I learned a lot in my 20s. I learned just how many calculus classes I could skip and still get a “C.” I learned how to survive a breakup and how to reconcile with a friend.
Thanks to three years of law school, I learned the rules of civil procedure and how to deal with a professor who uses the Socratic method. I learned how to get out of debt and how to nurse a baby. I learned how to fall in love and how to stay in love.
But there are a few things that I didn’t learn, but wish that I had. (In the interest of full disclosure, I should say that I’m now 30-something, though I’ve always been a bit of a slow learner.) Here’s what you should know about happiness in your 20s.
Cherish your friendships. You may never have friendships as strong or easy to maintain again.
Exercise so that you feel good, not so your body looks good.
Laugh at yourself.
Don’t feel guilty for buying the cheap wine. Or the expensive wine, for that matter.
Women aren’t your competition; they are your allies.
An authentic apology isn’t a sign of weakness, but a powerful act of courage and strength.
Ask for help now and then.
Stop calling yourself “fat.” Really, just stop.
Your parents might actually know what they’re talking about. Sometimes.
Just eat the damn cheesecake.
Comparisons to other people can destroy you; the only comparisons that you should make are to the woman you were, the woman you are, and the woman you want to be.
Do more kegels.
When in doubt, choose the sexy shoes over the comfortable ones. There will be plenty of time for comfortable shoes later on.
Treat people with respect — and expect nothing less in return.
Say “no” and mean it.
Feminism doesn’t mean feminine; it means equality. Wearing jewelry and makeup, taking your husband’s last name and getting manicures don’t make you any less of a feminist.
Don’t lose touch with your spirituality, even if you don’t go to church or know what you believe.
Surround yourself with people who allow you to be your best self.
Know the difference between tights, leggings and yoga pants.
Friendships are absolutely essential to your well-being. Make them as important as romantic relationships.
Find a gynecologist that you trust.
Changing your mind, attitude, beliefs or behavior doesn’t mean that you’re wishy-washy; it means that you’re thoughtful and evolving.
It’s OK to not know whether you want to be a mother. If you are a mother, it’s OK to not know whether you like being a mother all the time.
Enjoy this time in your life, but trust that the best is yet to come.
This post originally appeared at YourTango.