I’m 26 years old, soon to hit 27. What I’ve gathered so far is this is a hella bizarre life stage.
Me every day
However, I am learning to love the adventure of it all. So below, I give you my thoughts on surviving this decade. Trust me, I’m still learning to listen to myself.
Fall in love with yourself. Being in my 20s has been a delicate balance of telling myself I’m awesome while trying not to cry shame tears in a public space. There seems to be someone around every corner saying you’re not good enough. But you can’t let it get to you. You’re a unique human being with a purpose worth pursuing. Do you.
But do let go of any delusion that the Universe revolves around you. Falling in love with yourself is different than thinking everything that happens in life is related to you and your delicate sack of feelings. If someone does something you don’t like, stop to think about other factors at play. There are sure to be many.
Don’t shame spiral. People flaunt their engagements, ultrasounds and exotic travel selfies all over Facebook. These are legit achievements and we should affirm our digital friends. However, don’t let this daily practice dictate where you think you are on the “killing it at life” spectrum because it’s only one dimension of reality.
FOMO is just an illusion. Fear of Missing Out. As my future hubs Aziz Ansari says in one of his comedy bits, the chances of a Biggie & Tupac reunion concert happening the night you decided to stay in are pretty slim.
Not everyone is going to like you. Thankfully, the ones who do make this realization not matter at all.
People are not always who they appear to be. My generation is characterized by our expert abilities to play mind games with each other and live behind facades that hide all signs we might have a heart in our chest. Between overanalyzing texts, judging someone prematurely and playing it cool, we constantly cheat ourselves from making real human connections. Smoke and mirrors are exhausting. Give it up.
Dating in my 20s: Exhibit A
Dating can feel like a high pressure game of musical chairs. But the music is not going to stop. Ultimately, it comes down to figuring out who you are and what makes you happy. Trust yourself and the journey, including the super awkward moments. Also, remember to use the bad dates/awful people as hilarious stories later on.
Embrace the unexpected. My favorite part of life thus far is the unexpected. Beautiful, exciting things you never saw coming that ended up changing the direction of your life or simply turned your day around for the better. Recognize those moments. Relish these moments. Believe there are many more to come.
Treat yo self. A vital life practice is to indulge every now and then. Sometimes, you just have to eat McDonalds and Taco Bell in the same afternoon or pop that champagne because it feels amazing and there’s always a reason to celebrate.
Invest in at least one good pair of “work pants” even if they are boring to shop for.
Know you’re not immune to rejection and you’re going to feel unappreciated at times. That’s why Taylor Swift had to give us “Shake it Off,” that is why Happy Hour always rolls around and that is why we have friends. Chin up, carry on.
Let it go.
Fight for what makes you happy. Don’t leave everything up to chance and luck. You have to learn to channel your inner Beyonce. This is the time to go after what and who you want.
If it hurts, just say “ow.”
Appreciate the stars of your movie. Family, friends, significant others, you know who these people are. Listen to them. Love them with all you got. Laugh super hard with them. Hug them so they are physically crushed by the weight of your appreciation. This is really what makes it all matter in the end.
Find a mentor. It’s good to vent to someone who’s stood where you’re standing and lived to tell the tale.
Appreciate life, cultivate an understanding of the bigger picture and say thank you all day long. Get to counting those blessings because this world is full of heavy hearts and inevitable tragedy. Now, more than ever, is the time to learn what it means to be a generous and humble spirit.
Work hard, wear SPF above level 5 and somehow get enough iron in your diet. (Things I’ve read)
Do your own taxes, discover that elusive “runner’s high” and expand your grocery list beyond wine, lean cuisines and instant grits. (personal goal)
Our daily lives really just turn into Jedi mind games with ourselves. It’s never going to feel like it “should.” Choose happy and go from there.