Things To Do When You’re 19 – 21
You’re very likely at college now, or learning on-the-job. Enjoy these new experiences! Ages 19, 20 and 21 for most young adults are ‘me time’, time to spread your wings and test the limits. Whatever you’re doing, use your freedom and energies to invest in your future, whilst you have some fun right now.
You’ll already have devised your own Be Happy Rules; and only you can be sure what’s right for you. But have you considered these ideas as you consider the options ahead ….?
Climb a mountain
Did you know there are well over two hundred Munroes (mountains over 3,000 feet) in Scotland? Can you name the highest peaks in England, Scotland and Wales? (or whichever country you live in?) Why not face the challenge, and get to the top of a mountain every year?
But treat your mountains with respect; they require knowledge, the right gear, fitness and large quantities of common sense, even if you simply walk up them. So do it properly, perhaps with your college sports advisers or the Youth Hostel Association (YHA). Get prepared, form a team and reach the peak/s in style. That way you’ll return safely and come to a whole new understanding of how aching limbs can be the mark of real achievement.
Sort your gap year – or not
Are you planning a gap year? Can you say clearly why this is a good choice of how to spend your time? If you can, then go for it; the world is your oyster.
But if you don’t in all honesty know why you want that year out, maybe you need to think again. There are plenty of other ways to have adventures, without the enormous costs, and interruption to your studies / employment which a gap year imposes.
Step outside the stereotype
Is your idea of a good night out a visit to the pub? Or a concert? Or maybe just staying in with a new computer game? Just a few times a year, why not try something completely different? Sports, if you’re arty, the theatre if you’re an action (wo)man, a brisk walk in the park if you’re a bookworm? But be prepared. You’ll enjoy it more if you’ve got your head round the new experience – find knowledgeable friends, discover the plot of the play, pack a picnic and plan your route (or choose consciously to explore) – all before you start.
Penetrate the political
You’ve already discovered the practicals of actually how to vote, and in truth you do know you really must to use that vote. So now’s the time to get a proper grasp. If you don’t understand why the mainstream political parties spend so much time and energy disagreeing with each other, make it your business to find out.
There are fundamental differences between politicians’ perceptions of how the world works, and it’s these you’ll need to explore before you decide how to mark that ballot paper.
Eat well, stay well
We all need treats but we also know that food is fuel. It’s what makes us whole. What sort of a body do you want? How do you feel about the things that happen to food – its origins or its carbon footprint – before it reaches your plate?
Perhaps you could experiment occasionally with different styles of eating. Keep a diet (as in ‘food’, never as in ‘not eating’) diary and see how you feel after a few days with a particular mode for your meals. Does low GI help? Are you a high-cal person? Do you enjoy veggie? What we eat is what we are and only you can determine that for you, for the long-term.
Learn another language
Here’s a good excuse to get an InterRail card, or even to make your inter-continental booking to an adventure. Tell everyone you’re off to study another language…. and then do just that. It’s a lot easier to learn new languages – especially ones unlike your mother tongue – when you’re young, than later on!
You can find introductory ‘foreign’ language courses everywhere these days; you could even get a programme for your iPod. Then, when you’ve got to grips with the basics, pack your phrase book and passport, and practise on real people in the country of your choice. (No cheating, ‘letting’ people practise their English on you instead.) You’ll be amazed how much you can pick up in just a week or two if you try.
Re-think your family
Everyone sees their family as the backcloth to their lives. But now you’re fully independent, you can do a double take. Your parents aren’t just Mum and Dad any more, they can become people in their own right as much for you as they already are for their neighbours, colleagues and friends.
Why not choose to spend some time with family members, actually talking to them about their past experiences and their hopes for the future? There are doubtless many tales to be told, and perhaps some dreams still to be realised. So offer a listening ear, and explore a whole new way of looking at your nearest and dearest.
Play mind games
No, not by psyching other people out, but by having a go at new mental challenges – chess, cards, computers, what you will. A busy brain now will stay active longer, and nurturing ‘mental fitness’ is probably the biggest investment in your personal future that you could make.
Plus, it’s fun….
Be an eco- envoy
Whatever your situation, you can do your bit for the future. Even if you’re ‘between jobs’ (ask yourself, Why?, if you are…) you can do things to help your community along.
For instance, many young people say the environment is a big concern. Perhaps you can find a role at work, college or wherever you are, turning this concern into positive action? This is truly an area where every little helps.
Believe in yourself
Nobody finds life a doddle. No matter how old and wise or hard and cynical they might seem, almost everyone worries about whether they’ve done the ‘right thing’ and whether they are liked by others. And, whether they recall it or not, they, like you, have had to negotiate the tricky years of young adulthood.
So, be gentle as you judge yourself. Conceit may not take you far, but self-belief is essential. Accept the ‘failures’ and mistakes, and learn from them; but much more importantly, do build on your successes. They are the base-line of your life ahead.
Have you read….?
Things To Do When You’re 16 – 18
Things To Do When You’re 22 – 25
What To Do At Any Age – Be Happy
* Life is not a rehearsal
* Smile when you can
* Do acts of random kindness
* Try no-TV days
* Be cautious sometimes, cynical never
* Use your pedometer
* Treat yourself daily to a ‘Went Right’ list
And why not share your alternative ideas here, too? You can add your own take on Things To Do When You’re 19 – 21 via the Comments box below…