I get frustrated with a lot of advice articles about how to handle your 20’s, mainly because they’re written by people who are still in their 20’s. I’m not saying their advice isn’t valid, but there’s something about having a bit of separation to be able to look back and realize the points where you succeeded and where you could’ve done better. While I’m far from an expert and could never give you a guideline on how to have a successful decade, I can share with you things that I wish I had known or done during my 20’s. Some may apply to you, while others don’t, but I hope it encourages you to try something different and strive to better yourself.
1. Take a risk on going after your dream job. You live one time and during that life you spend a huge chunk of it working. Don’t settle for a job you hate because even if the money is good, you’ll be miserable.
2. There’s no such thing as job security. Even if you work hard and do everything you’re supposed to, that doesn’t mean your job will always be there. Make sure you keep a little money set away for the unexpected.
3. Do something different. You’ll never look back and think, “Remember that night when we stayed in and watched Netflix?” You don’t have to spend big money, but go do something new. Netflix will still be there when you get home.
4. Make an annual tradition of getting together with your close friends. You’ll talk about it all the time, but as each of you gets busier with careers, families, or just life, it’ll be talked about less and less. If you don’t make it a priority and take initiative, you’ll slowly lose contact.
5. Don’t cut off friends for relationships. It’s so easy to meet someone new and become completely consumed by them. Try not to isolate yourself and always make time for your friends. Even if this turns out to be your future spouse, you’ll have your entire lives together. You won’t always have the freedom just to go hang out with your friends.
6. Spend time with your parents and grandparents. They won’t be around forever and you’ll be amazed at how much you enjoy hearing stories from them, or the joy it brings them from you just making an effort to be around.
7. If you’re going to get a tattoo, save up and get one that’s quality. Just because your friend’s cousin got a tattoo gun and is “not that bad” doesn’t mean he should put a permanent marking on your body.
8. You know that incredible metabolism that let’s you eat whatever you want and still have abs? It’s packing its bags and getting ready to move out so just prepare yourself.
9. Don’t be a jerk. Seriously, just because someone isn’t like you doesn’t mean you have to treat them any less. Realize how much power there is in choosing to remain silent when necessary.
10. Go see your favorite bands in concert. There were so many bands that I loved, even before my 20’s, that I took for granted and now it’s not possible to see them, either because of tragedy or break-ups. Even if it’s cheap nosebleed seats, don’t miss that opportunity.
11. You’re going to start liking the music your parents always listened to when you were younger that drove you up a wall. It might not be your favorite, but you’ll get it. It’s inevitable, so just accept it.
12. Try not to let little arguments destroy friendships. You never know if it will be the last time you see that person, and you definitely don’t want to live with the regret of not knowing if they realized how much they meant to you.
13. Listen to advice. I know you think you know everything, but there’s a fairly good chance you don’t. Not all advice is good, but at least take the time to hear a different perspective.
14. In the time you spent sulking about that guy or girl who broke your heart, you missed the chance to meet a dozen more incredible people. Break-ups happen. It’s ok to be sad, but don’t let it turn you into a jaded, broken shell of a person.
15. I can’t vouch for that awful, “dance like no one is watching” saying, but I will 100% support “sing karaoke like you’re performing the halftime show at the Super Bowl.”