How Should 20-Somethings Spend Their Time?

One day, you will wake up and be 75 years old. It happens to all of us. We blink and life passes. The question is whether it passes us by.

When you do get up on that fateful morning, look in the mirror, and realize you’re not happy, or that you’ve wasted too much time, it’ll be because right now, you didn’t properly answer life’s three big questions.

1. What Do I Want My Normal, Boring Days to Look Like?

How do you enjoy spending your time? What could you do for work that wouldn’t feel like work? How can you make money doing what you love? What can you learn to love?

When you’re 22, life feels like every day should be about fun. But if you only do the minimum to choose a career, you’ll end up choosing out of ten companies you applied to and the three you did internships for. That’s a very small sand box to play in.

So many people get sucked into a hole that they never get out of again, because they took their first job on a whim. Don’t take your first job on a whim.

2. Who Do I Want in My Life?

Who’s going to be your partner in crime? Where might you find them? Do you have five friends you can really count on? Or 250 whose last names you don’t know?

Everyone knows that thing about being the average of the five people around you, but very few people ask: Who are these five people? You can choose them.

You don’t have to settle for who lives in your dorm, who’s in your class, who you meet at the club, or whoever happens to just be available.

3. Where Do I Want to Live?

What city makes me feel at home? Does it make me better or worse? Is it distracting or empowering? Do I need nature and calm or urban restlessness?

I first visited Munich when I was 16 years old and it immediately felt like home. I returned again and again for longer periods of time, while comparing other options. Once it was clear I liked it best out of all cities in Germany, I moved here.

That was 10 years later, and I haven’t even left the country. Travel is all the rage right now, but most of us eventually want to settle, because it takes time to build a life. But it also takes time to figure out where you can settle.

Spend more time answering these questions. Take a year for each one. Or two.

These things don’t feel like they matter much now. That’s a mirage. Don’t wake up in 50 years and realize they’re what mattered the most.