1. Drinking wine alone.
There may not be many perks to adulthood but this is indubitably one of them.
You’ve made it through the years of fake I.D.s, binge-drinking, nasty next-day hangovers and maybe even a period or two of sobriety.
Now that you’ve learned to (mostly) handle your liquor, you’re clear to enjoy it responsibly – that is, alone on your couch on a Thursday night, like an adult. Because you worked hard this week. And you deserve it.
2. Dating someone you don’t want to marry.
By twenty-four, your Facebook photo stream is nothing but a gallery of ring fingers with rocks nestled onto them. And while the pressure to find your soulmate is feeling realer than ever, it’s important to remember that you don’t have to find them tomorrow.
You still have time to date around. You still have time to get your heart broken. You still have time to go on bad Tinder dates, lament over ridiculous hookups and pursue the guy or girl who may not be the one, but who makes you pretty happy right now.
The more weight you put on finding ‘the one,’ the more your love life will balk under the pressure. So take the opportunity to chill out, move slowly and let whatever happens, happen. You have plenty of time left to find your future partner at twenty-four years.
3. Crying to your mom.
Just because you’re a full-blown adult – who may even have things like a job and their own apartment – you haven’t stopped being someone’s son or daughter. And you haven’t stopped needing support from the people who know you best.
It’s okay to have days where the world feels like too much. It’s okay to not have it together one hundred percent of the time. And it’s okay to still lean on family or friends who keep you afloat. They love you and they want to be there for you – the same way you’d be there for them in an instant if they needed it.
4. Spending too much on creature comforts.
So you binged on twenty-five dollar candles. So your living room looks like a pinterest board but your wallet took a beating to support it. And as frivolous as those purchases may seem in retrospect, it’s okay to make them now and then.
Because the thing about being twenty-four is that you’re transitioning between life phases. And you sometimes need to indulge in a few transitional objects to make yourself feel more like the adult that you are becoming.
5. Going out and getting 21st-birthday-style drunk.
You don’t have to be completely done having fun at twenty-four.
You may not hit up the dance floor as regularly as you used to, but there’s no shame in going out every now and then and living it up the way you used to when you were twenty-one and twenty-two.
You have real world responsibilities now, and with that comes real-world stress. The kind you need to blow off, in whatever way works for you.
6. Missing the hell out of your ex.
Navigating life gets lonely – that’s an indisputable fact, no matter how surrounded by loved ones you are. It’s tough to take on new phases of your life all alone, and it’s natural to miss the people who once took them on alongside us.
It’s not weak or pathetic or worrisome to find yourself missing your ex at twenty-four. It’s only human to miss who we’ve loved. And you have all the time on earth to move on.
7. Working a job just to get money.
It’s okay to not be working your dream job at twenty-four.
If you’re pulling in enough money to pay your own rent, make minimum payments on your student loans and keep your electricity from shutting off, you’re doing a whole lot better than most.
Be patient with your dreams and aspirations. You have a long career ahead of you to pursue them, and your pragmatism will serve you in the long run.
8. Spending your money on traveling.
If you’re eager and free enough to travel at twenty-four, your future self will thank you immensely for having done so. The experiences you collect will mean more to you than the dream house or car you could have purchased one year sooner had you stayed home and hoarded your paychecks.
Plus, you never know which commitments are suddenly going to pop up and keep you settled in one place. This may be the last chance you have to travel freely, for many years to come.
9. Staying home while everyone else is traveling.
Just as traveling is worthwhile and admirable if it’s what you truly want from your life, the same could be said of staying home.
While your Facebook feed is flooded with photos of your ex-pat friends in Asia, take pride in your own decisiveness and direction if you’d rather be at home advancing professionally. You’re old enough to make your own choices at twenty-four and you don’t have to hop on whichever bandwagon looks the most glamorous.
10. Experimenting with your identity.
There’s still so much time to figure out who you are at twenty-four. You aren’t chained to the identity you formed in college or high school or childhood, and you shouldn’t be ashamed to keep exploring yourself.
Dye your hair a strange color. Get a tattoo. Take up a new sport or new hobby. It’s never too late to start something new. You could be a whole new person by the time you hit twenty-six or seven.
11. Staying the hell in on a weekend night.
You can’t burn the candle at both ends and expect to somehow stay sane. You’re old enough and secure enough to know when you need a night in. And the last thing you should ever feel is guilty for cashing in on your right to have one.
12. Feeling ridiculously proud of yourself for small accomplishments.
For some, a monstrous promotion and pay raise is an accomplishment. For others, simply getting out of bed and taking a shower every morning is a feat.
