Sometimes, I really wonder just how I have made it this far. How have I conquered so many challenges and not spontaneously combusted in the process? It’s a miracle.
Life is hard. Adult responsibilities are hard. Adult decisions are hard. Work is hard. Sometimes just existing is a feat of strength. Here’s what I have learned in my twenty-seven years on this earth, summed up in five words: whatever happens, you will survive. A new day will come and you will have learned from your experiences and it will get easier. It will inevitably get harder again, but you can handle it. It really is never as bad as it seems at the time, and everything is figureoutable.
20 Ways To Survive Your Twenties
1. Listen to your elders. Learn from them. Use them. Especially your parents- they are your biggest supporters and have your best interests at heart. In a world full of hurt and mistrust, these are the people you can count on. Take their advice, they know what they are talking about.
2. Surround yourself with badass girlfriends. They will be a source of inspiration, validation, comfort, wisdom, and shoulders to cry on. Life is better with people who know you as well as you know yourself.
3. Learn to shake it off. Listen, whatever it is, it’s not that big of a deal. Let it go, and as my girl T Swift always says, shake it off! Laugh, dance, be a goof. If someone doesn’t understand your humor, that’s their problem. You are awesome.
4. Don’t be afraid to be yourself. You will spend most of your twenties struggling to figure yourself out. You will change, a lot; your hobbies, your career, your hair and your love interests. Whoever you are, embrace it. Quit resenting yourself for what you are or for what you aren’t, because you’re perfect.
5. Believe in something. Everybody needs something to believe in. Find yours and chase it with all you’ve got.
6. Don’t let the actions of others dictate yours. No matter how somebody treats you, be better. Do not alter your behavior, seek revenge, or become bitter. There is absolutely no justification for acting like a complete jerk, even if you weren’t the one that started it.
7. Own your decisions. When number 6 is too hard, and you screw up, say sorry. No-one is perfect. We all make mistakes. Suck it up, apologize, and learn from it. How’s it feel to be an adult?
8. Make mistakes. Speaking of making mistakes, make them. Use them to figure out what you don’t want. Don’t settle. Be vulnerable. Making mistakes is the only way learn what truly makes you happy. Don’t be boring- be messy and imperfect and self-aware enough to understand that you’re only twenty-something and figuring it all out.
9. Become comfortable with feelings. Feelings are hard. They make you feel uncomfortable, exposed, and scared. They can make you feel angry and sad, brave and elated. Learn to sit in them. Learn to identify them. They will help you to understand yourself. Understanding yourself is one of the greatest gifts you can give to the world.
10. Learn. For God’s sake, learn from your experiences. Don’t stumble through life not taking anything away from every single hardship or incredible triumph. Save the lessons and discard the trash.
11. Throw timelines out the window. Nothing ever happens quite the way you expect it to. Anything that can happen to throw you off of your precious planning most likely will. The good news? Something better is on the way. Everything has perfect timing. It just may not be the timing you had in mind.
12. Do crazy things. Get out of your comfort zone. Act outside of your character (in a good and brave way). Explore new places, travel to new experience new cultures, and meet new people in any way you can. Jump out of a plane. Bungee jump off of a bridge. Be goofy. Be happy. Be extraordinary.
13. Learn to listen. Learning to truly listen is one of the greatest skills you can acquire. It allows you to be compassionate, to understand others better, and to learn new things.
14. It’s not all about you. When hard things happen and people are mean to you, you have to remember that it’s not all about you. Let me repeat: it’s not all about you. People don’t usually do things to you to hurt you or make your life miserable or intentionally cause you pain. People do mean things because it is about them: their issues and insecurities and baggage. Not your problem. You, however, are all about you and you can use that to your advantage. Knowing that it’s not all about you can help you to not take things so personally.
15. Become a fighter. I don’t mean become a physically violent person. Learn to fight for yourself. Learn to own your beliefs. Learn to use your voice. Learn to speak your truth. Fight for your friendships and your relationships and your career. Fight for your first raise and your first house and your first big vacation. Fight to become better and to love every moment of this beautiful life.
17. Work two jobs. Or three. Nothing teaches you time management, work ethic or humility like the exhaustion of juggling multiple jobs and sacrificing your weekends. It builds character, it makes you better at balancing your priorities, it gets you out of debt. You’re young and you can handle it. Also, work in the restaurant industry at some point so you don’t embarrass yourself every time you go out to eat by being rude or impatient. The world thanks you.
18. Attend a music festival. One of the most joyous activities on earn, doing this will add life to your years. It will be the mental vacation you have been desperately needing. There’s nothing like spending three glorious days immersed in sunshine, live music from your favorite artists, and your best friends by your side to realize what the good stuff is really made of.
19. Don’t date a**holes. This one possesses a slow learning curve and is harder to execute than one would like. Save yourself a few grey hairs and stay far far away from the emotionally crippled and egomaniacal. Hopefully by the time you hit thirty you’ll have experienced enough bad apples to appreciate the nice ones when they come along.
20. Understand that IT KEEPS GETTING BETTER. Time and experience has shown me that life just gets better and better. Each year I feel like I am closer to who and what I am supposed to be, and a little bit further from the hurt and disappointment of yesterday. You’ll learn to bounce back a little bit faster, brush it off a little bit easier, and accept it a little bit faster. Your best days are yet to come
Whoever you are becoming, whatever you are stumbling over, keep on going. You’ll figure it all out. I promise.