1. Your salary.
If you’re employed, you’re already winning. Not everyone has their life figured out at 23. It’s okay to be working a desk job that has little to do with your true passion, as long as you have time for yourself, and the ability to remember what’s important to you, you’re on the right track.
2. Your status of employment.
Being embarrassed about your salary is one thing, but when you have no job at all, that can feel even worse. It’s not easy to find a job you love, let alone any job, but you don’t have to be humiliated by your unemployment. As long as you’re motivated, and are willing to work hard, you’ll find something eventually.
3. How long it takes you to graduate.
Whether it’s 4 years, or 10, you’re in school and you’re learning (hopefully). Maybe you have to fail a couple of courses (or more) to figure yourself out, or maybe school isn’t your thing at all. Education isn’t everyone’s favorite part of life, but we definitely learn something while we’re trying.
4. How often you go out on the weekend.
Maybe you’re at a bar from Tuesday to Sunday, maybe you don’t go out at all. Your social calendar is nothing to be embarrassed about, as long as you’re happy with your lifestyle, nothing else should matter. You don’t need to feel like a grandma for staying in on a Friday night, and you don’t need to feel guilty for going out every other. Live your life the way you want to live it (in a healthy way that doesn’t destroy the relationships with those who care about you).
5. How much you drink on the weekend.
Seems like early 20 somethings are notorious for binge-drinking. When you tell someone you’re 23 they picture beer bongs and keg stands. Maybe it’s because we’re so perplexed by what in the world we’re doing with our lives that we have no idea what else to do with our free time. Maybe it’s a matter of being young and naive, or maybe it’s simply being drunk and stupid. You don’t have to be embarrassed about the amount of alcohol you consume because chances are your body won’t be able to keep up with those habits for very long anyway. Your health is important, and you know what your body can and can’t handle. When you wake up the next morning with your head in a toilet, that’s your body telling you it can’t.
6. How many people you’ve had sex with.
2, 10, 30, 50, 100. Whatever your number is, it’s your’s and no one else’s. You make your own decisions; you have the freedom to fuck whoever you want, whenever you want, and you don’t need to be embarrassed about it.
7. How many serious relationships you’ve had (or not had).
You don’t need to be embarrassed because you’re 23 and have never had a real boyfriend, and you don’t need to be embarrassed if you’re 23 and it hasn’t worked out with one of many. Your relationship status is nothing to stress over. As long as you have the ability to cultivate happiness with no one’s help but your own, you’ll eventually find someone to share it with.
8. Whether or not you can afford to pay for your date.
So you’ve been taught to pay for your date, but when you have no money, that’s simply not possible. It’s okay if you can’t afford the filet mignon, but make up for it in other ways. It’s not about buying love, it’s about showing it.
9. How much help you receive from your parents.
Whether you’re living on their couch (because they made your bedroom into a library), or whether you’re somehow still sliding along on their phone plan, you don’t need to be embarrassed about the help your parents give you. If they’re willing to give it, and you’re willing to accept, then that’s that. Just don’t be angry when their helping hand slowly disappears, because chances are it will.
10. Your living space.
Maybe your bed is in your kitchen, or maybe there’s a dumpster next to your front door, or maybe you still have the same address you had in elementary school (your parents’). Your living space is your home, make the best of it. We’re not all going to live in an apartment with panoramic city views and a gym with a sauna on the first floor. Your life is yours to figure out, and where you live along the way will most likely change more than once. Be thankful you have a roof over your head, whether it’s the top floor penthouse suite or your best friend’s couch.