Your 20s are a major adventure in the grand scheme of life. They are the first years you truly enter adulthood without a safety net. You have to overcome a lot to figure out who you are and where you are going. It is one of the most confusing and exhilarating times in life, and it will be a period of time that allows you to define the person you will become. Decades ago, for most women, their lives came to abrupt halt in as they were pressured into marriage and motherhood. Many abandoned careers and interests to do what they thought they were supposed to be doing as a woman. Not anymore. Women are climbing career ladders, marrying later, and defining life on their own terms. Your twenties are your own to make mistakes, learn to get back up, and evolve as a person. Don’t think for a moment that you need to have it figured out or feel any kind of guilt when you see other peers so seemingly established. Adulthood lasts for the rest of your life so enjoy every last moment of being young. There is no need to rush into lifelong commitments or careers that make you miserable. Take this time to explore and discover what you want and life and the best path to lead you to the things you want.
20 Start a Fitness Routine
Women begin losing bone density in their twenties, and it only becomes harder to lose weight with age. Start a healthy routine now and make better nutritional choices. The longer you wait and the older you get, it will be harder to break bad habits. When you toss in a career, long term relationships, and potential children, trying to stay on top of your health often falls to the bottom of the list. Learn now how to take care of yourself and create a routine you will be able to stick to. Maintaining a healthy weight and eating right affects everything from your ability to focus to how you sleep. Learning to manage your time and responsibilities to allow you to care for yourself will give you the energy and stamina so you can give your all to only the most important things instead of spreading yourself in every direction. Take care of yourself first, and it will serve you well in all other aspects of your life.
Travel now and travel often! You may have less money right now, but you also have the most time and independence. There are thousands of blogs and tips out there to show you how to travel cheaply. Do your research and find a way to see all those things you have only dreamed about. Experiencing other cultures, people, and even just the obstacles that come along with traveling will give you a broader understanding of life in general. Being in a different setting where it might be difficult to communicate or get around will give you new insight into patience, kindness, and respect. You will have a whole lot more self reliance after navigating unfamiliar territory. Learning about new places through experience also makes for much more memorable knowledge. When you have personal ties to a place, it gives you first hand wisdom about its geography, people, and customs. Travel also opens your own internal lens. When you think of yourself in only the terms of where you are from it can be narrow. Seeing yourself in the scope of the world has a way changing how you see yourself.
18 Live on Your Own
Most women don’t ever live by themselves. It might sound lonely, but living by yourself will teach you a lot. Instead of living with roommates or a boyfriend, living on your own gives you the chance to be comfortable without being dependent on constant interaction from others. It will help you find a sense of peace within yourself and teach you how to be sociable in a different way. Living with others makes it easy to have a social life, but living on your own will require you to put forth effort. It will give you the opportunity to meet others outside your regular social circle and give you room to pursue self interests. Living alone means teaching yourself how to stay on schedule, manage your time, and find what you like to do without being influenced or dragged along by a roommate. Just living on your own will teach you a lot about yourself and maybe what you need to work on as an adult.
17 Charity Work
The best way to minimize the naivety of youth is through life experience. Until you can gather those experiences, being around people in need that are working through hardships can open your eyes. By offering your services to charities and volunteering, you will see the uglier side of life. When volunteering at homeless shelters, soup kitchens and the like, you will have a glimpse into a world you have never seen. It will open your eyes and your heart to the true hardships of life and the strength of the human spirit. Watching people struggle is heartbreaking and humbling. Witnessing such universal problems of humanity will help you appreciate what you have in your own life and the importance of giving help to others in need. Doing charity work will make you a more well rounded person that is aware of what happens in the world beyond your own reality.
16 Work on Your Career
Now is the time to start discovering what direction you want your career to take. It might mean that you hate the job field that you majored in or that you wish you would have gone to school. This is the best time to make those realizations and work to find a career that you find satisfying. Don’t hop from job to job hoping to find one that is perfect. Instead, explore why your job or career field is making you unhappy and work to understand what will truly make you feel satisfied. Is it the people you work with, the end result of your day to day work, or maybe you aren’t challenged enough? Whatever it may be, don’t blow off your unhappiness or quit. There is a difference between work and a career. Sometimes you have to toil away at a terrible job to figure out what you truly want to do. Think carefully about what you want from a career and take it step by step to reach your goals.
