How many of these can you check off your list?
1. Create a dream board. These aren’t as stupid as you think, and I know you think they’re stupid because I thought they were pretty dumb until I actually made one. Taking the time to go through magazines and cut out pictures (like people use to do in the OLD days) actually brought me some Zen. More than that, though, it’s good to sit down and seriously think about what you want in your life. Big house? Sports car? Dream job? Keep your super-creative cut-and-paste collage somewhere near you and you’d be surprised at how many of those dreams come true just because you had that constant reminder.
2. Take a personality test and encourage those close to you to take one as well. You may think you know yourself until you take one of these personality tests and think that the test just took a peek inside your soul – yeah, sometimes it’s super creepy. But it’s great because once you know your characteristics, and the characteristics of others, you’ll know how to better react to certain situations. For example, one of my strongest qualities is empathy which totally explains why I always cry when I see someone else crying – even if they’re just on TV. You better believe that I cried my heart out at the end of Fast and Furious 7 and still feel a little emotional when I hear “See You Again” by Wiz Khalifa. On the flip side, I’m also very vulnerable to criticism. Now that I know that, I try not to take disagreements too personally. I can honestly say that knowing my characteristics changed my perspective on life.
3. Find the time to work out. Life doesn’t get less busy, so you have to figure out how to make time for stuff that’s good for you. Not because you want to lose 20 pounds, or become obscenely ripped, but because you want to feel better and when you work out, you feel better. It’s that simple.
4. Take care of your skin. I feel like this one goes without saying but please wear sunscreen when you go to the beach, even if you’re just walking around downtown in the sun, you need protection. When you’re 30, you don’t want to look 40 with dark spots, wrinkles and creases all over your face. Save yourself the trouble of purchasing expensive anti-age serums and protect the good skin you’ve got going on now.
5. Keep in touch with people from previous jobs. I’ve seen a ton of interns come and go and it still surprises me that they don’t really keep in touch. Not just with your superiors (whom you might need recommendation from in the future) but co-workers as well. One day they could be working at the best place ever and you might want to use that connection to your benefit. Asides from that, friendship doesn’t end if you get a new job. Like, how shallow is that?!
6. Intern! I put an exclamation point here because I think this one is super important. I interned and that’s how I got my awesome job. So it works people, it’s a real thing that can help you get a real job. When you get a job you usually start at the bottom of the pyramid but interns can have the opportunity to assist those at the top. If you build a great rapport with your superior, they would hire you over any other candidates because personalities that mix well together is pretty much priceless. If it doesn’t work out as planned, you have a great experience on your resume that’ll help you land another job in your field. Experience is also priceless.
7. Come to reality about your life in your 20s. In high school I thought that by my 20’s I’d be married, living with my prince charming and living it up in a big house with an indoor pool just because I can. Needless to say I have none of the above but coming to terms about your real life in your twenties will help you think realistically as you move forward into your 30’s. Realistically, you might not become the next Ms. Justin Bieber or Ms. Shawn Mendes but if you do, that’s great. If you don’t, you’ve prepared for it so you can move on and focus on concrete goals now.
8. Start saving. Money is such a pain in the butt but if you learn how to save it while you’re still young, with less bills and credit cards, then when you’re older you’ll be a pro at handing the cash flow. My bit of advice: avoid purchasing things on credit with the thought of “I’ll get the money soon and pay it off later” because something bad always happens and your credit card fees will rob you blind. If you don’t have the money for it at the moment, just wait.
9. Do the little things. Remembering your grandparent’s anniversary, buying a cute card for your friend who just graduated or getting a house warming gift for your co-worker goes a long way. Being the person who always remembers means so much to people, and you’ll feel great about how great you’re making other people feel. Here comes that old saying of “there is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving.”
10. Don’t do something online that you’ll regret later. We all know that what happens on the internet, stays on the internet. I don’t want to sound too much like a mom or high school teacher, but think twice about sending nude pictures, tweeting hateful comments or uploading a sex video because let’s just be real here, not everyone benefits from a sex tape like Kim K did. Future employers, lovers and your parents will not appreciate any of the above. Later on you’ll come to regret it too.
11. Get a pet for yourself. Even if it’s just a fish, getting some kind of animal companionship will make you more responsible and loving, but it’ll also give you something wonderful to come home to and make you feel more rooted in your life.
12. Do not get a pet with your beau. Only people who live with animals understand this: pets are like babies. They’re adorable, helpless little creatures that need you to clean them, feed them and entertain them. If you get a pet together and then you break up, forget about the TV, old shirts and designer purse, the biggest question becomes: who gets to keep Buddy? We all know what happens to pets who are shared between two households: emotional scaring. Buddy didn’t do anything to do deserve that emotional stress.
13. Figure out who you can truly count on to be there for you and invest your time in those friendships. We all have that friend that we call up we’re going to a concert or club, but we also have our friend who always has a shoulder to cry on and Ben & Jerry’s in her freezer. Chances are that the latter friend is going to be there for you when you’re older and stressing about your wedding and older people problems. Value her friendship because it’s much harder to make new friends when you’re older.
14. Don’t get caught in the dating pressure cooker. Just because all of your friends and cousins seem to be shacking up, you don’t have to fall into peer pressure. This beloved decade is all about finding out about who you are, and preparing for your long life in front of you. I’m not saying don’t date at all, but maybe just be a little bit more picky about who you open up too. Basically, don’t date for the fun of it.
15. Remove all of those negative vibes. I know this is easier said than done but you still have to try! That friend who always starts rumors but you keep her around because she’s entertaining – no, you don’t need that. Or perhaps you’re working with a boss who is an absolute jerk? You don’t need to deal with that either. The goal here is to create a stress-free life, or as little stress as possible, when you’re young so that you don’t have to deal with that crap when you’re older.
16. Explore the world. If you’re terrified of planes then gather a few friends and take a road trip. How will you know if you love travelling unless you try it? With less responsibilities at twenty, this is your opportune time to get as many stamps on your passport as you can. Don’t forget to take pictures as memorabilia!
17. Learn how to cook. While you still have your mom, grandma or aunt around, try to learn a few cooking skills from her. Not only will cooking impress any future love interests, but you’ll get tired of eating mac & cheese for the rest of your life (even making that takes some cuisine skills though).
18. Eat healthier. This one almost goes hand-in-hand with the point above. Even though living off of take-out and mac & cheese sounds like a dream, you’ll get over it really quickly – like in a week. Learning how to eat healthier, and feeding your body the proper nutrients at a young age, can only benefit you in the long run. I mean, unless you don’t want a healthy body?
19. Drink more water. And with eating healthier, you should also increase your water intake. It helps your skin, your body and your mood. Add sliced lemons, raspberries or powdered-somethings in your drinks – whatever it takes to make you drink more!
20. Learn basic some skills. By this I mean cleaning and sewing. Learn these skills for yourself because you can’t call your mom to clean your toilet when you’re living on your own, and you can’t call your grandma to stitch the hemline on your pleated skirt. Learning how to properly remove a grape stain from a white shirt and how to patch together a hole in your shirt will only help you in the long run.