So I have been spending a lot of time lately thinking about how scary it is to be a full-blown adult. You know that feeling. One day you wake up and think “woah, shit feels different now”. I call it the Adult Switch. Making money, but paying bills. Having a real big girl job, but working on weekends and holidays. Living in a cute little apartment in a cool ass city, but paying the price of a small child in order to do so. Basically, having to grasp the fact that independence comes with responsibility.
I know, I know. You’re thinking ‘wah wah wah pooorrr Hayley’. I get it, life could most certainly be worst. But hear me out on this. No one ever prepares you for this shit. You go to college, you graduate, you integrate into society peacefully like the rest of us. Um, YEAH RIGHT. I still feel like I’m a teenager half the time. Don’t lie. I know that at least half the people reading this know exactly what I am saying. However, rather than focus on all the things I still don’t have the slightest concept on, I’ve been trying to focus on how awesome it is to be young, successful, and vulnerable. Finally found my next topic to blog about. (On a side note, writers block is a REAL thing. Holy shit. J K Rowling you are a true genius).
So I thought I would help all my friends out there that are probably feeling the same way I am at this point in their lives. While growing up can be terrifying, we need to realize how exciting this part of our lives is. So I have listed 25 things to keep in mind as you transition into adulthood as a 20-something. While these are the things we may find scary, they are also the reasons why being in your twenties is f***king awesome. Take notes my friend.
1. Your only priority is YOU. You have made it this far. Now is the time to be selfish and make choices that are beneficial for YOU. Before you know it you will have a family of your own that will become your #1 priority. So yes, be selfish my friends. Take a job promotion in another state. If he’s meant to be, it’ll work out. Travel solo. Buy a sports car because you have the money and why not? Find a hobby that makes YOU happy. And wear pajamas all day on Sunday because that is your God given right.
2. Quality over quantity. In all forms of life. Friends. Food. Relationships (I’m hoping this one is obvious for ya’ll). Accomplishments. Not always clothes. Unless you’re talking about LuLu Lemon yoga pants, Rainbow flip flops, or a pair of Lucchese’s. It gets easier after you stop wearing Forever 21 ladies. (Let’s be honest, I’ll probably never stop. Where else can you pay $20 for an entire decent looking outfit?! I think I’ve found an exception to my rule…)
3. You have probably failed more than once already, and you will fail again. This one can be hard coming right out of school. The fear of having to ask a colleague about something that you probably should have learned during the first semester of pharmacy school. Yeah it blows. But failing is inevitable. Step into everything full throttle with 100%, no holding back. And whenever you have fear of failing, remember that Michael Jordan (aka the best basketball player of all times) didn’t make Varsity basketball in high school. Rome wasn’t built overnight people.
4. Debt is basically your middle name, but you are a survivor. RAMEN NOODLES, my first love. Most of us are still stuck in that frugal way of life. Thanks college tuition. If you have ever made it through on $500 a month (yes, it’s possible) then you should never be afraid of going completely broke. But I think the main thing to keep in mind, is that money is money. It will always come back. Don’t waste your life away worrying about how rent is going to get paid. I am guilty of this. In the words of Destiny’s Child, “YOU WILL SURVIVE”.
5. Not drinking 5 days out of the week is finally acceptable. Thank god. My liver is elated with joy over this. Don’t let the FOMO get to you when you really just want to Netflix all night. I think it’s safe to say that most of us have had enough spring break experiences to understand that alcohol is your friend until it isn’t anymore. And since you are no longer 21, you don’t have to be worried about getting called out for rainchecking on your friends. Don’t deny it. The refreshing feeling knowing that you don’t have to spend all that energy multiple times a week. That means you are GROWN. Weird isn’t it?!
