Your late twenties is a gift. Seriously, you not only can legally rent a car now but you gain a whole new perspective on who you are and what you want to do in your life. I’m not talking like “win the lottery and tell your boss to suck it” type of perspective.
More like, “start looking into real estate and invest in your 401K ASAP” type of perspective. The decade long adventure that is your 20s will offer a lot of windows into the type of person you are becoming and what you will and will not stand for. Here’s my list of twelve things you can only learn in your 20s.
1. No One is Going to Love You Until You Love Yourself
Harsh, right? You can’t expect anyone else to pick you up from your own pity party of self-loathing. Start cutting yourself some slack when you look in the mirror. You are beautiful, inside and out, and until you see that no one else truly will either. And hurry up and crack this nut. Because you’re too fabulous to fly solo for long.
2. Learn how to budget
In your 20s you have legit responsibilities. Like ensuring that you live under a roof and not on the street (and your wardrobe is SO not portable). Chances are your current entry-level job doesn’t pay you the millions you deserve to answer those phones.
You have no choice but to make your paycheck stretch (like medieval torture style). Instead of crying about it in your chardonnay, Girl Up and find a budget you can stick to. You’ll thank me in a few years when you’re making it rain in your 30s.
3. Eat Better
You may be able to eat like a truck driver (and drink like a fish), but pretty soon those Breakfast Burritos are going to catch up with you in the way of hips, thighs and heartburn. Start learning how to eat better now, while you can still enjoy the coveted trans-fats that are in all things delicious. Add some steamed vegetables to your daily meals and try a green drink for breakfast once in awhile. You are living proof of whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. So for the love of all things holy, just eat some frickin’ broccoli.
4. Stop Dressing Like a Kid and Start Dressing Like the Adult You Want to Be
Sure, you looked really cute in your boyfriend’s rain boots and button down back in the day. And you totally pulled off wearing Converse with dresses when you were a non-conformist teen. But you’re not a teen anymore, and your style needs to reflect that.
So grow up and go shopping. Hit up the shoe boutique and buy some stylish wedges that show off those butt-kicking legs of yours. Channel your inner #girlboss for a fierce style makeover that has you feeling less Girl Meets World and more Scandal. Olivia Pope wouldn’t have it any other way.
5. Let Your Pores Up for Air
Like so many teens before you, you probably experienced the rude awakening of adolescence with a face full of Proactive hungry pimples. Hopefully your skin has “calmed down” by now (pretty sure they started it) but chances are you’re still nursing a blemish from time to time.
Take care of your skin now so that you don’t have to invest your hard earned cash in laser-treatment-scar-removal later. Wash off your makeup before bed (yes, even if you have a special grownup sleepover). Pick products that are right for your skin’s temperament and use an SPF and moisturizer every day. Still not getting the results you want? Don’t be afraid to consult a professional. You ain’t playin’ no more.
6. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
Easier said than done, but try not to let every little criticism or insult get you down. Take a page out of Elsa’s book and Let It Go whenever possible.
You may have all of the excuses as to why you shouldn’t, but none of that matters. Travel now and travel often. As you get further along in your career and hit more “milestones” it becomes harder and harder to find the time – or justify the money – for trips that are just for you.
8. Pick Good Friends
Surround yourself with good people that have your best interests at heart. If your so-called “friends” are creating drama and thriving amongst the fallout then cut them loose. It’s only a matter of time before you get put in the middle of that train wreck (and you are so not cut out for hot mess station).
9. Trust Your Instincts
Your spidey sense is always on and you need to start listening to it. It’s especially good on first dates and job interviews (two things you’ll be doing lots of in your 20s).
10. Outsource Your Ladyscaping
If you have the extra $$ to spare it’s totally worth it to let someone else groom you. Whether waxing, laser or sugar scrub, let a professional esthetician take the lead on how your downstairs maintenance is shaping up. It takes one thing off of your otherwise busy plate and boosts your confidence when deciding whether or not you’ll be swiping left or right this weekend.
11. Don’t Always Stay Where It’s Comfortable
You’re too young to say No to trying new things. You don’t have the fear of breaking a hip or losing the farm so go ahead and take a few risks. Step outside of your comfort zone and challenge yourself. Maybe you’ll like skydiving. Maybe Indian food IS a part of your palette pleasure zone. Don’t get me wrong, you’ll still hate some of the things you try (hot yoga, I’m looking at you) but at least you won’t feel boring.
12. Don’t Forget Where You Came From
Being on your own for the first time is exhilarating and you deserve to make the most of it. Nobody wants to turn into their parents, but you shouldn’t be so quick to leave them in your dust either. Visit home whenever possible and stop looking at your parents as “the man keeping you down” and start appreciating them for the life experience they’ve been trying to force down your throat since you could talk. After all, they’ve been adults a lot longer than you and they probably have a couple of tips (except I’m pretty sure they won’t agree with #10).