10 Ways to Ruin Your Life In Your 20's


When I was growing up, I couldn’t wait for my 20’s. Honestly, I thought 23 or maybe 24 was the perfect age – sort of like the answer Cheryl gave in Miss Congeniality when asked the perfect date, she responds:

"That's a tough one. I would have to say April 25. Because it's not too hot, not too cold, all you need is a light jacket."

My thinking was: I would be out of college, in my dream job, with no real responsibilities, making a lot of money. On top of that, my opinion of the perfect age for co-eds was that same age. (lol) How could life get any better? Well, at least that is what 12-year-old Chuck thought.

Reality always seems different than the expectations I build up in my head… how about you?

Maybe that describes your journey in this season. High expectations and dreams/hopes, which have yet to materialize. My dreams of my 20’s definitely included six-pack abs… those definitely didn’t materialize!

So, here is a cheat sheet of one old man’s advice to thrive in your 20’s:

  • #1-#10 (all 10 are summed up in this) Life doesn’t begin or end in your 20’s

Maybe one of the most damaging attitudes to have is that if things don’t go right in your 20’s your life is ruined. School didn’t go as planned, your dating relationships stunk or didn’t happen, you don’t want to work in the field you thought you did, you aren’t married… the list of common “misses” could go on.

Trust me when I say this: that is NOT the truth!

These are manufactured moments of expectation within our society.

These are somewhat ridiculous notions that need to be evicted from your mind.

You are in a marathon, NOT a sprint.

“So, what do I do Chuck?” you might ask.

Every season of life has its own set of expectations, what makes your 20’s so significant is that it’s the first time for most you are taking YOUR steps, walking toward YOUR dreams. So, here instead is a list to post on your mirror to keep things real with you.

  1. Love huge, forgive huge too, and pray lots
    1. Will Smith said “hate in your heart will consume you,” and I agree. Anger at yourself, your situation, or even at God about the circumstances of your life are truly wasted moments. Instead lean into love in big ways… Love God huge!! Love life big!! And pray lots for the help to do these things well.
  2. Set goals that you can influence
    1. I mean career, financial, and personal goals that you can watch yourself achieve.
      1. A job with promise for advancement. There is nothing wrong with being confused with what you will do when you grow up, but now is the time to find something that will challenge you, grow you, and as it does these, reward you with responsibility and opportunity. Do not waste your 20’s when it comes to work. ***One major exception is if God clearly placed you where you are with a calling or by specifically showing you a purpose. If this is the case, choose obedience above all.
      2. Set some real financial goals
        1. No debt at all
        2. Specific savings plans that increase as you succeed (3-6 months of expenses in a savings account)
        3. Give generously within your means
        4. Do not waste money on ridiculous things (I will give you a list...)
          1. If you are broke do not do these things (and you are probably broke!)
            1. Bridesmaids/groomsman trips
            2. New cars
            3. Buying a house too soon
            4. Living alone because you just want to
            5. Uncontrolled retail “therapy”
            6. EATING OUT—including coffee!!!
        5. Get busy with your life
          1. Join a sports league
          2. Volunteer for a cause you love
          3. Serve your community well
          4. Become a great neighbor by helping those around you
          5. Plant a couple plants and/or a garden
          6. Exercise with a friend or friends
      3. Slow down and spend time with God
        1. Habits you create now and investments you make now will pay great dividends as you age. Making a set of goals for yourself in your personal pursuit of God and the fellowship you share with Him are those kind of investments. As busy as you are now, you can not imagine how busy life will get in a few years. Make those habits now and invest that time.
          1. Keep a journal… even an easy reflective one that carries a thought about today, a challenge and a triumph will be a rich testimony for you to recall in your future
          2. Read the Bible a lot of different ways. One year read it through completely. The next, just read the Gospels slowly. The next the books written by Paul. The next the major and minor prophets. Then the whole thing again. (I always find myself reading Psalms and Proverbs throughout the year too.) It's just a way to challenge you, make you see both big and small pictures, highlight the entirety of the story. These are just some ideas, but set some kind of expectation through prayer of where and when you are going. The lack of purpose in this area will lead to floundering in your time with God, and that’s definitely not good. ***Oh, and these are not to be set in stone, always be ready to be responsive to the leading of the Holy Spirit. If He says jump, you start jumping!!
          3. Did I say slow down yet? Slow down. Take some time. Rest and pray. Ferris Bueller said:
      4. “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

He was right.

Much love from Old Chuck to all of you!! Amanda and I are always here to walk and talk and help. Y’all are worth it, and we cannot be more excited to see your story unfold!