Being a 20-something is awkward. Friends are all making major life decisions, and sometimes those life decisions pull them away. You’re trying to figure out who you are, what you believe in, who you want to be, all while trying to do things like pay bills, fall in love, and maintain relationships with the most important people in your life. It’s a weird and challenging phase. And that’s what makes it so fun.
I’m learning each day what things set my soul on fire and make me feel alive. Your 20s are the time to figure things out, but while you’re figuring everything out, soak in every second of the chaos and be sure to feed your soul.
You have the rest of your life to work, but you’re only a 20-something for ten years. And that ten years goes by fast. So slow down and make some memories, and if you need some ideas to help you get started, here’s 20 things that are good for the 20-something’s soul:
1. Sunshine – Cliché? Maybe. But when’s the last time you stood on the edge of a cliff with the sun shining in your face, just breathing? I guarantee you won’t feel cliché in the moment; you’ll feel limitless.
2. Travel – Travel doesn’t have to be expensive or fancy. Pick somewhere, buy a bus ticket or rent a Prius, load up and stay at a hostel, then explore. Somewhere new, somewhere you’ve been meaning to go.
3. Kissing – Step one: find someone cute. Step two: kiss them (consensually of course). Step three: realize that human connection is necessary, and doesn’t always have to be complicated.
4. Having friends of the opposite sex – In addition to kissing people, make friends of the opposite sex. When I say friends, I don’t mean the kind with benefits. Having friends of the opposite sex means you can get a different point of view when you need advice; it means you do things that are outside of your normal routine. These friends can also help you figure out the kind of person you want to be with as you learn qualities you enjoy and those that you do not.
5. Good music – Go to concerts. Sing in the shower. Hit up karaoke night. Listen to new bands. Rediscover old ones. Turn on music that reminds you of your purpose.
6 . Reading hardbound books – Pick up a hardbound book every once in a while. Reading is an experience. Its all about smelling the paper, turning the pages, and something about that is inspiring.
7. Writing thank you notes, snail mail style – Write hand written notes to people who are important to you. Write them after you birthday, after the holidays, or when someone does something that leaves an impression on you. Gratitude is the key to happiness. I honestly and truly believe that. Plus, handwritten notes feel more genuine.
8. Holding hands – I mentioned human connection earlier. That same concept echoes true here. It doesn’t need to be your significant other. Maybe it’s your mom, or your grandma. Hold someone’s hand and just enjoy the fact that there are people in this world who love you.
9. The occasional cleanse or detox –I’ve downed more Diet Coke and French fries (counterproductive, I know) in the last 4 years of my life than ever before. The junk adds up and takes a toll on your health. Be kind to your body, and take care of it. Try detoxing periodically with a two day juice cleanse. Replenish vitamins and boost your energy. Your body will thank you.
10. Healthy competition – Join a co-ed kickball team, or apply for that promotion that everyone in the office is gunning for. Competing helps you unlock potential within yourself that you may have not otherwise realized.
11. Giving up expectations – When is the last time you went into a situation with no expectations, good or bad? Try it. You might find yourself enjoying a completely unexpected situation.
12. Keeping a gratitude journal – Life is beautiful, even on the days when you fail to recognize it. Take 10 minutes each day and write down a list of things you’re grateful for. When you do this, the sun seems to shine a bit brighter.
13. Trying something new – Don’t be the 20-something that says they don’t like something even though they haven’t tried it. Try it. Try it once. Unless it’s drugs… then maybe not.
14. Meeting people…IRL – I’ve talked about using Tinder before. I’m not ashamed to say I’ve met people online. But nothing replaces meeting someone in person. Talk to someone at a festival or bar. Just for funsies.
15. Learning an instrument – People who know how to play instruments are interesting. So hop on YouTube, look up a tutorial, and learn to play something. Hello Ms. Interesting.
16. Exercise – Take care of your body or you might be a SUPER unhealthy 30-something. And that is no fun.
17. Campfires – There’s something about sitting around a fire with friends that reminds you how perfect life is. Don’t forget the marshmallows.
18. Long drives – Download a new album, hop in the car, and go for a drive. Listen to the whole thing.
19. Late night talks – Sometimes the best conversations are had over pie at Village Inn at 3 a.m.
20. Service – One of the biggest complaints I hear from generations before ours is that 20-somethings are entitled and ungrateful. Prove them wrong. Look for opportunities to give back to the community. Have you ever served dinner at your local soup kitchen? Try it. I promise you won’t regret it.
What are some of the things you’ve done in your 20s that have helped define who you are? Post them in the comments section below. <3