I’m officially in my mid-20s (and by no means wiser), but I’ve definitely learned some things along the way. Here’s 24 thoughts on turning 24.
1. Life is too short not to indulge.
Mainly because lemon bars exist. But seriously. Yes, vegetables are great. But so is chocolate. And you know what sometimes feels just as good as an hour at the gym? A Netflix marathon from bed on your day off.
2. Never apologize for what makes you happy.
The best part about your life is that it’s your own. You can control it. And if corny jokes and looking at pictures of Boston Terriers wearing tutus makes you happy, don’t be sorry about it!
3. Say I love you. Even if it’s obnoxious.
When I was a kid, I could never go to sleep until I told my parents I loved them and they said it back. To this day, I don’t like to hang up the phone without saying, “I love you” to the people I’m closest with. Say it. Say it again. Say it three times just in case.
And if you need some dramatic inspiration, pull a Chuck Bass.
4. Pet the dog.
All dogs are puppies, all puppies are family. Never miss a chance to pet one!
Side note: Never trust people who don’t let dogs on the furniture.
5. It’s ok not to have a plan.
Coming from someone who has the most detailed calendar known to mankind, this is a tough one. Learning to accept that there isn’t a roadmap to life has been one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done, but also one of the most rewarding.
6. Falling apart doesn’t mean you’re broken.
Stress is natural and it can creep up on you when you least expect it. Even when those walls come crashing down around you, it’s always possible to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and be ready to take on the world!
7. Momma is always right.
The best thing my mother always tells me (other than dinner’s ready) is that everything happens for a reason. Guys, mom’s are psychic. For real. Whatever she tells you to do, DO IT. No questions asked.
And no, you can’t have mine. She’s pretty much my favorite person in existence.
8. Asking for help doesn’t make you weak.
Recognizing you’ve reached your limit is super important for self-health. Reaching out to those around you for assistance isn’t a sign of weakness. It’s a sign of strength.
9. Trust your gut.
Some people/things/situations life throws at you will give you some bad juju. Trust that feeling. Not all that glitters is gold, even if we want it to be.
10. Comfort zones are so last season.
Do things you never thought you would do. Try sushi for the 10th time. Find out you still hate it (true story). Whatever it is, push yourself. Sometimes new things are the best things.
11. Your perspective is different, and that’s ok.
You’re no longer a hip teenager. You don’t know how to dab, nor should you. A fun night out consists of a glass of wine with friends and being asleep by 10:30. And you get excited about what you will spend your tax return on. In other news, you’re an adult. Embrace it!
12. Be independent.
Whether it’s your finances, your emotions, or just being about to open the jar of pickles, be independent. It’s rewarding and teaches you how to love yourself just as you are.
Also, sing the song.
13. Travel. Travel. Travel.
You’re young, you’re able, you have no excuse. Even if it’s just taking a weekend getaway to see some friends and family, do it! Wanderlust is a majestic thing.
14. Take the time.
Foster your friendships with your people, your lobsters, your yellow umbrellas (and don’t be friends with me if you don’t understand the references). Take the time, put in the effort, and never let them go, regardless of where they live.
15. Don’t be so serious.
Goof off. Have a dance party. Sing karaoke. Laugh at yourself because chances are you are the most embarrassing person you know. Need proof? Check out this (splendid) video my sister put together for me a few years ago.
16. Know your worth. Add tax.
My friend Katie introduced me to this quote, and I think it’s one of the best things I’ve ever heard. Never underestimate yourself or let someone treat you like you aren’t worth the world. Those who don’t reciprocate your love don’t deserve to be in your life.
17. The beach is good for your soul.
I could never endorse something more. Get to the ocean. As much as possible.
18. Climb the ladder.
Started from the bottom, now we’re here. But always remember, you have to start from the bottom. Work those crazy hours, do those things that aren’t so glamorous, and it will pay off. I promise.
19. Don’t waste your time.
On people, on jobs, on food, on anything that doesn’t make you happy. Life’s too short.
20. Be grateful. Every damn day.
I had a communications professor in undergrad start every class by going around the room and having each student say something they were grateful for that day. The practice has stuck with me. Notice the things in your life, no matter how small, you are fortunate enough to have and never, ever take them for granted.
21. Know what you can take.
Being a “yes” man can be a great thing, but also know the power of saying no. If you put too much on your platter, it will break. Balance your commitments.
22. Read Jane Austen.
I believe everyone should think like Lizzy, have a heart like Jane, care like Mrs. Bennet, act like Bingley, and love like Darcy.
“My courage always rises with every attempt to intimidate me.” -Elizabeth Bennet
23. Take on that bucket list.
And never stop adding to it for that matter. Challenge yourself to do things you never thought you could do. Not a natural runner? Take on a half marathon (more like limp across the finish line of one…speaking from experience). Want to sky dive? You’re insane, and I stand by that. Whatever it is, do it. Try it.
24. Be the person others can rest their hearts on.
Keep your door open, the wine uncorked, and your ears ready! Be there for people when they need you, and even when they don’t. Be present, be kind, and let your soul be formed by others.
So here’s to being 24 (and, as I was reminded, one year away from being able to legally rent a car)!