.  Or, maybe you need to invest in yourself.

Invest in Yourself

You’ve probably heard that phrase an investment in yourself is an investment in your future.

Well.  It’s true.  

If you are strict with your finances like I am, you might find it difficult to put money towards yourself.  But look at it this way: for every opportunity where you invest in yourself, you are paving a path towards your future.

Enroll in a class with your community college that will teach skills you can later slap onto your resume.  Take a seminar. Start working towards that certificate that will benefit you for years to come.  Enroll in an inexpensive eCourse to learn skills you need to get that project going. Start a money-making blog.

Put a little bit of money towards yourself and your future! For me, it was this blog. Investing in this blog has provided with me with a deep sense of fulfillment and purpose. It gives me something more to be excited about! Invest in yourself so you can give yourself something to be excited about.

Be Money Smart

Don’t put off being financially savvy until later years in life. Take this time in your twenties to get in control of your finances. If you have debt, don’t let it sit. Pay off your debt (like your student loans) while you’re young so you have more financial freedom or stability in the future.

Learn how to create a budget and stick to it (I have trouble doing this some days, but sometimes you’ve just gotta roll with the punches).

Trust me, you should be in control of your money. Learn to spend money in a way that will make you happy. And, at the same time, don’t waste money on frivolous things.  Once you find a balance, you’ll find a financial stability that will lead to happiness.

Overall, learn how to get in control of your financial situation so you can start making those credit cards in your wallet work for you.

Treat Yourself, Often

I have a budget category titled “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.”  I use money allocated in that category to spend on a hobby like dance class or a day of snowboarding.  

Actually, I used money from that category to treat myself and invest in this blog!  Treating myself to this blog has given me a creative outlet and a deep sense of purpose and fulfillment.  I’m not even exaggerating.  I get so excited to share about what I’ve been working on with others.

Book that spa appointment.  Take the dance class you’ve always wanted to.  Splurge on a nice meal for yourself.

Give yourself the happiness you deserve!  Treat yourself!  If not often, then every once and awhile – or for just the small things! When I was in college, I would treat myself to a delicious bar of the more expensive chocolate brands. Those little tokens in life you get for yourself can matter in the long run, too.

Treat Others, Often

Even if you can’t treat others in big ways, there are little ways to treat those around you.  

I spent around $20 buying cards, markers, and sharpies.  To show my friends and loved ones I appreciate them, I decorated the cards with doodles and wrote sincere letters detailing why I appreciate them.

A great foundation for the rest of your life is to spend your 20s showing those around you how grateful you are for them.  At some point, and maybe you already have, you will figure out your signature way of treating others.

Spend your 20s showing those around you how grateful you are for them. Click To Tweet

Pay attention to those around you.  Oftentimes people mention in casual conversation something they love or have been hoping to buy someday.  Other times, you might notice that someone really, really loves chocolate or sushi or a chilled glass of wine (or all of the above).  These small things that you notice about the people you love will turn out to be great gifts in the future.

Get Organized

I went through the beginning of my 20s always dropping my keys in the blankets of my bed.  You can probably imagine how stressful the next morning would be as I searched my studio high and low trying to find my keys for work.

Do yourself a favor and find a way to get organized.  Get organized outside of your apartment, too. Take an afternoon to organize your electronic files! Or organize that mess sitting in the back of your car. It helps if you designate or create a place for everything.  Place keys by the door in a specific location. Designate folders for specific photos in your computer. Trust me, a few years down the road, you’ll appreciate this tip!

Make the Time to Travel

We all have to work or fulfill our day-to-day obligations.  But if you can manage, make the time to travel.  Even if it’s for a simple weekend staycation nearby.

You don’t want to look back on your 20s saying you wish you had traveled.  Sometimes I look back at my time at university, only to wish I had studied abroad.  While you’re young, this is your time! Especially if you don’t have children.  Go to places on your bucket list or visit places you didn’t know existed.

Don't look back on your 20s saying you wish you had traveled. Click To Tweet

If you don’t think you have the money to travel, budget and figure out ways to travel on that budget. And, be sure to you prepare yourself and travel smart.

Seriously, if there’s one thing you should do, you should strive to travel in your 20s.

Stay Away from Toxic People

You know those people who put you down?  Who just have a knack for making you feel worse about yourself?

You don’t need them in your life.  That’s right; ditch ‘em.

