1. Constantly thinking you should be at a certain place by a certain age. Living life based on a series of arbitrary benchmarks of “success” is a definitive way to ensure your 20s are miserable. You don’t have to be married by 25 with a house by 27 and kids by 29. Let life unfold as it will and know that everything is as it should be based on your life choices and circumstances. You’re not behind. You’re right where you should be.
2. Going into a new job thinking you need to know everything immediately. No one knows what they’re doing at the beginning of a new position. Give yourself a chance to learn and be patient with yourself when you make mistakes.
3. Thinking Instagram is an accurate portrayal of real life. Because we all know we don’t post our worst days online, only the best moments. Keep that in mind the next time you’re stalking your ex’s new boyfriend or girlfriend.
4. Working a job that makes you miserable for the sake of building “experience.” Believe it or not, you can find another position at another company that will also give you experience and will also not make you want to jump off a cliff!!!!!
5. Not speaking up about what you actually want in a partner or relationship for the sake of being “chill.” Stop that. Be deeply unchill. Speak up. Say what you want and what you need. You’ll realize it’s easier to find those things if you’re willing to let them be known.
6. Trying to get everyone to like you. Behaving in a way to garner approval instead of genuine connection is not only lonely, it’s inauthentic. Let people dislike you. You won’t die.
7. Neglecting to take care of yourself. Stop treating your body like crap. Exercise. Eat right. Cut down on the booze. Wash your face. Shower. Stop drinking so much damn caffeine. Go to bed on time. Your 20s will feel a lot less exhausting when you aren’t running on three hours of sleep or constantly hungover.
8. Not making any decisions on your own out of fear of fucking up. More often than not, you know the answer. And more often than not, there’s a way to fix anything that goes “wrong.” Put more confidence in yourself and do some things without consulting anyone else first. You’re more than capable and it’ll be better for your growth as an adult in the long run.
9. Being friends with people you don’t really want to be friends with. Insincere and toxic relationships will lower your morale and drain your energy in your 20s (and at any age). Be honest with yourself and the people in your life. Cut ties with those who you don’t have a connection with, those who make you want to pull your hair out whenever you’re with them, and those who are consistently letting you down. Losing friends in your 20s is normal and healthy. Stop hanging on when there’s nothing to hold on to.
10. Thinking you have to travel in order to be “cultured.” Travel porn on Instagram is a real thing and it’s so easy to be influenced by this idea that vacationing in Italy every summer makes you “cultured.” But traveling is out of a lot of budgets and you’re not lesser because you can’t find yourself in Bali. You can also find yourself in museums in your own city, in books you can find at the library, in learning a different language, in writing your own words in your own journal. You don’t always need to hop on a plane to do that.
11. Believing that your journey is going to be linear. Because it’s not. Healing and growth are rarely a straight line. They’re more often jagged and rough, with two steps forward for every seven steps back. You’re not a failure because you don’t see rapid, clear progress immediately. You’re human.
12. Subscribing to the mindset “I’ll be happy when…” You need to learn to appreciate where you’re at now as opposed to someday. Because whenever you reach that “when” moment, chances are you’re going to find something else “wrong” and immediately start chasing that. Instead, be okay with who you are and what you have now while also striving for self-improvement. That is how you find happiness.
13. Trying to prove people from your past wrong. They don’t care because, to be quite fucking honest, they’re probably not thinking about you at all. Let go of the idea that success is the best revenge and just be a damn success instead, without all the spite.
14. Ignoring gut feelings. Because intuition is some real shit that’s there for a reason.
15. Having no plan to pay off your debt. Make a spreadsheet, figure out where you can cut costs, and commit to it. It’ll make you feel better and less stressed to know how you’ll pay something off, rather than going with “I’ll figure it out as I go.”
16. Never speaking up because you think your opinions and ideas don’t matter because you’re young. Your voice matters. So, so much. Use it.