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10 Things No One Tells You About Growing Up in Your 20s

  1. You will continue to question and second-guess yourself a lot. Finding your true self is a huge challenge, and it comes with feeling very insecure about where you are at any given time. I once worked at a job where I was surrounded by 40-year-old women who told me that I would soon be completely comfortable in my own skin. Lies, friends. You’ll think you need to adjust weight; change your hair; consider a new career path. It’s all relative, and you can’t compare yourself to anyone else. Becoming who you’re supposed to be may seem like you’re navigating through the black hole, but it’s well worth it when you get there.
  2. Some people you meet are going to drive you absolutely crazy with how much they impose judgment on your life decisions. Years ago, if you asked me where I would be at 26, I would have said, “happily married and planning to have kids”. Here’s a secret: nothing ever goes as planned. Here’s another secret: times have changed. Being 26 and single, to some, may not be the ideal situation to be in. But I’m more than okay with it, and definitely not the only one. And, when it comes to having kids, that’s a personal decision. Let’s leave it at that.
  3. There will never be a time where you can go food shopping without wondering if it’s going to compromise your ability to pay rent on time. Especially in the city, you may as well barter with your kidney to buy groceries. But, it IS actually cheaper (and healthier) to cook at home – even though there are endless options just steps from your apartment. I’ve started to learn how to buy food for one, so I’m only buying what I need and what I’ll eat in a week, without having to throw away anything that may go bad…or being homeless come winter.
  4. Your weekends are the time for you to catch up on everything you don’t have time for during the week. While you’d probably love to sleep in all day, life awaits. Make a list of the errands you need to get done, drop off your laundry (or do it yourself if this is 2009), and go food shopping. Get up, get going, and get shit done.
  5. People are going to judge you personally and professionally based on your age, and how young you look. Even though it’s been years since you graduated, and you’ve worked your ass off to prove your worth, you will still be judged that you only graduated college a few years ago – and what do you know? Just bite your tongue, keep on hustling, and prove them wrong.
  6. Moving away from home is a very gratifying – yet, sometimes very scary and lonely – chapter to write for yourself. This is your chance to follow your dreams, challenge yourself, and experience things you may never have experienced if you stayed put. Keep a log of what you do, where you go, who you meet; make sure looking back on these moments is enjoyable, worthwhile, and teaches you something.
  7. Staying informed about current events is no longer an option. The world we live in is a very complex place, with some very serious, complex problems that impact us in ways we could never imagine. Not only is it important to understand what those problems are, but you should be able to follow along in conversation if someone refers to something that is happening in another country. You will not only gain respect from those around you (maybe even change their views on you re: #5), but you also won’t look and feel like a complete airhead. It’s a win-win, really.
  8. There are certain occasions that you have to miss out on because funds are [very] limited, or schedules don’t permit it. At this stage of life, a lot of your friends and family will be getting married, having babies, or buying homes. This means: engagement parties, bachelorette parties, weddings, baby showers, housewarming parties, etc. This also means: expenses for gifts, travel, and (sometimes) helping set up and organize the event. However, there are times when you just can’t attend – and that’s okay. It may be a big day in their lives – and of course you’re thrilled for them – but you also have bills to pay, and other responsibilities to attend to. You’re not a bad person (unless you’re not going just because you don’t want to). Send a card, buy something off of their registry, and call it a day. There will be a next time, promise.
  9. Life will never stop throwing curveballs at you all the time. Dodge, duck, dip, dive, and dodge. No, but on the reals, it’s okay to breakdown sometimes and think you can’t handle it. But, that’s what friends are for! Vent to them, go out for some wine and cheese, and take things one day at a time. You may think that when you grow up, things fall together. And, for the most part, that’s true. But life isn’t perfect…and that’s part of the beauty of it.
  10. Growing up is pretty damn great. You have no one to answer to but yourself. If you want to go out on a Tuesday and get completely out of control, you can. If you don’t want to go out on a Saturday night, you don’t have to. If you want to spend your money on those really-expensive-but-totally-amazing-just-have-to-have-them shoes, you can. If you don’t want to eat your vegetables, you don’t have to. It’s all entirely up to you. And that’s pretty damn great.

By Jessica Coleman

One thought on “10 Things No One Tells You About Growing Up in Your 20s

  1. Pingback: “10 Things No One Tells You About Growing Up in Your 20s” | Upstream Downstream

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