15 Read More
In our twenties is when most people have finished their schooling, and the first reaction is that they are finally free from learning! People want to toss the books and forget everything they have spent their life cramming in their head for quizzes, tests, and exams. Fight that feeling. Your twenties are when you should continue to learning anything and everything. Read constantly and read about a wide variety of topics. It will be beyond helpful as you embark upon your career and encounter new people. Having basic knowledge about many topics not only makes you more interesting and educated, but it allows you to connect with more people. As you go through life, you will come into contact with people from all walks of life. Don’t be caught off guard by issues you have never heard of or sound ignorant by being uninformed on current events. Make a good impression on people by being well read and confident in your worldly knowledge. It might just open an opportunity to you that you never expected.
14 Learn to Meditate
Contain that eye roll. This may sound like a waste of time, but meditation has been known to have a variety of health benefits. Those practicing meditation begin to have a better understanding of their body and how to control their emotions. It connects people with their body in a way that makes them more conscious of what they are feeling and why. Meditation heightens internal cues and allows people to learn to manage their reactions to stress. It serves as a relaxation technique and gives the mind a chance to let go of negative thoughts. By practicing meditation, the brain can relax and allow the body to relax as well. Meditative practices can become like second nature, like muscle memory and serve as soothing relaxation during moments of stress. This helps lower blood pressure and the risk of other diseases. In your twenties, people begin to experience new kinds of stresses from jobs, bills, new relationships, and by learning natural, healthy ways to control stress, it will help throughout life, giving you the chance to take on any obstacle.
13 Avoid Debt
Put that credit card down! One of the major mistakes people make in their twenties is racking up debt. That first real job with a salary makes people think it is a good idea to get a new car, buy a house, take out credit cards...Wrong! Just because you can afford the monthly payment doesn’t mean you should buy it. Do a little math and see what you will pay in interest to pay off that car or buy a whole new wardrobe. It isn’t worth it. You should be saving money, paying down student loans or other debt, and planning for future purchases. If you start charging away and taking out loans, it is easy to back yourself into a corner. If you had a major emergency that required money fast, could you afford it? If the answer is no, you need to work on your finances. Nothing says not ready for adulthood like having to borrow money from your parents because of your financial mismanagement.
12 Spend Time with Friends
Now is the time to enjoy the company of friends. Have them over for movie nights, go on mini vacations, go out together and take the time to really enjoy friendships. The older people become, the more responsibilities they amass, and the less time they have for friends. It is a fact of life that people drift and lose touch over time. Before you and your squad set out on your own paths, spend time together soaking in the uncomplicated ease of your twenties. Life may seem to have its challenges now, but it only grows more hectic with time. For most people, their twenties are one of the easiest times in life. Live it up now and make memories with your friends. If you take the time now to build strong friendships, the more likely you will be to stay in touch and continue your friendships through the ups and downs of life.
11 Get Outside Your Comfort Zone
Start trying things you would never usually consider. Dye your hair, try rock climbing, get a tattoo (or a piercing if a tattoo is too permanent), just explore life. If you don’t try new things, you might never experience a hidden passion or discover a hidden talent. Just putting yourself into new situations and learning to take risks will strengthen your confidence and help you find out who you are. People in their twenties so often think they know who they are, what they want, and how they feel about everything...that is until they actually start experiencing new situations in life. For as much as you think you know, sometimes there is no way of knowing how you truly feel until you are met head on with life decisions. It may be difficult and confusing to find that you still have so much to learn about yourself, but it is important to venture out of the familiar. If you stay in your comfort zone, you don’t grow, you don’t learn, you aren’t challenged, and you won’t ever really know who you are.
