The moment you turn 20 you feel that your entire life has changed. You feel like an adult. You’re no longer a teenager, you’re no longer a child and you’re no longer someone who is no longer the responsibility of others. You are now a woman. The good news is that you’re not even remotely grown up yet. The bad news is that being a woman in your 20s does not make you a genius; you do not know everything and you are not suddenly a genius who does not make mistakes in life. You might think you are smarter than you are, more in-the-know than you are and more of everything than you are, but you are not. You’re going to turn 30 and realize that you actually knew very little in your 20s. Trust me – at almost 32 I realize that my 20s were a time of self-discovery despite ‘knowing it all’ already. I knew very little, but there are some things that I wish I could go back and tell my 20-something self about life and living in my 20s. I can’t do that, but I can help those of you who are still in your 20s. These truths are self-evident and they are pretty awesome; and the sooner you realize it, the sooner you can go about living the kind of awesome life you deserve at this age. Here are 10 things you need to know in your 20s.
What You Don’t Want
You do not have to know what you want and every detail of how your life will play out right now. But you do need to know what you don’t want. At this point you should know where you don’t want to be in life, what kind of traits you don’t want in a partner and what kind of job you don’t want. You’ve had years to make mistakes and learn from them and even if you did not learn what you do want, you should have learned what you don’t want.
How to Say No
Saying no is the best thing you can do in life. And when you learn to say no without feeling guilty, it’s a moment of pure happiness. You will learn this trait without even once making it an issue, and that’s what makes life so good. You can say no, and you should say no when you want to, when it doesn’t suit you. And you should know that you don’t need a reason to say no.
How to Recognize a Toxic Relationship
Toxic people will suck the life right out of you. And you need to learn to recognize those people. They’re the ones never happy for you and your successes. They’re the ones that whine and complain and make life miserable all the time. They’re the ones that make sure you are unhappy all the time. You have to recognize these people so you know who they are and to stay away from them.
How to Say Goodbye to a Toxic Relationship
Now that you know how to recognize a toxic person in your life, you need to know how to get rid of those people. It’s not always easy to get rid of a friend, especially one that is toxic because their anger and animosity will make you feel guilty. But you should know at this point how to phase them out little by little until they are no longer part of your life.
How to Stand Up for Yourself
Whether you have to stand up to yourself against a bully or your parents, you need to know how to do this. You are your own person now, and you need to know how to prevent people from taking advantage of you and making your life miserable. You need to know this, even if you are uncomfortable doing it. It’s a trait you have to learn.
How to Take Care of Yourself
You’re grown up now, and that means you have to learn to take care of yourself. You have to learn how to make sure you have the ability to take care of yourself. You need an emergency fund, the ability to pay your own bills and you need to be able to make yourself some soup and take medication when you feel sick. You need to take care of you.
How to Make Small Talk
You’re at professional age now, and that means learning how to network and carry on a conversation with just about anyone. You don’t have to know all about politics or religion or whatever, but you should be able to carry on a conversation that sounds reasonably intelligent and interesting with people of all ages, sexes, nationalities and careers.
How to Maintain a Good Reputation
Your reputation may or may not be accurate, but you have to do whatever you can to ensure that it remains good. You have to remember that people’s reputations speak for them when they can’t speak for themselves. It’s what people think of you that you can’t help, so you need to make sure your reputation is a good one, and that means using the internet wisely and without making a fool of yourself.
How to State Your Opinion Calmly
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and most people will state theirs and then expect everyone else to agree. You have to be able to state your opinion to others without becoming angry when they are not inclined to agree with you. It happens to the best of us, and it’s just part of how the world works. Go ahead and be someone who can state theirs without issue.
How to Change a Tire
Listen, you don’t have to do it. Call the people at BMW Assist or OnStar or AAA or whatever it is you have and let them do it. But you should still be able to do it. It’s just a life skill. In fact, I can’t even tell you how important this skill is to have even if you never have to use it. At almost 32 I’ve been able to change a tire since I was 15. My parents would not let me have my learners permit without this skill. And while I’ve never had to use it, it does make me more comfortable when driving.
Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images