6. Don’t lose sight of who your real friends are. This one I hold close to my heart. I truly feel that we would not be able to survive without genuine friends. Acquintances will come and go. But your true friends have your best interest at heart. They will always be there. They are the ones that you can go a year without seeing, and it feels like nothing has changed the second you reunite. The ones that know your deepest secrets. The ones that love the fact that you are a walking shit show. The ones that tell you what you need to hear, even when you don’t want to hear it. The ones worth fighting for in any and every situation. Friends are the people in your life that know how to pick you up when you are feeling at your lowest. You would not be the person you are today without your friends. Whether it’s 1 friend, or 20 friends. Never take advantage of them, nor let them take advantage of you. While this rule might seem like its obvious, I think it’s one of the most important. ❤ And no, this did not come from a Hallmark card. Enough of the sentimental garbage Hayley. I can’t help that I have the greatest friends I girl could ask for!
7. Speak up for yourself. ALWAYS. No excuses. I don’t care if you “have always been shy”, or “had a bad experience one time”. All of your dreams aren’t going to magically start growing off the tree in your backyard. If you don’t stand up and go for what you want, you may not get it. You should always be your biggest advocate. If you have an asshole boss, tell him to stop being an asshole. Ok, maybe not to that extreme, but you get what I’m saying.
8. A man isn’t the only thing that has/will break your heart. The Beyonce & Jay Z divorce rumors. The fact that Leonardo DiCaprio was way out of my league when Titanic came out during 4th grade. Tearing my ACL my senior year playing basketball during our first home game of the year. There are multiple things that will tug at your heartstrings, especially during your twenties. Don’t sweat it, embrace it. That means you have a heart. It means you’re human.
9. By now, you know what you do and don’t like. Don’t be afraid if it’s not what other people like. You hold the key to your own happiness. If you don’t want to go to ACL because you hate large crowds and you think the music sounds like shit, then don’t. Choose for you. Who cares what other people think? Because at the end of the day, you can’t help the fact that they aren’t as cool as you.
10. Love should come freely. Real love is genuine, and comes at no price. It shouldn’t be forced, and it shouldn’t be taken for granted. Don’t let outsider opinions influence how you should love someone. Who cares if people judge your relationship. I have dealt with judgement of my relationship for years now. But the second I learned to not care what others thought , I really allowed myself to love. Life is to short to not experience that “cant eat, can’t sleep, reach for the stars, over the fence, World Series kind of stuff” love. It should be easy, and it should be fulfilling. Don’t settle because you feel pressure from others getting married. And if you are struggling to find the right kind of love, you can always work on loving yourself in the mean time. More Hallmark bullshit. My apologies.
11. Don’t let your body age with you. Another hard one. Your body is a vessel, and it is the only thing that will stick by your side throughout your entire life. As it ages it requires a little bit more TLC. And it deserves that care, because it has put up with your ass (no pun intended) for so long. Don’t let yourself go. We aren’t gonna be young forever, so we should really take care of our bodies while we can. Exercise. Relax your mind. Eat healthy, but not too healthy to the point that you don’t allow your body to enjoy nourishment. The body wants what the body wants. Whoever said “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” was full of shit. I would much rather eat a banana everyday. But you get the gist. Treat your body like a temple. (But totally get tattoos if that’s your thing).
12. Never lose your inner childish ways. While yes you do a lot of growing up in your 20s, you’re still young enough to act out like the child you really are every now and then. No one likes a Debbie Downer. Things don’t have to be so serious and boring all the time. Be weird, loud (only on occasion, or you may start to piss people off), and silly. Make your youthfulness contagious. Find a happy medium between your inner Will Ferrell and Robin Williams. Life should never be taken too seriously.
13. Learn how to take a compliment. You may not know it by now, but someone has seen potential in you. Your employer. Your alma mater. Your parents. Your significant other. Sometimes we can be so critical on ourselves, that it’s hard to hear the positive things that people have to say about us. When someone tells you you’re f***king awesome, believe it. Why shouldn’t you believe that?! In return, learn how to build other people up through compliments. A simple “damnnnn girll, you look awesome today!” can go a long way.