10 Right a Wrong You’ve Made
The thing about arriving into adulthood is that people often have a lot of epiphanies. The worst is realizing you were wrong about something major in your life. Whether it was how you treated your parents or what you did to a friend, when you gain some perspective and life experience, it can be painful to accept just how wrong you were. Instead of ignoring that guilt, fess up to it and offer an apology to the person or persons you have wronged. Part of becoming a gracious and honest adult is owning up to your failures and wrongdoings. People will respect you more when you prove that you care about others and the pain you have caused. It shows maturity and responsibility. It makes you trustworthy. By offering apologies, it will also strengthen relationships making them deeper and more meaningful. Accepting our shortcomings and acknowledging them is another path to understanding yourself and what you need to do to become the best version of yourself.
9 Start a Retirement Account
This is boring, I know, but also important. The longer you wait to start setting money aside, the harder it will become as you begin to accumulate more assets. As you begin paying back student loans, taking on rent, insurance, car payments...This list will just keep growing. If you don’t make it a habit to save money, it will hurt later. Even if you don’t start a traditional IRA or 401k, start a savings account and dedicate a percentage of your income each month to your savings. As you collect a larger balance, you can start considering how to invest your money in a way that makes sense for your retirement. It is when people live paycheck to paycheck that they begin to get into trouble and overstretch themselves until they are accumulating more and more debt. Start making responsible financial decisions as soon as possible. If you can’t pay for it outright, then you need to assess the importance and need of the purchase. Can you live without it? If the answer is yes, then don’t buy it.
There is no prize for the first person married in your group of friends. Don’t rush towards the altar. Give yourself plenty of time to date and explore other relationships. Marriage is supposed to last forever, and if you don’t know who you are, it will be difficult to create a stable relationship that can withstand time. People change drastically over the years, and it isn’t something many couples anticipate. New jobs, life events, big decisions all slowly change a couple, and it can lead two people in very different directions until they no longer know each other. It happens every day. Take this time to figure out you. Know who you are. Date other people to understand what you want in a companion. Don’t take marriage lightly and don’t feel pressure to get married when all your friends start tying the knot. Getting married isn’t for everyone. Do what is right for you, your life, and your relationship.
7 Get Comfortable in Your Own Skin
Now is the time to stop trying to live up to unrealistic stereotypes and comparing yourself to other women. Going through adolescence, it is easy to be affected by the constant barrage of media portrayals of women and feel pressure to look and act a certain way to get the attention of a romantic partner. In your twenties, people begin to move away from the mainstream expectations and define themselves in a way that reflects their true self. It is easier to be yourself the older you get. Your twenties are a major time of exploration and the perfect time to let go of ridiculous ideas about femininity, attractiveness and the female role within society. Stop concerning yourself with what people think of your looks. Learn to feel good just being you and enjoying life. People that concern themselves about your looks or criticize you for not being perfect, should have no room in your life. Be happy being you and remember to respect others that are just trying to be themselves too.
6 Listen to Your Elders
Younger generations always feel they know everything. It is hard not to feel that way when you step out into the world with a college degree and the confidence of a millennial. However, be sure to listen to the advice others have along the way. It won’t always be great advice, but many times it will. Older people have a lifetime of experience, and they have witnessed the constant change of incoming generations. They know much more than you think, and one day you will understand what it is like to watch naïve youth take on the world. Heed their warnings and consider the words they offer in hopes of helping you. As you embark on your career, you will continually come into contact with older generations. Be respectful and learn from them. They might not know how to use snap chat, but they understand the hardships of building a life. More importantly, the might be able to steer you away from a lot of those hardships.
5 Declutter Your Life
From time to time, it is important to do a complete overhaul of your life. Toss all the things you have lying around that no longer have a purpose. Clothes, papers, books, anything that doesn’t hold the same meaning they once did. People spend so much of their lives collecting things that don't really matter. Then, they develop strange connections to the inanimate objects that spill out of our drawers and closets causing chaos in daily life. Objects are just that...objects. By creating a well organized space in your home it makes day to day living easier. When you understand that it isn't objects that hold memories but you that remembers the important moments in your life, it will give you a different perspective. There is a very freeing sense when objects are unloaded. You no longer feel tied to the clutter that can affect your time, effort, and finances. Decluttering may also help you save money. Often, when people organize their living space and rid their life of what they don't use, they can see all the things they purchased and hardly, if ever, used. Seeing so much wasted money can be a wakeup call and teach you the importance of making wise purchases.
