With my birthday just passing earlier this month,I figured id put together a list of all the things to know about being alive for my 24 years……
1. You’re “not a girl, not yet a woman” and that’s fabulous. Britney Spears was somewhat right. There is such a thing as being in between adolescence and the responsibilities of adulthood that come a bit later on. And it’s pretty great. Embrace it before you have to worry about a mortgage, a spouse and children.
2. The fear of missing out is worse than missing out. It’s impossible to do everything and see everyone and be everywhere at once, so there’s no point in making yourself crazy over it. Stop regretting the things you aren’t doing, you can enjoy the ones you are a whole lot more.
3. “Just say no” applies to more than just drugs. If you’re really exhausted or just craving some alone time, it’s alright to turn down the occasional party invite. Curling up in bed with a good book, doing some tidying or going to the gym can all be as fulfilling as being social.
4. It’s equally important to say yes against your better judgment once in awhile. Don’t neglect your social life. Some of the greatest adventures occur when you stop trying to plan everything.
5. Book clubs aren’t just for old ladies. Once you’ve been out of the academic world for a few years, you might actually start to miss all of those lectures, discussions of “structure” and arguments. Book clubs are sort of academic, but they also allow you to read really awesome novels and drink a whole bunch of wine!
6. Home decorating has a place in the in-between years. Your 20-something apartment probably isn’t your forever home, but it is your home right now. Taking the time to put up some framed photos is worth it. Your apartment doesn’t have to look like a spread in Elle Mag but to make it yours — it just needs to contain some personal touches.
7. You don’t have to be friends with everybody. Not everyone is going to immediately like you and you’re not going to like everyone. Also, accept that not <em>all</em> of your friendships from high school and college are meant to stay as strong as they once were. Save your energy for the real thing. Those friendships are hard to come by and worth investing in.
8. Stop judging yourself. Your body, your job and your love life might not be “perfect” — in fact, they may be non existent. But at a certain point you just have to realize that no one gives a shit nearly as much as you do about your “flaws.”
9. Health concerns are real, so address them now. Whether it’s a pinched nerve in your neck, a poor exercise routine or anxiety issues, your mental and physical health will only get more complicated if you don’t take care of yourself now. Join a gym, meditate, or find a therapist ASAP.
10. Life’s too short for bad sex. No one’s going to read your mind, so figure out what you want in the bedroom and ask for it. Mind blowing sex is something I’ve mastered, not everyone will, but you have to start somewhere!
11. Retail therapy is totally fine once in awhile. No purchase is worth clearing out your bank account, but when you can and want to, let yourself splurge a little. There have definitely been times when a new pair of shoes lifted my mood more than an well thought-out discussion about my emotional state ever could.
12. Your parents are pretty cool. You can enjoy them in your 20s in a way that you couldn’t in your teens. Recognize that and choose to have fun with them instead of fighting with them.
13. Clothes don’t make the woman but flattering ones can make a woman feel really great. A new outfit can make you feel fabulous!
14. Your personality makes you sexier than any clothing item. I’ve never felt more attractive than when I’m having a good time with people who make me feel comfortable.
15. Being selfish is important and necessary (to a point of course). Make yourself happy, or else no one else will be able to.
16. Being single is really awesome. You get a big bed to yourself, you can do whatever you want whenever you want without consulting someone else, and you’re still at an age where a lot of other people are single too. I find that out of a relationship, I’m much more likely to get out of my apartment and try something new. Life can be fulfilling and fun without a romantic partner, and it’s important to experience that.
17. Watching your friends get married is fun, even if you’re single. At 24, you’re right in the middle of the first wave of friend marriages. Embrace the open bar, open dance floor and newly-married couple at every wedding you go to. Don’t worry about the fact that it’s not your wedding — after all, you’re only 24.
18. It’s OK to admit that you want a relationship. Admitting that you’d like to meet someone doesn’t mean you’re not independent and perfectly capable of getting along on your own. Also know that if you decide at some point that dating is a serious priority, you need to put some effort into the process.
19. Withholding your opinion accomplishes nothing. Being considerate of others’ preferences and needs is obviously a good thing. But you have the right and responsibility to express yourself in any relationship romantic or otherwise. It’s hard to stop being an “I’ll do whatever” sort of person, but once you start asserting yourself people will respect you more for it.
20. Doing things just for the story can be great. You’ll probably end up getting a lot more than an anecdote out of the experience and even if you don’t, you’ll enjoy retelling said story for years to come.
21. Nothing feels better than being able to afford not just your necessities, but a few luxuries as well. Work hard for the money!
22. It’s all right to change your mind about big things. This includes your job, your city and your life partner. Now’s the time. Your life doesn’t have to look the way you imagined it would at 18. It turns out, things rarely work out exactly the way you once thought you wanted them to anyway, and that’s usually a very good thing.
23. There’s no point in being afraid of life after 24. I can’t tell you how many people responded with “I’m so freaked out about turning 24!” when I told them my birthday was coming up. Besides the obvious fact that 24 is really young in the grand scheme of things, aging happens no matter how much you freak out. So why bother?
24. There’s so much you don’t know yet.