14. You don’t always have to be right. This one is very hard for me. Im a stubborn ass, I have Gray in my blood. It’s so much harder to listen before you open your mouth. But you learn so much more when you listen rather than worry about being right. Especially at the start of your career. You are at the very bottom right now. You can only go up. So don’t be afraid to do things differently for once. This rule is especially hard when talking about politics. But I hate politics, so you’re welcome.
15. You can travel, because you’re in your 20s, and that’s what people expect from you. Just go. Doesn’t matter with who. Doesn’t matter where. You don’t want to wake up day and realize it’s too late to see the rest of the world. One word: Amsterdam.
16. Embrace the fact that the bond between you and your family is stronger than ever. This has to be one of the best things about growing older. You always hear that you will grow closer with age, but it usually sounds like a load of crap. Honestly, I’m probably closer with my family than I have ever been. They can finally see me as a responsible adult, rather than a raging asshole of a teenager. Let’s face it, we were all awful. My parents and my sister are my heroes. In more ways than one.
17. Setbacks shouldn’t bother you as much as they used to. It’s never as bad as it seems. You know that one bitch that used to always make you feel less than? Where is she at now?! Exactly. Never take anything too seriously. Life will move on. That horrible haircut will eventually grow out. Just because you didn’t get the first draft pick in your fantasy football league, doesn’t mean that you have already lost the season. Screw you Adrian Peterson, and your tendency to score ridiculous amounts of points. Life will move on.
18. Expect to be respected. Because you aren’t 21 anymore, and your supposed to have your shit together right?! Not always…. but if you portray the image that you are respectable, you will be respected. And if not, change that shit. You are too fabulous not to be treated like you are.
19. Unapologetically wear whatever the hell you want. Clothes are simply the easiest way to express yourself. Your mood changes, your clothes change. I love it because, unless you are a stereotypical Barbie, the way you dress yourself is a reflection of who you are. Your wardrobe should be your best friend. My boyfriend will hate me for saying this, but there’s nothing like buying a new pair of shoes when none else can make you happy. You judge me because I wear stretchy leather pants? Well then screw you. I’m not even sure if we can be friends considering the fact that you don’t like stretchy leather pants. WTF man.
20. Champagne. Need I say more?
21. Knowledge is power. Even though a college degree doesn’t land you a job as quick as it used to, never lose sight of the fact that education is what keeps you competitive in this society. It’s all about who you know, what you have done, and the strides you took to get there. Education is the one thing that no one can ever take from you. We should always be striving to learn more and teach more. If all else fails, at least you will be badass at Flying Saucer trivia night.
22. Appreciate culture. Food, music, religion, sports, clothes, traditional rituals, etc. Hell, even pop culture. Your way of life is only minute compared to what’s going on in the rest of the world. Culture is what brings us all together. Being able to share culture with others is one of the most fulfilling gifts. OK fine, I just really like food. Oh, and sports.
23. Never lose sight of the little things. Dude, we are the last generation that knows what life was like before the internet. What the hell right?! Sometimes we forget the simple things. Taking a walk. Cooking dinner. Snail Mail. Camping. Enjoying life without technology. Simply enjoying someone else’s company over a cup of coffee. Try not to forget where you came from. You never know when you may be asked to go on Naked and Afraid.
24. Celebrate, celebrate, celebrate. Every. little. moment. worth. celebrating.
25. Take chances! Now, when you can. We only have 10 years of our twenties. This is the time to make crazy decisions in order to experience new things. When you are still young enough.Life is too short. Don’t look for excuses to not do something that you really have an irk to do. Because you’re a 20-something, and you’re allowed do insane things.
Now, I am not an expert of any of these things. Not even close. This is just a collection of things that I’ve been told and things that I have read about growing up in your 20s. At the end of the day, don’t let “growing up” upset you. Age is just a number. And we will always be young souls at heart.