1.) Nourish your body.
There is a reason for the “freshman 15.” If you’re in your first year at college or you’re new to your job, you tend to eat all the junk food you want. Whether you hoard it in your dorm room or at your desk, scarf it down in the dining hall, or have grown accustomed to late night pizza runs after a night of drinking, it is readily available. There is no judgment here. Indulge, but in moderation — finding ways to balance out your diet and try to eat on schedule rather than erratic hours.
2.) Respect your body.
Your body will treat you the way you treat it. When you’re tired, sleep. When you’re hungry, eat. When you’re sick, rest. When you want someone to give you affection, take a moment to think about if it’s going to leave you feeling good or pained. If you choose to alter your physical appearance, consider the degree of permanence.
3.) Enjoy your body.
Your shape, size, height, weight, complexion, and features are uniquely yours. There will always be someone that is more visually appealing or less, but there is no need for comparison. Own what is yours. For all the times you beat yourself up in front of the mirror, try to replace the looks of horror with gentle glances of acceptance.
4.) Only give your body to those who deserve it.
Before you decide to give a complete stranger, a random hook-up, or the love of your life the keys to the castle, remember that once they enter, they leave their mark inside of you. You may end up with fragments of shattered glass due to their careless ways, unwanted visitors that you can’t seem to get rid of, or a companion in which you both have found the crown jewels.
5.) Make yourself aware of current events.
In a time of global crisis such as wars, terrorism, crashing economies, and high unemployment rates, day by day bombardment of news stories bring awareness of human suffering. Although what is happening in the world around you may or may not have a direct impact, it’s important to stay in touch with reality for your personal knowledge and when in conversation with others — both personally and professionally. You are a living part of the world, take ownership of your place here.
6.) Acknowledge your current reality.
You may find yourself in an ideal living situation or one that is dreadful. You may have got accepted in the graduate school of your choice or rejected from it. Maybe you’ve landed your dream job or perhaps despise the one that you have. Whatever the case may be, know that life is always in flux and things change. By accepting your current reality, you can navigate your future plans with more ease.
7.) Don’t assume anybody else can tell you what you are and are not capable of.
Only you know and are learning about your potential, capabilities, strengths, and weaknesses. It is not for anyone else to say if and when you will or won’t succeed. Too many times people project their fears onto us leaving us afraid and doubtful as well. Your story and experiences are unique to you — don’t give others the power to make you feel unworthy.
8.) Sign up for a study abroad program, save up money and travel, or move to a different location.
The world is ready for you to conquer. It awaits your footprints, eyes, and mind to take it all in. You are young, vibrant, and have more flexibility and fewer commitments. One of your best life lessons is learning how to be a citizen of the world.
9.) Study hard, work hard, and play (relatively) hard.
After finding yourself buried under textbooks, research papers, or trying to close your first big deal in the office, you are working hard and your efforts deserve some praise. Allow yourself an activity, a pleasure, an interest, a night out, or a dinner and drinks with friends to decompress and enjoy the fruits of your labor. You’ve worked for it, you deserve it.
10.) Stop worrying about whether or not he thinks you’re pretty or she thinks you’re funny. You can’t live your life waiting for someone else to enjoy you.
All of the agony yet all of the excitement of navigating the “game” of crushes, casual dating, hook-ups, and relationships expends more time and energy then probably anything else that you do or think about. Try to remember that the other person you’re involved with has his/her own history too. Whether they break your heart or build you a new one, relationships give you the opportunity to learn about and clarify what it is you want and don’t want shaping your present and preparing you for future romantic success.
11.) Obsessive and long talks with friends are not going to resolve whatever is causing you difficulty — but they will waste your time with a vortex of negativity.
So often it’s easier to look to others for guidance, and support. There is value to seeking trusted advice from others who have you in their best interest, but there is also another reality. Your friends are just as lost and confused as you. They may also have misguided information based upon their life experiences or lack there of that you tend to believe in desperation, but it isn’t even applicable to your story.
12.) Choose your circle of friends and acquaintances wisely, and don’t be afraid to make alterations as necessary.
Although it sounds like an old wives’ tale, that who you associate with is a reflection of you, actually has some solid truth. If you’re surrounded by people who make you feel bad about yourself, you don’t have to stick around and take it anymore. Or if you feel alone in a large group rather than connected, it’s ok to downsize. Social life is important for human exchange, but it’s also your choice — how much or how little you decide to partake in it and with whom.
13.) It’s ok to be scared, lost, and confused. In fact, the only thing that will cause you stress is believing anybody isn’t that way.
You may feel completely hopeless at times with so many questions in your mind and have no idea how the answers will ever come. For every problem there is a solution. It may not be what you want or how you envision it, but the answers do come in there own time. There is no need to force something that is not ready to reveal itself.
14.) When you’re feeling scared, lost, and confused, the best thing to do is find an outlet of expression.
Whether you enjoy spending time with friends or a significant other, engage in a sport or hobby, or find comfort in solitude, give yourself a mental break and put to rest what is causing you unease. This is not to say that you should run from your problems — but rather giving yourself permission to relax so resolution can come.
15.) You do not need to answer the question: “What I am going to do with my life?”
Even your parents and grandparents still ask themselves this question. You all have a specific purpose — why you’re here on earth and what you must accomplish. Sometimes it’s made clear other times not. By taking advantage of possible opportunities to come your way, you may surprise yourself to see how one door opens which leads to another and so on.
16.) Dress up, go out dancing, enjoy your third round, and have fun on your date.
This is a time for experimentation, trying on different looks — both figuratively and literarily, and getting to know yourself while getting to know others. You have your youth and your unique looks. Showcase how beautiful or handsome you are — both inside and out.
17.) When the partying gets tiresome and you enjoy spending a calm evening at home, honor it.
There is great value in feeling comfortable by yourself or within an intimate setting shared amongst your significant other, family, and small group of friends. It’s those moments of quiet conversation or absolute silence in which you learn how to slow down from the rigors of everyday life.
18.) You won’t be able to predict or plan meeting the love of your life.
Perhaps you are still together with your high school sweetheart, have met your perfect match at college, or spent a great night out with friends only to meet the person who caught your eye and captured your heart. Maybe you stumbled upon each other while walking in the street, sit side by side in the office, or fell in love on vacation. One never knows how this meeting takes place and at what age it happens. Relax, it will come when it’s supposed to.
19.) But you can plan for your own future, and ensure your own stability.
Whether you’re anticipating college graduation, studying at the level of higher education, job searching, establishing yourself in your career, committing to a serious relationship, buying a house, getting married, or having children, it’s all important. But it’s also individualized to your time frame and life’s ambitions. The pressure to succeed by your definition and that of others can be stifling. What you may have once envisioned for your future at 20 may look very different at age 28.
20.) You’re only in your twenties once.
The twenties bring about some of the most impacting life changing experiences. Although social media allows for a cataloging of the daily and special events that happen in your life, it’s also important to catalog these memories in your heart and mind; helping to create your personal foundation. Live day by day — allowing yourself to learn, grow, and develop into the person you are meant to be — you.