1. YOUR PARENTS’ HEALTH CARE: The moment I had to get my own health care, my body shut down. For example, my dentist told me I needed to spend an exorbitant amount of money doing some ridiculous treatment on my gums, when I’ve literally never even had so much as a cavity. Then, when you find out insurance doesn’t cover the treatment; you have to make decisions on what really needs to be done NOW and what can be done later.
Actually, the fact that I even had to call my own insurance company and figure it out nearly killed me. Mom used to handle all of that. I recommend doing your research on different health care options, whether you have a job that provides health care, or you need to get something like Cobra while you’re in between jobs. Pay attention to all the different packages each company has to offer, and think about what types of problems you normally have with your body and which package is most beneficial to you. Don’t just pick the cheapest one. I guarantee you Murphy’s Law will bring you more problems than that cheap insurance is worth.
2. YOUR DIGNITY: I definitely lost my dignity on the eve of my twenties. College wasn’t helpful in this department. But when you reach mid-twenties, you start to realize that you have to stop going to the same local bars, drinking until you black out, and going home with any man that tells you you’re beautiful. No more walks of shame.
3. YOUR PATIENCE: When you’re in your twenties you have to start dealing with fixing all your own problems. Whether they’re work or personal problems, for the first time you will really start to come in contact with some of the dumbest, slowest people that you essentially “need” to speak with in order to help you fix those problems. Don’t even get me started on taking trips to the Apple store or calling the cable company.
You will undoubtedly come into contact with people that frustrate you on a daily basis. For this, I recommend trying yoga or meditation. And breathe. Always just breathe.
4. YOUR FRIENDS: This has been the toughest realization for me in my twenties. Friends really do come and go. Whether it’s because someone moves away, someone betrays you, someone uses you, or you simply just grow apart…it happens. I have never really been one that responds well to change, so it’s been an interesting experience for me, to say the least.
I work really hard at maintaining relationships, but as I get older, it’s about maintaining the RIGHT relationships- quality over quantity. It takes time, and I’m still learning, but I’ve been trying to focus more on the relationships that lift me up and are two sided, and weed out the rest. It’s hard, but it can be done!
5. YOUR ABILITY TO DRINK AND SURVIVE THE NEXT DAY: Once I hit… oh… 22… I wasn’t able to drink at night and go to work the next day. Now, I have to go to bed at 10pm and not have a drop of alcohol in order to be able to function at work. It gets worse and worse every year. It could be because I haven’t transitioned from drinking $10 vodka bottles to a nice bottle of wine, or expensive liquor (and if you’re like my best friend who drinks Crystal Light and vodka, well then pardon my French, but you are fucked the next day).
I recommend dabbling in different spirits, and cutting down to a really nice glass, and taking your time drinking it. Also, water in between each drink should really help you out (…easier said than done).
6. SENSE OF SELF: Gone. Lost. No idea who I was or what I was doing in my early twenties. I was partying too much, and working at a job that I felt like was getting me nowhere (which, in reality, was a great job and brought me to where I am now), and not doing any sort of activity outside of my career that was fulfilling. But in your early twenties, it’s supposed to be like that, but you have to figure out how to become in tune with who you are and how to make time for the things you love. This requires a lot of soul searching, a lot of dabbling in different areas of interest, and a LOT of alone time.
Now I feel like I can clearly define a path that I want to be on, and the kind of person I want to be. How to get there is a different story, but at least I’m on my way!
By Alex Devlin
Photo credit: Getty