1. Getting out of the wrong relationship. We throw bridal showers and baby showers, but we don’t throw parties for the women who are strong enough to walk out on the partners who aren’t right for them, or the SOs you don’t treat them well enough. And we really should.
2. Learning to drive in a major city. The people who have been doing it for years will brush it off like it’s the simplest thing in the world, but learning to merge onto LA freeways, or deal with Masshole drivers on the Boston roads is a true accomplishment.
3. Getting your first post-college job. And it doesn’t necessarily need to be the first job that somehow relates to your degree; it can be the first job that made you feel like a responsible employee because people counted on you to show up everyday and get your shit done. There is a sense of pride that comes with knowing that people count of you to do your job well.
4. Leaving your first job for a job that doesn’t pay like shit. The true Adulthood Milestone, and an all-around amazing feeling.
5. Moving to a new place where you don’t know anyone. Because that takes bravery that a lot of people don’t acknowledge. When you have the courage to go somewhere new, and make a home for yourself without any help, and put yourself out there to meet people, that is a milestone that should be commended.
6. Finishing school. There is a huge population of students who took time off, and then went back, but never really got to celebrate their graduation at the same time as their original classmates. They are deprived of some of the fanfare that comes with graduation, which is a shame, especially considering the amount of courage it takes to go back.
7. Getting your writing published for the first time. Whether that’s getting published online on your favorite site, or getting your paper published in your school’s law journal.
8. Making your own product, starting your own business, going out on your own. Or even just forming a personal LLC. You’re a business, man.
9. Having your first one night stand. Or, hey, maybe having your first threesome, if that’s a life-long desire you’ve been harboring.
10. Finally watching Forrest Gump. Because it’s an incredibly satisfying moment when you actually understand where the “life is like a box of chocolates” line comes from.
11. Finishing the last season of Girls instead of just watching the latest season up until the Marnie episode and then stopping. (It’s actually really worth finishing. Alex Karpovsky, who plays Ray, directs the second to last episode, and then Jenni Konner directs the season finale. Highly recommend.)
12. Buying your first piece of non-IKEA furniture. It doesn’t need to be a $1,000 couch — just an end table would be sufficient for cashing in on this milestone.
13. Getting your own health insurance, or getting off your family’s phone plan. As someone who has gone through the health insurance process both with a full-time employer, and with Obamacare after going freelance, I can say with some authority that you are a not true adult until you’ve had to deal with the trials and tribulations that come with getting your own health insurance.
14. Remembering your extended family’s birthdays without any prompting from another family member. The day you actually set a calendar reminder for your favorite cousin’s birthday is a big day.
15. Learning to take care of yourself when you have a cold without calling your mom to ask her for a recipe for your favorite soup. Knowing how to steam a cold out of your system counts as a 20-something milestone, especially seeing as many 30, 40 and 50-somethings, unfortunately, still haven’t gained that talent.
16. Making a new best friend. You don’t have to be the person who stays best friends with the same person that they went to preschool with. Forming new best friendships is just as important, and celebrating your friend’s milestones is a big moment in your own life, too.
17. Learned to hold a baby without the baby crying. (Though if the baby cries when you’re holding him or her, it’s probably not your fault.)
18. Liking martinis.
19. Becoming an aunt or uncle, or gaining a new baby cousin. You don’t have to be the one giving birth for it to be a huge day in your life.
20. Moving in with your significant other. Related: getting into a domestic partnership with your significant other, whether it’s what you’re doing instead of marriage, or just because you aren’t ready to get married, but you’re ready to share health insurance.
21. Learning to calculate an appropriate tip without a calculator.
22. Working hard and then stopping for long enough to treat yourself to something nice that you really deserve, like a massage, a facial, a great outfit, a trip, or an amazing meal.
23. Becoming content spending time with yourself, getting to know yourself really well, and getting comfortable in your own skin. I would argue that this is the most important milestone of your 20s — whether you’re in a serious relationship, or you’re getting married, or you’re single.