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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Austin Alexander Burridge, Volunteer Advocate, Shares 3 Great Reasons to Volunteer and Help Others

Austin Alexander Burridge is an avid academic who studies Environmental Science at Winona State University and believes that work in the service of others is a key pillar to personal development.


Sometimes it's easy for someone to adopt a "me, me, me" attitude. While focusing on oneself, a person may feel nice in the moment, but serving and helping others will bring lasting benefits. While there are many great reasons to serve and help others, there are three universal truths that resonate with volunteers around the globe.

Austin Alexander Burridge's 3 Reasons to Volunteer:

1. Accomplishment

Often, people fall into a trap of focusing on themselves when they are feeling down. Maybe someone did not get a job they wanted. Or perhaps a person gets dumped by an expected lifelong companion. Maybe someone feels they have underachieved after looking at Facebook and seeing great things a high school classmate has accomplished. When feeling down, helping others is a proven way to improve one's mood and attitude, and it can provide a sense of pride and accomplishment. The act of giving to those in need is an inherently good action and leaves people with a wonderful feeling of joy.

2. Gratitude

One can become more appreciative of life by serving others that have less. Whether volunteering at a soup kitchen, visiting the elderly at an assisted living center, or helping families after a natural disaster, service enables people to be grateful for what they have. Seeing people who have fewer advantages, especially those who are spirited and thankful for small things, allows one to realize just how fortunate he/she is in life.

3. Friendships

Volunteering is a great way to build meaningful friendships, not only with other volunteers but also with those who are served. One of the most profound and fascinating aspects of these relationships is how volunteers will learn from those served and vice versa. As these special bonds are built, they lead to impactful connections that last for years to come.

Of course, these are just a few reasons to volunteer and serve others. One can never go wrong by helping others as opposed to merely focusing on oneself. Volunteering invariably and inevitably contributes to personal growth, development, and satisfaction.

About Austin Alexander Burridge: Helping others has been of paramount importance to Austin, and as a part of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), Austin gave back to the community around him. He also has participated in annual peanut butter drives, The Minnesota Sandwich Project for the Homeless and collected canned goods for local food shelters. Additionally, Austin has a passion for the environment, which he pursued when visiting the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, and the Amazon Rain Forest while studying at the School of Environment Studies, which investigates ecological systems and their sustainability

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Saying You "Don't Take Political Stances" IS A Political Stance

All you're doing by saying this is revealing your privilege to not care politically, and here's why that's a problem.


I'm sure all of us know at least one person who refuses to engage in political discussions - sure, you can make the argument that there is a time and a place to bring up the political happenings of our world today, but you can't possibly ignore it all the time. You bring up the last ridiculous tweet our president sent or you try to discuss your feelings on the new reproductive regulation bills that are rising throughout the states, and they find any excuse to dip out as quickly as possible. They say I don't talk about politics, or I'm apolitical. Well everyone, I'm here to tell you why that's complete bullsh*t.

Many people don't have the luxury and privilege of ignoring the political climate and sitting complacent while terrible things happen in our country. So many issues remain a constant battle for so many, be it the systematic racism that persists in nearly every aspect of our society, the fact that Flint still doesn't have clean water, the thousands of children that have been killed due to gun violence, those drowning in debt from unreasonable medical bills, kids fighting for their rights as citizens while their families are deported and separated from them... you get the point. So many people have to fight every single day because they don't have any other choice. If you have the ability to say that you just don't want to have anything to do with politics, it's because you aren't affected by any failing systems. You have a privilege and it is important to recognize it.

Martin Luther King Jr. once said, "history will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people."

We recognize that bad people exist in this world, and we recognize that they bring forth the systems that fail so many people every single day, but what is even more important to recognize are the silent majority - the people who, by engaging in neutrality, enable and purvey the side of the oppressors by doing nothing for their brothers and sisters on the front lines.

Maybe we think being neutral and not causing conflict is supposed to be about peacekeeping and in some way benefits the political discussion if we don't try to argue. But if we don't call out those who purvey failing systems, even if it's our best friend who says something homophobic, even if it's our representatives who support bills like the abortion ban in Alabama, even if it's our president who denies the fact that climate change is killing our planet faster than we can hope to reverse it, do we not, in essence, by all accounts of technicality side with those pushing the issues forward? If we let our best friend get away with saying something homophobic, will he ever start to change his ways, or will he ever be forced to realize that what he's said isn't something that we can just brush aside? If we let our representatives get away with ratifying abortion bans, how far will the laws go until women have no safe and reasonable control over their own bodily decisions? If we let our president continue to deny climate change, will we not lose our ability to live on this planet by choosing to do nothing?

We cannot pander to people who think that being neutral in times of injustice is a reasonable stance to take. We cannot have sympathy for people who decide they don't want to care about the political climate we're in today. Your attempts at avoiding conflict only make the conflict worse - your silence in this aspect is deafening. You've given ammunition for the oppressors who take your silence and apathy and continue to carry forth their oppression. If you want to be a good person, you need to suck it up and take a stand, or else nothing is going to change. We need to raise the voices of those who struggle to be heard by giving them the support they need to succeed against the opposition.

With all this in mind, just remember for the next time someone tells you that they're apolitical: you know exactly which side they're on.


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