1. Learn how to drink.
You’re never going to make it to 30 unless you learn how to hold your liquor. The ages of 20-24 are meant to be spent vomiting on cab drivers and your best friends but after that, you should know your damn limit. There’s no accidentally getting blackout at 27 because you’ve been drinking for nearly a decade! How is anything accidental at that point? You know your body by now. Drinking essentially becomes a careful act of dodging landmines. We avoid certain types of alcohol that make us go insane; we take the necessary precautions to avoid being hungover, and if we don’t, we know what’s awaiting us in the a.m. It’s not like we’re SURPRISED that we feel like crap after mixing six kinds of alcohol the night before. We’ve been in this situation before so just TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR HANGOVER. BE AN ADULT, DAMMIT! Seriously, if you don’t know how to drink by the end of your 20s, you’re screwed. Have fun always being les miserables.
2. Like yourself.
If you’re dealing with issues of self-loathing, you need to nip them in the bud ASAPular because, barring some untimely tragic accident, you’re going to be alive for A LONG TIME. Hating yourself for 10 minutes is hard enough. Imagine 50 years of hate! I know it’s not easy to like yourself at, like, 21 when you’re basically betraying yourself every second of every day and being a professional hot mess, but you owe it to yourself to eventually get on that self-love tip. Sit yourself down and be like, “Look, I’m going to do a lot of stupid things in my 20s but I promise that I’m not going to kick myself when I’m down. There are a million things out there that can make me feel bad about myself. Why throw me in the mix as well?” We are our own worst enemy in our 20s. We’re falling constantly and blaming ourselves for it, which leads to spending a lot of unnecessary time in the bell jar. It’s fine to acknowledge that you’ve made mistakes but you’re doing nothing for yourself by dwelling on it. Also, if you love yourself, chances are you’ll attract a better caliber of significant others and stop dating jerks. You know that saying, “How do you expect anyone to love you when you don’t love yourself?” Well, that’s not right. Self-loathing nightmares are loved EVERY SINGLE DAY. It’s just by OTHER self-loathing nightmares.
3. Develop a good support system.
Navigating your way through jobs and relationships in your 20s is often a soul-crushing process, so you better make sure you have a good group of people around you acting as your life cheerleaders. There’s also just nothing more comforting than knowing you’re not alone in your struggles, that other people who you respect don’t have it figured out either. You enter your 20s away from your blood family and spend the next decade building a new one for yourself, a group of people who aren’t tethered to you by genetics but love you for who you are and want to see you thrive. DON’T SETTLE FOR ANYTHING LESS.
4. Land a good job.
By good job I don’t mean “dream job” but you need to walk out of your 20s feeling like you’re in a solid place with your career. You don’t have to be exactly where you want to be but you have to like where you’re headed. This is obviously very difficult and at the end of the day, there’s only so much you can do. A lot of it is based on luck and right time, right place. But it’s important for you to feel like you’ve done your best with the hand that you were dealt. You worked your ass off in a time of a crumbling economy and tried to realize your goals. As shallow and AMERICAN as it may sound, your career is important. Being at a job where you’re validated and your ideas are encourage is crucial to maintaing your sanity.
5. Be open to love.
You don’t need a boyfriend or a girlfriend to survive your 20s. HELLO, MISS INDEPENDENT OVER HERE. But you do need to be surrounded by love and a healthy amount of sex. You can’t close yourself off to potential relationships, you can’t just throw yourself into your career to avoid the gaping hole that is your romantic life. You need to fall asleep with someone at dusk, you need to snuggle and spoon and feel like a teenager and be giddy and hopeful and optimistic that things will work out for you, even if the evidence indicates otherwise. The second you resign yourself to no sex and no love, you’re a goner. Life goes from being in color to a muted grey. I say this because I’m a romantic and because I know that being cynical about love has gotten me nowhere, besides to the land of celibacy. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy so be careful with where your mind goes. You don’t want to turn 30 and think your life is over, that there’s no hope for you. In many ways, your life has just begun.