27 Things Every Early 20-Something Needs To Hear Right Now


1. There will never be an age where you feel like you totally know what you’re doing. You will have days where you feel like Beyoncé and so sure that you’re absolutely flawless with you, yourself, and your life. And then you will have days where all you want to do is lay on the floor and say, “WHY!?!?!” over and over. It’s normal. If everyone felt totally sure of themselves all the time we wouldn’t have anything experimental or fresh ever, and we wouldn’t have permission to start over. And that would suck a lot.

2. Heartbreak happens to absolutely everyone. You will have your heartbroken, and it will make you want to die. But you’re not alone. Everyone has felt the sting of not being loved back in the way that you wish you were. Heartbreak is universal. It’s one of life’s great equalizers.

3. Even the person who you aspire to be like has cried in the shower at least once. Literally everyone feels like a fuck-up sometimes. So cry it out as often as you feel like you need to. It’s fine.

4. Doing your laundry is not as optional you think it is. Really though. That whole “sniff test” thing is only cute when Jessica Day does it on New Girl. You look and smell like a trash bag. Clean your clothes, clean your sheets, clean yourself. It’s the new ~ live laugh love ~ and you’re welcome.

5. Be a good tipper. Being a good tipper is not only something that should simply be common practice, but is a telltale sign that you are inherently a good person. If you can’t afford to tip, you can’t afford to eat out. And if you don’t WANT to tip? You have approximately 1 million more problems and need to seek help immediately.

6. You are too old to live in squalor. It’s not cute. Clean your house. Do your dishes. Don’t be all “lol it’s a mess i’m so quirky lol flies!!!1!” That’s disgusting. A clean life = a clean mind.

7. It’s perfectly normal to feel like you’re behind where you “thought you’d be by now.” It is very, very, VERY likely that you are not the person who you thought you’d be when you filled out one of those “Where I’ll Be By…” surveys in middle school. Life changes, plans change. And it’s normal to look outside of your own self and your own successes and feel like you’re not measuring up. But you are. You’re doing just fine.

8. Learn about finances now so you’re not the 27-year-old who doesn’t have a clue. Have a savings account, put money into it. Learn about retirement. Don’t live off of credit cards. Talking about money will always be #awkward but you owe it to yourself to do it. Future you will be glad you did.

9. Taking a second to tell your friends and family you love them is never a second wasted. The scary truth is you can never predict what will happen, and the idea of leaving things left unsaid is awful. Even if people know you love them, you still can make sure to tell them. No one hates hearing, “I love you.” So just say it.

10. There is never an expiration date on having a crazy night out. The only thing you’re too old for is ordering off of the kid’s menu. And even that’s debatable tbh.

11. But at a certain point, you probably don’t need to be doing shots on a Tuesday. Still, there comes a point where being irresponsible in the name of “life experience” becomes problematic and is honestly just giving people a reason to whisper about you when you’re not around. You can be fun and without being a complete hot mess, it’s possible I promise.

12. Life is too short to hang on to things that make you miserable. If you’re in a relationship you that doesn’t give you want you need, leave. If you’re in a career you hate, change it. If you feel taken advantage of by your friends, let them go. You are not a tree. You can move.

13. You owe it to yourself to learn to say, “No.” Try as you might, you can’t do everything. And aside from the millions of things that are going to come your way that you’re going to want to take a stab at, there will also be things that you have zero point zero interest in. So, this is why you absolutely have to learn to turn things down. Get comfortable declining things and doing so confidently. There is strength in being able to say no. (And no. Just not texting someone back is not the same as saying no. Get a backbone.)

14. Buy a good bed. Seriously just invest in a good bed. The average human being spends a total of over 200,000 hours, or 26 years, sleeping during their lifetime. And aside from sleeping there’s Netflix, sex, cuddling, reading in bed, lounging around on Sundays when you’re pretending Monday isn’t coming…all of these things that take place in your BED. Want to do that in a shitty bed or in a bed that’s amazing? That’s what I thought.

15. Volunteer. Or donate to charity. Just do something. You are likely very blessed and luckier than some other people. Give back. Go help people less fortunate than you. It will always make you feel good and, more importantly, make an impact on someone else’s life.

16. There’s more to life than your phone and your laptop and things that start with http://. Give yourself a break from the screens and the internet. Go outside. Remember what it was like to experience the outdoors and fresh air on random afternoons face to face contact with new people instead of meeting everyone on Tinder. Don’t ever lose touch with your ability to exist without being attached to something that requires a charger.

17. But it’s okay to be really stoked/thankful that we’re living in the digital age. We can connect with people in actual seconds even though they’re on another side of the Earth. That’s pretty incredible. We have more ways than ever to keep us close to the people we care about, new careers and fields advancing all the time, it’s undeniably impressive and we’re pretty lucky that we get to live during this time.

18. School lied to you, there is such a thing as a stupid question. If you can Google the answer or know it’s probably a waste of someone’s time to ask it, take care of it yourself. Harsh? Maybe. True? 100%.

19. There are going to be people in your life who go away, and you’ll never really get over it. They’ll come to mind when you least expect it, pop into dreams from time to time, or be the crack in your heart that never quite heals. It’s normal. And it’s okay to get sad when you hear a song play on the radio that reminds you of them and it’s even more okay to admit that weeks, months, even years later, you still miss them.

20. No one double spaces between their sentences anymore. So stop.

21. But they do expect you to proofread. We all have spellcheck, we all have access to free paper graders online. There’s simply no excuse.

22. Trust your gut, it’s the only thing that will ever be totally honest and have your best interests in mind. At the end of the day the only person you truly can count on is yourself. So if your heart and your gut are telling you something it’s probably a sign you should listen.

23. It costs absolutely nothing to be kind. Being mean or vindictive is easy. Literally it’s always the easier choice. And it’s an impulsive choice that almost everyone considers making at least initially. But the more mature choice and the choice that you will thank yourself for making in the long run is always the choice that involves kindness. Be remembered as the person who was empathetic, considerate, nice. Be remembered as the person who was kind.

24. There’s something to be said for learning how to be comfortable on your own. Learning to love yourself also means learning to be content when you’re alone. Learn to love your own company. Take yourself out on dates. Love the thoughts you have when there are no other opinions coming your way. You are all you’ve got. So love that you. You’re probably pretty wonderful.

25. Still, never shut people out. People need people. And people can only make that beautiful life you’ve created for yourself that you love so much even better. Don’t push people away.

26. There is absolutely, positively, no “right” way to be a 20-something. There are a million listicles, articles, books, inspirational quotes, advice podcasts, or just advice from people you know about how you should be living in your 20s. But you know what the truth of growing up and going through your 20s is? It’s that absolutely no one grows up and goes through their 20s the same way. And that’s FINE. Whatever you’re doing, however you’re living in your 20s is all a part of your journey. So keep doing your journey in exactly the way that feels right for you.

27. Everything’s going to be okay. You are going to have bad days, good days, amazing days, and days where getting out of bed feels impossible. You are going to fall in love with people who change your life and even strangers on the street. You are going to form lasting friendships and some are going to fall to pieces. You’re going to be disappointed and your going to disappoint people. You’re going to be a hot mess and you’re going to be more accomplished than you ever thought possible. You’re going to be a 20-something. And it’s all going to work out in the end. Thought Catalog Logo Mark


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