20 Reasons I’m Excited for My 20s
Take Chances! Make Mistakes! Get Messy! That’s what this decade is all about
By Courtney Guth, University of Maryland
Yup. Here it is. Another one of those trendy “twenty-something” pieces. A quick google search of the phrase will reveal articles like “101 Things Every 20-Something Realizes In Their 20s,” “11 Life Hacks For The Emotionally Struggling 20-Something,” or “22 Signs You’re A Typical 20-Something.” It seems that I’m hopping on the bandwagon as I come to terms with the decade that lies ahead of me.
At this point, I am already almost two years into my 20s, but I am now approaching a major milestone. Yes, entering your 20s is a milestone in and of itself, but I am facing an even bigger milestone. I am graduating in just three months. Once I graduate, I will begin to face my twenties head on. The next eight years involve a lot of uncertainty and huge decisions, but here’s why I am embracing them:
1. I will be (somewhat) responsible enough to make good choices: Bad decisions make good stories, but as I begin to mature, it’s time to learn that not all stories are worth telling. The old adage holds true that with age comes wisdom. Now sometimes you just get age, but I like to think I’m maturing and making wise decisions. Gone are the days of some pretty bad ideas. (I’m looking at you 16 year old Courtney who thought she could handle wearing 4 inch heels for three hours at a homecoming dance). 21 year old Courtney knows she looks good in the heels but should pack a pair of sensible flats so her feet don’t hurt in the morning.
2. I will be young enough to make mistakes: We make mistakes at any age, but for some reason, when you’re in your twenties it’s more permissible. As some of the more tendered adults in my life like to remind me “you’re still figuring it all out.” I’m going to take my sweet time to figure it all out and milk that for all it’s worth. That doesn’t mean I’m rushing out to make mistakes (see above). It just means that when I hit a few bumps in the road, I get a little bit of a free pass. As a poor college student, I’ll take anything that’s free.
3. I will no longer be a poor college student: I will be a poor young adult, yay! Ha all jokes aside, it will be exciting to enter the world of personal responsibility. Leaving college is bittersweet. I will no longer have access to 3 am pizza that costs about $1 a slice, but I will also be able to afford better at some point…at least I hope so. If not, there’s always alumni weekend for reliving some of the best moments.
4. I will look young enough to still abuse student discounts: I have a baby face. Case in point: I went out with my parent’s when I was home last weekend. I asked for a drink menu. The waitress said, “we have coke, diet coke, lemonade, and sprite.” My mother had to laugh as she explained we both wanted to enjoy something a little stronger. I’ll probably get carded into my 30s, but I won’t mind taking out another card as well…my student ID. It doesn’t have an expiration date, so here’s to enjoying cheap movie tickets and shopping discounts well into my late 20s!
5. I will learn a lot of lessons: I once saw a Pinterest quote that said “there are no regrets in life, just lessons.” Whether or not I should be taking life advice from an image on the web is up for debate, but I liked the sentiment. Life is full of lessons, and we learn a lot of them while we’re young.
6. I will make some big decisions: Some people get married in their 20s. Some people don’t. Some people have kids in their 20s. Some people don’t. I have no idea if any of these things will happen or if I even want them to happen, but I have time to figure it out. I’m not setting a timeline for myself in terms of making these decisions, but it’s exciting to know that some life-changing possibilities lie ahead.
7. I will learn what’s right and wrong for me: As a kid, I learned I didn’t like mashed potatoes and that I probably shouldn’t eat an entire bag of sour gummy worms in one sitting . As an adult, I am going to learn some more important things, such as I don’t like guys who don’t treat me right and that I probably shouldn’t drink an entire bottle of moscato in one sitting. I will learn what types of people I will and will not date or what jobs I enjoy. Tastes change, but it’s good to figure out the essentials.
8. I will feel invincible: It’s a naive feeling, but I am going to enjoy it while I can. As a twenty something, I can think staying out until dawn is a good idea and not feel too many repercussions afterwards. I’m not sure if this lasts into my late twenties, so better enjoy it now. I know I am not truly invincible, but feeling like the world is your oyster is a fun feeling to enjoy.