Whatever it is that you’re proud of yourself for getting done, own that pride. You are your own best friend and advocate at twenty-four. And if you can’t celebrate your accomplishments, who else is going to?
13. Comparing yourself to others your age.
Comparisons can be unhealthy and damaging at worst – but they can also be perfectly normal.
If you’re occasionally measuring yourself up to the people around you and finding yourself coming up short, congratulations – you are a human being. You’re going to feel inadequate sometimes. You’re going to feel like everybody else is ahead. And the only thing worse than making comparisons between yourself and others is beating yourself up for doing so.
Comparisons are a natural part of life. And as long as you can accept that and take them with a grain of salt, you’re probably going to be just fine.
14. Allowing your friendships to change.
It’s normal to feel a tremendous amount of pressure to maintain old friendships at twenty-four. You’re in a new phase of life, but you don’t want to leave the people from your last phase behind.
But that doesn’t mean you have to break your back to keep something together. Seeing your friends a little less doesn’t mean you’ve stopped loving them. It just means you’re ready to love them differently – in a way that works better for both of you.
15. Asking for help at work.
It’s normal to feel as though you should suddenly know everything as soon as someone hands you a big-boy or big-girl job. But that’s an unrealistic expectation.
Refusing to ask for help only means that you’re limiting yourself and your potential. It’s okay to indulge in the expertise of others at twenty-four years old. Chances are, all of your superiors once did the exact same.
16. Ignoring everyone else’s advice for you.
Just as its useful to know when you need help at twenty-four, it’s also useful to know when the advice you’re being given isn’t helpful. Just because you’re at the bottom of the barrel professionally or personally doesn’t mean you don’t inherently know what’s best for you. And you owe it to yourself to follow that intuition above all else.
17. Trying the newest fad diet.
Don’t worry about being ‘that’ guy or girl. You’re learning what works for your body and that’s going to mean some trial and error along the way.
So you hop on board the kale craze or try out a new juice cleanse. Just because it’s overdone in the media doesn’t mean it’s not going to work for you. In fact, you’d be a fool to opt out of trying something you want to try solely because it is popular.
18. Skipping the gym now and then.
Fitness and health are important – but it’s no secret that you have a lot of competing priorities at twenty-four.
Sometimes you’re forced to sacrifice a bit of self-care to get ahead professionally and personally. And that’s okay. As long as you’re able to keep yourself on a health regime that works for you long-term, the odd skipped workout won’t kill you. So cut yourself some slack when you need it. You’re not doing yourself any favors by over-exerting yourself.
19. Saying ‘No’ to professional or personal commitments.
If you said yes to every social engagement, networking event, work project and familial commitment that you were invited to, you’d physically drop dead by the age of twenty-five. Learning when to strategically say ‘No’ is not just a suggestion for your twenty-fourth year of life – it’s a survival strategy.
20. Watching too much Netflix.
There’s always something more meaningful or important you could be doing with your life than watching TV. But sometimes you really just need to escape reality for several hours at a time. And that’s okay. You can’t be on you’re a-game 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You’re only human.
21. Still missing college sometimes.
Life as a young adult is exciting and invigorating and packed with new opportunities. But it’s also stressful and harried and seemingly impossible to navigate some days. And on those days, it’s okay to reminisce about simpler times. Missing the past doesn’t mean that you are not moving forward – it just means you’re able to appreciate the good times that you’ve had.
22. Making some selfish decisions.
You’re allowed to quit the job that is making your parents proud of you. You’re allowed to break up with the person who’s perfect on paper. You’re allowed to choose yourself, over and over and over again when you’re twenty-four years old. Because if you are not putting yourself first at this stage of life, nobody else is going to do it for you.
23. Still harboring pipe dreams about life and love and work.
You’re faced with a lot of harsh realities at twenty-four years old – but that doesn’t mean you have to let go of the ridiculously huge dreams that you’ve been harnessing since childhood.
If you’re not dreaming of bigger and better and more amazing things for yourself at twenty-four years, you’re probably doing something wrong. Because the only way to make those dreams come true is to keep adamantly subscribing to them.
24. Taking your damn time figuring things out.
If there’s anything you still have at twenty-four, it’s time. Time to try, time to fail, time to fall down and mess up and pick yourself back up, as many times as you still need to.
You don’t have to have your entire life figured out at twenty-four years old. You just have to be committed to trying your damnedest at getting there. And if you’re doing that, you’re going to be more than okay.