The Good, the Bad, and the Twenties.

When did life cost so much? Is anyone actually having fun? What am I doing here? And more FAQ from people in their twenties.

So you’re in your twenties, you have flown- wings spread with curiosity and gumption from your humble abode. High hopes and a shit load of unrealistic expectations are the winds in your sails, and you, you are prepared- you were forewarned copious times about the cold cruel world, and now you’re here!

Independence ensues you, life is moving, racing, slipping, skimming, past you. And as you begin to look around, it seems to you that everyone, being so concerned with the behavior of the world; forgot to mention the cold cruel confusion that comes with one’s twentieth rotation around the sun.

And you can’t help but wonder: how the fuck did I get here? Is everyone is as happy as they look on Instagram? Or are they too falling- arms extended, clinging onto any sort of familiar high school hierarchy they can land their phalanges on?

Well let me be the first to tell you (hopefully not actually) that you’re not alone! So throw on Blink-182 What’s My Age Again and crack open a PBR (because we all know you can’t afford craft beer) and take a few minutes to skim through 20 tips, tricks, and altogether common feelings of decade 2.

1. (dis)Connect

In a generation full of emails, status updates, likes, tweets, comments, Instagram posts, etc. We often feel we are more connected than ever, yet we incessantly hear Gen X and Boomers bring up the fact that we can’t seem to talk to one another or even be alone with our own thoughts. And though most of the things the older generations say about millennials is hyperbolized, is this? As cheesy as it sounds, disconnect to reconnect.

  • Don’t check social media first thing in the morning, most people are in the habit of turning off their alarm and then rummaging through their feeds, take that time to stretch, remember your dreams, or even make your bed.
  • Go outside, whenever you can. Just go.

2. Blacking out isn’t cool

I can hear the gasps now, as some of you know by now the loss of memory due to excessive drinking is something that occurs a lot of people especially in the college drinking scene. I hear at least one person in my group of friends say “lets get blacked” during the week. This is not only bad for your health, but your friends probably don’t want to carry you home covered in your own vomit more than once.

3. Alone vs lonely

Most people I know despise being alone. I have to admit there was a time when I hated it too. I constantly felt like I was missing out on something and I believe this was due to social media (especially SnapChat) profusely displaying some cool adventure my friends went on. I think the real anxiety lies in being lonely and feeling left out, when the truth of the matter is you owe it to yourself to truly know yourself and your 20’s is just the time for self discovery! So if you can’t take an hour a day to just be alone, try to take one day of the week, just pick a day and commit to it. You can do laundry and read a book or catch up on some studying. Pro Tip: remember it always looks more fun on SnapChat than it actually is.

4. Be bored

I can’t emphasize this enough: let yourself be bored! How are you ever supposed to cherish anything if you are always doing something? Take a moment to do nothing- for out of this chasm of solitude springs the bountiful blossoms of creativity. So get there, allow for nothing to happen so something unexpected can have a chance to grow.

5. Drink more water

Drinking more water is something that will be recommended to you for the rest of your life, and once you feel the effects of being fully hydrated you too will be an advocate for water. So take the time and pick out a water bottle you really like, put some dope stickers on it, and drink up! Myth buster: drinking water while drinking alcoholic beverages doesn’t not reduce the effects of alcohol, it simply hydrates your body so your hangover isn’t as bad.

6. Stop drinking caffeine

…or at least stop relying on it. Some people (especially those who are in college) can’t seem to function properly before they have their morning coffee, and can’t seem to focus on their studies without their afternoon cup. Though the rush from caffeine is literally addictive, it is something that creates reliance in your body and this dependency actually makes it harder for your body to wake up on it’s own. My advice would be to wake up and drink a large glass of water before anything- then decide what you need from there.

7. You don’t have to go

Sometimes, you just feel like going home after a long day, putting on some comfy clothes, making some snacks and watching a movie. And that’s your plan, until the group text starts making plans- not here it is again- the fear of being left out. Just stay home! You are more likely to have a better time at home anyway and what are you really missing out on? You have been to the same party drinking the same beers with the same people for the past couple weekends. (Also I can bet someone else in the group is feeling the same way.. suggest staying in and see where that goes!)

8. CAREER

Just a heads up, no one knows what they want to do in their twenties! Most people don’t even know what they’re having for dinner. Also this generation is the first that isn’t going to have just one profession, so if you feel like you’re all over the place it’s probably because you’re going to be. If you are paying for a degree please take your time in deciding what you want to do! Too many people rush into their majors because of social pressures and end up having a degree in something that they don’t really care about.