4 Learn to Appreciate People
As you scold yourself for picking up fast food because you are just too busy to make your own meals, you might suddenly find yourself missing the wonderful lunches and dinners your mother made all those years. Being on your own and having to do everything by yourself will make you realize how much others did for you. Learning to appreciate people will open you to a whole new sense of compassion and empathy. In this age of technology, people are moving further and further away from one another. It is crucial to maintain personal ties with people and connect on a deeper, meaningful level. Your personal relationships will be what carry you through the difficult obstacles of life. Be sure to nurture those relationships worthy of your time and commitment. Prove your loyalty to those closest to you, and create a support network within your life. In your 20s there is often a sense of false independence, and you feel like you don't need people as much. Friendships die out, boyfriends prove a waste of time, and you build a wall telling yourself that you can do it all on your own. That is fine to a certain extent. Just remember without others in our lives we have no one to share the best moments of life. Appreciate people and what they bring to your life.
3 Take a Spontaneous Road Trip
The road trip used to feel like a right of passage. It was a symbol of new freedoms and represented the wild adventure seeking nature of youth. There is nothing like getting in the car and driving for hours, days and wanting nothing more than to see new things. The action fills people with a sense of excitement and wanderlust that is hard to replicate. So much of life is spent in familiar settings doing the same tasks over and over. When people venture into new terrain, it sparks curiosity and engages the brain in a new way. It is exciting and anxiety inducing in a wonderfully fresh way especially if you have no idea where you are going on your trip. Let yourself indulge in the unknown and see what the world has to offer. You will spend a lot of your life planning and making sure to follow a schedule doing the same thing over and over and over. Take a trip and just let life happen. Follow the road wherever it may lead and give up control for a little while. You will have the rest of your life to take planned vacations and map out where you are going. Go ahead and get lost for a while. This kind of adventure can also create a strong bond with those you travel with or it can make you hate them. So if you decide to take a long road trip be sure to go with people you really like and know that you can tolerate for days on end in the car.
2 Do Something Daring
This will mean something different for everyone. Regardless of what you might find daring, pick something that you find exhilarating and go for it. Whether it is getting a tattoo or skydiving, give yourself an adrenaline rush. A wonderfully, terrifying experience can be inspiring, maybe even life changing. It is important to do the things in life that scare you. If you don't face your fears, you don't ever grow and change. Step up and challenge yourself to do something totally unlike you and out of the ordinary. It might just give you the strength and courage to go after a major goal or change your perspective on life. Testing your limits will allow you to understand what you want in life. People are often surprised at how much courage they have after doing something crazy. It shows you that you have much more strength than you once thought and that what seemed impossible really wasn't.
1 Understand that Happiness is a Choice
Most people will spend their life waiting. They are waiting for that thing that will make them feel accomplished, successful, worthy...happy. Stop waiting. Happiness must be a frame of mind. It must be an effort you make daily. No one thing is going to happen and suddenly make life wonderful. You may have moments and events where you feel joyful, but long lasting, true happiness is up to you. There will never be a time when obstacles, tragedies, or just general inconveniences completely cease. You have to learn to be happy even in those moments, especially in those moments. Focus on what is good in your life and constantly remind yourself of why you should be happy, right now. If you spend your life waiting for the next promotion, the wedding proposal, the next iPhone, you are going to be very unhappy. Choose to be happy. Refuse to let the bad in life bring you down because that will always be a constant. Part of happiness comes with being happy with yourself. You need to know who you are, accept what you aren't and be ok with it. Choose to keep growing and stay open to the world around you. Be present in life. Stop dwelling in the past or struggling to get to the future. Life is happening right now which means you have to enjoy it now before you wake up, and it is over.