7 Things My 20-Something Daughter Needs to Know
It can be easy to feel catapulted into your 20s with no idea what you’re doing and very little confidence in who you are. That’s something I want to help my daughters avoid, so here’s what I’m going to tell them (I might even start way before they’re 20).
7 Things my 20-something daughter needs to know
1. No one owes you anything, darling
When you’re in high school and college, adults will give you things (time, attention, mentoring) because they’re fostering your growth.
When you become an adult, you are a peer.
No one needs to take you under their wing, and no one owes you anything. Every bit of time or attention they give you is a gift. Treat it like that — say thank you, be gracious, don’t ever grow entitled.
2. Your friends are still your future
Making good friends may not feel as important as it did in high school, but it still is. You become like the people you spend time with, no matter what age you are.
Do your friends want to be at bars on the weekends, or stay home and play games? Do they value deep, insightful conversation, or just talk about the latest trends and who slept with who? Your friends can change your life experience.
Choose friends who you want to be like, because after years of spending time together, they’re who you will become.
3. Relational status isn’t everything
Being alone can be lonely, but being in the wrong relationship is even worse.
When everyone else around you pairs up, it’s okay to be single. There is nothing wrong with you. You are not any less of a person, and you don’t have to lower your standards just to be like everyone else.
Relish the freedom. Don’t settle for a cheap fix. Remember your value.
4. Manners never go out of style
Now that you’re in the “real world,” you’re going to meet a lot of people with all range of social graces — or lack thereof.
It’s really not hard to stand out.
Remember the elementary manners, like “please” and “thank you,” and remember not to talk with your mouth full. But if you really want to be a cut above the rest, always work on polishing your manners.
Send hand-written thank-you notes. If you give your word, keep it. If you have to back out of an obligation, never do it over text, make a phone call.
Be classy. People notice.
5. Success isn’t measured by money
The world wants you to believe that to be successful, you need to be rich and drive an expensive sports car and have the newest things and take vacations in the south of France.
That’s not true. Money doesn’t equal success.
You don’t need a full bank account or the newest car or a nice big house. Success isn’t measured by what you have, it’s measured by how you feel about what you have — so the secret to success isn’t making millions, it’s being content.
6. You are the difference between a good day and a bad day
Every time you interact with another human, you have the power to change their day. You can make it a positive interaction that will help them have a good day, or a negative interaction that will ruin the rest of their day.
Be thoughtful and kind.
Be the type kind of person who walks around spreading good days, even when you’re having a bad day. Giving someone else a good day can make your day better too.
7. Staying connected is overrated
Being accessible at all hours of the day and night can seem like a good way to be the best employee or the best friend, but it eventually leads to burnout.
Your job doesn’t need you 24/7. Your friends don’t need you 24/7. Social media certainly doesn’t need you 24/7.
Take time to unplug, clear your mind, and be inaccessible for a while. Go running without music. Drive somewhere in silence. Do 24-hour technology fasts. Spend an evening with friends and don’t take any pictures or check your phone.
Not only will it refresh your mind, it’ll make you more intentional.
It’ll be a while before I have a 20-something daughter, and I’m sure I’ll have more things as time goes on — but for now, that’s all.
Also, reader, I’d love to know what you’ll tell (or you’ve told) your 20-something daughter. Maybe I’ll add it to my list.