What does it mean to be in your 20s with a chronic illness? For some, it means just trying to survive day by day.
I remembered having to adjust to a new normal that involved me walking with an aid and dealing with pain in my late teens and into my 20s.
That’s the reality for many of us but even with the pain, we can make something worthy off life.
You should also live for the future, meaning do things today that will make your future better.
As a 20 something living with a chronic illness in Nigeria, I’ve figured that the best way to live in your 20s is to maximize your youth.
To turn your pain into purpose and live your best life.
In this post, I will share with you 15 things I think you should do in your 20s that will make you proud of yourself and make your future better.
Consider it as a life advice for people living with chronic illness in their 20s.
15 things to do in your 20s when living with a chronic illness
1. Read plenty of books
A growing body of research indicates that reading literally changes your mind.
I think everyone should read at least a page of any book daily. Reading is not just for fun, you can also learn so much whether you are reading a fiction or nonfiction.
2. Learn a new skill
If you want to feel valuable and worthy, learn skills. I realized that when I learnt something new, my self confidence went up.
With your new skill, you can start understanding that you are not your illness. You are much more than it and you have a something to offer the world.
Some skills you can consider to learn,
- Public speaking
- Search Engine Optimization
3. Have a big dream for your life
Sometimes pain can make you almost give up on life, I understand.
And that is why having a big dream is important. A life without a dream is worthless. Your dreams can remind you that life is still worth living even when it doesn’t feel like it.
4. Write down your plans for life
Dreaming is not enough, take a pen and paper and plan out your life.
Nothing should stop you from doing this not even pain. You can have long term plans and short term plans.
5. Watch movies
I love movies, I love movies. I’m I loud enough? I said I love movies.
And pain cannot stop me from watching a movie in fact it distracts me from the pain. You can try it too.
Plus you can learn a lot about life from watching movies too.
6. Don’t compare yourself with others
Oh dear, nothing steals your joy faster than comparing yourself with others.
You don’t need to be reminded that your illness has made you different. You are different and unique and can do anything but in your own way.
So do not compare yourself with anyone (your only competition is you).
7. Embrace family
When everything else fails and everyone walk away, only families would stick around and lend you a helping hand.
So don’t stay too far from your family, embrace and love your family in your 20s.
8. Develop your self confidence
The best time to build that self confidence is in your 20s.
During my young and teenagers years, I was forced to become a shy and introverted kid because no one understood what it’s like to live with sickle cell disorder (chronic illness).
But now, I realize that I need my self confidence to move forward and live well with sickle cell.
9. Believe in yourself
Look around you literally, you are all you’ve got. No one will believe in you if you don’t start believing in yourself now.
Believe in your own talents, skills, beauty, imperfection. That way you can grow and live well.
10. Develop a positive mindset
Mindset is super important to live well with a chronic illness. The kind of mindset you have in your 20s can make or break your future.
Always keep a positive mindset.
11. Find easy ways to make money
Living with a chronic pain does not mean bills will stop. As a young person with chronic illness, it might be difficult to find a job or keep one.
That’s why you need to find easier ways to make money preferably something that can be done from anywhere.
- 10 ways chronic illness warriors can make money online
- How I started a blog in less than 24 hours
- The “perfect” job for people living with a chronic illness
12. Believe that you are not too young/weak
You are not too young to start building something. Start today and enjoy the reward in the future.
You are not too weak either. The strength you need lies in your mind, mental strength.
Be strong mentally and you will achieve whatever it is you put your mind.
13. Do things you’re interested in
Simply put find your passion. Your 20s is the time to try out different that interests you.
If you start trying different things now, you would know earlier which one makes you can do even when you are in the hospital and the one you cannot imagine yourself doing.
You want to spend your life doing things you that brings you joy and makes you look forward to another day.
14. Learn about your illness & advocate for yourself
Earlier in my life, I knew very little about sickle cell (I guess that was why I never believed I live with it).
But as a young adult, I had to learn about it. You need to understand everything involved in your illness.
Then speak for yourself, stand up against the myths and stigma.
15. Find support
We all need support. Find a support group that makes you feel accepted and worthy.
Support groups can really help you get through tough times. You need one. I have a new Facebook group for ambitious warriors, click here to join.
You would agree with me that living with a chronic illness in your 20s changes the world around you. It is not what it is for other people in their 20s.
But that does not you cannot have fun or have a bright future. You future can be bright too and this is my little advice to every young person with a chronic illness.
Don’t let your illness define you, it should not take away your future.
What would you advice a young person with chronic illness for a better future? Share in the comment.