1. If you think you’re getting a great housing deal, do some investigating.
Why is the spacious bedroom with a walk-in closet in a historic row home in a super convenient and trendy location so cheap? Could it be because there’s no working refrigerator, one shower for six people, and working WiFi only about an hour every other day?
2. Let go of your expectations of your friends.
Everyone is suddenly having to grow up super fast, paying rent and working five days a week and adjusting to Adult Responsibilities. A year out of college, you aren’t going to be the same person who walked across the stage at graduation. Neither are your friends. Let them be. Watch them grow. Love them even if you don’t feel like they’re being good to you all the time, they’re probably just having a silent quarter-life-crisis about how they’re possibly going to make their student loan payment this month.
3. Find something you love to do alone.
No matter how many of your sorority sisters live in your city, or how much you love spending time with the Person of Your Dreams who you’re now moving in with, adulthood is lonely. It just is. So find an activity that you love doing by yourself, whether it’s yoga, reading surrounded by scented candles, taking a bubble bath with a cup of herbal tea, training for a marathon, solo hikes, or exploring museums. Make sure you can put yourself in an awesome mood or decompress from a hard week without needing to meet up with friends for a margarita or five.
4. Find friends who you can meet up with for a margarita or five.
Or if drinking isn’t really your jam, find friends who are into whatever you find fun. A lot of cities have kickball and other social sports that are really just about twenty-somethings getting together and drinking, so that’s a good place to start if you’ve moved somewhere that you don’t know anyone.
5. Remember that life is not a race.
Share in your friends’ joys and accomplishments, but don’t use them as yardsticks to measure against your own. Tons of us still don’t know what we want to be when we grow up. You don’t need to have a career in your sights or be dating Mr./Ms. Right yet. You have literally a lifetime left to find yourself; just enjoy wherever you’re at now.
6. If you’re into social media, take it with a huge grain of salt.
Remember that you’re only seeing the highlights there and don’t let anything you see on Facebook or Instagram cause you to draw any conclusions about your own life. A quick anecdote to illustrate my point: I had a completely miserable New Years’ last year. My boyfriend had just moved across the country and I missed him like crazy. I had been the only junior level associate in the office for the past two weeks, because I had already used up my vacation time and couldn’t take off around the holidays like the rest of the research staff did. I ended up going home sobbing at 12:01am. The only trace of that night on social media? A picture of me wearing a New Years tiara, beaming, in my favorite bar surrounded by equally happy and dressed up girls.
7. Be kind.
People remember kindness. The twenties are a self-absorbed time, and the advent of social media has exacerbated that. Be kind every chance you get. Your coworkers will appreciate it, your bosses will notice it, and your friends will pay you back with more kindness.