Twenty-four is a forgotten age. Don’t get me wrong, we still write about it and talk about it, but it’s somehow less sexy and no one’s ever going to write a hit song about 24 year olds.
It’s an age wedged in the middle that no one pays much attention to. There’s 25, when you’re a quarter of a century and can no longer get away with bringing frozen pizza bagels to a dinner party. Then there’s 23, the age when no one likes you and you try desperately to get on your feet, like your job, settle into your apartment and have a panic attack once a week.
At 24 you’re presumed to have your shit marginally sorted. Maybe. You’re toying with the idea of actually saving money this year and learning to do your own taxes. You’re trying to cut down on fires you hope your parents will put out, but it’s hard. And your friends are starting to get married which is amazing, but troubling for your bank account.
I graduated with people who were all a year older than me. (I turned 23, they all turned 24.) After watching them hit this somewhat anticlimactic milestone, here’s what I’ve decided the rest of us should get rid of before we turn 24:
1. The crap under your bed at your parent’s house. It’s still acceptable to have stuff at their house, but if you can avoid over cluttering their space by getting rid of things that don’t need to be kept, do it.
2. Your ex’s letters. Any saved texts, screenshots, birthday notes or anniversary cards from them should be deleted, trashed, burned or at least tucked somewhere far away.
3. Your credit card debt. This is a manageable goal if you give yourself enough time. Paying off the full balance you owe each month is one of the best habits you’ll ever adopt.
4. Any Barton’s you’re still in possession of. Keep the Svedka, keep the Seagram’s (both gin and whisky), keep the oversized Livingston bottle, but get rid of the Barton’s and don’t look back.
5. All the apps on your iPhone that you don’t use. You don’t need anything slowing you down.
6. Your inability to make breakfast foods. Forget attracting a mate, how are you going to attract a platonic roommate if you can’t fry eggs?
7. The notion that you need to be dating someone in your mid 20s. Or your late 20s. Or ever.
8. The bong that still has water in it from 3 years ago. If you still use it, then keep it, but otherwise it’s just sitting there being mildly incriminating and taking up space.
9. The biggest thing holding you back mentally. Consider one thing you struggle with internally and try to work on it. So often we jump right to, “quit your job!” and, “dump your boyfriend!” without considering that our unhappiness is stemming from a completely different place. Pick an internal vice you want to make peace with.
10. After you’ve considered internal factors, rid yourself of one external factor that might be causing you stress. Maybe you live in a bad neighborhood, or aren’t friends with good people. Maybe you still live at home and are going a little crazy. Make it your mission to change one external factor.
11. Toss all the underwear with holes or stains. Buy new underwear and make sure it fits. If you don’t know your bra size, get measured.
12. Get rid of the idea that all your friends grow at the same pace. People will be ready to move in with their significant others before you, and that’s fine.
13. The weird bag you keep all your important documents in. Buy file folders and a compact file box. Organize everything. Then put the box in your closet and forget it exists until tax season.
14. Novelty condoms. It’s awesome that you’re having safe sex, but do you really need the condom you got while you were abroad, that makes a dirty joke about the Leaning Tower of Pisa? No.
15. Any make-up that’s more than 2 years old.
16. The yerba matte you got really into senior year of college.
17. The records you collected for the day you were going to buy a record player. Unless that day is coming up, it’s time to part with the Doors album you bought ironically from that record store in your college town.
18. The travel mug from your high school boyfriend or girlfriend’s prom. Unless you’re still together, you have no business keeping that.
19. Candles that have less than a centimeter of wax left.
20. Anything in your fridge or pantry that has high fructose corn syrup, unnecessary amounts of sodium or sugar. Discard only within reason. If you’re addicted to Oreos, don’t cut off your supply. Compromise and toss the gummy worms that have been sitting untouched for 4 months.
21. Get rid of an old prom dress. There are charities all across the country (like Belle of the Ball) that you can donate them to.
22. Double shot glasses. Your liver called to say, “hell no.”
23. Frenemies. Abandon the people and then stop using that word entirely because you’re a self-respecting individual.
24. Your supply of plastic water bottles. Buy a reusable water bottle and a water pitcher for your desk. Start hydrating.