Your 20's Should Be Your Selfish Years

Your 20's Should Be Your Selfish Years

This time of your life is for you.

We have all seen the clip from Divorce Court, 20's is for you, where Judge Lynn tells the lady in front of her that her 20's are her selfish years. That 20 is her years of growth. Well, she's right.

Although Judge Lynn comments specifically to a woman going through a divorce with a man, her words can resonate with anyone. When I was younger I thought that life was slow as hell. I actually remember a conversation I had with a friend who was in High School at the time as I was in Middle School, who said he felt angry when people would say that life is slow. Now I see why he felt that way. Life is so fast that you need to dedicate as much as you can to things that benefit you.

Life is too fast for you to worry about partners at such a young age or to worry about unhealthy relationships in your life with partners, friends, and family. Life is too short to be working the same job that makes you so unhappy for the rest of your life. Too short for you to stay in the same town all your life with no future. Life is too short for you to settle in places and with people who are no good for you and do nothing but bring out your ugly side. Life is too short for you to develop a mental illness for an education and a decent job. Life is just so fucking short that your 20's need to be for you. You don't need to be making compromises that sacrifice your happiness and well-being. You don't need to be in places or with people who do nothing for you. You don't need to be around a group of girls gossiping about shit that doesn't matter.

When I turned 20, I felt nothing. I didn't understand what came with 20 but my anxiety did once I turned 21. In the next 9 years, I might meet someone that I will marry and have children with. I am graduating and moving across the world and within the next 9 years, I will decide what I will do with that experience. In the next 9 years, I will be settled in a place that I hope doesn't bring stress and regret. In the next 9 years, I will have had changed careers and continued my education. Now that I am 21, I feel it. In one year I stopped being friends with people who were toxic and ended a toxic relationship, for both of those things are not worth being a part of these years of my life. I stopped thinking certain ways and holding onto things that are out of my control.

Your 20's should be for you. You to open yourself to things and to people that scare you and once held you back. For you to leave your comfort zone and to embrace uncertainty. Uncertainty. That is what your 20's should be for. For you to be excited and ready for everything you yet know. For you to let go of what leaves you and welcome everything that comes your way. For you to live every day with an open heart and open mind, ready to endure any and every emotion. For you to leave the life your family wants you to live and find one that fits you.

Your 20's is for you to end toxic relationships with a partner, with a friend, and, yes, with a family member. Because you can do that now. This time is for you to figure out what you don't want in life. I have realized that it's okay to not know what you want out of life as long as you know what you don't want. You will start eliminating everything and everyone who brings you down and hinders any kind of real growth. The people who gossip, those who do nothing but go out and drink, those who hold grudges and cannot forgive, those who hold onto to their hardships, and those who stay in the same place. Your 20's isn't for you to remain where you are even if that might hurt others.

This is your time to leave. Leave people, places, mindsets, bad habits, judgments, settling, unforgiving ways, grudges, resentment, and anything and everything that keeps you small. And yes, this will be hard. I am sure a lot of people around this age have become so used to doing things for others, so doing something in this way is considered "selfish". I have seen people hold on to the same burdens for years without the thought of letting go. I have seen people stay in one place for years without any thought of leaving or any real motivation. Don't do those things and learn that it is okay for you to use this time to be selfish will be your start to a happier, healthier life.

Cover Image Credit: Averie Woodard

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An Open Letter To Democrats From A Millennial Republican

Why being a Republican doesn't mean I'm inhuman.

Dear Democrats,

I have a few things to say to you — all of you.

You probably don't know me. But you think you do. Because I am a Republican.

Gasp. Shock. Horror. The usual. I know it all. I hear it every time I come out of the conservative closet here at my liberal arts university.

SEE ALSO: What I Mean When I Say I'm A Young Republican

“You're a Republican?" people ask, saying the word in the same tone that Draco Malfoy says “Mudblood."

I know that not all Democrats feel about Republicans this way. Honestly, I can't even say for certain that most of them do. But in my experience, saying you're a Republican on a liberal college campus has the same effect as telling someone you're a child molester.

You see, in this day and age, with leaders of the Republican Party standing up and spouting unfortunately ridiculous phrases like “build a wall," and standing next to Kim Davis in Kentucky after her release, we Republicans are given an extreme stereotype. If you're a Republican, you're a bigot. You don't believe in marriage equality. You don't believe in racial equality. You don't believe in a woman's right to choose. You're extremely religious and want to impose it on everyone else.

Unfortunately, stereotypes are rooted in truth. There are some people out there who really do think these things and feel this way. And it makes me mad. The far right is so far right that they make the rest of us look bad. They make sure we aren't heard. Plenty of us are fed up with their theatrics and extremism.

For those of us brave enough to wear the title “Republican" in this day and age, as millennials, it's different. Many of us don't agree with these brash ideas. I'd even go as far as to say that most of us don't feel this way.

For me personally, being a Republican doesn't even mean that I automatically vote red.

When people ask me to describe my political views, I usually put it pretty simply. “Conservative, but with liberal social views."

“Oh," they say, “so you're a libertarian."

“Sure," I say. But that's the thing. I'm not really a libertarian.

