22 Things I Discovered As A 22-Year Old

Flickr / Leo Hidalgo
Flickr / Leo Hidalgo

Being a 20-something in this day and age is no easy task as you are now forced into adulthood by all means necessary. Not only are all of the “fun” birthdays over, but, as most people will remind you over and over again, it’s all downhill from here. That’s not necessarily true as my 22nd year was one of the best years I can think of. I gained and lost friends, made some important self-discoveries, and learned more about life than I ever thought possible. Of course, I still have so much more to learn; however, I thought it crucial to share with you some tidbits of information to help you survive up until (and maybe past) that 22nd birthday.

  1. Life is not easy. The #1 and most important thing to remember as it may be the only thing you really need to know to get through those tough days. Everyone is fighting their own battle.
  2. Not only do you need to work hard for what you want, but you also have to want it more than anything else in the world. Anyone can work themselves to the bone and come up short of their true desires. It takes heart, soul and a whole lot of sweat and tears to get what you want. Earning something by not just working, but fighting for it, will be one of the most rewarding experiences you will have the opportunity to come by.
  3. Everyone is going to get engaged, married and have babies. This doesn’t mean that you should hop on that bandwagon, especially, if you aren’t even close to ready. Your time will come.
  4. Patience is a virtue…and a rare one at that. With the constant growth and technological expansions, the world moves fast and doesn’t wait for anyone. Learning to stand back, take a breath, and allow yourself to pause is crucial to maintaining your sanity. Also, be a person for others and stop rushing everyone. I’m sure they have enough naggers to push them through their days.
  5. People are mean—not everyone and not always, but most of the time they don’t care if you are having a bad day—suck it up and be an adult (you can eat ice cream and cry about it when you get home).
  6. Netflix is your friend…unless you have homework, then you must avoid it like the plague. Don’t worry, it will be right there waiting when you’re ready for it.
  7. People die. As harsh as it sounds, now that you are an “adult” you are going to start losing friends and even family to unexpected deaths or illnesses. It is now a very real and tangible thing that will continue to affect you for the rest of your life. Let yourself grieve, then dust yourself off, and (as cliché as it sounds) live life to the fullest.
  8. Friends are not always going to be lifelong. All those “peeps” you had in high school, or even college, will either move away and lose touch with you, or just stop working on the friendship. Life is constantly moving, ebbing and flowing, and sometimes we lose people in order to make room for bigger and better. Trust me, it’s not you, you don’t smell, this is just a part of life. Grow from it.
  9. Working sucks. Of course, I’ve known this since I started working full-time right out of high school, however, it’s even more excruciating as you get older (or of course, when you’re a college student). I cannot say this enough—if you have the opportunity to avoid work in your adolescence, do it. You have about 50 years of work ahead of you, enjoy your youth and do something you love. Life is too short.
  10. You don’t know everything. You probably don’t even know what you want to do with your life and despite what some people may tell you, that’s okay. Finding out who you are and who you want to be is all part of the journey, enjoy it.
  11. Family > everything. Friends, boyfriends, girlfriends and flings come and go. Stay true to yourself and spend time with the people who truly care about and love you. Of course, have fun and make memories with others, but don’t ever lose sight of where you came from and who you want to be. Family will keep you grounded (even though they might drive you to drink on multiple occasions).
  12. Just like money, time is valuable…unlike money, it cannot be earned or replaced. Spend it wisely.
  13. You will be broke for a lot of your life. Unless you were born into money, win the lottery, or miraculously find yourself suing your cable company for everything wrong that they do (and I mean everything), you are going to find that living paycheck to paycheck is just a fact of life.
  14. Don’t let a relationship rule, ruin or run you. Love is fun, emotional and endlessly surprising and sometimes you can’t help but fall so deep that you can’t find your way back to reality. For 7 long years, I let one boy tell me how I should live my life over and over again. Although I learned a lot from this failed relationship, I also lost time that could have been spend doing what I wanted and seeing the world. Unless you find someone that can keep up with you and have your back no matter what, it’s just best to stay single. Life is too short to be unhappy in love.
  15. Shopping is no longer fun. Unless you have money to blow, going shopping in your early 20’s is like dieting — you have to spend wisely, and don’t bring home anything that’s going to make you feel bad about yourself. Generally this means bargain shopping and no more malls. It’s like choosing to go to the all-natural or organic health food stores — more expensive and definitely not as flavorful.
  16. Fat likes you…a lot.It will attach itself to all sorts of places and hold on tight while it enjoys its unwelcome stay. You might find yourself having to get bigger clothes (or never wearing jeans again because no modern clothing designer knows how to make clothes for real women). And if you even dare try to get rid of the fat, it’s going to be a hell of a fight…don’t give up!
  17. Obsessing over your image is useless and disappointing. I’ve spent years unhappy with my body and have come up with nothing but grief over it. My time and energy is too precious to be wasted on worrying if my arms flap a little too much when I wave.
  18. Exercise is still important. Start early, get into a routine and stick to it. You’ll feel better and live longer because of it.
  19. Cooking is a money-saving chore that’s also kind of boring. Unless you have a whole day to plan, cooking for one person is not fun—cooking for two people is not much fun either. It’s even more excruciating if you have a limited diet of chicken and broccoli for most meals. If it’s been a long day, you have every excuse to go out to eat. Try new places, try new foods, f*** the haters and get dessert first.
  20. Apply for scholarships and grants like no other. There’s scholarships for just about anything and if you’re making the plunge to go (or go back) to school, make scholarship applications your priority. There is nothing better than having part of your tuition paid for and coming out almost debt free.
  21. Naps = life. Naps are a gift, take advantage of any time you have been allotted to nap. Need a pick-me-up, naps are great for that. And, studies show that they make you smarter! Just don’t let them take over your entire day. There’s nothing worse than a beautiful day gone to waste.
  22. Last, but not least, travel. In my few years as an adult I have not fulfilled this desire and it has left me unhappy, unsatisfied and feeling as if I am “stuck.” No matter what, MAKE the time to get out of town and screw that job that holds you back. #YOLO! Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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