As you come into your twenties, you make the transition from being a teenager to a young adult, and it comes with pressures and changes that you never expect. Sometimes it’s a little overwhelming…but I believe that in the end, you just gotta take life as it comes — despite society’s expectations.
So to help, here’s twenty things that I, and others around me, have come to realize throughout the years of being 20+.
1. People come, and people go.
During your twenties, you’ll probably be surrounded by lots of people who you enjoy sharing a coffee with, going shopping with, or having a drink with in town. But the number of genuine, close friends you have will probably decrease. The good news is that the quality of your friends will be greater. So it’s not all bad. You make the choice as to whom you surround yourself with. New friends, old friends…. Not all of your old school chums will grow up as you do. People change, and people don’t. Now is the time that you can play the game of pick and choose.
2. Being in a relationship doesn’t mean you’re boring.
You’ll realize that wanting to spend your time with someone you truly do care about is not something to be ashamed of. Staying in, snuggling up on the couch, and watching a movie with your other half will start to seem more fulfilling than getting wasted and going out partying every Saturday night. Your bank account will love you for it, and although your friends may call you whipped or pull out the old “ball and chain” jokes, sooner or later they’ll be in the same situation, and you’ll quite enjoy having your turn to give them a hard time.
3. You don’t have to be single & ready to mingle.
Although I’m all for going out and meeting new people, being single doesn’t necessarily mean this is something you have to do on a regular basis. You don’t have to go out to town every Friday and Saturday night hoping to stumble across a good-looking lad/lass to go home with. (And you certainly don’t have to instantly create yourself an online dating profile.) It’s totally okay to just be you. It doesn’t mean you’re alone; it just means that you have the ability to be content with being yourself, without the plus one. On the other hand: If you’re the kind of person who takes being single as the opportunity to spend your nights drinking and dancing and meeting other singles… by all means, go forth and do so!
4. You’ll learn to deal with heartbreak a little better.
Your perspective on life will be a little better these days. Whilst breaks ups will still suck, you’ll deal with it a lot differently than how you would’ve prior to being in your twenties. Remember when you were a teenager and that guy or girl dumped you because you had that really bad hair day and they were kind of embarrassed to be seen with you? And you thought it was literally the end of the world? Well, these days, you’ll realize that there are far worse things in the world: disease, war, loss in general…. So, this time, when your heart gets broken (hopefully not over something as ridiculous as a bad hair day; we all have them), you’ll be sad, hurt, and probably a little angry — but you’ll pick yourself up and move on. Because that’s just how life works.
5. Your siblings are actually pretty cool people to have around.
They may have picked on you at some point, or you may have picked on them, but soon enough you’ll realize that these people who you hate to love and love to hate are actually some of the best people you can have around. They’ll know you better than most others, and they’re family — so in the time of a crisis, they have no choice but to stick around and help you pick yourself up. Take me and my sister as a living example. Ten years ago, I was the pesky little sister who’d steal her clothes and makeup, and she’d tell me to stay out of her room and to not embarrass her in front her friends. But now, we share clothes. We share makeup. And not only are we sisters, we’re best friends. (It sounds cheesy, I know, but I really don’t know where I’d be without her.)
6. Posting your whole life on social media is really not necessary.
You won’t spend all night in town, all day shopping, and all afternoon at the gym taking snaps and making sure everyone on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram can see how interesting your life is. You’ll get on with everything without the need to share every detail with the social media world, but you’ll still upload the odd snap that actually may be of interest to your friends and family.
7. Opportunities are precious.
Scott Fitzgerald once said, “Our lives are defined by opportunities, even the ones we miss.” Says it all, really. Try not to take anything for granted.
8. “Sh*t hitting the fan” is kind of inevitable at some point.
Just as your life is cruising along quite nicely — you’ve got a great partner, great friends, great job, and your feeling pretty good about yourself — sh*t will hit the fan one way or another. We don’t know why, and we don’t know what, but sooner or later we all face obstacles that test our strength and force us to reflect on life. The good news is that once you hit rock bottom, there’s nowhere to go but up. So, if you are faced with one of life’s little challenges, take it as a chance to learn and grow.
9. Thirty really isn’t that old.
Remember when sixteen was old? Sixteen was when you could start telling your parents that you were becoming your own person and they couldn’t control you. And then eighteen was when you could say that and actually mean it. Well, as we grow, the ages we consider to be “old” get higher and higher. So, if you hit twenty-nine and you’re still feeling a little misguided, remember that thirty just really isn’t that old.
