20 Tips To Kill It In Your Twenties: As Told By a Woman In Her 60s

20 Tips To Kill It In Your Twenties:

As Told By a Woman In Her 60s

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Have you ever watched a movie and wanted to shout at the person on the screen and tell them not to go into the basement because you can see who’s hiding there? Did the female lead ever dismiss the good guy early in the movie in favor of the bad boy whose faults are revealed to the viewer but not to her? Don’t you want to yell, “Don’t fall for him.  He’s lying.”?

Well, that’s kind of how I sometimes feel when I talk with my much younger friends. As a woman in my 60’s, I’ve become a sort of elder spokesperson to these fledglings. While life is not a movie, hindsight can imitate it. But just as I did in my 20’s and 30’s, they listen to well-meant advice with a little “you really don’t know what it’s like nowadays” echoing in their heads. But some important basics don’t change and will help make life a little better in the future. Here goes:

THE most important thing to remember is your future just doesn’t happen to you, at least if you take part in its shaping. Sounds simple, right? Somehow, it’s always easier to say, “I’m too young to think about that now.”

Try incorporating some of these key points in both your personal and professional lives and you’ll have your hands on the wheel:

1.The media are the message—social media that is.

Keep yourself up to date on all sites, both professional and personal.  Know the difference and make sure you don’t over share on the personal ones. This is something I’ve never been guilty of, but I often wonder why some of you post so much on your sites. Prospective employers don’t need to know how you look in a bikini or how fast you can chug a beer. Nor do new boyfriends need to see a history of you and your ex.

2.Have a go-to interview outfit, and invest heavily in it.

If there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that you are what you wear. If you walk into an interview and the first thing your potential boss sees is the 50 wrinkles in your cheap white blouse, they’re already too distracted to listen to what you have to say. Buy a good blouse and a power outfit. Spend the money. You will feel better, more comfortable and at ease, and you won’t be worried about your clothes while delivering your best interview version of yourself.

3.Keep your LinkedIn and other professional sites current.

Your resume should be updated whenever there are any status changes.  I wish someone had warned me about this.  Trying to piece together 14 years of job history with my firm when another company bought it was a monumental task.  I wish I had kept a “job diary.”

4.Don’t be pressured to find a mate/husband.

You’ve time for that. Get to know yourself. Speaking as a single woman, let me clue you in:  there are a lot of perks to the unmarried status. While singlehood isn’t for everyone, neither is marriage.  Going solo can be fun too.

Don’t settle for the wrong guy just to have a guy.  Don’t sell yourself short–you deserve someone you’re thrilled to be with, not someone who’ll just be “better than nothing.”  (That’s what my friend’s father named the husband she quickly divorced.)

5.Don’t envy anyone because they look so perfect online.

It’s easy to portray a false image for the public. I remember having dinner with a friend I hadn’t seen in years. On her Facebook page she looked happy and popular. She told quite a different tale; those “friends” were co-workers she was forced to socialize with for business. She currently was looking for a new job because she was miserable.

6.Be careful not to get involved in office drama.

I had a boss who was always telling me all the details of her marital problems and when she and her husband smoothed things over, I was resented for knowing their secrets. I had to transfer to another department. Also, don’t get involved in office gossip. You can’t anticipate who will hold what position in the future.

7.Don’t box yourself in – be open to possibilities.

You never know where your current career might lead you.  This is an area where I definitely could have been more open.  I was once offered a job as an assistant manager of a famous antiques shop and turned it down without considering it because I felt I didn’t have the knowledge.  The owner was willing to train me, and it might have been interesting and certainly fun, but I was too timid to try it.

8.Don’t take yourself so seriously that you burden yourself with critical timelines!

Dip your toes in different waters.  Remember Gaugin  was a stockbroker before he became well known for his painting. Now I’m not suggesting you dump your current endeavors and hightail it to  Tahiti, but hey, you never know!

9.Financial health is important no matter your age.

