At some point in the next few months, I’ll celebrate my 24th birthday.
In itself, 24 isn’t a very intimidating age. It’s still within the ‘early 20s’ bracket, and as such there’s still a slight connotation of inexperience and ‘finding your feet’ associated with it. What does feel somewhat intimidating, however, is the speed with which I am slowly moving towards the age of 25 and the frustrating modern concept of a ‘quarter life crisis’.
I don’t personally feel that 25 is as important an age as many seem to suggest, but take a look at Pinterest, Youtube or any women’s magazine and you’d be forgiven for thinking that it was some sort of landmark age. Your 25th birthday seems to mark a transition to maturity accompanied with new concerns about career stability, home ownership and having at least some cash saved away for your eventual retirement.
While I strongly disagree that a lack of career plan or significant savings makes you a ‘failure’ at the ripe old age of 25, I do have goals of my own that I hope to achieve over the next year.
Today, I’m sharing four of them with you all: a lifestyle goal, a financial goal, a goal related to my career and a ‘success’ that I hope to achieve.
1. Nice apartment
I live in the expensive, densely-populated metropolis that is Tokyo. As a result, home ownership (or even purchasing a small apartment) is a distant, ‘maybe someday’ goal that I am neither ready nor motivated to achieve anytime soon. Instead, I’m quite happy to continue renting and living the tenant lifestyle – although not at my current address.
While I do like my little apartment, it’s not very sturdy and the neighbours downstairs are rather loud. What’s more, my commute to my new job is unfortunately rather lengthy; by looking for a new apartment, I can cut down that commute and make more time for relaxation in a (hopefully quieter and sturdier) building.
2. Better savings
I’m incredibly lucky that I have a ‘decent’ amount of money saved for a rainy day, but to get to this point I’ve had to be extremely frugal – especially on the very modest wage I received from my first full-time position after moving to Japan.
Saving money comes relatively easy to me due to my natural ‘penny-pinching’ nature, but over the next year I intend to put more effort into creating and maintaining a budget that allows for a good monthly savings investment and limits any lavish, over-the-top spending. Through detailed and consistent planning, it’s my aim to reach the age of 25 with the equivalent of my current full year’s wage resting in my savings account – although whether or not I’ll succeed does depend on my monthly income as well.
3. Career progress
As I explained in an earlier post, I’ve recently found a new role in an industry I have absolutely NO prior experience in. As a result, I’ll be starting at the very bottom of the career ladder – but I’m determined that I won’t stay there for long.
While one year of hard work and grinding may not be enough to secure a promotion, I’m hoping to reach the age of 25 as a person who is secure in their role and confident in their ability to progress. If possible, I’d also like to be on track for a raise in salary, or at least to earn some form of bonus or commission (something that is more than possible for those successful in my new field).
My rate of progress at work may be – at least in some part – out-with my control, but I’m not going to let that slow me down. Demonstrating my ability to work hard and throwing myself head-first into every possible opportunity is something that adds to my own personal satisfaction and sense of self-worth, so as long as I don’t let myself down in that regard, I’m sure that my determination will (eventually) pay off!
4. Test success
Twice a year, the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) is held. This test allows people like me who are studying the Japanese language to find out what level of ability they have reached, and to receive a certificate that can be shown to potential employers or the immigration office as evidence of achievement.
By the age of 25 I hope to have passed at least the second-highest level of the JLPT, known as the N2. This level of Japanese is considered necessary for working in a professional environment, and I’m confident that I’ll be able to pass it with a bit more studying.
For me, possessing evidence of ‘business ready’ Japanese ability has always been a big and important goal. If I can achieve it in the coming year, I’ll consider that a significant personal success.
The year ahead
With all of the uncertainty and instability that 2020 has brought to our lives, I’m ready to accept that there may be more unexpected hurdles ahead. Whether these hurdles will stop me from reaching my goals, I’m not sure; what I can say for certain, however, is that I won’t go down without a fight.
To keep up with my progress and follow me on my journey of self-improvement and (hopefully) achieving success, make sure to subscribe to my blog and follow my Twitter account for all the latest updates!