10. You are responsible for making you happy.
Seriously. I am a firm believer in taking responsibility for your own happiness. I once stumbled upon a few words online which really summed up my attitude toward controlling your own destiny: “If you don’t like where you are, move. You are not a tree.”
Not exactly whimsical, thought-provoking words, but heck, it’s the truth.
11. Breaking out of your comfort zone is quite rewarding
So by “breaking out of your comfort zone” I don’t necessarily mean dramatic things like climbing a mountain, base-jumping, or taking your partner to a swingers night. I simply mean that sometimes doing something different or pushing yourself to try something new can be quite rewarding. It could be something as small as attending a gym class by yourself, going to a rave, or going to a gathering with a friend where you really don’t know anyone. On the opposite end of the spectrum, you may decide on a whim that you might quite enjoy jumping off a rock with a rope tied to your feet or jumping out of a plane at 15,000 feet. Either way, test your limits. Try new things. Who knows? You could learn something new about yourself.
12. Now is probably a good time to travel (if that’s what you’re into).
Sure, you can travel when you’re older; but, when you’ve got a load of responsibilities behind you, it may make it a little more difficult. Go and do those things you’ve always wanted to do while you’ve still got a sense of freedom but while you’re old enough to fund your own way through it.
13. Your metabolism is slowing down as we speak.
Sorry to bring it up. I know we all like to eat that cake and pretend we aren’t aware it’s going straight to our hips, but as we get older, our metabolism slows, and we actually have to make an effort to keep ourselves in shape. So perhaps invest in a gym membership? Or find yourself a hobby that’s both enjoyable and good for your health and well-being.
14. Now is the time to save money – if you haven’t already.
In your teens, you earn money (and you’re stoked about it cause it makes you feel independent), but you also waste it. Now, we don’t have that luxury. As we grow older and take on more responsibility, we take on the burden of securing our future. You don’t have to buy a house just yet, but at least get yourself financially sorted so that when you are ready to make those big adult decisions, you can do so without the financial stress.
15. You’re not so invincible. Or in teen terms… “hardcore.”
Those pesky hangovers just won’t go away as fast as they used to. And even when it does, you’ll still feel shattered. Maybe it’s got something to do with the fact that we’ve got more daily responsibilities to take care of, and we can’t just spend the week after a 3-day bender curled up in our fat pants recovering with some fatty food and the latest episodes of Family Guy.
16. You must learn to love yourself before anyone else can love you.
When I first heard this quote (years ago), I thought… What? What the heck does that mean? But as I’ve grown older, I’ve realized that it’s actually very true. It’s hard to put into words, what this really means, but in my best attempt: I think that if you are negative toward yourself, you’ll never accept positivity from someone else. To appreciate the value that someone else places upon you, you need to realize just how much you’re worth.
17. Life is better lived with no regrets.
Just kidding. Yes, you do only live once, but that shouldn’t be your excuse for making ill-informed decisions in life. Make wise choices, take every opportunity presented to you seriously, and ultimately go with your gut feeling. Live life to the full, but live it the way you think is best. You don’t want to spend the next twenty years thinking, “Why the hell didn’t I just go on that date? Now she’s dating him! He’s such a weasel,” or, “Why did I decide to be an accountant when I hate numbers?”
18. Other people’s opinions aren’t that important.
“What others think of you is none of your business.” I don’t know who said that, but it’s actually quite clever. When we take the chance to really think about how much other people’s opinions affect us, is it really that important? If you’re going to marry the man of your dreams but your bitter, divorcee friend tells you marriage is a sham, does that mean you won’t do it? Or if you’re about to make a relationship official with the girl you’ve been dating but your mate reckons you shouldn’t cause she’s not even that “hot,” does that mean you’ll instantly change your mind? Whilst the opinions and advice of others can sometimes be of value (when it is wanted), most of the time we worry about what people think despite the fact that it doesn’t even affect us. So here’s a thought: ignore them. Consider it none of your business what they think anyway.
19. Now is the perfect time to let go of the past so it doesn’t destroy your future.
No one can be truly happy if they’re still bitter and twisted about something that happened five or ten years ago. You live, you love, you learn. Now is the time to let go. (That doesn’t mean you have to become an angel that goes around forgiving anyone and everyone that ever screwed you over. It just means that you no longer have to let the people or the things that disturbed your past, disturb your future.)
20. It’s okay not to have your sh*t together.
HA! The ultimate realization. It is more than okay to not have your sh*t together. Don’t spend your twenties wishing your life has already come together. Spend your twenties piecing it together with the experiences and lessons that you endure every day. And above all else, have fun.