Here's what I believe:

I believe in marriage equality. I believe in feminism. I believe in racial equality. I don't want to defund Planned Parenthood. I believe in birth control. I believe in a woman's right to choose. I believe in welfare. I believe more funds should be allocated to the public school system.

Then what's the problem? Obviously, I'm a Democrat then, right?

Wrong. Because I have other beliefs too.

Yes, I believe in the right to choose — but I'd always hope that unless a pregnancy would result in the bodily harm of the woman, that she would choose life. I believe in welfare, but I also believe that our current system is broken — there are people who don't need it receiving it, and others who need it that cannot access it.

I believe in capitalism. I believe in the right to keep and bear arms, because I believe we have a people crisis on our hands, not a gun crisis. Contrary to popular opinion, I do believe in science. I don't believe in charter schools. I believe in privatizing as many things as possible. I don't believe in Obamacare.

Obviously, there are other topics on the table. But, generally speaking, these are the types of things we millennial Republicans get flack for. And while it is OK to disagree on political beliefs, and even healthy, it is NOT OK to make snap judgments about me as a person. Identifying as a Republican does not mean I am the same as Donald Trump.

Just because I am a Republican, does not mean you know everything about me. That does not give you the right to make assumptions about who I am as a person. It is not OK for you to group me with my stereotype or condemn me for what I feel and believe. And for a party that prides itself on being so open-minded, it shocks me that many of you would be so judgmental.

So I ask you to please, please, please reexamine how you view Republicans. Chances are, you're missing some extremely important details. If you only hang out with people who belong to your own party, chances are you're missing out on great people. Because, despite what everyone believes, we are not our stereotype.


A millennial Republican

Cover Image Credit: NEWSWORK.ORG

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The Gap Between Knowledge And Action

Let's talk about action. There seems to be a mass phenomenon of disconnect between knowledge and action. Why is it that increased knowledge is not motivating people towards increased action.


In the world today, there are all sorts of social and political movements. Though society has always been flawed with endless problems, people are more aware of these problems today than ever. The rise of the internet, smartphones, and social media has created a new social climate of awareness as a result of greater interconnectedness. But how is it that the public is growing more aware, yet nothing seems to be changing?

I began really thinking about this perplexity recently, as I listened to a TedTalk discussing global warming. According to public polling from the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, 70% of Americans agree that global warming is occurring. But according to the same polling, only 40% of Americans think climate change will affect them personally and are adjusting their lifestyles because of it. This is the gap between knowledge and action. Two-thirds of Americans acknowledge climate change, but only less than half are doing something about it. Something is being lost in translation, but what is it?

This phenomenon extends far beyond climate change though. Poverty. Hunger. Displacement. Lack of access to clean water. Sexual inequality. Like I said earlier, there are an endless array of problems the world faces, and we are more aware of them than ever, but how do we link knowledge and action?

We know that most issues that have risen due to globalization, affect the people who contribute to the problem the least, the most. Global warming is disproportionately affecting those in poverty who can't afford to recover from wildfires in California, stronger hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico, or increasingly severe droughts in Syria. People in Flint, Michigan or Karachi, Pakistan lack clean water because of the actions of people far richer than themselves. Is a lack of personal victimization the reason? Is raised awareness and stagnant action a symptom of a bigger issue of lacking compassion or are people just lazy?

As a nineteen-year-old college student, maybe I'm naïve, but I refuse to believe that the U.S. and global, society as a whole is lacking in action because they are lacking in compassion or because third world problems "are not their problems." Philosopher, Christopher Heath Wellman, put it best when saying to "[n]otice how awkward it is to protest that those of us who are privileged cannot be obligated to change the system because we are impotent in the face of its enormity, while simultaneously suggesting that those who are starving to death are entitled to no assistance because they are responsible for the political and economic institutions which led to their ruin" in regards to world hunger.

You may be thinking, "OK but how can I make a difference, as just one person?" What Wellman meant in his quote was that you alone cannot make a difference for people starving in another country, but neither can they. It's only when we come together as a society and commit to action can we overcome these issues. Perhaps this is my Global Studies major speaking, but we are all citizens of the world, not just citizens of the U.S. and we must allow our compassion accordingly. No one has any choice in where, what circumstances, or what society they are born into so to refuse action which would help victims of circumstance would be an ignorant form of elitism.

This problem isn't exclusively on the national and global scale either; everyday people see problems in their personal lives and yet, only a small minority take action. Take, for example, people who stress about procrastination, but never change their time management habits. People who make the same New Year's Resolution every year because they never follow suit. Smokers who want to quit but don't try. Students who complain about poor grades but don't make time to study. Even in our own personal lives, knowledge rarely seems to prompt action.

I don't have an easy fix for this. And I don't hold the solutions to global warming, poverty, hunger, lack of access to clean water, or sexual inequality. But I do know that it doesn't need to be this way. It's often said that recognizing you have an issue is half the battle, the next half is action. Every day, our knowledge of the world and everything which inhabits it is increasing, the time for action is now. If we all, individually, take it upon ourselves to care for one another and work towards a better world, in small ways, I believe that together, we can make anything a reality.

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