My dear fellow twenty-somethings,
I have to tell you something. I don’t know how to sugarcoat it, so I’ll just dive right in: It’s time for us to grow up. We’ve covered that our twenties are a time for development and personal growth. In this decade, we are learning the survival skills we really need to make the climb into full-blown adulthood. Some of us are more prepared than others; some of us have more learning to do than others, but essentially we all need to come to a few vital life realizations, preferably sooner rather than later.
Stop overthinking everything.
In reality, your boss has already forgotten the word you mispronounced during your presentation – she has other things to worry about. Your ex-boyfriend deleted you on Snapchat because 1) he is really immature and is attempting to play games with you, 2) he’s really over the time you spent together and doesn’t want to be connected with you, or 3) because it’s still too raw and he can’t see your face without tearing up. In any case – it’s over. Please let it go. Another news flash for you, we aren’t in high school anymore and no one cares that you came to the party alone.
While your life is about you, the world does not revolve around you. Stop spending your time thinking about how other people are spending their time thinking about you. Because they aren’t.
Quit basing your relationships on other people’s relationship roadmaps.
Yes, everyone is getting engaged, married, or having kids. We’re at that age now. But just because you aren’t doesn’t mean anything is wrong with you. If your parents dated for a mere month before getting married, good for them. But don’t pretend that you are going to get married after dating someone for a few weeks. It isn’t some kind of requirement or sacred family tradition – live your own life. Your dad brought your mom flowers every Friday? That’s sweet. Don’t turn away from a great relationship just because your parter doesn’t do the same.
Everyone only wants you to see the bright, cheery, and happy side of their relationship (save for, of course, those couples who can’t even keep a minor disagreement off of Facebook – no one understands this phenomenon). Stop running from disagreements. Serious relationship things to consider include your long-term financial plans, your plans to procreate, and how small of a space the two of you can peacefully inhabit together.
On that note, keep your most of your life moments quiet.
It’s great that you’re happy, it really is. I’m happy for you. But I really am just done with seeing pictures of you and your boyfriend on the couch, at the movies, in line at the grocery store, in the shower (I’m sure this has happened somewhere). When you are a good match, those around you will know just be being around you.
And the same goes for your friends. Your life doesn’t need to be online and on social media to be validated. If you are having a good time, the people in your life who truly matter already know. By all means document your life. Take a million pictures, everyday if you want. But putting inside jokes on Facebook really isn’t funny to anyone but you (and you just end up looking pretentious), there’s texting for that. Love is not boastful.
Don’t wait for things to happen to you.
If there is anything our twenties should teach us, it’s that you won’t get anywhere in life by waiting for things to happen to you. You applied to college, you apply to jobs, you work hard to get promoted. Quit making excuses. Don’t stagnate now.
Learn to respect other people’s time.
This is a big, big thing that I think is getting really old, really quick. Do not be the friend who is constantly late. Do not show up to meetings unprepared. Stop procrastinating. Quit staying up until 4 am binge watching TV shows and then showing up to work several hours late. Do not miss deadlines. Learn to communicate and own up to when you can’t get things done on time and when you’re going to be late. Things happen, most people understand. They aren’t going to understand when you waste their time over and over again.
Good friends listen, great friends enable, but best friends tell you to cut the crap. Stop whining and stop letting other people whine to you. Most of us just really need to learn how to get over ourselves. Yes you are allowed to be sad, upset, mad, hurt, etc. But you need to stop wallowing. That ex-girlfriend is always going to be the first girl who broke your heart, but we don’t need to talk about it years later. It’s over and done with. Please let it go.
And finally … stop dealing with other people’s bullshit.
How long are you going to listen to the same friend complain about the same thing? We all need a proper venting session every now and again. And as a friend (whether good, great, or best) it is our duty to allow our friends this time. That said, there comes a point when venting tips straight into full-on bullshit and bitching territory.
If you are so unhappy with your job that you’ve called your friends to bitch about it for an hour three days in a row, you need to focus your efforts on finding a new job and stop unloading your unhappiness onto your pal. As the listener in this scenario, you need to tell your friend you don’t want to hear about it anymore. It’s bullshit and it needs to stop.
I myself am guilty of these transgressions (among others). But some things just hit you like a brick wall in the middle of the night and all of a sudden you realize – hot damn, these things have got to change. Maybe I will look back to this time a realize that it was the moment I truly started to feel like an adult. I don’t know yet if there really is a “moment” or if it’s just something that happens over time, I suspect the latter.
Agree? Disagree? We each have unique perspectives for things we can improve on. What realizations make you feel like an adult?