vs. what they actually talk about. Reframing your mindset could create lasting impacts, according to science.
When I hang around with my work friends (all of them in their late twenties), I feel disconnected, as if I belong to a different planet. The things they talk about don’t interest me, and I’m terrified of saying out loud whatever is in my heart.
That got me thinking about whether we have gotten our priorities all mixed up. I did some scrolling through social media, read some recently published research papers in this area, and talked to more friends specifically about this. I concluded that there are several things twenty-somethings should talk about but don’t.
The things they focus on instead are meaningless and will only hamper their growth in the long run.
This post delves deep into the psychology behind such thoughts and lists three things all twenty-something should be talking about. It compares the thought process behind what they are actually talking of and how their mindset can be rewired for a successful, more peaceful future.
1. Fast fashion and greenwashing
As I’d mentioned in a previous article, “Fast fashion is a term used by fashion retailers to describe inexpensive designs that move quickly from the catwalk to stores to meet new trends. It is about making trendy clothes quick, cheap, and disposable. This “see now, buy now” kind of retail environment is made a reality by brands like Zara, H&M, and Shein that offer the latest designs at affordable prices.”
Many of my friends — irrespective of gender — talk about clothes as if they are talking about disposable face tissues. Rather than buying an item of clothing and making it last for a long time, they prefer buying cheap clothes and throwing them away after a couple of washes. It’s both disheartening and alarming as all these discarded clothes take up a lot of precious resources to be produced and end up in landfills within a few weeks of being purchased.
As mentioned in the same article, “Most of these fast-fashion brands indulge in Greenwashing, which basically means companies try to portray themselves as more “green” than they actually are. They make claims using words that have no legal definition — like green, eco-friendly, sustainable, ethical, and responsibly-made — or make vague claims that can’t be verified — like “ecologically grown cotton” or “sustainably-produced polyurethane.””
Reframing this mindset
According to Business Insider and Earth.org, fashion production comprises 10% of total global carbon emissions, as much as the European Union. As if that’s not bad enough, textile manufacturing emissions alone are projected to skyrocket by 60% by 2030.
The stats paint a dangerous picture and make it clear that it’s important people stopped talking about buying, throwing away, and getting new clothes every other week. From here, it’s obvious that this mindset needs to change. Here are some ways you can minimize impact from these, save the environment, and also go easy on your wallet:
- Wear your clothes for longer.
- Buy second-hand (or “pre-loved,” as they are called these days) clothes. Used clothes reduce the environmental impact by limiting carbon dioxide emissions and the use of pesticides and fertilizers. It also reduces the wastage of billions of liters of water that would have been needed to generate new clothes.
2. Healthy diet and exercise
In today’s times of overworked youngsters with underpaid salaries, very few people have the time to actually pay attention to what they’re putting into their bodies. With work-from-home messing up their sleep cycles and the hustle culture demanding their attention most of their waking hours, people find it hard to make proper meals for themselves or fit exercise into their routines.
Many of my friends think it’s okay to order takeaway every night. According to them, they are living their best life and sampling the good food from all eateries across the city. As Healthline puts it, “While an occasional night of fast food won’t hurt, a habit of eating out could be doing a number on your health.”
There are several side effects of eating out daily, primarily:
- Heart disease and risk of stroke owing to poor cardiovascular health.
- Headache, mental health issues, and increased risk of depression.
- High blood pressure, cholesterol, and weight gain.
- Bloating, puffiness, and increased risk of type-2 diabetes.
Reframing this mindset
Based on personal experience and some help from Healthline, here are some tips you can apply to stop eating out frequently:
- If you can cook, get yourself some utensils. If you can’t, hire someone to cook for you.
- Plan your meals so you don’t end up ordering takeaway in a fit of impulse.
- Protein makes you feel more full than other macronutrients like carbs. Fill your diet with healthy sources of protein, so you don’t feel hungry so often.
- Try fruit and slowly give up manufactured sugar.
- Think of junk food more as a luxury than a need. Reframe your brain to stop sending messages of craving and desire when you see junk food displayed in front of you.
- Make health and fitness a part of your daily conversation. That way, the need to eat healthily and work out will be ingrained in your brain, and it will be easier for you to push yourself to keep working out.
3. The importance of being financially secure
It took me a week-long trip with my friends to realize that most of them have zero personal finance knowledge. For them, saving is something you do when you’ve exhausted all your desires and grown “older.” The little money they’ve managed to stop squandering is holed up in their bank accounts.
What’s more, it’s become quite normal to be “fashionably broke” — to have enough money to spend on clothes and other consumeristic comforts, but never enough to spend on yourself.
It’s time to stop this.
Your 20s are your most valuable years. If you squander them on monetary pleasures and make no investment in your emotional, intellectual, and financial health, then you’ll end up losing a large chunk of your possible wealth in the future.
Reframing this mindset
When you’re out with friends, don’t compare spending habits and talk about how bad you are at managing your finances. Instead, discuss your savings and learn where they invest their money. Educate yourself on how to make your money work for you.
Aside from that, here are some tips published in Forbes about how you can make the best self-investments in your 20s:
- Invest early to utilize the power of compound interest. The earlier you start, the better rewards you can reap.
- Clear up all loans first, get rid of debt, and bring your spending under control.
- Think of your money as a tool you can use to create the life and lifestyle you want via smart choices regarding spending, savings, and investing.
- Ramp up your savings as you age.
In short, Invest in your personal, professional, and financial growth in whatever ways you see fit. “Read as many books as you can and attend conferences that support your growth,” says Colorado financial advisor Matthew Jackson of Solid Wealth Advisors.
Your 20s are the perfect time to grow, evolve, and embrace the best version of yourselves. Don’t waste these precious years spending all your money on materialistic comforts without being aware of your carbon footprint. A healthier planet implies a healthier you.
Take care of your body. It’s your first and last home in this life. Don’t fill it with fast food all the time, and consciously take time out for exercise.
Become financially aware. Control your spending, stay away from loans, and educate yourself on the best practices on how to make your money work for you.
These are simple steps. But if every 20-something applied them, they would well be on the path towards embracing the best version of themselves sooner rather than later.
I create content in different forms related to self-improvement, body-positivity, and feminism on YouTube and other platforms. Join my email list to make sure you don’t miss out on anything new.