9. I fucked up

I fucked up, you fucked up, and so did everyone else. And this never stops, though sometimes in your 20’s failure can feel more detrimental than before. All I can tell you (and I’m going to be cliche again) is that from failure comes things that you never could have predicted, and it truly is not about what you fail at or how you fail but how you come back from it. What you do with your ruins is what defines you, for if we were all only defined by our faults and missteps no one would be anywhere. So look failure in the face and say “bring it on.”

10. Make it happen

Though we all have those acquaintances we bump into and make very ambiguous future plans with that neither one of you ever follow up on- know the difference. If you meet someone you want to spend time with, don’t let frivolous things get in the way- make the time. Same goes for travel and festivals, if there is something you really want plan for it, stop letting it just be a dormant dream or wish. Breath some life into it and you will be amazed at how fast it learns to walk.

11. Call your parents/guardians

Hey! Those people that birthed you/raised you, they miss you! You haven’t been gone long (to them I can bet) and it would really make their day if you just let them know they were on your mind. Even if it is just to rant about the amount of money you just spent at the grocery store and how you have no time to go to the gym. Family and close friends back home can make great temporary psychiatrist.

12. Meditate

Yes! Actually do it, find a time to sit and close your eyes, breath deeply and disconnect from the external reality. This doesn’t have to be in the traditional style that most people think of- the main goal is clarity. Whatever gets you in that headspace- do it. Once a day, find a way to fit it into your everyday routine.

13. Lists

I love making lists, it is something I can do to get all my goals for the day/week/month/year into a linear format. But I have made a mistake, a little while ago I heard

“If you have more than 3 things on your to-do list that day, you have zero”

This is something I never thought much about but it seems to resinate, learning to space out what needs to be accomplished so you don’t feel overwhelmed or like there is no time in the day for you to do what you need, is not living, it’s rushing through life trying to check as many boxes as you can.

14. Risks

Now is the time- more than ever when it feels like you shouldn’t take risks, you should be getting a degree, planning for your future, and maybe even saving for retirement. Which are all nobel and responsible choices- but fuck that. Now is the time- more than ever to take the big risks! Figure out what you really want and not what has been spoon fed to you through the media/peers/family members. If you have an inkling to get out into the mountains for a few weeks and photograph the wildlife and scenery, go.

15. You’re still a kid

No one looks at someone in their 20’s and expects them to have it all together; remember that the next time you are feeling down on yourself for eating cold leftover pizza for breakfast. But more importantly know that you don’t have it all figured out (which is a probably something you would wish to forget) but that its okay! Don’t let the unknown diminish your curiosity- keep asking why!

16. Eat something green

I know being in your twenties means you are broke, but please don’t buy that triple shot vanilla latte with extra whip cream and instead- eat some broccoli, or peas, or cucumber, or spinach! Anything that made you squirm as a youngin’ that you can stand now: eat it! Take care of yourself, they weren’t wrong when they said you are what you eat.

17. Exercise

“I don’t have time” is not an excuse since you’re reading this right now. Stop right now and go if you must- if that’s what will get you there. Not only will working out regularly make you feel better but you’ll look better too! Building a gym habit is not something that comes easy and maybe your version of exercise is a hike, bike ride, or even a walk around town, whatever it is: move.

18. Read more

Don’t forget the pleasure that can be derived from literature. There is so much to be learned within the pages of books- it may be hard at first but once you find an author you like- you find people who like that author- who have found other authors like them- who in turn know more people who like this new author, and you could read forever, and read forever you should.

19. Get good rest

Did you read that right? I did not say sleep, I said good rest. This does not include coming home at one in the morning falling into bed with your light still on- only to wake up at four in the morning to turn it off and put pajamas on, to fall back asleep for a few more hours before your morning class. To sleep well is to live well, which means dedicating 7+ hours a night to sleep, sleep is your bodies chance to fall back into homeostasis, besides who doesn’t love to dream?

20. It’s okay

You are after all, young, not alone, and on the internet. Life is hard but you are strong and there is always someone around if you need them to listen. You know what is best for you- and though it is hard to navigate through this hectic western society, I truly believe you can make the right decision after a few deep breaths. So breathe young one, not knowing what to do is part of the journey, so you’re on the right track. Keep going.

And no, this isn’t a Millennial problem, Generation X and the Boomers were confused too!