Let me start off by saying that I am fully aware of how terribly cliché the idea of this post is. 24 Things I’ve Learned by Age 24? I definitely sound like one of those 20-somethings who thinks they have got it “all figured out” and diligently preach what they believe is deeply insightful wisdom to the online world. (God, those people are the worst. Oh wait….)
Well, if you’re curious anyway, keep reading. Needless to say, 24 is a pretty weird age. You have been out of college for several years now, but you still sometimes party like it’s syllabus week. You’re dating super casually and are normally fine with it, until the constant wedding announcements on Facebook start giving you anxiety.
Here are 24 things I’ve learned at 24 years of age:
1. You’ll become happier once you stop chasing perfection. From counting calories obsessively to having a full-blown panic attack in response to a minor error at work, life got more difficult because of the immense pressure I was placing on myself. Learning to let go of perfection takes time, but trust me – you will be so much happier once you do.
2. Fearing change gets you nowhere. No matter how much you hate it, you can’t avoid it forever. The phrase “Take a chance” used to make me quiver in fear, and I’m so glad I finally pushed myself out of my comfort zone.
3. Stop crawling back to that one guy who keeps screwing you over. You know exactly who I’m talking about. You keep telling yourself you’re done, but then end up falling right back into it – and hating yourself for it. Next time he texts you after disappearing for weeks, just hit him with the “New phone, who dis?” and stop replying. You’ll be glad you did.
4. Make a conscious effort to exercise – twerking on the dance floor doesn’t count. I’m not telling you to become all #FitFam here, but failing to take care of yourself is a bad habit you’ll want to kick sooner rather than later.
5. Don’t let anyone tell you that your dreams are dumb, or not worth pursuing. Regardless of how many people have told me through the years that writing isn’t a “real job” and that I can’t make any money off of it, I kept putting myself out there. When your heart is set on something, don’t push it to the side because other people convince you it’s not worth it.
6. Appreciate the extra time while you have it – because you’ll wish you could get it back. Take advantage of the idle time you had in college while it’s there – you will miss it once you’re working full time.
7. Be up front with what you believe you deserve – and don’t let yourself feel bad about it. Ask for the raise. What’s the worst that could happen?
8. Don’t underestimate the power of being kind. Give a random person a compliment – it may make their day. You never know what others going through, and being a genuinely nice person is a small step that can go far.
9. Take time to unplug and recharge. In a world where we’re constantly connected, it can be surprisingly refreshing to just cut ties with technology– even for just an hour. So stop checking your Instagram obsessively for likes on your selfie – and go read a book or something.
10. Don’t do things simply because you feel it’s what you “should” be doing. Whether it’s settling down with someone because society has convinced you “it’s time”, or changing your career path to align with a wiser financial decision, change your mindset to doing what’s best for you – not to fit other’s standards.
11. Stop taking everything so personally – often times, it’s not about you. That snippy comment from a co-worker wasn’t because you’re annoying them – the world is annoying them today.
12. Don’t be afraid to reward yourself once in a while. No need to waste time debating about whether or not you deserve it. Just eat the cake – it’s not going to kill you.
13. Getting drunk is not a solution for stress or sadness. Your problems will be right there waiting for you in the morning – and now you have a crippling hangover to go along with it.
14. Let go of the “What are we’s” and “where is this going” – and just enjoy the moment. Don’t overanalyze a relationship right off the bat – there will be plenty of time for that later.
15. Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness. I used to avoid asking questions at work, because I felt I was coming off dumb. You know what’s dumber? Doing something wrong because you were afraid to ask.
16. Fight the FOMO and stay in on a Friday night now and then – you’ll be okay. Because sometimes, waking up and NOT feeling like you just got hit by a bus is a wonderful thing.
17. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Sh*t happens, and things change. Never get too invested in something that very well may not work out.
18. Never let go of the friends that you have uncontrollable laughing fits with. Because those are obviously the best kind.
19. If something seems off about someone, trust your gut. If he seems sketchy, he is.
20. Aim for respect, not just attention. Contrary to popular belief, there IS more to you than your ass.
21. Everyone will forget about your embarrassing moment in about 2 minutes. PSA: the world doesn’t actually care that much about you.
22. Life is too short for bad coffee. No shame in the Starbucks game. #Basic
23. You can’t control everything – sometimes, you just have to let the pieces fall where they may. The more focused you are on manipulating the outcome, the more frustrated you will be when things don’t work out as you hoped.
24. Work hard, but don’t talk about how hard you’re working. Always jump on opportunities to succeed and grow. Then, let your success speak for itself.