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List 5 words that describe your 20s.

exploring, discovering, bewildering, building a professional persona, enthusiasm

introspective, experimental, informational, formative

marriage, military, stability, independence, art

What is the best memory from your 20s?

Thanksgiving potluck in Japan with other Assistant Language Teachers. It was bizarre, outside the apartment it was just another day, but inside, the atmosphere completely changed. Everyone inside shared something—we celebrated Thanksgiving—and it brought us together, literally and figuratively. Everyone wanted to be festive and was anticipating a great feast, so everyone put their best effort forward (aka made food they have for Thanksgiving).

Sitting in an oceanside, outdoor onsen in Japan as steam rolled from the pools into the waters below, and rain drizzled onto my head.

Moving into my first place.

I was in a country far away, but that night, I had such a feeling of “home” from eating familiar food, and the sense that I belonged to a community. It was easy to feel isolated, in that situation—and in my 20s, past the days of college hangouts— so finding a community to belong to was, and still is, important to me.


Standing in one position for hours just so I can have a front-row spot to see one of my favorite bands at Coachella. Then singing along and dancing with thousands of people at my back, doing the exact same thing. Taking an impromptu camping trip with my friends, getting lost, and miraculously finding a camping spot without reservations. We ate the most amazing hot dogs that night.

What do you know now that you wish you knew in your 20s?

If anyone you first meet starts out by saying, “We might fight/ have disagreements,”—RUN. There is a reason why this person has fights/disagreements.

I realized this a couple of years ago, but I wish I knew this right out of college. That your 20s can be just as formative as your teens and college. It’s the perfect time to figure out what kind of man you want to be as you grow older.

Will have to come back to that one. Still only 21.

What’s your advice for those currently in their 20s?

It’s OK if you don’t know what you want to do in life. This is the time to explore and build off of who you already are.

Take chances! Make mistakes! And go/do see stuff while you can.

You’re young, you can do anything you put your heart and mind towards.

Sarah Zakem, 29

Gregory Shin, 29

Lindsey Gloria, 21

Profile for Shirong Gao


A compendium of people's accounts of life in their 20s.


A compendium of people's accounts of life in their 20s.