You deserve better than someone who puts you down or tries to control you. Click To Tweet

I stayed around a toxic environment for far too long. Every day I look back and regret wasting all of that time around someone who made me feel unhappy about myself.  I made excuses for that person. Don’t make excuses for them.  You deserve better than someone who puts you down or tries to control you.

It’s All About Balance

A couple of years ago, I went through this crazy period of depression.  I felt really lost and totally unhappy with my life. I didn’t enjoy leaving my house and I made every excuse so I didn’t have to.

At the time, I worked a lot, too.  I took on three jobs because I felt like being busy with work gave me the purpose I needed during a very difficult time in my life.

During this time I missed out on a lot of gatherings, with family and with friends.  I missed the opportunity to really support some of my friends during some very amazing moments in their lives, and I really regret it.

Learn to commit, but don’t overcommit yourself.  I thought that being totally busy all the time with work was respectable. But looking back I realize I should have created a balance between working and supporting the people who I love very, very much.  

Figure out what is important to you so you can find ways to create a beautiful balance in your life!

Know How to Make Yourself Smile

For me, what makes me smile are cute animals gifs, cuddling with my dogs at the end of the day, group text messages with my best friends, playing Teemo on League of Legends, and date nights that are not dinner and a movie.

I know.  It seems silly.  But, if you know what makes you happy, you can treat yourself when you need a picker upper on a rainy day.

Some days I have a stressful day at work.  What do I do?  Cuddle with my dogs, look at cute animal photos in our group text message, and play Teemo on League of Legends.  When my boyfriend knows I’m having a harder time than usual, he makes an effort to take us on a special date.

And Most Importantly, Be You

Life Lessons from a Socially Awkward Twenty-Something at Krista Aoki, a lifestyle & travel blog | being a millennial in your twenties is hard. it seems like everyone is getting ahead. and you're sitting back. check out these inspirational life lessons for a better you.It took me way too long to figure out this whole “me” thing.  In fact, it wasn’t until I read Felicia Day’s autobiography, You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost), that I felt comfortable enough to embrace my true self. 

After poring through her pages of very candid self-discovery, all-in-all an awkward memoir of being a strange teenager, Felicia Day inspired me to shred a huge amount of insecurity.

I’m learning to show others the real me. When people ask, ‘oh, what do you do for fun?’ I have learned to let go of predetermined answers designed to impress people or make me seem like someone I’m really, really not.

Your 20s won’t be perfect. But they will be amazing, because you can make them amazing.

Can you relate? Then please pin, comment or share!

What silly life lessons have you learned over the years?

Life Lessons from a Socially Awkward Twenty-Something at Krista Aoki, a lifestyle & travel blog | being a millennial in your twenties is hard. it seems like everyone is getting ahead. and you're sitting back. check out these inspirational life lessons for a better you.
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  • This is a wonderful post! I am a 23 and still trying to find myself 🙂 definitely agree with the debt advice. My hubby and I are on a track to pay off our debt before our 30s! I’ve learned that relationships are the most important thing. Without a stable community of friends (and positive ones at that) it is hard to advance without support.

    • Danielle, you are SO right! Social surrounding are so important. I don’t know what I’d do without my personal community of support!

  • Reed

    Perfect pic of fan service
    Risk and money smart, love the combo 😊

    • Wow, I would have never considered myself to be a risk taker. Thanks, Reed!

  • ShyAnn Kehaulani

    I really liked your post! I’m 23 years old and I still haven’t gotten a clue.. I guess you could call it a near quarter life crisis. I look around and see everyone getting their lives together, & then there’s me! I’m new to the whole blogging community & have dreams of starting my own, so it’s refreshing to stumble upon someone who knows the struggle of adulting in our twenties!

    • Wow, thanks for your comment Shyann! I’m very grateful you found this post, and can relate. I definitely know what you mean about looking around at everyone else. It’s so easy to compare, but I’m sure you have a lot going for you!

      Please send me your blog once you start it! And don’t be afraid to ask me questions along the way!

      xoxo

  • Okay so I have just come across this post from Pinterest and I’m so bloody glad I did! What an inspirational post! Thanks girl! ☺️ Xo

  • Such great post! Everything I wish I learned from my early twenties and late teens. I have learnt most of these now but I wish I learnt them sooner. Sigh.