12 Things I Learned In My Early 20’s (so far)

few of many life lessons from my early twenties. Cheers to another year in the twenty-something pool. 

Hey Dappers,
I celebrated my 23rd birthday three weekends ago (this post is way way way overdue, that’s for sure)! Weirdly enough, the day was flooded with sappy sentiments. A rollercoaster of emotion, to-a-T.
At the tender age of 14, my fascination toward the twenty-something territory became a trophy dream. The “be all and end all of life” -major childlike vibes lol.

This particular decade reeled me ever so closely. In the midst of kids throwing paper airplanes at each other, maturity screamed calm and cool –cooler than Abercrombie and dramaaaaaa. (remember when Abercrombie was the hippest thing back in the early 2000’s?)

Okay, okay, slightly advanced for a 6th grader. Lol. Let’s digress.

As my friends and family always say: I grow up too fast. But I can’t help it! I was never into video games or sports or trendy teen fashion, nor did I fancy gossips, hierarchies, or wild rages that generally come with being a teenager. I was simply that kid who judged nonfiction novels by its cover, obsessed over coffee mugs, and decorated shelves for good measure. Needless to say, i’ve always been the quirky type.

Oy. Oy. Oy. 
Traveling alone, getting inspired by new architectures, exploring new coffee shops, creating memories within iconic streets, cultivating civilized conversations with pals, and learning more about my fanciful self in that nature was the primary lust back in middle/high school…because shooting hoops and legos never appealed to me.
However, as a two year expert in the twenty-something pool, my perspective changed for the better. I’ve seen some of the sucky side of life; and well, I feel liberated knowing things will be somewhat alright.
I thought it’d be fun to do a “12 things” list to share some of the nuggets i’ve acquired lately.
Let’s get to it!
1. Awkward Is The New Awesome ||  In a world brimming with notifications and downcast demeanor, being present in public reduces tension and brings positivity to the world. It catapults a  charming and cheery climate. Ditching the phone might be awkward at first, but it lets the mind unwind, sustain a positive mindset, and appreciate the beauty surrounding us.

2. Dodge The Common Path || People who strictly play by the “life rules” come across as incredibly monotone and lifeless. No offense. Many idolize money making, social status, and finite philosophies. It’s great to follow rules, stay “busy,” and prioritize the future…but now’s the time to discover your passions and secret joys. Let loose, and live a life exclusive to you. Just be human.
3. Initiate Those Friendships || As you get older, friendships tend to complicate. We no longer have the luxury of relationships happening “organically.” At times you gotta be the bigger person and reach out. Establish plans and don’t take rejection personally. There’s something so empowering about people who constantly have that friendly air. Don’t let pride get in the way!

4. Sleep Early || My friends incessantly joke about my strict sleep schedule. If there’s anything I learned, it’s the lack of sleep in the real world. Those 9-5’s are no joke when adding social and personal time to the equation. There’s no reason why someone would want to wake up feeling zombie-like, right? With that said, prioritize and stay proactive in order to sleep early. Wake up well.

5. Invest In Sleep || The sequel to number 4. Not only should you focus on longer slumber, but also the bedding itself. I recently bought a Casper pillow, which is probably one of the most adult-y things i’ve done as of late. So why invest? because your body weakens with age, and why not save yourself from the future cramps and back pains for as long as you can?

6. Solo Travel Ain’t Wack || While traveling with friends makes the comfort zone even cozier, traveling alone has thrice the benefit. It’s super good for the soul, believe me. For one, you learn valuable social skills -like how to NOT be awkward in public alone -which a lot of people seem to struggle with nowadays. Also, it’s the best time to further discover who you really are as a person.

7. Instagram Is NOT Real Life || Beating a dead horse over here, but Instagram is the epitome of “highlight reels.” For years I obsessed over my follower count and the picture-perfect standards I placed on myself. I now treat the platform as a place to create a charming community for men to stay motivated, rather than establishing an aspirational lifestyle no one can attain.

8. Embrace The Failure || I’m finally loosening up and vulnerably activating my emotions and feelings. In essence, I’m becoming more H-U-M-A-N. Failure is the magic bean to success. Have you ever heard a motivational speaker brag about his or her easy road to success? NEVER! Everyone’s going through crap. Life is not all lattes and cute insta flatlays.

9. Coffee Is Better With Purpose || With life’s constant hustle, it’s easy to crave the caffeine and chug it like a pro. I found myself swerving by drive-thru’s, ordering a medium iced coffee, only to sip the entire cup (angrily) on my way to class. Rather than rudely relying on a rush, make time to relish those moments spent with every sip. Make the caffeine count.

10. Love Your Looks || Investing on a few staple pieces makes the outfit picking less overwhelming. While everyone’s concerned about people’s unsolicited opinions, i’m over here not giving a fudge cake. Stop buying for approval, causing the credit card to make troubling transactions 24/7. One of the lasting joys we can provide ourselves is to wear whatever the heck we want. 

11. Start The Day With Stretch || Because cramps and midday slack are no joke. Those “silly little morning twist and turns” back in P.E. class happened for a reason. Did you know stretching can increase your daily dose of strength? It also helps maintain proper body form (which tends to go sour with age). Never underestimate the power of stretch.

12. Don’t Settle || From fickle friends to rusty rings, there’s no greater grief than claiming something short-lived. Life is too precious for dupes! Tap your inner Sherlock (detective), examine the pros and cons, and continue surrounding yourself with beautiful things and quality people. Then sit back and watch your life last a lifetime. Never apologize for the finer things in life.



I'm Ian, the writer behind CharlesTucket (a mix between Charleston & Nantucket, two of my favorite places). My hope is to inspire every man to live a wholesome & whimsical life, one quirk at a time.


"Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love." | 1 Corinthians 16:13-14


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