YOLO in your 20s: A Gen Y smackdown

This is a two-part series. To read about the 5 things you should learn in your 20s, click here.

You’re young. You’ve got your whole life ahead of you; the whole world at your feet. You’ve got your diploma. You have a job. You have a cool apartment in a big city. You have friends. Now you’re ready to just have some fun.

This is what the 20s is supposed to be all about, right? Having fun, partying, traveling, and exploring various interests?

Hollywood gives us a perfect image of life in our 20s: an extended adolescence with better perks. You have your own apartment, live on your own terms in a big city, spend your time in bars, at parties, or with friends until 2 am, start your high-achiever job 6 hours later and make your type A boss happy for the next 12 hours. Control-oriented, fashionable, full of energy, and highly emotional. But that’s ok, you’re just exploring and experimenting. That’s what the 20s are for. Right?

You’re supposed to make the most of life while you’re young and free. Before the kids come, while you can still flirt with every six-pack who smiles at you. Your boyfriends are like your lingerie drawer: sexy and lacking substance. After all, no one expects them to be mature at this age. They’re living the party life as well.

Real life can come later, in your 30s. That’s when you’ll live up to your standards. That’s when you’ll settle down in a fairy-tale marriage with a modern-day Pierce Brosnan and have two perfect kids, a fulfilling career with a six-figure salary, and everything figured out.

Post 13 20somethingsIt’s only too late when you realize that you’re still stuck in the same old job, marriage is tough and not something you prepared yourself for, and figuring out your purpose, being a good spouse, parenting, and the pursuit of happiness is too much all at once. So your unrealistic expectations lead to a divorce, a very well-paid therapist, a soul-crushing job, and a million doubts and insecurities.

Here’s the reality: You don’t live in a bubble in your 20s. Everything you go through affects you later on. The time you’re not using now to figure out your purpose and meaning in this world will get pushed back to what’s become the 35-year-old crisis. You might think that you’re “exploring” right now, but ask yourself – is staying in your comfort zone for an entire decade really going to help you be any more prepared to “live your dreams” in your 30s?

At some point, you will have to come to terms with the fact that dating the same old dead-beat guys with a hot face and no brain is not going to prepare you for a real marriage with a man who respects himself and you. It’s going to take a lot more work to keep that one up. You’re going to have to let go of the guilt-tripping, the yelling, and the drama. You’re going to have to step out of your insecurities and neediness and learn to love yourself before you can give him the love he deserves. You’re going to have to learn how to make love happen rather than expect it to happen if you want to have a happy and successful marriage.

Our culture has given 20-somethings an easy out from the hard work that is growing up. In its typical consumerist fashion, it has told us to “just enjoy” these years and take our time with everything. There is no need to step out of your comfort zone now. That’s what your 30s are for.

When you get to your 30s and realize that you just wasted the better part of 10 years, it’s too late. Now the sense of urgency that was inexistent in your 20s doubles and even triples, to the extent that “figuring it all out” becomes just a little too overwhelming. Stepping outside of your comfort zone in too many areas wears you out, and you slowly start to lose hope and give up dreams.

It’s too late now. Maybe I can do this later, when the children are older, when this crisis is over, when I have this figured out. But you realize that you may never have it all figured out and live up to your big dreams. You just can’t do it all yourself anymore.

But you were never supposed to do it all yourself. Maturity, the ability to hold a successful marriage, learning to be happy… all of these were supposed to come on their own, as a result of your “exploration”. Right? All that time you spent in your 20s making mistakes and “figuring things out” should have moved you forward. Right?

This is where your future 30-something-year old self gives you a smackdown and you realize that you’re not doing yourself any favors by wasting this time away.

Nothing is going to happen just because you “explore” life while being comfortable. You’re going to have to make it happen instead.

And it’s not going to come across magically. It’s going to come across because you put in hours of work to understand yourself, respect yourself, get in touch with your inner wisdom, and act from a place of love rather than fear.

This doesn’t just happen. You create it.

You create it by stepping out of your comfort zone over and over again.

You create it by refusing to fall back into old patterns and habits.

You create it by committing to live up to a higher standard, to be a better YOU, every single day.

And the biggest favor you can do for yourself, especially if you’re a 20-something, is to start today.

