10 Lessons From a Lost Twenty Something

Here are 10 lessons from my 20s that I wish I learned a hell of a lot earlier...

“Welcome to Jack in the Box, how can I help you?”

“Hi…” I tragically mumbled into the drive thru speaker for the third time that week. “Can I have four tacos with no sauce and a few salt packets.”

“Sure. That’ll be $2.13 at the first window please.”

What a joke. Where else can you get a full meal with legendary taste and superhero-like powers that instantly cure a God-Awful hangover for only $2.13? Jack in the Box was my knight in shining armor and I for sure needed rescuing.

That day was just like any other day. I woke up around 1 PM after a long night and early morning of partying my life away. Everything hurt, my head especially, but I had perfected unique coping methods on how to handle my frequent hangovers. I would climb out of bed (stumbling usually) and make my way to the hopefully filled Brita in the fridge. Let me tell you… the moment you take that first sip of cold water after a long night of heavy drinking, it feels as if you are drinking from God's personal pond.

From there, I’d begin to assess the severity of how bad my decisions were the night before. I’d reread the drunken texts I sent out to every human in my contacts — and immediately followed up by sending a few necessary apologies. Then, it was more water, Advil, and time to figure out how much money I had left to buy food. I had a serious case of ‘the funds are low’ because I usually spent all my money trying to impress people the night before. I was the true definition of going broke trying to act rich.

My finances were an absolute mess. I had spent years partying and neglecting my bank account entirely because I was terrified of what I would find. I’m not kidding. I made it a point to pay as little attention as possible to where my money was going and the amount of debt I was in. I remember countless weekends of spending thousands of dollars out at the club, only to wake up the next morning counting quarters to buy four tacos at Jack in the Box. I ran like this for years.

So, after I found the quarters I needed, it was time to make my way to my personal savior — Jack. I pulled up only to find “that guy” with his engine shut off taking decades to order. There are two kinds of people in this world...Those who shut their engine off in the drive thru line (sociopaths) and those who do not (normal humans). Please pick a side. Anyway, after beating my wheel and blasting my horn at the guy to hurry up, I finally ordered.

It amazes me the little thought I gave to others and their own struggles in my drinking days. The only thing I cared about was biting into that taco, instantly curing my terrible decisions of the night before. When the window clerk handed me that bag, it was as if I came down the stairs on Christmas morning and the little red bike was there waiting for me.

Disgusting, I know. And no, not just the tacos, me in general. I look back now and I hate that person. Not only was I dead broke and an asshole to others, I was also severely overweight. I ate terribly, drank religiously, and never exercised. Perfect combo, right? I would sweat walking upstairs, so the elevator and I became the best of friends. But, like that elevator, I’ve had my ups and downs (see what I did there.)

I finally decided to change my life and am now the happiest I’ve ever been. I went from being 254 lbs, angry at the world, and hating myself — to a healthy 200 lbs, ambitious to serve this world, and at peace with who I am. That lost twenty something who lacked any sort of motivation and direction became committed to finding the best version of himself and living out his purpose. I won’t sit here and sugarcoat it either… it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. But I did it and I guarantee you can too if you’re determined enough to do so.

If you’ve recently found yourself ordering four tacos at Jack in the Box after a long night and early morning of partying your life away (or something along those lines) then you’ve come to the right place.

Here are 10 lessons from my 20s that I wish I learned a hell of a lot earlier…

1. Learn the power of 'NO.'

You really don’t have to please everyone. Trying to impress people who care little about you with money you don’t have, along with drinking and partying, may result in an unbearable emptiness.

You need to learn the Power of No. Once you do, it’ll open up so much room for activities.

2. Learn how to weather the shit storm.

Life, relatively speaking, is one giant shit storm. And the worst part is, there isn’t a weatherman standing by to tell us the storm is coming.

So, we need to understand that whatever road we’re on, there will always be a storm coming and another obstacle we must overcome.

And the only way to overcome these storms is by learning to fail forward and persevere…or as I like to call it, ‘Weather the shit storm.’

3. Find the purpose and passion that drives you.

We all need a purpose. Living without a sense of purpose is not living at all. Whatever your craft may be, we all have the urge to be useful in some way or another. Living as though we are making no difference in the world will only lead us to unhappiness. Understanding what your purpose is and why you are here will bring a fulfilling clarity to your life.

4. Commit to your own definition of success.

You need to understand success can and will be achieved by trusting in yourself to do exactly what you were put on this earth to do.

There's a difference between wishing to be successful and knowing. Those who wish for success, do not truly believe they are capable of achieving it. Those who know, commit to their own definition of success and are relentless in attaining it.

The true-life test is defining your own meaning of success and walking the narrow path you've paved for yourself to get there.

5. Stay in your own lane.

Stop worrying about what everyone else is doing, because, in reality, no one actually knows what the hell they’re doing. If you rely on other people for your own happiness, it will result in your own misery.

We can only be responsible for our own path. We need to let others have theirs.

6. Change your autopilot.

Have you heard my airplane joke? Never mind — it’s over your head. The first step in changing yourself is understanding that there are things that need to be changed.

If you want to drastically change your life, you must make drastic changes in your life. That means drastically changing your habits, developing a road map to success, and sticking to a regimented schedule.

Don’t Conform. Transform.

7. Learn how to chop wood.

No, I’m not talking about going in your backyard and hacking down a tree, Farmer John.

What I mean is wake up every single day with an ax, ready to go to work. To make it in this world, you have to be willing to work harder than everyone else and prepare for the unexpected.

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson said it best, “Success isn’t overnight. It’s when every day you get a little better than the day before. It all adds up.”

8. Exercise. And for you — not for everyone else.

Exercising 3-5 times a week will give you a sense of accomplishment every day, skyrocketing your self-esteem. But, if you do it seeking the approval of others, you will end up quitting.

So, just do it for you. Do it because it makes you feel good. And because it makes getting four tacos at Jack in the Box way more acceptable 😉

9. 'People Helpin’ People' is a real thing.

Everyone we meet is fighting a battle in which we know absolutely nothing about. Make it a daily goal to help at least one person and it will change your life.

It’s important to view the world as naturally good. The moment we start believing otherwise is when we find ourselves being one of the ones who makes it not.

10. In case you forgot, your parents are people too.

You mean to tell me that my parents are humans? What a concept.

The moment you realize that every parent on this planet makes mistakes (including you when the time comes) and that maybe they are just trying to survive like you, everything changes.

You realize that maybe you were, indeed, an asshole. And that maybe they were just trying to help you not be an asshole.

So, call your mom, hug your pops — and tell them sorry…for being an asshole.

That’s all I got for now — stay tuned, friends 😊

#Lost20Something

http://ryanwjones.com/

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