9. I will grow closer to my parents: I’ve always had a good relationship with my Mom and Dad, but I think we’ve all had those angsty teen moments. Now, as I enter the “real world,” I am beginning to realize and truly appreciate all they have done for me throughout my life. That’s going to continue as I grow, struggle, and learn.
10. I will still indulge in “childish” activities: Fun fact…I have a collection of Disney VHS tapes and a VCR in my apartment. Some may scoff at this as childish, but I like to argue that I am young enough to still enjoy and old enough to label it as “nostalgia.” I also think there’s no better therapy than coloring, and sometimes I find cookies to be a suitable breakfast. Your 20s are the blurred lines between childhood and adulthood, and that’s okay.
11. I will travel: Once I leave college, there’s no more spring break, winter break, fall break, or summer break. (Wow, we have a lot of breaks). However, at the right job, there’s paid vacation time and more importantly a pay check to take vacation with. I may not be able to afford it right away, but I foresee plenty of travel while I’m young enough to do so without the responsibilities of children or a mortgage.
12. I will learn to take (better) care of myself: I like to think I’m in good shape, but over the next several years my metabolism will begin to slow. I’m not excited about losing my ability to fully take advantage of the endless breadsticks at Olive Garden, but I am excited to develop healthy habits. The habits I form now will continue with my through my 20s and beyond.
13. I will move into my own residence: I’ve enjoyed the amenities of my college housing, but my lease is up at the end of the summer. It will be time for me to move out on my own. I expect to live a few places over the next few years. Perhaps a dingy little apartment with four roommates, a nice flat on my own, or even a real home with a mortgage eventually. It’s unclear what the future will hold, but I look forward to making each of these places feel like home.
14. I will make new friends: There’s a certain cold reality of growing apart from people you were once close with that occurs as you transition through life.. It happens when you move from high school to college, and it inevitably happens when you move from college to “the real world.” However, throughout that transition, I will experience a lot and make new friends along the way. Whether it’s at a new job, a spin class, or a local bar, I am excited for the new people who are going to enter my life.
15. I will cherish old friendships: The friends that are meant to stick around will. Yes, I have grown apart from some high school friends, but there are a select few that I keep in touch with and regularly. There are even some lifelong friends that I don’t keep in touch with as regularly as I should, but it doesn’t matter because we’re able to pick right back where we left off without missing a beat. I am excited to watch all of these friends grow along with me.
16. I will learn to treat myself: In the words of the wise Tom Haverford, “#TreatYoSelf.” Road bumps are inevitable during this decade, but I will have to learn to take care of myself. I have to invest in myself as I grow, and part of that involves treating myself. Treating involves anything from a small reward to a big purchase. Whatever the treat may be, the motto is a good one to have.
17. I will forge out a career path for myself: I’ve already begun stacking my resume by having a few internships under my belt, and I’m currently in the process of applying for some post grad opportunities. Despite plenty of news articles to the contrary, I am optimistic about what the future holds in terms of job opportunities. If you’re cynical, chalk this one up to my naivety, and don’t burst my bubble. Experience is essential, and my 20s are the time to build on the foundation I have established for myself.
18. I will invest in my future: Having a career means having spending money, but it also means saving money. I won’t be too frivolous with my paychecks. I am not only building a foundation for my resume, I am building a foundation for my future, so I can still enjoy myself through my 30s and 40s and beyond. All of that starts with my first job in my 20s.
19. I will try new things: Trying something new should not be limited to life in my 20s. I will continue to try new things throughout my life, but now’s the time to be adventurous. As Ms. Frizzle says, “Take Chances! Make Mistakes! Get Messy!” This past summer, I took a painting class and a belly dancing class. Who knows, what classes are ahead of me?
20. I will grow: Now, I don’t mean I am going to grow physically. I accepted the fact that I am not going to grow past 5’ 2” when I hit my early teens. However, just because I have stopped growing physically, doesn’t mean I can’t keep growing internally. In just the past two years, I feel like I’ve already grown a lot, and I can’t wait to continue that growth as I move through the decade. It’s all about learning, loving yourself, learning to love yourself, and growing. I will not be the same person at 24 as I am today. I will not be the same person at 28 as I am at 24, and that’s okay.