20something

Your 20’s are your selfish years. Old enough to make the right decisions and young enough to make the wrong ones. Be selfish with your time - travel, explore, fall in and out of love, be ridiculous and silly, stupid and wild.
Be 20something.
—  Unknown
20 Things No One Tells You About Your 20s

The struggle is real. You graduated, but you’re not actually an adult. You’ve entered the work force, but you’re entirely unprepared. You’re in your 20s, but it’s not at all as seen on TV. Here’s what no one tells you about life after graduation.

  1. The quarter life crisis is real.
  2. There are no birthdays to look forward to after 21. Yeah, you can rent a car at 25, but have you ever spent time at an Enterprise? That place makes a quarter life crisis seem fun.
  3. Unlike college, there’s not free food everywhere you turn, and you have to grocery shop constantly if you’re not into a starvation diet.
  4. You eat fast food alone on your lunch break out of necessity, not after long nights out with friends when you’re too drunk to count calories.
  5. All of your college friends used to be in one place, and now everyone’s spread out (until the next wedding, at least).

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27 Things All 27 Year Olds Should Know

1: You’re not 30 yet, but don’t be afraid to act like it every now and then.

2: You’re not 30 yet, so don’t be afraid to act 22 every now and then.

3: *NSYNC is good for the soul, BSB is a close third. There is no second.

4: Don’t save as much money as you feel like you need to. Spend a little so you can look back when your 65 and say “Sure I retired 3 years later than most of my friends, but I did some amazing things in my 20s that they will never be able to do in their 60s.”

5: Leave your comfort zone.

6: Move. At the very least move away from your hometown or home state. The USA is huge, the world is even huge-er.

7: Experiment with some things you were told never to experiment with.

8: Do Yoga - if you can’t touch your toes now, guess what you won’t be able to touch in 10 years.

9: Learn something new today.

10: Learn something new this year.

11: Don’t watch the news.

12: Put some money in a brokerage account and try your luck at the stock market. You may win, you may lose, but you will certainly gain a better understanding of it. (Hint: sometimes you have to trust your gut)

13: Do something you hated as a kid, but wish you wouldn’t have quit. (Hint: for most of you this is probably piano)

14: Duolingo.com (you are welcome).

15: Apply for jobs, shows, contests, and other stuff you don’t even think you have a shot at. That needle is somewhere in the haystack, why not try to find it.

16: Don’t be afraid to love someone, because they love you.

17: Stop thinking about that one thing you want to do and….DO IT. You are only as stuck as you think you are.

18: Pick an airline and be loyal. When you reach status, you’ll get it.

19: Make good friends, but more importantly be a good friend. Call them, catch up with them, keep up with them, and make a point to see them. You will never be given another pool of “friend candidates” like you were given in college, so treasure the ones you made there.

20: Think about all the societal norms you subscribe to and break the mold a little. It’s fun to be different.

21: Born-School-Job-Retirement-Die, doesn’t have to be your path.

22: The grass IS always greener if you allow it to still be green when you get to the other side.

23: Do something “dangerous” (sky dive, cliff jump, rock climb, etc.) It is probably less dangerous than other stuff you do everyday, like driving to work.

24: Do everything you can to make your credit score go up and up and up.

25: Go to Oktoberfest in Munich

26: Chase something - a dream, a butterfly, a job - you might catch it.

27: Write a cliche list of ## of things ______ should do/know (before)…

28: Then write one more thing, so the title of your list doesn’t make any sense.

We Need To Take Note Of Inclusion

It’s not difficult to find an image of 20-somethings and younger sitting around staring at their phones. We call it a shame, that we’re losing the ability to communicate, and that our humanity is all but gone. But that’s not the case: it’s not that we’re less social, it’s that we’re less transparent.

I was out to brunch a few weeks ago, took out my phone, and said to the my friend, “totally taking a photo of this meal and tagging you.” Then I showed her the photo, asked her to help choose the filter, and when I looked at my phone minutes later, I showed her the four Instagram notifications. She noted this sharing process, that while I was guilty of phone-at-the-table, I was inclusive regarding my activities.  And I try to be every time I’m on my phone in a social space. I ask people for help on Candy Crush levels. I tell people I’m tagging them in posts about our plans. I explain the project that I’ve been eagerly waiting for a response on and consult about how to respond. I try to make my phone activity part of the social event.

If someone is reading a magazine or a newspaper while you’re sitting on the couch with them, it still feels like you’re relaxing together. You know “where” they are, whether it be lost in Hogwarts or confused about the latest legislation on unemployment. But when they’re engaged with a screen? It can feel that rather than being engrossed with something else, they’re engrossed with someone else. Therein lies the insecurity, and the feeling of being left out of something.

In the age of rampant “feelings” posts, it’s astounding that we can feel so alone in our insecurities when a video about loneliness can be watched millions of times. It’s our nature as social mammals, it is literally our nature, to want to be included in the pack, and it’s undeniable how crushing it can be when you feel like someone who you thought would include you, didn’t.

Imagine for a moment hearing a one-sided conversation, maybe you’re walking the same speed as the only other person on the sidewalk and all you’re hearing is her side, or you’re in the car with another person, and they take a call, sitting next to you, laughing and enjoying it, loudly. It isannoying to listen to one side of the conversation, because your brain is exhausting itself trying to fill in the silences. It’s easy to zone out a complete story. It’s easy to zone out your friend and his book because you’re seeing the whole conversation. It is not easy to zone out your girlfriend and her cell phone because you are only seeing one side of the conversation.

Inclusion is a hard thing to be aware of for other people, but it’s worth taking note of. It’s worth trying to talk to the person sitting in the middle, not being pulled into the conversations on either end of the table. It’s worth noticing who has been pivoted out of the circle of friends so you can open the setting to bring them in. It’s worth telling someone you’re capturing a moment with them. You don’t always have to put your phone down, sometimes all you need to do is turn it around.

Check out my other pieces on Thought Catalog.  

The phrase “twenty something” is another way to say “all my shit is split between storage units including my parents basement and I don’t want it back because it is all from Ikea anyway”

Dear Mom & Dad: A Letter From Your 20-Something

This is a letter to moms and dads of 20-somethings everywhere, of all kinds — surrogate moms and dads, adoptive moms and dads, biological moms and dads, and just any person of an “older persuasion” who happens to love 20-somethings. 

Dear Mom & Dad —

I got your voicemail yesterday. Sorry I didn’t call back. I wasn’t ignoring you, it’s just that there’s been a lot going on around here and by the time my day slowed down, I was really tired, and didn’t feel much like talking. Plus, it was past your bedtime.

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