In almost 25 years of life, I’ve learned a lot. My education is mostly through trial-and-error (emphasis on the error part) but in hindsight, I’ve been pretty thankful for the times things haven’t panned out exactly as I pictured. That being said, here are twenty bits of advice I can give to anyone who might be a little lost or need some inspiration.
1. Learn the difference between need & want. You need friends, hobbies and to stay hydrated. You (maybe) want a boyfriend, to live like something out of an episode of Sex & the City and at least 8 hours of sleep on the weekdays. They are not the same thing.
2. Forego the money in favor of memories. Money can buy happiness if we’re talking about that time you you had fro-yo for dinner with a friend who was having a hard week. A healthy savings account is nice but a healthy social life and true friends is nicer.
3. Take care of yourself. You’re the only one you have.
4. Wear things that make you proud. Sweatpants in public are not a cop-out unless you don’t feel worthy of the simple Men’s white shirt, jeans, and ballet flats thing. (In which case, allow me to prove you wrong…)
5. There can never be a more beautiful you. No, seriously. Do you understand what an amazing thing it is that there is no one in the world with your exact match of physical, emotional, intellectual, sitcom-loving (or hating) and beautiful set of traits? It’s rare. So rare. You are a diamond in the rough.
6. Realize the purpose of other people. Some people teach us how to be, some people teach us how not to be. What really matters is how you manage that.
7. You don’t know everything. Sure BB cream, Twitter and Groupon weren’t around for our Moms but they know a helluva lot more about iconic fashions firsthand, the injustice of pay equity and what life was like before everything was at the touch of an app. Shut up and listen once in a while. Or just don’t always argue.
8. You are right a lot of the time. Just consider that even though its true, it doesn’t mean you have to constantly flaunt it.
9. Boys play games. Some guys are going to be really gorgeous, really fun, seem to enjoy your company and abruptly stop texting you. Stop. Texting. Them. For whatever reason, they just can’t (handle you, tell you they’re falling for you, tell you they’re just not falling for you, they forgot how to text and so on…) Some guys are not like that. Those are the guys to wait for.
10. Buy yourself nice things. Whether it’s a manicure, and upgrade from your Razr phone, or a latte from Starbucks, you deserve it.
11. Go out on weeknights (sometimes). If something comes up and you get a sudden pang of F.O.M.O., go with it. Excuses happen, unforgettable memories happen less often.
12. Do something nice for __________. Share the love and adopt a pet, call your Dad or buy the coffee for the person behind you in line. You will make someone (or something) else’s day a lot brighter and there is nothing like knowing that you are responsible for that.
13. Read. The news, The Skimm, Bossypants by Tina Fey. Be aware of what’s going on in your world and care enough to be able to comment on it.
14. Know your limit. Some people can function at work after being at the bar until last call with a simple Red Bull and breakfast sandwich. I am 110% certain that I am not one of those people.
15. Get a hobby. Drinking coffee does not count. Just because you do it all the time does not mean it’s necessarily good for your soul. Do something that gets you up in the morning. (And again, I’m not talking about coffee.)
16. Try something new. Or just do something that scares you every so often. Order guacamole. Go wall climbing. Sign up for CrossFit (whatever it is). Challenge your own expectations.
17. Relax. One weekend, do absolutely nothing. Detox your brain and your social calendar, make a cup of tea and learn what your apartment sounds like when no one is moving around in it. It never hurts to fully recharge your batteries instead of constantly running at 80%.
18. Have a specialty. Know how to make something. Learn a recipe and practice it. It will impress your Mom, it will impress your friends and it will impress you. And with any luck, it will be delicious.
19. Eliminate people you used to call friends that you now no longer have anything in common with. And start spending more time with people you love to be around. Stretching yourself to have a meh time with people who don’t make you happy is most definitely a waste of time. And growing apart from friends is a thing and it happens. It’s okay.
20. And while you’re at it, do some general “spring cleaning” of your life. All those Sunday papers you hold onto because you definitely, maybe, absolutely will never ever try out any of those recipes for the dinner parties you dream of but have never once hosted should be thrown out if, for no other reason, to make room for all of the take-out menus you actually use instead of letting them get covered in soy sauce on the counter.
For more things I’ve learned along the way, follow me by subscribing to A City Girl’s Guide To Life, “like” my page on Facebook or follow me on Twitter. I’d love to hear your tips for surviving your twenties!