1. Drinking terrible alcohol.
There is a time for Mad Dog 20/20, and that time is before you are legally allowed to drink. We all know that drinking the really janky booze which costs less than a soda is only an efficient way to punch your liver and head repeatedly with metaphorical brass knuckles on. There is no hangover like a cheap wine hangover — it is the moment at which you literally consider suicide because no pain could be as great as the waves of nausea/throbbing which wash over you with the self-loathing of having put yourself in this position. Plus, no one in their 20s should be showing up at a party with a bottle of something which tastes like gasoline with Kool-Aid in it, that shit is just not classy. At least get a cheap beer if you have to, it can’t do as much damage.
2. 18 and over clubs.
If you have ever accidentally entered a club on 18 and over night, you know what it means to feel simultaneously incredibly out-of-place and bitter at the universe for having put you in this position. You just want to scream at everyone to get out because they’re not even old enough to be having fun, and you can’t even enjoy the sweet, sweet alcohol because you are too busy looking around at the whippersnappers with Xs on their hands who are sneaking sips of cocktails when no one is looking and swigging Deer Parks full of vodka in the bathroom. “You didn’t pay for that shit,” you cry out to no one in particular, wagging your cane angrily, “Go back to the Chuck E Cheese’s where you belong!”
3. Dating people who are terrible for you.
There are only so many times you can break up with the same dude who ignores your calls and treats you like you’re insane when you expect him to keep the dates he sets with you before you’re like “Fuck it, I’m just gonna date someone with a savings account who is nice to my mom.” That time better come in your 20s, otherwise you’re in for the world’s most rickety roller coaster of cuddle-less sex and disappointing conversations.
4. Having an unprofessional voicemail.
Perhaps it’s just me, but I know at least three people in my life who are ostensibly hot on the hunt for a job, and have an outgoing voicemail message that is either musical, incoherent, or a prank. Yes, I know someone in his mid-20s who has the “fake-out ‘Hello?'” voicemail. Not only should that dude not be surprised when no one wants to hire his childish ass, he deserves to toil in the fields of Building Character until he gets it properly instilled in him that a simple “You’ve reached blahblahblah” will do just fine. This isn’t open mic night at the comedy house — we’re just leaving a message. (I should take this moment to add that I have often considered changing my outgoing message to “I don’t even listen to these god DAMN,” so I may not have much room to criticize. But at least I’m not torturing my callers with my singing voice.)
5. Fetishizing gay men.
Not that this was cool at any age, but if you are a decent way into your 20s and still uttering phrases like “This is my gay husband!” or “Oh, that’s my gay friend!” or “I need a gay best friend to go shopping with!” or “I hope my son is gay!” you need to re-evaluate every life choice you have ever made which led you to this tragic, tragic point. Every time a straight girl treats a gay man like an overpriced accessory, an angel bursts into flames. The first step to being an adult, one would think, should be acknowledging that we’re all full-on human beings and not adorable facsimiles of one.
6. Not knowing your limits.
At a certain point we just kind of have to accept that drinking, partying, or going without sleep the way we used to is just not okay. It’s kind of cute when you’re just first getting into this whole “omg if I drink this I feel dizzy and weird” stage to not know where your limits are and wake up talking about how you you were so gone you don’t remember a thing, but that shouldn’t be happening the 100th time you go out. If you know that a certain drink or a certain amount gives you a life-changing hangover, don’t drink it. And if you know that you are going to go from “pleasantly buzzed” to “50 shades of blackout” if you keep doing shots, excuse yourself from this round. It might not be as fun, but it’ll be better in the long run.
7. Being bratty to your parents in public.
Are we all aware of how tacky it looks to be bratty/bitchy/rude with one’s parents when out in civilized society? Are we aware of how much more unfortunate it looks at the age of 25? Okay, then why do we all allow ourselves the occasional moment of being irrationally ungrateful/uncool with our forebears when we disagree with them in a store or restaurant or other public place, where they are likely even paying for our childish asses? Like this should not be an activity we engage in when we are old enough to drink and pay our own bills. There is truly no excuse.
8. Racking up bad credit.
We were all collectively hoodwinked into thinking that loans were just magical, pretend Monopoly money which would never come back to haunt us, and we did enough damage around the ages of 18-22. There is no reason to continue this horrible fate of screwing our future self with a flaming scroll of late payment notices. If there is something you want, and you can’t buy it, and you don’t absolutely need it — the last thing you should be doing is dipping into unnecessary credit when you’re already up to your ears in the stuff. We may have been raised by a generation of parents who put everything on a payment system, but that doesn’t mean we should be financing that adorable Marc Jacobs purse with what will end up being several hundred dollars of accrued interest. We should be smarter than this… hopefully.