Save the maximum. Bank your raises. Sure you can and should splurge now and then.  Just be aware the future is closer than you believe. I wish someone had twisted my arm to get me to follow this crucial advice. I felt the future was so far away that I should enjoy now and save later. Unfortunately, I’m now retired and still paying a mortgage.

10.Pay attention to politics.

Maybe you needn’t get into a dispute over your candidate while at work, but stay informed and be active on issues  that speak to you. Now is the time to begin to make statements through your actions.  Being involved in current events can help shape the future of this country.

11.Take care of yourself both physically and mentally is another investment in the future.

Careful eating and exercising can go a long way to making you a happier, healthier person both now and in the future. I was always interested in nutrition and took courses on the subject in college, but now there is so much information just a click away. Also, don’t be afraid to seek emotional support when you need it.

12.Don’t be afraid to rock it. You’ve got youth on your side.

While age no longer makes a difference in fashion, the really wild outfits usually benefit from a bit of young blood. No, you won’t see me in dowdy clothes, and my blue toenail polish is anything but dowdy, but I think I’ll leave the short jumpsuits to you.

13.Be sure you know the difference between a friend with a problem and a problem friend.

People that are always negative can drag you down with them. I was once in a situation where a friend of mine would have problem after problem, many of them of her own making and would talk about nothing else.  She never wanted any advice and would just continue to dwell in misery. After a time, I had to minimize my contact with her. The relief I felt was amazing.

14.Never compare yourself with anyone.

I believe that has been one of the most important principles I have followed. As long as I’m doing the best I can, I only judge myself on my own merits—not in comparison with anyone. That has given me an amazing sense of peace and acceptance.

15.Live your passion.

There’s a saying that if you work at what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. When you can combine your work with your passion, you are indeed fortunate. While I can’t say that I had a passion for my work, I can say I have always enjoyed it. I could never understand people that complain about their jobs and how they hate them. I have never worked at a job for any length of time unless I truly enjoyed it.

16.Be sure to embrace your talents.

Don’t be so critical of yourself that you don’t see your own assets.  Trust me, you’ll  encounter lots of people who will be more than happy to lend a hand in pointing out your shortcomings. A little self love is a good thing, although too much is definitely not!

17.Your success can breed success for others.

Share your knowledge, networks and experience with others. I love keeping a file of information if my head and linking people I believe can be of benefit to one another.

18.Invest in social capital.

Friends and acquaintances should be positive additions to your life. Friends can be part of a network, both professionally and personally. Housecleaning friendships can be liberating, and nurturing good friendships can add to your well-being. At this stage in my life, I realize the friends I have had the longest are those with common interests and values.  Choosing friends as thoughtfully as you do jobs and mates should be the norm.

19.Don’t be afraid to listen to your inner voice.

It may tell you something important. I once had an interview and had a bad vibe about the prospective boss, but I ignored it and took the job. It didn’t take too long to find out he was difficult and condescending, and in a one on one situation, it was impossible. I quit within a month.

20.Listen to the voices of experience.

This might be the most important one. Listen to those who are older and wiser. They might actually know something!

Carol Zyla

Carol Zyla is an ageless, fun-loving single woman in love with New York City, nature, Tennessee Williams, and still crushing on Elvis.

9 Comments
  1. i AM NOW GIVING ADVVICE TO YOUMG GIRLS IN THEIR TWENTIES BECAUSE IF I KNEW THEN WHAT i KMOW NOW, i WOOULDN’T BE BROKE LIKE i AM NOW.

  2. This is the kind of article to save and review annually. No matter how old we are, there’s always room for bettering ourselves and feeling good about it.

  3. Great article. I hope many young women will read it and heed the insightful advice given, especially the financial one. When young, we just don’t think about how important it is to be financially independent. So many adults (in they’re 50’s, 60’s, and beyond) are in terrible debt because they had never given a thought to saving a penny. Now that they’re older and should be enjoying the fruits of the many years they’ve worked, they are skimping and saving and depriving themselves. So I would add to your advice: if you “reward” yourself too much when you’re young, be prepared to deprive yourself when you’re older.

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