Cultivate awareness. Learn to be present. Live out of love instead of fear. Connect with your inner wisdom. Step out of your comfort zone. Keep expanding. Be better.

Don’t just let time take care of it. Your life is your responsibility. You are the only one who can make your dreams come true.

What’s most important is that finding yourself, discovering your gift, connecting with your purpose is just so important not only for yourself, but for the world. And the more time you spend stuck in the fears and insecurities that are driving your comfortable life, the less time you will spend enriching the lives of others with your unique gift.

Why would you live a comfortable life, full of superficial happiness and a money-driven career, when you can start laying the foundation now to a rich life filled with authenticity, love, generosity, and a deep fulfillment you may otherwise reach only when it’s too late?

Your 20s are an amazing gift. Now, when you have your life ahead and the world at your feet, when you have nothing to lose, when you heal quickly and bounce right back on your feet… now is the time to push through your boundaries and discover the stuff you’re really made of.

The world needs you. Even in your 20s. Especially in your 20s.

Step up to the game.

I’m going to leave you with this inspirational TED talk:

 

What are you doing to make the most out of your 20s?

If you’re past your 20s, what is your perspective on this?

What did you do in your 20s that made the biggest difference in your life?

P.S: For those of you wondering what YOLO means (as was I only a few months ago): YOLO = You Only Live Once. (Don’t you just feel a few years smarter now that you know this? I thought so.)

This is a two-part series. To read about the 5 things you should learn in your 20s, click here.

Afraid or insecure? You’re not alone!

This website has been on my mind for many years.

And I have big dreams for it.

But… I’m also terribly afraid.

I dream of dismantling artificial rules and shoulds and would like tos; helping others find their voice and craft their way; empowering people to create happiness, contentment, and sheer joy in their lives; guiding them towards finding clarity, confidence, and success while following their own dreams.

Post 10 5-1-2013This is my vision.

Three years ago I started a personal development blog on a whim. It was cute, naïve, and fearless.

And it only lasted for a couple of months.

I don’t know whether it just didn’t matter enough to me at that point, whether I wasn’t ready for it, or whether I just didn’t know where to take it and what to do with it. Or whether I was simply scared.

Because if I was as scared as I am now, then I don’t blame myself for quitting it.

I’ve helped a lot of other people, especially during the past three years as I’ve grown from the naïve girl I was when I first started my blog into the (slightly more) mature woman I am today.

But the fear of connection is always there. Or rather, the fear of disconnection.

I’m afraid that I will fail to achieve my dream. I’m afraid that I will simply have nothing to offer. I’m afraid that I will not only not help someone, but waste their time and even give them bad guidance.

I’m afraid that, once people discover that I’m nothing more than another vulnerable person with too many insecurities to wrap my head around, they will dump me. Mock me. Criticize me and leave me jumbled up in a pool of my own tears.

I’m afraid of being vulnerable and open and daring, as every coach must be in order to truly help their clients.

The truth is, you have to help yourself before you can help others. And through this, I’m doing exactly what I want my clients to do.

I’m putting myself out there before I have the confidence that I can, or will, succeed. I’m doing it in spite of the fear that keeps my knees shaking, and the doubt that keeps my hands from typing.

The funny thing is, this should feel second nature to me. My entire life I have done just that. I have gone out there, battled the rules, the fear, doubt, and contrary advice, and done what I felt was best.

This feels nothing like that. This is real. This feels like I’m taking the biggest test of them all.

I’m sure there are bigger hurdles that await me. After all, I only just got married. Children, teenagers, death of my loved ones, and personal and financial disaster are still potentially ahead of me.

But my biggest fear is not jumping over one of these hurdles.

My biggest fear is that I will grow old and feel the pain that comes along with knowing I have not truly put myself out there and put out my best in life.

I tremble in front of the insecurity of the future that stares back at me now, but I shiver curled up on the floor in front of the pain that I would feel from wondering “what could have been.”

It looks like I don’t have a choice. Whether I like it or not, time passes. Do I fight the fear of realizing at the end of my life that I did not truly fulfill my destiny, or do I fight the fear of failure right in front of me?

