People always tell you not to take anything for granted while you’re young. But at the same time, we’re just figuring out what’s important to us, so mistakes are going to happen. Luckily, our 20s last an entire decade, so we’ll have some time to learn from those mistakes. If you’ve ever heard the saying, “Old enough to know better, young enough to not care,” you know exactly what your 20s are for. You’re an adult now, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a little fun while you’re at it. Here’s how to make the most of the decade.
Experiment with your hair. If you’ve always wanted a blue mohawk, now would be the time to try it. Hair grows back, of course, but a 21-year-old with a mohawk is a lot less surprising than a 31-year-old with one.
Perfect your makeup routine. Figuring out what you like and what looks best on you is all about experimenting. At the very least, you should have a 5-minute, every day routine that you could do with your eyes closed, but never fails to make you feel more confident.
Focus on the friendships you want to last. You aren’t going to be able to stay in touch with every single acquaintance you make during your college years, so save your energy for the people you genuinely enjoy spending time with.
Pay your dues towards the career you want. We all have to start at the bottom, and it’s a lot easier to do the volunteering, interning, and entry-level thing when you’re young and have fewer financial responsibilities lurking in the back of your mind.
Do some traveling. When you’re not tied down, picking up and going on a spontaneous vacation is a lot more doable. So if someone invites you on a last-minute road trip, do what it takes to make it happen. There’s no way you’ll regret it.
Learn how to forgive. Holding a grudge is for teenagers. Not only do most people deserve a second chance, but holding onto negative energy isn’t going to be good for you down the line.
Make time for your family. You’re probably busy trying to forge your own identity outside of your family, but that doesn’t mean you should start neglecting them. They’re the ones that will always be there for you, so make sure to give them a little love in return.
Don’t waste time on guys who aren’t worthy. By all means, date around. But don’t ever settle for a guy who doesn’t appreciate you and add something positive to your life. Being single doesn’t have to be a bad thing, and don’t let anyone convince your otherwise.
Experiment with fashion trends. There are certain trends that you’ll never be able to pull off after the age of 29 (crop tops, anyone?). There’s no need to go full on soccer mom either, but finding a way to follow the trends while remaining professional and age appropriate can be a delicate balancing act best perfected while you’re still young enough to make a mistake here and there.
Get into an exercise routine. We all know daily exercise is crucial to good health, but having the willpower to do it is sometimes harder than we’d like. The earlier you start making your health a priority, the more it will pay off, and then easier it will be to stick to it for the rest of your life.
Learn to love your body. We can’t all be a Victoria’s Secret model. Obsessing over every flaw won’t change anything, so don’t bother.
Save some money. It might seem impossible when you have bills, loans to pay off, trips to save for, and partying to do, but it doesn’t have to be a lot. If all you can manage is $20 a month, that’s okay. It’s better than nothing.
Don’t be a workaholic. If you’re all about work 24/7 you’re going to miss out on a lot of fun. We all need a balance, so even if you’re doing overtime, make sure you make time to relax and have some time for yourself as well, because your career will only get busier the older you get.
Be spontaneous. You know those rare opportunities when you have no reason not to do something completely crazy and unexpected? Take them!
Don’t deprive yourself of the best foods. Eating relatively healthy is important, but obsessive calorie counting is only going to make you miserable. If you want a huge piece of cake on your friend’s birthday, have one! Life’s too short to never eat dessert.
Don’t waste too much time at a job you hate. We all have to work less than ideal jobs at certain times in our lives. But try to see them as a means to an end and have an exit strategy. There are lots of jobs out there, and there’s no reason you can’t find one you love.
Don’t complain so much. Instead, try to look on the bright side more often than not. Most of the time you have at least a little control over where your life is headed, and if you can’t be bothered to change anything, then you have no right to complain.
Take risks. It’s a lot easier to bounce back from a risk that doesn’t pan out when you’re young. That doesn’t mean you should jump into things without thinking all the time, but it definitely means if you do once in awhile, it probably won’t be the end of the world.
Stop caring what others think so much. The older you get the the less concerned you become about what others think of you and your decisions. But you definitely don’t want to waste your entire 20s not being 100% you because you’re too self conscious.
Learn from your failures. There’s nothing wrong with failing once in awhile as long as you learn from your mistakes. The last thing you want is to be making the same mistakes in your 30s that you did when you were 25.