As I rapidly approach my 26th birthday, I have been reflecting on all the changes – good and bad – that have occurred in my short adult life. Realizing I’m quickly aging from early, to mid, to (gasp!) late twenties, there are several tips I have for others who feel like their twenties are flying by.
Yes, I know every publication thinks up these lists, but I wanted to put my own spin on it. So, in no particular order, here are my tips:
1. Make your bed every morning. Believe it or not, this small feat sets your whole day of to-do’s up for greatness.
2. Clean your house/apartment/bedroom. Whether you own, rent, or live with your parents, clean up your space. We are adults now – no more filthy, sticky floor, dishes in the sink, laundry piled to ceiling living. Don’t be gross.
3. Excercise. This is a no brainer. Whatever exercise means to you, do it. We’re getting older, and just like cleaning, get out of that college mentality. Your body, contrary to your belief, is not the same as it was at 18.
4. Cook meals at home. This does not have to be every day. Opt for at least three days a week. Go to the grocery store. Buy real food. Make a good meal. Which brings me to…
5. Cut out the late night, booze-fueled fast food runs. This is something even Justin and I struggle with at times. We don’t go out as much as we used to, but sometimes when we do… that 2am Taco Bell Cheesy Gordita Crunch just calls my name. Don’t do it. It makes your hangover worse, not better. Speaking of alcohol…
6. Cut back on the drinking. Seriously. Take it from my experience. My hangovers last two days now. I can’t even have a beer anymore without a slight headache the following day.
7. Instead, choose your cocktails wisely. By now, you should have a good idea of what you do and do not like. Pick one drink and stick with it through the night. This helps, people. We’re getting too old for mixing liquors with beer… and shots.
8. Learn to craft a few good cocktails. One of the perks of getting older is having your own space and (hopefully) more money to buy nicer booze. Get your hands on a cocktail recipe book and teach yourself to make a few good drinks. Plus, you will impress your guests when you can whip up fancy drinks in no time.
9. Buy matching dishware, glassware, and silverware. I don’t need to elaborate on this one. Get it together.
10. Buy real drink/cocktail glasses. Wine glasses, stemless wine glasses, whiskey glassses, martini glasses. You get the picture.
11. Be cognizant of your spending. I am guilty of shopping binges. Everyone has their own spending habits, but just keep track. We don’t live off of a strict budget, but we know how much money we bring in each month and we know how much it costs to keep our house running. Make sure there’s money left over at the end of the month. If you’re consistently spending more than you make each month, step back and re-evaluate your financial priorities. That weekend trip away may have to wait. But…
12. On the flip side, don’t let budgets run your life. If you are conscious of your spending and you save money when you can, go ahead a splurge on experiences, things, or home projects that are important to you. Life’s all about balance.
13. Get a pet. This does not mean a high maintenance animal. Get a fish. Taking care of another life reduces unrealized selfishness. If you have kids, disregard this tip. You already know.
14. Go to bed. You need minimum six hours of sleep. Seven is ideal. Eight if you’re lucky. Again, we’re getting too old.
15. Make your good friends a priority. We are all busy. I’m the absolute worst at keeping in touch with friends when I’m busy. But I’m working on it. Speaking of friends…
16. Keep your circle small. Having a ton of friends/acquaintances is great! But having a a few very close friends that you can always count on is more important. Choose wisely.
17. Stop gossiping. Half the stuff you hear isn’t true. The other half is misinterpreted, misunderstood, or perceived differently.
18. Stop judging lifestyles that are different from yours. Unless what someone else does directly affects your life, who cares what they do. You can disagree, but you don’t have to be hateful.
19. LET SH*T GO. I’m working really hard at this. I realize that people either a) don’t get it, b) don’t see it, c) don’t care, or d) perceive situations differently from me. People will do crappy things. Unbelievably crappy things. Just let it go. Distance yourself, be nice, but let it go and move on.
20. Pray. God is so great. If you don’t have a relationship with him, I urge you to open your heart.
21. Give back. Whether it’s donating to or volunteering for a charity that tugs at your heart strings, giving a dollar to whatever organization the grocery store is supporting that month, or buying Girl Scout cookies from the bubbly girl down the street – give back in any way you can.
22. Spend time with supportive family. As teens, we tend to stray away from family. Some people have great families. Some people have downright awful families with a myriad of issues that keep them from being close. Some people consider certain friends family. Whoever your family is, spend time with them. We are lucky that my parents spoil us. They are great people and do so many wonderful things for us. Whoever those people are to you, appreciate them.
23. Seriously, find a hobby you like. Mine is decorating and attending craft parties (wine and paint, etc.). You need to do something for YOU.
24. Give your all to the important things. Give the best version of yourself to your significant other. Don’t bring the stress of work home. Likewise, don’t bring the stress at home to work. Show up and be the best version of yourself. Don’t skimp out. Go the extra mile.
25. Focus on inner peace and happiness. The only person responsible for your happiness is you. Yeah, circumstances and people can get you down, but how you respond to it ultimately sets the tone for your life.
Enjoy your life, but be aware of yourself. Do you leave a positive mark on the world?