These days, it seems as if every self-help article for 20-somethings focuses on getting into grad school, landing that dream job, or finding the right spouse. While these are all pressing issues for 20-somethings facing one of the toughest job markets in decades, many writers neglect the importance of also focusing on personal development. What can a 20-something, men specifically, do to develop himself, not as a person seeking a career or mate, but as a person trying to find himself?
I had a high school teacher tell me that I would go far in life because I was highly passionate about all of my endeavors. She pointed out how she had seen me grow as a person through my extracurricular pursuits. This mentor noted the independent spirit I showed by pursuing competitive cycling, an endeavor that required me to go outside the normal first week of school signup sheets. It was also pointed out to me that my dedication to the arts would be an important trait as I went into the real world since it would make me a well-rounded person able to converse about many topics with diverse groups of people.
Admittedly, I initially scoffed at the sentiments and assumed they were just the usual prefabricated inspirational words that teachers give to their students. As I have grown older, I realized that her sentiments were sincere and I am thankful that I did stay dedicated to those personal endeavors that were not directly related to my career or personal relationships. As a 30-year-old man, it has become apparent to me that every single person I know that is truly successful AND happy – “and” is a key word here – has spent some amount of time developing themselves and taking on endeavors that enrich the soul and by extension do actually help in their daily lives. Here are the four things every young man needs to do in his 20s if he wants to truly be able to call himself a well-rounded individual.
Pick Up a Lifelong Sport
Taking up a lifelong sport is something every young man should try to do in their 20s. Those sports you likely played as a teenager are fine but can you do them well into your 50s? Golf, tennis, cycling, and jogging are all sports that you can enjoy for decades. They will help keep your body and mind in shape as they are very cathartic experiences. Find a sport that you are truly passionate about and you will have a non-alcoholic way to unwind after a long day at the office.
Acquire a Taste for One of the Arts
Part of being a well-rounded adult involves living a well-balanced life filled with diverse interests. Many men shy away from the arts during their teen years and throughout college, which is sad because the arts can provide a cathartic escape from the daily grind and also give men great conversation with the fairer sex. Go to a theatrical production, art gallery opening, or classical music performance and feel out the waters. Learning about a particular field of art can help give you a lifelong hobby, a hobby that can shape your knowledge base and help you escape the daily grind.
Learn a Craft
As high schools shift away from traditional shop classes and many Americans choose to eschew trade schools, less and less people are able to do traditional handy work around the house. Few things are as rewarding as looking at something and being able to tell your friends that you built that. The ability to build a small deck or craft small furniture like nightstands can give a man a sense of fulfillment and also help him gain an appreciation for craftsmanship and hard work.
Buy and Maintain an Old Vehicle
So, maybe you don’t live in an area where it is practical to have a car, but the same logic applies to mopeds or bicycles. At some point in your 20s, buy an old car or other means of transportation. You can learn a lot about yourself and add some basic mechanic skills to your repertoire while also gaining a sense of pride as you become self-reliant. The learning experience is part of the journey and you will walk away from the endeavor with an appreciation for the hard work that goes into building and purchasing that new car you might be eyeing in your 30s.
More from this contributor:
Steer Clear of Heavily Depreciated Used Luxury Cars: 30k Millionaire Problems
Reasons Why You Should Buy a Vintage Swiss Watch Instead of a New Timepiece
4 Reasons Why Millennials Flock to Furry Friends Instead of Visits from the Stork