As Jennifer Garner’s character in 13 Going On 30 so wisely described your 30’s as “thirty, flirty, and thriving.” What would we characterize your 20’s as? “Twenty, struggling and starving?”
You thought your teen and high school years were confusing? Those seem like a piece of cake now compared to figuring out your 20’s. The moment you blow out those 20 candles, society expects you to be a productive adult who has everything figured out; a career, a degree (or two), a place to live with furniture that wasn’t purchased from Wal-mart and most importantly, how to properly handle your alcohol intake. Meanwhile, most of us twenty-somethings feel like we are the farthest things from adults and wish the days of recess and summer vacations would come back. However, your 20’s are probably the most impactful years that lay the groundwork for the rest of your life…no pressure, right? While I am pretty fresh into my second decade, with only two years under my belt, here is what I have learned so far.
1. Have a designated bar drink. Nothing will piss off your bartender more than if you are bumbling around, trying to pick your drink order during a Friday night crowd. Whether that is an amaretto sour (my personal drink of choice) or a Bud Light, just know what you like and confidently order it in a pinch.
2. Culture yourself. Netflix is great, don’t get me wrong, but mix it up and check out a local museum or art gallery. Or, worst case scenario, check out the documentary section on Netflix. I’m telling ya; Food Inc. will blow your mind!
3. You can’t force yourself to love anyone. Believe me, if it doesn’t happen naturally, it isn’t going to magically appear like a leprechaun with a pot of gold in a St. Patrick’s Day parade. For both of your sakes, realize that and move on.
4. DO NOT take your college years for granted. I repeat… DO NOT. I’m speaking to all those seniors in high school or sophomores in college: DO NOT waste these precious four, five or six years that you have been given. Soak in every moment whether that be 2 a.m. McDonald’s runs with your roommates or attending tailgates or dorm socials. Before you know it, you will be receiving your diploma and booted into the real world where you can never truly relive those years again. Oh and also, grades aren’t everything. I promise you that as a 4.0 student that was the single hardest reality I had to face following graduation.
5. It is okay if you don’t know the answer. You look worse if you BS an answer rather than simply asking for help.
6. Sometimes, you just need to call your momma. No shame, people.
7. Surround yourself with individuals who make you a better person. Period, end of story. If they aren’t pushing you, supporting you or making you think about things in different ways, then you might want to rethink their presence in your life.
8. Build up your savings. Boring I know, but even if it’s ten bucks out of your paycheck, your future self will thank you when you need new tires, or your friends want to take a road trip.
9. You will make a fool of yourself in public at least once. Or twice or ten times but believe me, chances are no one will remember. And if they do…then you’ll probably be reminded at least two times a year for the rest of your life.
10. Always make time for your family. If your grandparents are still in your lives, spend time with them. Even if they don’t say it, that’s all they really want. And one day you will wake up, and they won’t be here anymore. Don’t regret the times you didn’t go see them or call them when you could have.
11. Everything will work out the way it is supposed to. I know you’re probably thinking “mhmm sure” but it really will.
12. It’s great to go out, but it’s also okay to stay in. Going out with your friends on a Friday night can be great, but there are going to be times you just feel like curling up on the couch and not moving. That’s okay!
13. Take care of your body; after all, you only get one.
14. No argument has ever gone well over text message. Just bite the bullet, pick up the phone to call them or go see them in person.
15. Moments are fleeting; money is not. I know this lesson kind of contradicts my “build up your savings” but the truth is some experiences you will never get the chance to have again, but you will always have the opportunity to have more money to your name. If you want those Adele tickets, buy them. You don’t know what tomorrow will bring or if Adele will ever tour again!!
16. Believe in whatever you want to believe in, but know your reasoning. Everyone is entitled to their own beliefs but at least, be educated on why you believe what you do and be able to intelligently explain that to someone else. It makes our “entitled generation” look less ignorant.
17. Do whatever makes you happy. There will always be naysayers or haters, but as long as you go to bed happy each night, nothing else matters.
18. You are never too cool for Disney. #bigkidforlife
19. You see a person’s true colors when you travel with them.
20. Try everything at least once. Zip-lining, Thai food, Hookah…just try it so you can know for certain if you like it or don’t. Unless it’s meth…that shit ruins lives.
21. Vote! It is your civic duty to do so, but please be an educated voter.
22. Nothing will ever beat a hand-written card. As much as technology has made our lives easier, sometimes an old school approach is the best way to go. If you are writing a, thank you card or even just a letter the recipient will know that you put in a little extra effort.
You only have ten years as a twenty-something so make the most of it! We want to hear from you! What are some of the lessons you have learned in your 20’s?