5 Mistakes Every 20-Something Should Make

Call me corny, call me Sorority Girl Sentimental, but I believe that everything happens for a reason. Of course, this is coming from someone who was hit by a car when they were 20 years old and lost 70% function in their left hand, so maybe I’m a little inclined to believe it just so I can sleep easy at night. But tragic accidents notwithstanding, I really don’t regret anything I’ve ever done. And you shouldn’t either! Are you familiar with the 1998 Sheryl Crow classic, “My Favorite Mistake”?  Not all mistakes are bad! Some can actually change your life (and not just by giving you an incurable STD.) Here are some blunders that I think every 20-something is entitled to make!

1. Have a one-night stand.

Welcome to Chicken Soup For The Twentysomething Soul, y’all! The first mistake I’m going to ask you to make is to take home a random person and have a one-night stand with them. If you’ve never done it before, you really oughta. It’s an important notch on everyone’s IKEA bedpost. When I was traveling in Europe after college, I slept with a stranger and it was T E R R I B L E — so much so that I immediately made an appointment with my shame spiral that lasted about two days. But you know what? No rEgRetS! Carpe diem! La Dolce Vita… or something. It was important for me to see if I could do it, if I was capable of having vacuous sex with someone whose name I still can’t recall for the life of me. Even though it ultimately turned out that I wasn’t suited for it, I’m still glad I did it. There are some things in life that you know for certain you wouldn’t like (meth, karaoke, hair extensions) but having a one-night stand shouldn’t be one of them. Go try it! If it turns out to be a disaster, you can absolve your guilt by blaming it all on me! I really don’t mind…

2. Blow money you don’t have on a trip to Europe.

When I think of all the money I’ve spent on eating out, late night cab rides, and general nothingness, I realize I could’ve gone to Europe like 6 times with that money. It’s always hard to rationalize a huge purchase but I don’t think we realize how much bread (money slang, hi) we waste every day on pointless stuff. I mean, I once went on a shopping blackout and charged four $50 candles and La Mer eye cream to my credit card, okay? Going to Europe may seem like a huge financial strain but if you’re going to go into colossal debt, you might as well be making out with foreigners and eating ceviche on a beach somewhere. It’s way better than eye cream and a fig candle, trust me.

3. DO DRUGS. (Don’t do drugs?) Maybe do a few drugs…

This is a super touchy subject. Like I don’t want to encourage you to go out and try something like coke for the “experience” because guess what? Coke sucks and you might accidentally like it too much and become addicted. Coke is one of those drugs that can become love at first snort. Granted, it wasn’t for me — I was too emotionally invested in eating and sleeping to become hooked — but I’ve seen it happen to other people. You’re better off doing something like acid, shrooms, or maybe even Ecstasy — drugs that aren’t so addictive because they’re just too insane. You don’t see people on Intervention being like, “I just need another tab of acid just to get through the day,” or “I can’t go to work without eating some shrooms…” and you know why? Because those drugs take your brain and dump all of its contents out on an isolated meadow in Santa Cruz. You can’t do anything for a day because you’re too busy doing cartwheels and licking your own hair. As long as you stick to doing non-functioning college drugs like that and avoid anything that’s ever been an epidemic, you’ll be fine… I think.

4. Have a job that makes you want to die.

Everyone needs to have a crappy job. It’s practically the 20-something law. We can’t all be like Lauren Conrad and steam the occasional dress at an “internship” before landing our own fashion line. To get anywhere, you need to start from the bottom, which usually means getting metaphorical dumps taken on your face by a boss who’s only a year older than you, and pretending that you’re busy when you’re really just G-chatting your BFF and reading Thought Catalog. It’s okay though! This will end eventually. I’m (almost) sure of it. One day you’ll be taking dumps on someone else’s face and  everything will come full circle. Ah, ain’t life grand? I can’t wait till I can sh-t on someone’s face. Maybe it’ll happen when I’m 30?

5. Go to grad school.

JK. Don’t do that. I would suggest doing lines of coke with your one night stand in the dressing room at Marc Jacobs before you do a silly thing like grad school. If you must though, only go to one that James Franco is currently attending. That way you can date him, end up on his payroll as a “muse” and never have to worry about a career. TC mark

Ryan O'Connell

I'm a brat.

