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Should You Enjoy Life or Work Hard in Your 20s?

One day, you will wonder whether you’re on the right track in life or have taken the wrong route. New mantras keep popping up and now you’re lost which ones to follow. Which motivational speaker should you believe?

Would you believe the ones who say “enjoy your life to the fullest” or those who gravitate you towards the hustle culture?

If you feel like you can’t figure things out, I can’t blame you. These uncertainties come despite the age. But in this post, I’d like to focus on a specific age range.

Let’s start with this topic: At 20s, should you work hard or enjoy life?

*Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. I may earn a small commission from qualifying purchases through these links at no additional cost to you. Thanks!

My Story

During my college years, my sole dream was to graduate fast and start working to provide for my family. As part of an Asian household, giving back to your family becomes an obligation. But partly, it’s also what I wanted.

However, as I first set foot on responsibilities, toxic jobs, and a lack of passion, I realized early on how reaching for success was soul-sucking.

On many days, like many people, I’m working 8 hours a day for my family. I had to take side-hustles, even. It was tiring. As months pass by, my multi-millionaire dream turned out of reach. All I started to hope for was to be happy, nothing more, because working hard really takes a toll.

Whenever I push myself to the hustle culture, I get burnout.

But when I take my life easy, guilt eats me and I am pushed to work once again.

So in such situations, where can I find a sweet spot? I’m young and healthy. What should I really be doing in life?

As someone in their late 20s, should I work hard or enjoy life at the moment?

Enjoy life VS. Work Hard

“Take your time and enjoy life” – Anonymous

Since we’re still young, (yes, late 20s is still young, very young to carry the burden of the world, so lift that face up) many people urge us to take our time and enjoy life. What does it mean to enjoy life? They want us to:

  • Travel and gain experiences
  • Friday night-outs while you’re still unmarried
  • Buy that console you’ve been eyeing on
  • Buy that dress
  • YOLO! (You only live once)

To be honest, we want that, too. We want to be free from responsibilities. We want to island-hop, be with our friends, and drink as much as we can.

However, dozing around isn’t as great as it seems when hustlers fill your social media. See that college schoolmate? He now works in a prominent company, travels a lot, eats lunch with big bosses, and has time to build his own business on the sides. Amazing, right?

We all know these stories – they all make us insecure. Therefore, you can’t really enjoy life when everyone’s following the mantra. “Morning grind,” they say. Nowadays, it takes courage to live simply when everyone wants to be rich, busy, and popular.

Now, what should we really do? The dilemma is still on.

The Toxicity Behind the Hustle Culture

I don’t have any issues with people who dive into the hustle culture. They sell their products, they are busy making connections, and have little free time. They aim to work hard now and enjoy later. I adore the discipline there.

However, for me, hustle culture blinds a few people from what’s really important. Not everyone,  but many. Because they aim for a specific status, hustlers often forget the reason why they’re doing it.

I read and watched blog posts and interviews about young entrepreneurs, digital nomads, and content creators who followed the hustle mantra. People looked up to them. They were influencers.

Unfortunately, after reaching goals one after another, after working so hard for financial freedom, at some point, the peak of their success turned more confusing and empty.

By the time they peaked their careers, they already ditched friendships. They left their families and built professional connections to expand their network.

After reaching great heights of success, they found themselves lonely at the peak of their success.

To be successful, yet alone isn’t an ideal destination at all. If this is where misguided hustle culture would lead me, then it’s a hard pass from me.

Check out “How to Enjoy Your Life and Job” by Dale Carnegie

Stop boasting about tomorrow

Now, that I’ve mentioned my take on the hustle culture, that doesn’t mean that I’d lay low and be carefree. Enjoying life and laziness aren’t synonymous.

What does enjoy life mean? Enjoying life means, at the end of the day, you can tap your shoulder and say, “I did great today.”

Enjoying life incorporates productivity, self-care, and maintaining relationships. To enjoy life is to become of service to others. Accomplish what you can do today. No, not next week. If there’s one thing I learned in a hard way, it’s that “no one can guarantee you a tomorrow.”

I have loved ones who didn’t make it through the Pandemic. One of them was my boyfriend. It was a difficult time, yet it carried a significant lesson.

As I reminisce about how my boyfriend lived his life, everything he did started to make sense.

  • He kept his promises.
  • He went out of his way to help people.
  • People trusted him.
  • He established countless friendships.
  • It feels like the whole town loves him.
  • He always did his best even when people think he couldn’t.
  • He experimented a lot on his skill and continuously grew.

I was blown away. The lesson? Enjoying life doesn’t mean Friday night-outs. Rather, it’s telling yourself, “I will enjoy my life” through finding your purpose in the service of others.

The Sweet Spot for Enjoying Life and Working Hard

As I write this, I’m actually at peace. Like, I’m not torn between taking things slow and working hard for my future.

My take here is, no one can guarantee your future. As we look at this perspective, it pushes us to live in a way that we really wanted to.

If you feel like going on a trip, do it. If you’re driven to create products for your business, go for it. Life is short. Do what feels right today. To be honest, the introvert in me loves to shut off the world sometimes. But on other days, I’d invite my friends for badminton games.

On some days, I don’t feel like writing at all. But on other days, I can write 2 blog posts in a day. Count your progress one day at a time. Yes. In whatever you do, seek progress and you can never go wrong.

Live life the way you want it. Just make sure that you’re positively growing and not damaging your mental and physical health.

My last say here is, live your every day the way you want to. Let your actions resonate with your heart. There are hundreds of routes you can walk in this life, but the best path would always be what is right and what your heart says.

Enjoy life today. Thanks for reading. Spread love!

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