No matter the field you are in, we all strive to first meet our three basic needs of food, home, and clothes, and in today’s world, I can probably also add entertainment.
Of course the level of satisfaction is different for all of us. For some people, food can mean fine-dine restaurants, home can mean a mansion with swimming pool, and clothes can mean top fashion brands. For other, it can mean simple home cooking to fill the stomach, a shared apartment with a bed to sleep on, and clothes just to cover the body. Similarly, entertainment can mean anywhere from travelling first class to taking a weekend hike or camping. These needs and desires drive our behaviours, and of course, money plays an important role in satisfying such needs and desires.
Besides the necessities, we are also social animals. We need people to talk to, support us when we are struggling, and share our happiness and joy. This is where money may not be able to help - you can't buy quality friends around you.
In your early 20s in particular, it is time to put your learnings from school through a test with the real world. It is time to find out how things work in reality, so that you can amalgamate your academic knowledge with your real-life experience to build a strong foundation for a life, where you can meet your basic needs and start chasing some of your desires.
Your early 20s is also a phase of life where you may have lots of ambitions. In my personal opinion, it is best to take a holistic approach, and channel your energy into various aspects of life to achieve a good balance.
It is important to note that list below is not in an order of preference, as they all are equally important, and each area has infinite opportunities for you to explore.
• Health – Look after your health, as this is the only thing that will help you go a long way. Money cannot buy health, so don't trade your health for money.
• Personal Finance – Even if you are not good with numbers, make sure you educate yourself on essential topics like Budgeting and Savings; Managing Tax; Types of investment opportunities and Insurance.
• Networking – It is not what you know, but whom you know that can help you become successful.
• Soft Skills - Invest in improving your soft skills, especially communication skills, as this will stay with you forever, unlike technical skills, which may be replaced over time.
• Career Development – Strive to excel in your field, and keep learning and upskilling to stay in touch with the latest trends and updates in your industry.
Last but not least, enjoy the journey and the learning rather than just the outcome. There will be times when things do not go as planned, and there will be frustration. But keep moving and improving yourself, and with consistent effort and a strong focus on your goals, you can overcome any challenges. The experience and knowledge you have gained will guide you in your journey ahead.
I wish you all the best for your 20-something journey.
Senior Software Automation Testing Engineer
Connect with Kirtan on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/kirtancp/