1. Finding something you’re truly passionate about. Something that makes you excited, that gets your heart racing. Something that makes you happier and feel fuller every time you do it.
2. Getting comfortable with yourself. People who live full lives are able to be by themselves without feeling awkward or uncomfortable, because they can be their own best company. You don’t have to be a loner, you just have to love yourself.
3. Learning how to manage your own finances. It’s okay to ask for help, but being able to manage your money confidently is important. Knowing where you money is going and having a clear set plan for your financial future is huge, and not something to shrug off for later.
4. Gaining the ability to say you’re sorry, and mean it. Recognize when you’re wrong, recognize when you owe someone that sorry. And be able to say it from the heart, rather than just because you know it’s what they want to hear or (even worse) avoiding it in the name of “just wanting things to blow over.”
5. Finishing things once you start them. There’s nothing more frustrating or unfulfilling than starting something, only to see it to about 54% and then dropping it. It’s okay to realize that something’s not your jam, but it’s not okay to be constantly living your life with unfinished things lingering in the corners. Finish what you start, and then decide where to go after.
6. Taking care of yourself wholly and completely. Eat well, exercise, get enough sleep. You only have one body, and it deserves some attention.
7. But still be able to let your hair down. Still, you’re allowed to blow off steam. You’re allowed to go make memories and have fun time. Just don’t let the fun times spin you out of control and into someone who you’re not proud of when you’re sober.
8. Figuring out how to zen out. We live in the age of “too busy” and “so stressed.” It can be so easy to let the anxiety of the digital age and the pressures from your day to day become too much. So find a way to zen out, to get calm, to lessen that stress. Maybe it’s meditation or taking a bath or just watching a few episodes of Stranger Things at the end of the day. But find what works for you so you’re not all tense all the time.
9. Learning how to laugh at yourself. Life is too short to take everything so seriously. You are probably just as ridiculous as everyone and you need to learn to lighten the eff up.
10. Moving somewhere new. Maybe it’s just to a new apartment that better suits you or maybe it’s across the country and far from everything you’ve ever known. But stretching your wings and allowing yourself to get a fresh start is almost always going to be a good thing.
11. Learning to cook for yourself. Even if it’s one meal, one dish. Being able to cook and not order takeout every night is definitely an accomplishment.
12. Keeping in touch with your friends. The truth is that after high school and college, people are going to go their separate ways. So it’s up to you to keep the bond no matter the number of miles between you. Get good at writing letters, sending birthday cards, even just a text to say, “I miss you.” Don’t let distance be the cause of friendships fizzling.
13. Reading more. You probably haven’t read an entire book in way too long. You’ve probably read in 5 minutes at a screen more often than you’ve turned a page. Change that. Absorb literature, memoirs, other people’s words. It will ALWAYS enhance your life in some way.
14. Moving up the ladder at work. Don’t just punch a timecard or count down the hours until you can go home. Find a career that excites you and that growing with and into excites you. You spend enough time working, you might as well enjoy it.
15. Getting closure that you need. Maybe it’s with an ex or with a friend who you had a falling out with and never said somethings to. Getting closure will put your mind at ease and make sleeping at night way easier. And honestly? That other person probably wants it too.
16. Keeping a plant alive. Congratulations, it’s surprising hard.
17. Making peace with your body. Being able to look at yourself naked in the mirror and say, “Damn.” instead of picking at all of your supposed flaws is HARD. But it’s so so so worth it. And plus, you’re probably already more beautiful than you give yourself credit for and deserve to make peace with a body that’s no one’s but your own.
18. Identifying and challenging one of your fears head on. You don’t have to become a professional sky diver if you’re afraid of heights, but going on a rollercoaster might not be so bad. Taking control over your fears takes away their power and makes you more in control of your life as a whole.
19. Learning to fail brilliantly. This doesn’t mean being a massive screw-up; it just means not being afraid of rejection, of those screw ups, of failing. All a fear of failure instills is a fear of trying. And harboring a fear of trying is a surefire way to have an unspoken fear of living.
20. Changing something about yourself that you’ve always wanted to change. Maybe it’s your hair color or your glasses, or maybe it’s deeper and it’s how you always flake on plans or never call your parents. Identify one of your flaws or something that’s always bugged you, and just change it. You can do it.
21. Letting go of things that only hold you back. Maybe it’s a past relationship, or someone who hurt you, or a rejection you’re struggling to get over. But letting go is without question something we have to do, and something that will ultimately open up our lives to something more. Something better.
22. Making friends with someone as an adult. Making friends outside of college is HARD. It’s hard to meet people, it’s hard to coordinate, it’s just freakin’ hard. So making a new friend in your 20s when there isn’t a class or a dorm connecting you is absolutely an accomplishment.
23. Taking a vacation just for you. Not planning it around a holiday or your family or what have you. Planning it entirely for yourself and doing what YOU want to do will be the best thing ever, and you’ll absolutely love it.
24. Being able to independently do things as an adult. Like your taxes, and paying bills, and your laundry. Learn to live without calling your parents every 30 seconds. It’s a good thing and they’ll be happy to know that you can live on your own without potentially exploding.
25. But still being able to admit when you need help. Still, people like to be needed and like to help. Rather than doing something on your own just because you “think you should” know when to say, “I definitely do not got this,” and ask for help. It will likely save you a lot of headaches and stress.
26. Learning to stop sweating the small stuff. At least half of the things you’re probably worried about aren’t actually that big of a deal. Learn what problems deserve your attention and what problems to just say, “Whatever.” about. Your life will be better for it.
27. Deciding to make your 20s (and your life) absolutely awesome. And then doing it.