It’s great to be 20-something. You finally feel like a “real adult” and ready to take on the world. Don’t even think about counting down once you hit 25. Keep pushing and growing. Learn how to get comfortable with the unknown and embrace failure, mistakes, and self-love. We put together 22 things to try and accomplish while you’re in your 20s. Enjoy!
TRAVEL & PLAY
#1 Travel; locally and globally. Whether you’re studying abroad or taking your first ever real-adult-vacay, now is the time to explore the world. Traveling to new places while you’re young can give you a new perspective on life. Jumping across the ocean is not the only way to experience new faces and plates. Discover fine dining in the next town over or fly out to a modest inn in a historic area nearby.
#2 Rock it out: It can be an Indie concert your best friend dragged you to or breathtaking moments from Queen Bey herself, a concert is a must.
#3 Road trip! Why? Because it is ultra-fun (who says ultra these days)? Gather your friends up and step on the gas to… You’ll create memories of a lifetime hopping from one diner to the next, winning serious lip-sync battles, and of course creating inside jokes.
#4 Get to know yourself. Seriously this might not happen in the ten beautiful years you have as a 20-something year old, but it’s a great time to start learning about yourself. Who you are is made up of a mixture of things: unforgettable moments, relationships, your likes and dislikes, and your choices. You can read a self-help book or meditate on your thoughts, but what it all comes down to is “total me time” reflecting on what you want to achieve. Life seems to be a never ending check-list so figuring out what you want out of it might just help you become the next and new you.
#5 Tell Ma and Pops you got their back. Love your parents or guardian(s), thank them and don’t forget to be a helping hand throughout the years. We go through these phases of “my parents are so cool” to “hey, can you call before you come over?” But, as soon as real drama hits they become your BFF and lawyer all wrapped in one. Be sure to surprise them with how much you care and appreciate all the times they continue to be there for you.
#6 Spend time with your family. Not just on the holidays, but get together with your siblings and/or your cousins for dinner. Make time to enjoy each other’s company over some great food and maybe some board games because who doesn’t like a little cheesy competition.
MONEY & POWER
#7 “I have $0 right now.” There is no better time to learn about taxes and where your money is going more than now. Create a budget. A daily, weekly, monthly, and/or yearly budget can make you find that spare change a little easier. This will help you get rid of all that debt you may have from school – or last week’s shopping spree.
#8 Get things done. Create a schedule that works for you and allow room for change. It took me awhile to realize that monthly planners are my worst enemies. Who can think that far out about daily routines? I use a daily to-do list which keeps me productive and efficient.
#9 Learn to do something new! When I was in high school my mother made me play tennis against my wishes, but you know what, I’m glad she did. Now I have a sport to play that’s active but slightly relaxed. Learning something new is a great way to pick up a new hobby, meet new people, and simply challenge yourself.
#10 “I could teach you how to speak my language, Rosetta Stone.” Thanks Drake! There are numerous ways to pick up a new language and it’s definitely worth it. You’ll find yourself learning a new language then booking a flight to submerge yourself in its native culture.
#11 Learn to cook and master a few dishes along the way. Personal must-tries can be found here on BuzzFeed Tasty’s Instagram.
#12 Fall in love with the finer things in life. Theatre, dance, music, sculpture, whatever. Yes, we want you to become one of those artsy people – at least just for a while. Pop into galleries, stand in line for ticket sales to a Broadway show, or become the artist yourself by laying out a few moves and sketches.
#13 Next page please. Read more magazines and books—fiction, nonfiction, poetry, etc. Read out of your comfort zone too. When you read you learn something. It’s time to have some meaningful and educated discussions or debates – and votes!
THE RIGHT CAREER
#14 “Get a job where you can be celebrated not tolerated.” Wise words from Stan McNeil, a former bus driver at Rutgers University. Don’t let a title or salary define your career goals. Whether it’s a part-time gig or the start of a new career, make sure you’re following your heart. Almost everyone dreads the start of a new work week, but wrestling with the thought of going in every day is probably a sign this is not your calling.
#15 Find a mentor. This can help you academically and professionally. Once you find the perfect person who inspires you, gives honest feedback, and shares the same career passions as you, then you’re set.
#16 Jump start your career now. Why wait for education, internships and part-time jobs to finally match-up. Become an entrepreneur and get noticed for the smart and interesting person you are. You’ll build communication and business skills you never thought possible. And not to mention the doors and opportunities you’ll set for yourself.
FRIENDSHIP & LOVE
#17 Go best friend! Build relationships that can withstand anything. Keeping a tight and small circle of friends is one of the smartest things you can do not just as a young adult, but as you get older. Surround yourself with trustworthy, funny, adventurous, and smart people. Also be a great friend. Once your circle of friends feel like family then you know you’ve made the right choices.
#18 “We’re like together, but it’s not official.” You’re not together. It’s probably just a fling and who wants to spend years in a fling? Love will happen when it’s right not when you want it to. Stand up for yourself if you’re not getting what you want out of a relationship. That cliché saying “there are plenty of fish in the sea” is pretty accurate.
#19 Do good. Give back in your community and elsewhere every opportunity you get. It will be a rewarding and humbling experience.
LETTING THINGS GO
#20 “Let it go, let it go!” You cannot avoid heartache, but you can control the power of the aftermath. Whether it’s dealing with the cause externally or internally, let the healing process begin in a positive way. Think about the day or days of that pain and then think about the lifetime ahead you have to make new and happier memories.
#21 Sorry I’m not sorry. You’re young and you’re going to make mistakes. Don’t let anyone kill your vibe because of a mishap. Re-think your weaknesses and stop doubting yourself because of what others say and do. Take these years to embrace all of life’s lessons.
#22 Live a healthy life. Prepare your mind and body for the golden ages and not just for the next party. Be conscious of what you put into your body starting…now. Having a healthy lifestyle takes discipline and can be totally fun once you figure out what you love and hate. Find the workout methods that don’t feel like you’re working out and learn about delicious garden recipes that make you crave veggies. And on the outside, find the products that make your skin glow and feel silky smooth. We’re all going to get wrinkles, but if we can hold them off for as long as possible, I’m down with that.
Stop trying to please everyone and learn to say “no” every once in a while.
By Yegide Matthews | Photo: Brooke Cagle