What Our 20s has been Teaching Us

Artwork by Alessandro Mulya
Artwork by Alessandro Mulya

As someone who is familiar with design and art, a tutor once taught me that, “Art is fleeting.” As in, it will not be there tomorrow — it will be replaced by another act, perhaps another actor, another artist, and what we really do is really for the very moment, right now. The same goes for our age. It took me several highs and lows to really sums up what the youthful days and colorful friendships and a lifetime of school, of work, of community has really changed me. A little spoiler alert, there is a good ending!

Number one is that we change. And that’s okay. A lot of my friends, whom I haven’t seen for a very, very long time — has been saying for every few years we have met, that I have changed. I genuinely thought that it’s a bad thing at the start, but that’s not really the point of it all. There is no human that has undergone a period of time in their life and made it out, exactly the same person they have been in the past. Some become better. Others found new way and journey in their life, and some others learnt their mistakes, gaining new experiences en route to there. And when is the best time to make mistakes, rather than our youth days? We were once reckless, after all.

Number two is everybody learns. Just not at the same pace. What school has taught us in our childhood days is that someone is better than me at doing this, someone is doing things that I cannot do, and that somehow, some way, we were classically trained that academic rankings is the only scale of our hard work and talents — and that is even more apparent in college. Truthfully, that is not the case. Some kids were artistically gifted, and yes, of course, they were bad at math, but that doesn’t make them any less talented than any other kids in the room. Some were good at things that didn’t even have contests — such as managing people, building things, or even for being punctual. Growing up, those soft skills are the ones that you actually need. So never underestimating yourself for showing up 15 minutes earlier at every meetings.

Number three is we have our own journey. Some goodbyes were inevitable. So many friendships has been fading away, and the biggest example is our school days. Some friends went to another school, or you went to different high school, or they dropped out of college, or all of your friends altogether found work at different offices and grew apart. I have been hard on myself back then and always told myself that it was somehow my fault, which is wasn’t ( And it’s not your fault, too! ). Albeit different journey, we have shared memories — precious memories together, and I would hold them tightly, and perhaps the next time I saw my old friends again, we can actually reminisce the good old days, and prepare ourselves for good new days!

The 20s is the days of waving hands and shaking hands, the one period of time where we are not old enough to do this, but young enough to do that.

It is, in my opinion, the period of experiences. Experimenting and trying out new things and make mistakes in between, and nothing is better than that. I personally regret about the things I could’ve done in the past, but the best thing is to do things I wanted to do, right now. When I look back, it is actually the mistakes that made me grow, as to who I am right now. So, big thanks for the new things I actually tried for the first time back then! And as far as I know, it has helped me in the past, so it will certainly help me in the future — yup, I’m basically saying that I am down for making mistakes again. Perhaps this time I’ll be wiser on tackling such things.

We discover who we really are, where do we belong, and who can we share our times with. Times like those bear seeds to future businesses together, everlasting friendship, and the becoming of our partner-in-crime, in romance, in beers and burgers, in playing hoops, in anything it is that you can put your mind on. Nobody really enjoy being older, but for me personally, I enjoy looking ahead on what the life might gave me, year after year — I treat it as an opportunity to grow personally, on my own terms ( I know my hair is getting more white, too ). It is not about the good old days, in fact — it never was. The good days is the today, it is the very day right now. Make it your moment, share a laugh, do crazy things, and you will be looking back years from now on and be glad you done those things. In fact, I will be upholding the same mindset going to my 30s, 40s, and 50s.

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