101 Things Every 20-Something Realizes In Their 20s


Your 20s are an age where you settle in and get comfortable with who you really are. It’s a decade of exploration, self-actualization, and growth.

Since lists about being in your 20s is the Internet’s No. 1 pastime, I’ve created a list of 101 absolutely true things every 20-something realizes while riding the boat through the best decade (…to date) of their life.

1. Confidence is not cockiness.

2. Self-reflection is a sign of maturity.

3. Waking up early is important if you want to be a functional member of society.

4. … But sleeping in on weekends is precious.

5. Although you don’t see each other nearly as much as you’d like to, friends from back in the day are still pretty important.

6. Discretion is the better part of valor… Especially in Tweets, Facebook updates, and text messages.

7. Your SAT score didn’t determine your destiny. You did.

8. Your grade in that college class didn’t matter.

9. There’s something you probably suck at.

10. Anyone who passes judgement about your choice of college or college major is being a prick.

11. Plan B is usually Plan A.

12. Opinions are like assholes: Everyone has them, but that doesn’t mean they’re good or you have to follow them.

13. Dreams are great, but there’s no need for you to become a douchebag in pursuit of them.

14. Booze is awesome.

15. …But its power deserves to be respected, if not feared.

House Of Cards
House Of Cards

16. Even Frank Sinatra had regrets and he did it his way. Regrets imply self-awareness.

17. Anyone who claims they’re in “the friendzone” or genuinely cares about “getting out of the friendzone” has a lot of maturing to do.

18. Judging people for personal choices like getting married, having babies, or career changes is really stupid. Live your own damn life.

19. Instagram is a lot better when you use it to take pictures of people, not things.

20. Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) really isn’t important to your personal life. In fact, it only really applies to critically acclaimed mass cultural events such as can’t-miss epic TV shows that must be binge-watched in one sitting.

21. Enough sleep + hydration + food = The Ultimate Hangover Cure.

22. The music your parents listened to is kind of awesome.

23. Padding your resume is never a good idea.

24. If you don’t have to do it every day, dressing up in a nice suit and tie feels great.

25. Spending money on the things that separate you from the ground is worth the investment: Shoes, tires, bed, etc…

26. The most important things you’ll ever learn will come from people with different points of view than your own.

27. Intelligence is not a dick measuring contest.

28. “Personal Brand” is a bullshit buzzword made up by PR flacks and social media marketing professionals who stare at Facebook/Twitter all day. Just be yourself.

29. Who you were in high school? Hahahahahahahahahahaha.

30. There is ALWAYS an appropriate time to leave a social situation.

Curb Your Enthusiasm
Curb Your Enthusiasm

31. Compliments go a long way, as does constructive criticism.

32. … But remember, some people don’t listen to criticism.

33. … And sometimes it’s OK to not accept criticism.

34. Your favorite sports teams are inherited, not chosen.

35. Quoting lines from movies with other people is the ultimate social currency.

36. Discussions revolving around musical tastes are the most subjective thing in the world.

37. There’s nothing wrong with staying out until after 3 a.m. every now and then.

38. Careers can be stressful.

39. … And rewarding.

40. Relationships can be stressful.

41. … And ultimately the most rewarding.

42. A $1 slice of pizza only tastes good in college, doused in ranch dressing. $2.50 for a slice is normal, not a splurge.

43. If you’re on the fence, going out is usually worth it vs. staying in.

44. … But there’s nothing wrong with staying in.

45. It’s very easy to avoid shallow people.

Mean Girls
Mean Girls

46. Very few people are actually “influencers.”

47. The end of college is not the end of the world, nor the end of fun.

48. Vote in local elections. A wise man once said “Politics is the art of controlling your environment.” In America, your vote at the community level for a school board member/county commissioner/sheriff/mayor matters. Otherwise, don’t complain.

49. The music you listened to in high school was actually pretty awesome.

50. Channeling anger into physical exercise or creativity is the most productive and proactive way to blow off steam.

51. Connecting with old friends, teachers, and acquaintances over social media pays off.

52. There are many ways to #YOLO without calling it #YOLO.

53. Jealousy is a weak, fleeting emotion. If you’re not transforming jealousy into empowerment almost instantaneously, you’re just being petty.

54. Not dancing is pretty lame, no matter how bad your moves are.

55. Have a mentor and be a mentor, because teaching someone something feels great.

56. Caring about college too much after graduating makes you look like a Peter Pan. Time to grow up.

57. The ability to negotiate is a valuable skill.

58. Paying for Netflix > BitTorrent

59. “Too old for this shit” is an excuse.

60. Weddings will drain your bank account and eat up your weekends, but when you’re there reconnecting with old friends, they’re worth every penny.

Hot Tub Time Machine
Hot Tub Time Machine

61. Disgusting bathrooms are the ultimate mood-killer.

62. Never pass up an open bar, but don’t underestimate its potency.

63. No one is the voice of a generation.

64. No matter how flashy and new your device is, you’ll never get the full experience from a glowing LED screen.

65. Grad school is not an excuse to delay the inevitable.

66. You feel a lot better about yourself if you eat at least one green food a day.

67. Older generations will always pass judgement about younger generations.

68. Stop talking about traveling and just fucking do it already.

69. A walk is the best way to cool off.

70. Alone time should be cherished.

71. Money says nothing about your character.

72. Collecting experiences is more valuable than collecting things.

73. There’s no point in putting your time and energy into activities you get no enjoyment out of, especially in your free time.

74. Everybody gets laid. Although vaguely interesting, your hook-up stories are not that special.

75. Listen.


76. Empathize.

77. The things you enjoy are not your lifestyle.

78. Gossip is stupid.

79. Talk to strangers on public transportation (planes, trains, buses, etc).

80. Genuinely thanking people is pretty important.

81. Confusion is usually the result of not asking enough questions.

82. Apathy is a disease that’s best cured by giving a shit about something.

83. Vacation days are a luxury meant to be used.

84. If you’ve ever experienced what it’s like to not have health insurance, having health insurance is great.

85. Nothing in the media is worth getting angry over.

86. There is other content on the Internet worth sharing on Facebook than lists with GIFs. (Except for this one.)

87. Sometimes a hotel room with a clean bed and a hot shower is a lot more comfortable than pitching a tent in a muddy field.

88. The financial responsibilities that come with being a functioning, independent adult must be taken seriously.

89. Surfing eBay after a night at the bar is a horrible idea.

90. Routine isn’t a bad thing.

Pineapple Express
Pineapple Express

91. All-you-can-eat sushi sucks.

92. Nothing tastes better than a beer bought by a friend.

93. Nothing feels better than buying drinks for a friend.

94. Flaking on commitments makes you a flake.

95. The best results always come from being straightforward.

96. There are varying degrees to how one reacts to a mistake.

97. What you are isn’t who you are.

98. Your generation is not special.

99. There’s never an excuse to be bored.

100. A little humility goes a long way.

101. Do your best. Everyone else is winging it too. That’s okay. Thought Catalog Logo Mark


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