If we haven’t met, my name is Matt. I am the brains (if you could call them that) behind the operation that is Get Your 20’s Right. I often have over-qualified twentysomethings write guest articles, but most of what you will read on this site is from me.
If this were a conversation, I would love to ask why you are here. But since it’s not, I will tell you why I am here. And if we are here for similar reasons, I think that you will really like this website and this community.
So, why am I here and why does GY20R exist?
I didn’t get a heads-up that this would be so hard
Before 20, I had already learned Calculus, Molecular Biology, and sex ed.
Before 20, I was given the privilege of driving, accumulating credit card debt, and voting.
Before 20, I was gifted more scientific knowledge than Descartes and more privileges and luxuries than the kings of Mesopotamia. Nevertheless, I was spending all of my time looking at pornography and eating Doritos.
Before 20, no one even thought to have a conversation with me about what it means to live a meaningful life.
This blog and these articles are my best attempt at that conversation. I want to give more millennials a heads-up that success in your twenties requires more than an MBA and a mortgage.
The twentysomething dialogue is terribly one-sided
“Follow your passion!”
“Discover the real you.”
The danger with platitudes and pithy sayings is that they all have a grain of truth.
Like fire, “passion” is a useful concept in the right hands. The search for a meaningful identity (the “real you”) is a central struggle in the twentysomething years. The world should change.
The motto of this site is that you get your twenties right when you embrace risk and responsibility.
I think that our culture is right to emphasize risk. Let us guard our passions from being snuffed-out. Let us protest. Let us think outside of the box. Fight the power! Reject the status quo!
But the dialogue is too one-sided. Where is the talk of responsibility?
We can’t all create our own one-man startup from nothing. We can’t just travel 365 days a year. We can’t protest every perceived injustice. We can’t sleep with strangers and call it intimacy. We can’t just float through life, do weird s**t, and think that we’re doing something meaningful.
We have to take some responsibility. We need to make commitments. To get the f*** out of debt. To become friends with imperfect people. To set boundaries with social media. To improve our resumes with real work. We need to devote our lives to a cause better than “pressure people to be nice through social media.”
This blog is a conversation about risk and responsibility that I hope turns into a dialogue. A megalogue, even.
Complaining about millennials isn’t helping
For every person helping a millennial get their twenties right, there are 100 complaining about how millennials are going to destroy the world with their laziness.
Instead of complaining, my goal is to be practical and help my friends do things like automate their finances, cook food, get a job, learn marketable skills, focus, read a book, make friends, commit to a relationship, eliminate bad habits, network, save enough money to buy a house, stop being a slave to their smartphone, dress like an adult, and maybe even retire by age 30.
This blog is for people who are done complaining about millennials and are ready to help others.
I am committed to changing my own life through small changes
All meaningful change requires baby steps.
If I only “read” Buzzfeed, it will take time for me to enjoy a classic work of literature.
If I only eat Ramen, it will take time for me to enjoy a dinner of asparagus and salmon.
If I only wear sweat pants, it will take time for me to look like a grown-up.
If all of my “intimacy” comes from porn, it will take time for me to see a woman as a human and not an object.
I have a vision for who I want to be. I am not there. I’m still kind of a racist, kind of fat, kind of not rich, and kind of logged-in to Facebook right now.
But I am committed to the small change.
This blog is about the small changes and the minor tweaks that add up to a meaningful life and admirable character.
Most of us just need a place to start
“What does it mean to live a meaningful life?”
I wish that there was a college course designed around answering this question. I wish that I had a Dead Poet’s Society experience in high school. I wish that some wise, old mentor had bought me coffee and talked me through my future.
But that didn’t happen. And I think that’s fine. This question (How do I get my twenties right?) is too big to answer in a semester. It is too complicated to answer with one poem. It needs to be broken down into smaller parts. It needs to be viewed from many angles. It needs to be torn apart and re-assembled over and over again.
The question of how you will live a meaningful life is uncharted territory. There is no road map.
But there are some good places to start.
Think of GY20R as a bunch of good starting points from whence you can adventure into the wilderness that is your meaningful life.
Maybe you’ll start with your finances, tackling your debt and saving for early retirement.
Maybe you’ll start with minimalism, simplifying your life by simplifying your possessions.
Maybe you’ll start with your health, learning to cook simple meals, shop for groceries, and deadlift 300 pounds.
Maybe you’ll start by learning to focus, limiting access to your smartphone and picking up a real book.
Maybe you’ll start by learning a marketable skill, improving your resume and leading you one step closer to meaningful work.
Maybe you’ll start with your friendships, committing to love imperfect people and talk to strangers.
Maybe you’ll start by changing your habits, like cementing a workout routine or going to bed early.
The point is: If you want to crush your twenties, you need to start somewhere.
Why not start here?