20 Things to do in your 20’s

If you actually talk to me on a regular basis in real life (as opposed to internet life), then we’ve most likely had the “the year after college is the craziest year everrr” conversation. If not, then let me tell you–the first year after you graduate college really is a pivotal year in your life. You’re going to find out a lot about who you are and what you want out of life. Many people move back in with their parents and realize they are comfortable with the life they have lead in their respective hometown and plan to stay there for a while. Others get married and begin to share a life with someone else. Some people move as far away from home as they possibly can, and begin to really explore being independent. Many people will realize they hate what they went to school for and want to pursue another degree in something different. For others, their life will become their job. For some, their relationship will become their life. There are many things I’m leaving out, but you get the point–you begin to really explore who you are outside of the planned comfort of what was to be your life up until this age. The rest is what you make it.

I’ve compiled a list (can you tell I like making lists?) of 20 things I think every 20-something should do during this decade of life (IMO). I think it’s actually really good, so you should probably do them all.

  1. Learn how to live by yourself. Learn how to run a dishwasher, change the oil in your car, and assemble a bed frame from Ikea. You don’t actually have to live by yourself to do this, but there’s a good chance that sometime in the next 70 years of your life you will in fact be living by yourself, and I think it’s more socially acceptable to accidentally add bleach to your red load at 23 than at 83.
  2. Move somewhere that you haven’t lived yet. This could be drastic or not. You could move to a different city or country–or you could move out from your parents’ basement. You learn a lot about yourself by getting out of your comfort zone.
  3. Learn how to change a spare tire. That is, if you live somewhere you drive a car. If not, learn how to shoot a gun. If not that either, I don’t know, learn how to change a diaper. Basically, just learn how to do something that will feed your confidence and make you feel a little more self-sufficient.
  4. Stay awake all night & watch the sunrise. Self-explanatory, no?
  5. Learn how to be financially independent. Because there is no greater feeling in the world than being able to support yourself.
  6. Know how to stick to a budget. Create a monthly budget and stick to it. Know where your money is going, and if there are any things you can cut out of your day-to-day life (so you can start saving).
  7. Start saving, if you can. This is apparently important down the road. If you have the resources, open that 401k now. It’s an investment in your future (so I’m told).
  8. Make peace with old feuds from your past. It can be done verbally, or just in your own mind. Moving on comes with maturity, and now is the time to forgive and forget the things that typically don’t matter anymore in your present life.
  9. Appreciate your family. This is imperative. Look back on all of the times your parents were right–it was all the time. No one has as much of a vested interest in you as your parents (usually), so listen to their advice. They raised you, so they know how to do at least one thing right (usually).
  10. Be in a real relationship. Introduce someone to your parents. Sleep over at his or her house/apartment for days on end. Pick fights about money and have amazing makeup sex. Learn the feeling of committing yourself to one person, and maybe the feeling of getting your heart broken–or breaking someone else’s.
  11. Go on lots of dates. Go on all of those really fun, exciting dates that no one would be caught dead on after they’re 30.
  12. Have a lot of sex. Buy a position-a-day calendar and actually do it. Have hate sex, breakup sex, ‘I love you’ sex, ‘thanks for buying me chocolate ice cream’ sex, drunken sex, morning sex, phone sex, reunion sex, maybe even some bad sex. Have one partner or many (just use protection!). Also (yes, I’m going to say it), have an orgasm. I’m talking to you, ladies. ‘Nuff said.
  13. Think about settling down. You don’t have to do it! But think about it. Think about the characteristics you want in a partner. Write them down and settle for no less. You shouldn’t be forced into settling for anything less than what you want/deserve, especially when it comes to matters as permanent as marriage and kids. But, start to know what you’re looking for so when you find it, you can actively pursue.
  14. Know that trial and error in the job world is a valid strategy. If you hate what you’re doing, do something else. Lather, rinse, repeat.
  15. Put yourself out there at least once a day. Ask someone on a date. Take charge of a project at work. Ask for a raise. You never get ahead in the game without challenging yourself, and you never know if you don’t ask.
  16. Continue your education. Maybe this means going to college, trade school, grad school or medical school. Maybe this means reading the paper each morning. Whatever your personal take, never use “but I’ve already graduated high school/college/etc.” as an excuse to stop learning.
  17. Keep in touch with your friends. It’s really hard when your friends are spread out throughout the United States, but strive to do this. If my grandma kept in touch with a friend who lived 6 states away her entire life without the help of texting or the internet, there’s really no excuse that we can’t stay in touch in 2012.
  18. Figure out exactly what you believe in and practice that faith. Do some online research. Read the Bible. Read the Qur’an. Go to Temple. Go to Mass. Sooner or later, your grandparents are going to get sick, and having a solid backing of faith really will put your mind at ease.
  19. Appreciate your body. It might not be perfect, but your body isn’t going to get any better than what it is right now, so why not enjoy it?
  20. Be happy. Everyday, just do whatever it is that makes you happy. Because life is too short to be anything else

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