I choose the lesser fear. I choose to fight my doubts and keep putting myself out there. I choose to go out and try to live my dream, try to help people, the best I can. I vow to be better at it tomorrow than I was today. And I vow to live what I preach. Because that is absolutely the only way for me to live without fearing the big “what could have been” at the end of the road.

So today, I’m terrified. But I choose courage. Integrity. Vulnerability. I choose to go after my dreams, and let the Universe decide what blueprint I will leave in this world. That is not my job.

My job is to do my best work, and be my best self. And I invite you to join me in this journey. Power lies, after all, in numbers.

What fears are you facing right now? How do you motivate and encourage yourself to keep going despite ongoing doubts?

I shared mine. Now it’s your turn!

Fulfill your potential

Everything that happens to you is exactly what you need at that moment.

Everything that comes up in life is an opportunity. Most importantly, it is the RIGHT opportunity for you at that moment in time.

Post 8 4-21-2013We are built to grow, to expand, and to allow ourselves to reach new heights of consciousness. We are made to love, trust, and believe. We are created to shine our light into this world and to live out loud.

Every experience you go through is a lesson. Every opportunity is a lesson. Every unfortunate event is a lesson. It can be a lesson in gratitude, a lesson in love, or maybe a lesson in responsibility.

By this, I don’t mean a lesson that will teach you “what you’re doing wrong” and make you regret what you’ve done or failed to do.

No, by this I mean a lesson that will allow you to grow.

Every experience is an opportunity for growth.

At any moment in time, you have two choices: to be comfortable or uncomfortable.

To be comfortable, just keep doing what you’ve been doing. Keep being average. Stay jealous. Remain a victim. Don’t do anything about it, either. You wouldn’t want to feel the pain of failure.

Unfortunately, life brings us pain no matter what. Whether you choose to be comfortable or not, it brings you the experiences that you need to grow.

What do you think will really help you grow?

That’s right, pain.

If you choose to stay comfortable year after year, life will just put you in the same circumstances over and over again – one more painful than another.

What’s the alternative?

Well, you can choose to be uncomfortable. You can say “to hell with mediocrity” and choose to dig deeper within yourself and follow your intuition and inner voice of wisdom. You can choose to work with the opportunities life brings you to grow and transform and expand rather than ignoring them and stagnating as an unhappy, mediocre, jealous couch potato.

You can keep waiting for “one day”, and being comfortable in the meantime, or you can choose to be uncomfortable now and see your life transform as you grow into the person you’re meant to be.

When you choose mediocrity and comfort, you waste precious time from your life. The more uncomfortable you are, the more you push yourself to question everything, the more you expand.

Want to reach your full potential? Want to find out just how high you can reach? Be uncomfortable. Screw mediocrity. Screw doubts and doubtfuls all around. Screw expectations. Question everything. Push yourself. Every day, know yourself a little better. Every day, love a little more. Love everyone around. Love yourself. And you will soar.

Here’s something else you need to do:

Go where your resistance takes you.

Having trouble with something? Do you always get stuck in bad relationships? Can you never focus enough to take something from beginning to end? Do you keep stumbling into this part of you that you just can’t stand?

Go there.

I’m serious.

Having trouble losing weight? Have you tried for your entire life, but you just can’t make it happen? Focus on that. Drill deep down. Why do you want to lose this weight? What’s stopping you? How is being overweight serving you right now? Is this your reality and self-mindset?

Do you keep dating useless pieces of junk? Work on that. How much do you really love yourself? How much do you think you’re worth? How is being in these relationships serving your current sense of self and beliefs about reality?

Just can’t focus? Make that your priority. Take a mindfulness course. Meditate. Understand why you’re having trouble with it, and how to either master and embrace it, or overcome it.

Where you’re most stuck, that’s where your biggest opportunity lies.

If you keep falling while trying to climb over this wall, and yet life just keeps putting it in front of you, then take that message: this is your biggest growth lesson. Make it your purpose for the next few months or years to learn it. Get a coach, read every book you can get your hands on, and be with yourself a lot.

When you finally pick that lock and open the treasure chest of this growth lesson, you will discover a miraculous key that will help you unlock so many doors to success.

That is your Link to Yourself.

Every single lesson life brings, every wall it builds in your path, is a doorway to knowing yourself better, being more in tune with your intuition, following your inner wisdom, and expanding to use your full potential.

