1. A job where you have to wear something nice. It used to be that you would avoid getting “dressed up” during the day at all costs, and would scuffle into class wearing all but a Hefty bag and some Ugg boots, but now you want to have a reason to shop at Banana Republic. You dream of a flawless statement-necklace-and-shift-dress combo.
2. Sangria. The phrase “I hear they have a good sangria here” has crossed your lips on more occasions than you’d like to admit.
3. At least a few hours of precious weekend time to browse home decorating websites, like West Elm or Restoration Hardware. Nothing quite like a cup of tea, a rainy afternoon, and some alone time with the SALE section of the tapered candle department.
4. Dinner parties. The whole idea of a dinner party — which used to seem tragically boring and prohibitively expensive — is now one of your top weekend activities. Dinner party drunk is one of the best kinds of drunk there is to be.
5. A hearty breakfast. You used to breeze past breakfast as a meal, remembering only around 11:30 that oh, right, you’re hungry and should probably eat something. But the classy and inexpensive cappuccino-for-breakfast life is no longer an option. You need eggs, you need whole grain toast, you need flax seed oil. It’s a whole production.
6. Bossa nova and/or classic jazz music that you can just bop along to in a chic way while you’re working at your desk.
7. A desk to work at. WHY HAS A DESK BECOME SUCH A THING. WHY DOES THE DESK SYMBOLIZE NEARLY EVERYTHING IMPORTANT IN YOUR MID-20s. WHY.
8. A decent amount of time to do everything. You used to just flutter in and out of activities with total abandon, and now if you don’t get at least 20 solid minutes of prep, you might as well not do it. 30 minutes at the gym is enough to get change, strech, shake off the cobwebs, take several big gulps of water, and figure out how to turn on the machine.
9. Friends who work in the same industry as you. If there’s one thing you like more than your job, it’s talking about your job at length with someone who gets it. You need to be having “professional” conversations, so everything feels like you’re getting work done even though you’re just complaining over mojitos.
10. Functional clothes to wear to weddings. One minute, you’re just buying dresses because you like them, the next you’re like “Is this blue too close to white? Would it show up the bride at all of the hypothetical weddings I’ll be wearing this to?”
11. Throw pillows. You want them on everything. You want them in all patterns, all colors, all fabrics. Throw pillows are an indicator of success and put-togetherness unmatched by any other animal in the home decor kingdom.
12. A blender. You have things to blend, and not-so-yummy vegetables whose flavor you must mask with extremely-yummy fruits!
13. Activities. All of a sudden you want to join classes? For things? That aren’t alcohol or working towards a degree? Who is this person in the 7:30 Afro Cardio group, who has to make it out in time for her book club, because you definitely don’t recognize her.
14. Yoga. You kind of just know you need to be doing yoga, and you frequently have that thought whenever something starts hurting of “Hey, yeah, I should probably take up yoga,” and all of your friends keep talking about yoga, and then, yeah. You’re doing yoga all of a sudden.
15. Someone to wake up next to. This one is kind of bleak, but at a certain point you go from wanting to dance the night away with whatever sea sponge happens to be stuck against the wall of the club, to just looking for some #MorningSpooning.
16. An iPad. Why does your brain suddenly think the classiest thing you could possibly do is pull an iPad out of your bag, stored in a leather case of course, to do something professional-looking on? Do you need an iPad? Of course you don’t. No human being has ever truly needed an iPad.
17. A calendar. All of a sudden, there is something really soothing about the idea of having a calendar that you have up on your wall, as well as a well-filled out Google Calendar that pleasantly gives you reminders all day. Calendars used to be the tool of The Man, and now you’re The Man.
18. Bottomless brunch. You hunt those deals down like a Russian spy, and if you and your girls find the place with the best quality-to-quantity ratio of Mimosas and/or Bloodies, you can bet that your asses will be planted there for four straight hours on Sunday.
19. A cute travel mug. Why should this matter? What does this say about you? Why do you want one so badly?
20. A good knowledge of wine bars. There is something so put-together and elegant about a good wine bar, and being able to just offhandedly say to someone “Oh, yeah, that place is great, and they do excellent pairings with their seasonal menu” is such a victory.
21. Routine. Above all, whether it’s the person you wake up with or the cup of herbal tea you go to sleep with, there is something that becomes so wonderful and, dare I say, sexy about slipping into a nice mid-20s routine. It makes you feel comfortable and like you’ve truly achieved something, even if it means you may have gotten a little boring. Maybe the best part, though, is that you no longer really think of “boring” as insult. Boring people get shit done.