Trace the scars life has left you. It will remind you that at one point, you fought for something. You believed.

“You are the only person who gets to decide if you are happy or not—do not put your happiness into the hands of other people. Do not make it contingent on their acceptance of you or their feelings for you. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if someone dislikes you or if someone doesn’t want to be with you. All that matters is that you are happy with the person you are becoming. All that matters is that you like yourself, that you are proud of what you are putting out into the world. You are in charge of your joy, of your worth. You get to be your own validation. Please don’t ever forget that.” — Bianca Sparacino

Excerpted from The Strength In Our Scars by Bianca Sparacino.

Read Here

More From Thought Catalog

  • AARON

    This is only a marginal improvement over your “boner factory article,” just so you know

  • Guest

    even though i don’t really agree with the one night stand thing, this article is so excellent

  • Kirsten

    LSD isn’t a drug you can get addicted too…

    • Guest

      details, details

    • Anonymous

      you can get addicted to anything! just because it doesn’t have an addictive substance within it doesn’t mean that you can’t addicted to it.  People are addicted to working out, surfing, shopping, eating, etc. Addiction isn’t always the result of an addictive substance.

      • steph

        Pretty true, but endogenous substances can be addictive.  Working out releases hormones/neurotransmitters, and thus is an actual high.  Foods (simple sugars especially) act on the brain in a fashion similar to opioids.  I would consider LSD addiction to be more of a psychological compulsion, though.

  • Patricia

    Ugh. Too late on the grad school thing.

  • http://wwww.sofie.tumblr.com/ Sofie

    I know it can’t be anyone, but Ryan O’Connell with a title like this. I loved it. :)
    I’m doing number 4 this summer.

  • Acetygra

    I agree! Being in debt sucks but at the same time let it at least be due to a fantasic summer in Italy. I would rather be in debt over that then be the guy who is debt free who has never been on a plane before and Cleveland is the only “Big City” They have ever been to!

  • prufrock

    I’m relatively sure this article’s been written by O’Connell about twenty different times, in barely varying incarnations, on TC. You’re running out of material, dude.

  • guest

    This is fabulous.

  • http://twitter.com/OlganiZer Лёля

    love it.  literally this “o get anywhere, you need to start from the bottom, which usually means
    getting metaphorical dumps taken on your face by a boss who’s only a
    year older than you, and pretending that you’re busy when you’re really
    just G-chatting your BFF and reading Thought Catalog.” is what i do alldayerrday

  • Berthabutton

    I, too, follow the “don’t-do-drugs-that-have-been-featured-on-Intervention” rule. Very well written!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1529580041 Orlando Garcia

    Ah Ryan, I don’t like your writing enough of the time. I feel you have no authority on some of these subjects. Perhaps come from a more personal standpoint, like, ‘5 mistakes I made’. Because some poor kid is going to believe you. And Jenny Lewis is a genius, and I just ruined all credibility with you I’m sure.

    • http://twitter.com/mahrko_G Marco Gutierrez

      Thank you for complementing my future wife.

  • Sina

    Nice post. Just the grad school thing sucks. Seriously, even as a 20-something, you should respect higher education — and people who go for it. Besides, there’s a lot of foreign exchange programs in grad school, so you might end up scoring 1, 2, and 3 at the same time (weed in Amsterdam, got it?). Also, when you are in grad school you are most likely determined to reach 4 at some point… but then it’s at least an asset for your CV… ;)

  • Sina

    Nice post. Just the grad school thing sucks. Seriously, even as a 20-something, you should respect higher education — and people who go for it. Besides, there’s a lot of foreign exchange programs in grad school, so you might end up scoring 1, 2, and 3 at the same time (weed in Amsterdam, got it?). Also, when you are in grad school you are most likely determined to reach 4 at some point… but then it’s at least an asset for your CV… ;)

  • http://www.about.me/tanyasalyers Tanya Salyers

    hahahaha, and now that we have seen you in video-form, I can completely picture you saying all of this, and it makes it that much funnier.

  • http://www.about.me/tanyasalyers Tanya Salyers

    hahahaha, and now that we have seen you in video-form, I can completely picture you saying all of this, and it makes it that much funnier.

  • http://www.facebook.com/DavidBurnett David Burnett

    Really? One-night stands and drugs? Does objecting to mindless sex with a stranger or experimenting with dangerous chemical substances reduce me to a prude?

