How to be in Your Twenties

Although I am still a young twenty-something, I feel like I have already learned some very important things, from my own life and even more from the lives of others, about how to be (rules, social norms, expectations, lessons) in your twenties.

Between the ages of 20-25:

-Start by breaking up with your long time significant other on the brink of your final day(s)/semester(s) in college because you realize the relationship (is toxic) is not at all what you want or need. This way you can move on to better relationships.

- Graduate from college and have no idea what you want to do, so move home. Hang your diploma on your wall and wonder, “Exactly what did these four (or five) years of college do for me again?” on an average of five times a day.

- Work one job you really hate or a bunch of jobs that don’t pay the bills. Quit a job and then complain about having no money to buy frivolous things.

- Make financial decisions that make no sense to real adults (see above).

- Travel. Be a nomad. Enjoy having no real responsibilities.

- Think that you can foot the bill for your car insurance only to realize, no, you can’t.

- Move out of your parents house after whatever portion of time and go back to school. Discover that when you do move out, you need a lot more things than you forgot you needed (plunger, toilet bowl cleaner, microwave, hand mixer, frying pan, silverware, paper towels, bowls, ect.). Then realize that your parents were right when they said it was much more expensive to live on your own. LOL.

- On the subject of money and things you need, learn that the “extra” money leftover after you pay rent and other bills isn’t really extra, or for fun. It’s for emergencies and other things you didn’t think about needing.

- Learn how to take changes and quit being afraid to become someone better.

- Live in a small apartment with way to many people, or a small apartment with way to much furniture. At least you will be able to pay rent.

- Get basic cable because you need (want) internet, and realize that none of the channels you actually watch exist on the most basic cable service. Not even ABC family.

- Move to another state/country for a 1-3+ year time period.

- Be able to wear lipstick without feeling like an imposter.

-Be unable to accept criticism. Also have a hard time admitting when you are wrong.

- Be a vegan or vegetarian for a brief period of time. Then get over it.

- Go back to eating Ramen Noodles, because they are 5 for a $1.00.

- Watch all your friends get engaged, married, have babies and try not to have a panic attack.

- On that note, be forced to congratulate people who are 2-4 years younger than you an their impending nuptials.

- Only have a Hulu/Netflix account because your friend does and you have their password. Cancel your Netlix account when you realize how those $9/month could be used in other valuable places.

- Learn how to sew, or at least fix a button.

- Be able to use bleach without ruining things.

- Refuse to run your air conditioner even when it is 100 degrees outside to cut down on your energy bill.

- Be in love.

- Get a dog because they’ll love you forever.

- Make and maintain more meaningful relationships.

Making more forward progress between the ages 25-30:

- Finally learn how to accept criticism as constructive and not a personal attack.

- Figure out who you want to be, and maybe even be able to imagine your future self.

- Learn that loving someone means accepting them even on really hard days; through hard times. It means finding a few things that you really like about that person and loving them for those things. Loving someone includes the uglier parts of them. Love involves sacrifices. Love is scary, it means you are vulnerable to hurt. You learn that love is a choice, and there will never be a magic button to tell you if this is “the one.” When you are happy, you are happy. When that person makes you better; that person helps you become the person you want to be… then you’ve caught a good one.

- Stop picking your nose in public.

- Subscribe to a monthly magazine instead of buying Cosmo, Vogue, ect. for $5 at CVS.

- Stop burning yourself on every single appliance you own (iron, oven, toaster, curling iron, straightener). Use a real hot mat for crying out loud.

- Have a job that actually provides you with a living wage that you don’t absolutely hate.

- Appreciate your parents in a way you were not capable of five years ago.

- Learn how to say no.

- Quit being in love with your favorite barista.

- Think more seriously about all of the people who got married five years ago, and weigh the pros & cons.

- Appreciate that the grass isn’t really greener on the other side. As Justin Bieber says, “It’s greener where you water it.” Thanks JB.

- Stop stalking people from your past on Facebook.

- Upgrade your cable to include channels you actually watch.

- When you turn 30, you will weep. Thirty marks then end of a an irrational, irresponsible, irreplaceable time period of your life.

- Understand that there is always something more to learn.

On Growing Up

Well friends, both myself and one of my closest gullz turned 23 this past week. We both have had to learn a few lessons on growing up. For me, it was a little sad to not wake up with that giddy feeling, run downstairs to find a kitchen table laden with presents wrapped in Little Mermaid paper, warm gooey cinnamon rolls, and two brown headed sisters smiling back at my toothy birthday grin. The little small pleasures of childhood are gone, and are replaced with the reality of growing up.

Not that birthdays when you are more grown aren’t fun, and maybe sometimes even exciting. For example, my parents generously footed the bill for my trip to Germany for my birthday which is probably the best birthday present I have ever received. I love to travel and seriously enjoyed reuniting with Sarah. Hopefully one day soon we can see each other again. I guess as you get older birthdays are just different. For me, I get excited about getting together with people that I love and celebrating life, with a little cake and ice cream in the mix. :)

No longer am I afraid of growing up. Not having answers certainly makes me apprehensive, but growing up on the whole is no so bad.  I wouldn’t cry if my comforter was replaced with a new one, or even if I wasn’t allowed to sleep with my beloved stuffed dogs, I guess I could get used to that.  I have spent my fair share of time being frustrated with negative feelings, and now I’m ready for new and exciting things. I am ready for the next adventure. I am tired of being criticized for not having a job. I am tired of being put down for not doing good enough in college. I am tired of being rejected from graduate schools. I am tired of being compared to everyone else. This was definitely not my plan A. More like plan Z, but I’m going to make it work.

Sometimes, you take a chance on your dreams and maybe end up feeling really alone in a new city. Or maybe you put some effort into your future and get rejected. Or maybe you just can’t figure out what you want to do, exactly. Either way, the most important thing to learn is to pick yourself up and try again, or try something new, or even appreciate the hard things for helping you become the person you are meant to be. Making forward progress might even mean swallowing your pride and going the extra mile to make admissions people (or bosses) see how valuable you are to that school, company, ____ (fill in the blank). Do things and be with people who make you happy, who encourage you to better yourself and who encourage you to make decisions that will help you accomplish your dreams. Wouldn’t it be better to be a person who is growing and changing versus someone whose life is stagnant?

For now, that’s all on growing up.

“Take a leap, build your wings on the way down”