The Three Ways To Spend Your Twenties

There might be about three main ways to spend your twenties.

You can goof around – working easy jobs, partying every chance you can with friends, traveling around, etc. This way is enjoyable in some ways, certainly easier than most paths, but it is ultimately short-sighted. Those who choose it are in for a rude awakening when their hourglass of youth runs out.

You can climb ladders – working “prestigious” jobs or high-paying jobs or trying to get them (even if you don’t really enjoy them), renting nice apartments to impress people, and fitting into corporate hierarchies that might pay off in 20 or 30 years. This way may seem far-sighted, but it trades away joy in return for an uncertain promise of safety and acceptance, and it will likely stunt your ability to take risks and act independently.

Or you can train – working hard jobs and pursuing meaningful experiences that will build your skills, confidence, and character. This path requires an intentionality to time spent either for fun or for making a living. The training path involves a lot of apprenticeship, a lot of learning, a lot of hard work, and a lot of patience. But even when it involves doing something that doesn’t *look* promising or impressive or high-potential to others, it is directional toward growth and freedom and fulfillment.

For obvious reasons the third one is the one you should hope you find. It can be easy to stray into the first or second for short stretches of time, but the training path should always be the north star. There doesn’t have to be a choice between meaning and survival, fun or work, or youthful energy and mature wisdom.

James Walpole

James Walpole is a writer, startup marketer, and perpetual apprentice. You're reading his blog right now, and he really appreciates it. Don't let it go to his head, though.

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