    • a.

      Yep.

      • Emily

        A moralizing bore, I’d say.

    • Anonymous

      well you *did* just describe it as mindless sex and dangerous chemical substances.

  • http://www.facebook.com/DavidBurnett David Burnett

    Really? One-night stands and drugs? Does objecting to mindless sex with a stranger or experimenting with dangerous chemical substances reduce me to a prude?

  • riles

    ~YoLo~

  • Jake

    Haven’t we already seen this same exact article about six times now? By the way, detailing your sexual experiences again and again stops being interesting pretty quickly. 

  • PiratesLife4Me

    I see what you’re doing with this article, Ryan, and I don’t necessarily mind #3, but PLEASE don’t encourage (even jokingly) people to try shrooms, acid, or other similar hallucinogens.  Those chemicals never leave your system and have the possibility of severe consequences later in life, even after trying it just once for the fun of it.  I don’t mean to be a buzzkill, but it is a serious matter.  Smoke a doobie and be happy with that.

    • Meowmix

      This is a damned lie. There is no factual evidence for any hallucinogen staying in your system for your entire life. They are like any other organic compound. They are consumed, used, then excreted out the body.

      • C.

        Actually, it has been proven that LSD (an INorganic compound) is stored in the spinal column after it’s consumed. 

      • Guest

        Except it is organix, 
        C20H25N3O

      • C.

        Actually, it has been proven that LSD (an INorganic compound) is stored in the spinal column after it’s consumed. 

      • Tyd

        Moron.

      • Anonymous

        And there is so much evidence that hallucinogens are awesome. So, seconded.

      • abiochemist

         The drug itself is excreted, the physical changes it can make (not saying it always does) to your brain are irreversible and ridiculously dangerous. There is plenty of research and factual evidence for this. Learn basics in biochemistry before commenting on it.

      • Aly

        This is somewhat true.  These drugs do sometimes cause irreversible changes in brain chemistry but not all of them.  It’s also true that we don’t completely understand the changes that many of these drugs cause: we just know they change our brain chemistry, whether these biochemical changes result in deleterious or beneficial side effects (or any side effect at all) is not always clear.

        As a side note, it’s also true that many “safe” drugs on the market for depression, anxiety, etc also alter a person’s brain chemistry.  

        From purely personal experience, I’ve done quite a few hallucinogens and I’ve never experienced any ill side effects (eh, other than the ones intended…).  I attend a HYP school as well, so any cognitive defects would have been readily apparent.  Perhaps they’ll manifest later on in life, but I’m not particularly worried about it.  A friend of mine who was unfortunate enough to get prescribed Paxil for a mild anxiety disorder was not so lucky.  Her symptoms spiraled out of control until she ultimately took her own life.  She had never done any recreational drugs, but she did take the ones her doctor prescribed her.  I think society’s ideas of “safe” as far as drugs go are not always particularly useful.  If a drug company spends millions developing a drug, then they will do all they can to ensure it is deemed “safe”… even when it’s not.  

  • Sara

    Me and my gf thoroughly loled at this. But we are off our. It rn. And. This is pretty damn coherent.

  • http://jcpart.co.uk/ Jordan

    i’ve done all of these things! i guess my life is right on track!

  • Avi

    Bullshit! I have standards, I have a comfort zone and I respect it. I don’t need to get pissed drunk to know what it would be like, I don’t need to get high to know that it’s not an experience I want to have. Yeah sometimes going outside your comfort zone can lead to surprising, rewarding experiences but let’s be real. One night stands, getting drunk and blacking out – it’s not like these things are grand mysteries, things that are unknowable without experience.

  • Katy

    This is a really bad article.

  • Nora

    One night stand? What is this? Amateur hour? Do what I did: Have sex with the same person for five years and then never talk again. A five year stand is a more tremendous feat than a one night stand.

    • guest

      How many attempts does it take Nora123 to rewrite the same lame joke? Hint, learn to delete the evidence.

      • alice

        HAHA, honestly.

      • Nora123

        You can’t delete a post after it’s been posted. It’s not my
        fault TC posts comments 30 minutes afterwards instead of posting as soon
        as i click “post”.

blog comments powered by Disqus