Part of what led me to a marriage that wasn’t quite right, was my obsession with growing up, or more specifically, an obsession with doing what was expected of me. In retrospect, I wish I had really stopped this and spent more time enjoying my younger 20’s. While I am still only 26 years old, there is so much I feel like I missed out on in the six years of this decade previous to my separation. This link I found (mightygirl.com/2010/06/16/20-things-i-wish-i’d-known-at-20/) was really interesting and incredibly true. My favorites include:
1. Consider the source. If you’re worried about someone who dislikes you, first ask yourself whether they’re an asshole. If you don’t like them, and they don’t like you, that’s not a problem. That’s a mutual understanding.
4. When in doubt, shut up. Silence is a smart negotiation tactic, the best option when you’re processing how to respond, and always more productive than lying about what you’re thinking.
7. Find an age-appropriate style. No one wants to see a 20 year old in beige slacks and a wool blazer. Buy trendy clothes, wear the slutty dress, do something ugly with your hair. Be part of your generation, so you can laugh at the photos later.
10. You look good. There’s no such thing as the hottest person in the room. Everyone is attracted to something different, so just take those odds and run with them.
14. Let your passion shape your profession. You know that thing your dad says? “If work wasn’t hard, they wouldn’t pay you to do it.” Please. There are professional rock stars, astronauts, puppy trainers, and bloggers.
15. Sex is personal. Don’t bother with one-night stands if they’re not your thing, and don’t judge people for enjoying them (or not). Waiting to sleep with someone doesn’t make you an uptight prude, and jumping into bed doesn’t make you a spontaneous adventure seeker.
20. Enjoy your body. Odds are you’re more beautiful now than you will be again.
I would also like to add my own sentiments:
*Keep a journal. Eventually memories get fuzzy. More than likely you may find yourself repeating previous mistakes (read: relationships). You may experience a quarter-life crisis, or the terrible dirty thirty crisis. Or find yourself romanticizing a past relationship (why did we ever break up?). Nothing will remind you of who you are, where you came from and the reality of the past than your own voice lifted directly from that time.
*You don’t know yourself, and that’s okay. You may think you know yourself, especially those first few years out of college living the “adult” life. You don’t. You will change. A lot. I’m 26 and I am still changing. The difference with me today and me three years ago is, I know this and I am am okay with this. Your 20’s are a time where life is before you like a grand buffet with any and all options to choose from. Enjoy that moment and enjoy not knowing how these choices might change you. No one expects you to be grown up and all-self-knowing the minute you step out of college. And if they do they can go fuck themselves.
*But do things to find out who you are. Hardly ever do we take the time to do things that will actively cultivate a self-understanding. Personally, when I reached 25, I had an ah-ha moment of “oh shit, I don’t actually know who the fuck I am!?” And this was coming from the girl who thought she had the best understanding of herself and what she wanted out of life. Read books, take risks, try everything. After all, while it sounds cliche, once life really picks up with your career, serious relationships and even babies you often will find yourself hardly surviving until 5pm let alone taking a trip around the world, taking an art class, developing a yoga practice or speed dating.
*It’s okay to grieve your childhood. Being an adult can really suck. Sometimes I get hit with a huge wave of nostalgia for my childhood home, memories or even just my parents in general. A time when things were easier, less complicated and someone took care of you sounds good, no? Don’t let it consume you, but you also don’t have to feel guilty if sometimes you miss the days of lunch boxes, homemade dinners and even, ew, homework.
*You are still innocent. No matter what you have been through or done, you are only in your 20’s. Don’t let the weight of your mistakes and blunders weigh you down—you have far too much of life to still get through for your baggage to be so heavy. Be gentle with yourself. Forgiveness of yourself is the only forgiveness you need. Fuck all the rest.