10 Things You Probably Learned in Your Twenties
- January 12, 2016
- Whitney Hsu
As I have been thirty for a few weeks now, I look back on my fabulous twenties and see a pattern. I see myself getting slightly more tame, busier, and zero percent less awesome. I find myself more confident, happier, and super excited about the next, supposedly dreaded, decade of my life. I’ve learned important things in the past ten years, and taken that knowledge to make my next ten years easier, wiser, more impactful and more fun.
1. Homeownership is expensive. I don’t just mean the cost of the house. Obviously, homes are expensive, even if the way you’re getting it is tying yourself down for 30 years of paying the bank every month. But there are also about 3000 things in your house that might break. And then have to be fixed. And to fix them, you must call and professional who will charge $100 an hour, not counting parts they need to get. Yikes.
2. Proximity makes friends. The older and busier you get, the less likely you probably are to keep up well with those who don’t live near you, or aren’t in your path on a regular basis. Neighbors, co-workers, parents of your kids’ friends, and church friends can make up the vast majority of people you spend time with and talk to. Not that you don’t love your high school best friend that lives three states away, but it’s harder to get to see her.
3. Partying takes on a different meaning. Partying in college often means going to six places in one night, following a crowd of friends through a progressively more ridiculous night of drinking. It can mean staying up till the wee hours of the morning, eating some sort of late night fast food to curb a hangover, and waking up on couches all over town with a mad hankering for Bojangles. Nowadays, partying means cooking dinner for 2-6 friends (and their kids, if applicable), drinking a few glasses of wine, and maybe even playing a board game or two! Typically I’m in bed before midnight, yet still so tired in the morning I can barely scramble my kiddos’ eggs.
4. There is always someone looking up to you. Often when you’re young, you’re trying to find someone to look up to. You want a mentor, an encourager, a director, a pick-me-up-when-I’m-down-er and a tell-me-what-to-do-when-I’m-lost-er. You learn later that you always have someone who sees you that way. An underclassman, a new person at your job, a friend who’s still a few steps behind you, and eventually your own children. But there’s always someone, younger, the same age, or even older, who’s watching and learning from you, so set a good example.
5. The time to exercise is now. And also possibly every day for the past ten years. As you get older, it seems your metabolism slows down. Those late-night Taco Bell runs and Waffle House breakfasts are sticking around a little longer than they used to, and as your jeans get tighter, it’s a little tougher to trim off the muffin top. (Cue Jenna Maroney’s song “Muffin Top”, because, ya know, 30Rock.)
6. It’s possible to have acne and wrinkles. Y’all, if I could’ve prepared myself for this phenomenon, I would have. Every morning, I use an acne-preventative facewash, an anti-wrinkle eye cream, and a lotion with sunscreen. It’s the facial care trifecta, and it’s an expensive morning routine, isn’t it, ladies?
7. You can do things in your own good time. In grade school and in college, there’s a pretty strict timeline you feel like you’ve gotta keep up with. You “need” to plan out all your classes just so, and graduate in four years, so you don’t have to make new friends that second senior year. But when you’re done with college, there’s basically no timeline but your own. Want to go to grad school? Great! Want to travel on your own for a while? Cool! Want to find a job, get married, and start popping out kids? Awesome! There is no “too old” or “too young”. There is only the rest of your life!
8. You know your limits. Whether that means the exact number of miles you can squeeze into each gallon, the number of social gatherings you can attend in a weekend, or the number of commitments at work you can successfully pull off in a given week, you finally know yourself well enough to not overcommit. Especially because all-nighters (of any sort) aren’t as easy as they used to be.
9. Chores don’t get any less boring. The laundry is still inevitably piling up. Dust still collects all over the house. Toilets need to be cleaned and the grass needs to be cut. Your dishes still aren’t washing themselves. And if you have kids? Might as well multiply everything by three – until said children are old enough to actually help. Then rejoice! That’s why you had them!
10. Some things you can do without being “ready” for them. That dream job you’ve always wanted just came open, but you just changed? Don’t let that opportunity pass you by! You really want to have kids, but you aren’t sure you’re ready? Newsflash: None of us can fully prepare for what happens when you start having kids, but you’ve got at least nine months to get a few things ready.
Your twenties are an awesome time of learning and experiencing, getting to know others, and getting to know yourself. But your thirties? There’s still time to make them your prime. Buy the anti-wrinkle cream, drink those eight glasses of water, and enjoy the next decade!
It’s gotta include this next sentence, per SM…
©2015, Whitney Hsu, as first published on Scary Mommy.