The Life in Your Twenties

Being a woman in your 20s is a glorious thing. You’re at a stage where you can take risks in life and in your career, and the possibilities for both are seemingly endless. But that uncertainty can also cause stress, doubt (cough, quarter-life crisis, cough), and anxiety over whether you’ll ever reach your goals or truly have it all. So for all those times you just want to throw up your hands in frustration, this advice is for you. Read on, and know that it’s all going to be OK.

On Constant Worrying

Dufu says one of the greatest pieces of advice she ever received was about her constant worrying. “My mentor said, ‘If you would spend less time worrying about choices you don’t have and actually creating those choices, you would be better off.’ You know that dynamic of worrying about moving to anew citywhen you haven’t even applied to the job? Take that energy and instead apply it to the job application or interview.”

On the Quarter-Life Crisis

There might be no getting around the dreaded quarter-life crisis, but Dufu says connecting with people who are going through, or have already gone through, the same thing is crucial. “You need someone to tell you you’re not going crazy, people who have already been there, done that — who know it’s going to be OK and can help you achieve clarity through guidance and encouragement.”she says.

On Wanting to Have It All

A woman can have it all in the traditional sense, says Dufu, who herself has a marriage, job, two kids, and a healthy lifestyle. But, she says, she sacrifices other things — like attending events — to do so. The question shouldn’t be, “Can you have it all?” but rather, “Can you have what’s important to you?” she says. “The answer is yes if you can prioritize and not try to live by someone else’s expectations. Because every woman has a list of things she feels like she’s supposed to be doing, and some people manage it by creating more time in the day for themselves or by shortening that list to certain core things.”

On Surrounding Yourself With Other Women

You may not have said, “You go, girl,” since the eighth grade, but Dufu makes a strong case for bringing back the phrase. “We are susceptible to what our peers say, and what they tell us can be the difference between applying for a job or not,” she says. “Sometimes you need a woman saying,Girl, you need to go for that,because encouragement and a community of trust is really important. We think we have to do things by ourselves, but the truth is your advancement is a team sport, and you have to have people supporting you.”

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