It’s a weird time, your twenties, isn’t it?
You sort of know yourself – you know that you like wine, boys, and you know that coffee makes you look pregnant – but you’re just on the tip to reeeeeally know yourself. How excited are you on a scale of 1 to being a grown up?
You’ve got a job and a few life goals (big thumbs up), but do you really love what you’ve made up your mind to do? Do you actually love you ‘dream’ career? Are you taking the right steps towards your dream life? Should you even be planning a dream life? Should you just take off and travel the world and play with monkeys and wear a bikini and sarong dress (don’t do this, please) the rest of your life?
WHO KNOWS? WHO? Not me.
Here’s 15 things I think it’s worth aiming for in this weird, post-school decade of life… (And it’s not all parties, yoga and online dating, apparently).
1. Learn to trust your gut
Not so much trust that its ok to have a bit of a belly, although that’s definitely ok too, as long as it’s not life endangering. More understanding your instincts and listening to them. As you get older it’s creepy how much more in tune with your body you become. I can feel when my body needs rest, when my tummy is screaming FUCK OFF because i’ve just out another McDonalds inside it (my bad) and when I need to take time away to switch off, but I could never feel these things as a teenager. Weird,huh?
It’s the same with our gut instincts. Call it growing up and learning from previous mistakes, or call it just having a better foresight because we’re grown-ups, but we all get a sort of niggling feeling in the pit of our bellies when we have to make decisions. Sometimes you just have to step away from the dilemma, and the voices of friends and family who think that they know the answer and listen to what you think.
It’s not scary to end a relationship or leave a job if your insides know it’s the right thing to do.
2. Buy yourself a really expensive pair of shoes
Is there anything that says independence more than an incredible, mantel piece worthy pair of designer shoes? Because, hey, you deserve a treat, you work hard and you’re ace. It doesn’t count if you’re sticking them on a credit card, mind…
3. Understand your family’s health history
Illness, both mental and physical is more hereditary than I think I’ve ever realised. But it’s all about being brave enough to ask questions that will help you in the long run. Having an understanding of what symptoms you need to look out for and what you could be susceptible to will make you more aware of any warning signs. Because, what’s more important your health? Aside from Instagram, obvs.
4. Find a hobby
When you were younger a hobby was either something your parents sort of pushed you into or something that your friends bloody loved, now is the time to find something that actually interests YOU. Wahey.
It could be running, it could be helping out at a cat shelter or it could just be reading. Either way, it’s important to hold back time for you. Look how wise I sound. Go you, you rock!
5. Babies and marriage
Oh em gee, I’m actually openly talking about these two taboos. WHY do they feel like such unsaid words for a woman that has a career? Why does it feel that a woman who wants a good job in a competitive industry shouldn’t be dreaming of babies and marriage until her ovaries are in the brink of despair?
I’m not suggesting that every girl needs do either of these things in her twenties, she just needs to think about where she stands with them.
To have an idea of what you expect from them, where you prioritise them against other things. It feels like in this generation you’re pressured to push them both back as late as you can, and, if you don’t want that to be the case, that’s entirely ok, so long as you recognise it.
6. Learn a hangover remedy
Ok, so there’s probably hundreds, but actually determine yourself a failsafe cure that will save you from many a wasted day. Save you from every unproductive day at work, family day missed and half a weekend crying in bed. For me, a McDonalds, paracetamol and a nap are pretty much the key to survival.
7. Print off photos
Sounds mental and oh so basic, but thanks to the charms of social media we’re all pretty shit at actually getting photos from technology to paper. Remember when you’re entire bedroom was just an entire collage of photos? Eek. There’s no need to go crazy, but say the Internet were to explode in a huge fireball of hash tags and porn, you’d probably like to save a handful of photos. Go on, save them now.
8. Develop a signature dish
When I say that I don’t mean as in “oh, I can cook a lasagne”‘ I mean develop a dish that you cook pretty much better than anyone else in the world. A lasagne that you can cook and pretty much solve world peace with. Something that makes your insides melt into a big, warm, cave of happiness. It’ll win you so many friends in convenient places.
9. Learn finances
Learn finances, said the girl who doesn’t understand how anyone in the world isn’t in debt. How do people have a mortgage, have savings add be able to go on holiday and drink wine and buy clothes without debt, how, how people?!
Remember when you were little and you had a £1 to spend on anything you wanted? And maybe you’d buy a can of something fizzy, a bag of sweets and a Freddo and you didn’t spend more than you had? Yeah, learn to do that again.
Not just blogs and Mail Online and your Facebook feed, read actual books. Actual fiction. Books friends recommend, books your mum loves, books that you’ve seen all over social media. Put aside time to read enough books to fill up a sufficient amount of shelves. There’s nothing sexier than a well-read individual.
11. Your five a day
You know how it feels like you’ve been having a daily struggle since you were about 12 to get your five a day? Yeah? Keep going. That battle to get your juicy greens and beetroots and berries down you is really good for everything from hair to nails to looking red-hot in your fifties. Make it a habit, even if it makes you want to cry. Failing that, earn enough to afford fresh juices that you get interns to bring to your desk.
12. Love your family
Obvs you probably love your family, but can you say deep down that you actually make enough effort with them? Texts just because, incredibly well thought out birthday presents, helping them out when they don’t expect it? It’s really easy to step back without even realising you’ve done it. Dare ya, step forward.
Can’t believe I just said that, someone come and stick pins in my internal organs.
13. Stop comparing yourself to others
Oh but isn’t it fun? Thinking you’re really fat and that your clothes look rubbish, and… Christ, why don’t your eyebrows look like that you repulsive being?!
Step away from social media, step away from the comparisons to people you barely know. Confidence and happiness definitely come from separating our lives from other people and appreciating ourselves, not what other people have. So pull up your big boy pants and stop sulking over your lack of new Topshop culottes.
14. Ditch friends
Obvs not all of them, but the ones that no longer work for you. It sounds selfish, but life only gets busier and busier and the less time you have, the less time you’ll have to share out among other people. Ensure you leave enough time for the important friends, the ones that you would fight a dragon to protect, and don’t feel guilty about leaving behind the ones you, err, wouldn’t. Sometimes we feel forced into a continuing a friendship whilst knowing we have nothing in common or have grown a part. Life isn’t about having as many friends as you can, it’s about having just enough fan-blooming-tactic ones.
15. Find out what you love…
… Enough to do every single day. Yes, your twenties are for building the cornerstones of your career, but if it’s a career that makes you miserable, then ditch it. Throw it away and find something that makes you happy every day. It doesn’t have to be for a whole day every day, maybe just for a minute, but it has to make you happy. Our generation’s retirement age still feels a little blurry, and there is a new pressure as women to have it all, to provide for as well as care for our families, but remember to think about yourself and what you’d actually like to do for the next 40 years. Chances are, it’s probably not what you’re doing now…
NOW GO OUT THERE AND BE BRILLIANT, ALL OF YOU.