5 Things I Wish Someone Would Have Told Me About Growing In My Twenties

A group of young people enjoying themselves at a music festival
Stephen Arnold / Unsplash

My twenties were a wild ride.

I can still taste the faint (but equally terrible) shots of Jameson, flaming Sambuca, and Patrón Café mixed with RumChata that reminded me of the adult version of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. I still dry heave whenever I think of Everclear. I quite easily remember the mad dash to the bartender 5 minutes before bar close, after Last Call was announced to get that shot of José Cuervo Gold I so desperately needed—I went to college in Wisconsin! There was a lot of drinking. I made a lot of awful decisions regarding friendships, road trips, house parties, and enrolling in 8am lectures, but mostly mixing alcohol on a Thursday night. Thirsty Thursday! What could go wrong? YOLO! And never listen to anyone who tells you, “Liquor before beer, you’re in the clear. Beer before liquor, never been sicker” – it’s a lie, and the truth is nowhere to be found.

Your twenties are about being immersed in new experiences, trying new things, finding yourself, and making foolish decisions to hopefully learn from after college. It’s the pivotal point when adulthood is a lot more of a liability, and your responsibilities are infinitely more real. I had my parents, and older friends to look to for advice, but I didn’t have a lot of other guidance, so I’m here to help you, dear reader, with a few major keys I wish someone had given me when I was in my twenties.

1. You’re Gonna Lose Friends

Your twenties are a time of going new places, seeing, and trying new things, and with that, comes seeing (and trying) new people. You’ll make friends with the girl at the bar who was crying in the bathroom stall, and you’ll have the most amazing conversation while helping her clean up her mascara. And sure, you’ll see each other out a couple more times over the summer, but you aren’t really friends. You’re acquaintances. And that’s fine. You may even link up with the guy who lives down the hall who has dank ass weed, but he’s not really your friend either. At best, he’s the middleman dealer or a friend of proximity. Friends of proximity are not your best friends. You get on well because you’re often in the same spaces, but typically, those people don’t know the deep, dark things about you. Once your life changes, those friends will change too, and that’s okay! It’s really not the end of the world, you will make new friends, and also find out who your real friends are when situations and geographical locations change. If you’re not losing friends, you’re not growing and evolving. The same things you were into at 22 probably aren’t going to be the same things you’re into at 28. I mean, I was SUPER into My Chemical Romance and Hinder, but now, I reserve that for when I’m alone feeling nostalgic and emo. I would never put that on after being handed the aux cord!

2. Monitor Your Credit

I can’t stress this enough. In college, you’re going to be bombarded with credit card offers, and it’s so great. You can get that new pastel Miu Miu bum bag, or those chic Balenciaga sneakers you saw Bella Hadid wearing, and you don’t even have to pay for it right now! Amazing, right? Wrong. Nothing is free! NOTHING I TELL YOU! It’s gonna cost you, and it’s gonna cost you more the longer you wait to pay it back. Credit cards (like most things) are great if they’re used properly. Use it smartly to build your credit, and make payments on time, not to live outside your means. If used in the latter, please understand things will be a lot harder for you. Getting jobs, getting furniture for your sick new apartment you can barely afford, but you don’t care because it’s yours, and even getting a decent car note on your midsize sedan (if you’re unfortunate enough to live in a city without great public transport). Seriously it’s hard. So do yourself a favor and download an app like Credit Karma and set alerts, so any time something changes, they alert you. It keeps track of your student loans too! What joy!

3. Don’t Get Stuck At A Dead End Job

I get it, you’re waiting for something better to come along, but while you’re waiting, DO NOT GET COMFORTABLE. So often, we think, “well, this job has benefits, and the pay is moderate, and I don’t entirely hate everyone I work with” – well guess what? A job like that won’t keep you happy, because if you’re thinking about how tolerable everything is, one day, you aren’t going to be able to tolerate it. Life isn’t like The Office (although it would be AMAZING to have Michael Scott as a boss – not Andy. Yuck) There’s turnover all the time and if you don’t see your ability to move up, make more money, and become the Assistant to the Regional Manager, then what’s really the point?

4. Travel

I know it’s easy to say you want to travel, and have your sights set on Europe but your bank account is like “aca-scuse me, bitch what?” – but there are so many programs that allow you to travel abroad and you can work at a hostel, a café, or a surf shop for room and board while you’re there. You’ll meet amazing people and learn languages if you’re open to it. (You’ve immersed yourself in a new environment; you SHOULD be open to it!) There are so many people to do, and things to see! Life is an experience! Don’t forget to actually LIVE your life!

5. Stop Comparing Yourself To Others

Everyone’s story is different. Society, media, and so many other news outlets tell you that by this age, you should have done this, or by that age, you should have that much saved up. That’s bullshit. We all come from different places, backgrounds, and elements that affect how we live, and what we aspire to. Some people want love, marriage, and kids. Some people only want love and marriage. Some people don’t want any of that, they just want to be the rich person who travels the world and brings back their nieces and nephews obscure gifts from the last city they visited. Or you can want just live in the woods! All of that is okay! I mean the woods thing is super gross. So many bugs, yuck, but honestly, do you! It’s your life.

You’re here for a good time, not a long time. TC mark

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