You don’t need external validation. You don’t need outside incentives. You don’t need to focus on things that seem so boring, you’d rather jump in a deep well than do this for your entire life.

All you need to do is be true to yourself. Listen to the voice of your inner wisdom. Follow your excitement, even if it feels uncomfortable. Go where your intuition leads you.

How to be yourself – a guide

Be yourself – you’ve heard this phrase a million times. What does it really mean?

It’s at the essence of this website – Link to Yourself.

It means you are in touch with your intuition, your gut, your inner observer and your inner wisdom.

You respect and honor yourself and your needs.

The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are. - C. G. JungYou only do what feels right, and throw conventionality to the curb.

You are not afraid of judgment, because you understand that others’ judgment of you is only a reflection of their own inability to connect with themselves, and not a cue for shame.

You welcome and embrace critics, knowing that the more in tune you will be with yourself, and the more progress you will make toward fulfilling your true potential, the more uncomfortable you might make others who have not reached this level of authenticity.

You do not let yourself be held back, because this life is too short. What matters is fulfilling your potential and living a vibrant life connected with yourself – your intuition, your wisdom. You don’t have time to do what others tell you to do – only what you feel is right.

You are honest and genuine, because authenticity truly is the biggest treasure we can give to those around us. Authenticity strips away judgment and shows others a naked image of a true vibrant life.

You are not afraid to be authentic, because you know that no one can touch you without your consent. You control your experiences through your questions and reactions, and are the master of your future.

You take care of yourself, because YOU are the most precious thing you have in this life. Without a smoothly functioning physical, mental, and emotional system, you cannot do the things you are meant to do in this world, meet your full potential, and inspire and help others.

You accept all other people and look for the best in them, because you know that the world can only be a better place if we all renounce resentment and blame by taking responsibility for our lives and following our intuition and authenticity. You encourage and help others do that for themselves.

Please, don’t be afraid to be your true, naked, vulnerable, authentic, raw self.

Instead, jump right into life, wholeheartedly.

Give of yourself to others freely (but not carelessly).

Love everyone with all of your heart and might.

Be generous with your positive energy and words of encouragement.

You will live the richest life you have ever imagined. And, I promise you – you won’t regret it.

The most important decision you will make

Have you ever had someone literally disappear from right next to you?

One minute, they’re right there. The next, poof – they’re gone.

Or how about them not disappearing from right next to you, but going through a traumatic event and having their life changed forever?

Post 3 3-16-2013Your life can change at any minute.

You don’t have to be ready for it. It doesn’t wait for you to be ready.

You will never be ready for it.

The only way to take it is just like that – not ready, knowing you’ve lived every moment.

Have you?

Have you really lived every moment with them, enjoyed every minute spent together?

If your lives were to change forever, would you look back knowing that, while you may not have been ready, you were fully there?

If not, then I dare you to ask yourself, what can you do about it?

Right now.

What can you do about it right now?

About the future? Nothing. When the time comes, it just comes. You can just try to keep yourself, and your loved ones, in one piece. It’s not an easy feat, but there’s absolutely nothing you can do now. Your work for the future lies just there – in the future.

About the past? An even bigger Nothing. Learn from it, whine over it, reminisce over it, or let it be. Take your pick.

About the present? Everything.

When the end seems so near, all of a sudden things lose their importance. Things like that joke your friend made that hurt you, or that old-time quarrel with your dad. Things like that lose their dangerous glow.

But what if it’s not someone else who’s going to disappear from right next to you?

What if it’s you disappearing from right next to them?

What would you do then?

Your life as you know it could end – right here, right now.

It could end for the better, or it could end for the worse. It could end for good.

When life’s changes are staring us smack-dab straight in the face, one thing becomes clear: everything that matters is in this moment.

So cut the crap. Let go of the past. Stop whining about the future. (Tweet this quote)

Give yourself permission to use your present moment the way you want to use it. But choose how you want to use it.

Allow yourself to choose how to live each and every moment.

I choose to forgive. I choose to dream. I choose to see the good in people. I choose to give. I choose to throw myself in every positive experience I have with my loved ones.

Because I know that this moment will never come back. Another one might come along, but it will never be the same one.

I know. And I have made my choice.

What do you choose?