Last week I wrote a post about how self-help/how-to lists are often written by people completely unqualified to tell you how to live your life.
This week, I’m writing a self-help/how-to list about surviving your 20s.
Hey, my blog is not called Hipstercrite for shits and giggles.
I’m not even finished with my twenties, so I’m certainly not the best person to heed advice from, but I’ve come across many articles about how to survive your 20s and I think they’re full of crappola. Most of the articles will say something like, “Find balance” blah blah blah. Well, that’s bullshit. You’re going to be a basket case of questions and worries and imbalance for a good chunk of your 20s. The best you can do is try not to let yourself go insane.
Looking back on my 20s, no amount of advice or wisdom from others was going to prevent me from making the choices I did. I was going to do what the hell I wanted to do, but looking back, I certainly learned a lot from my mistakes and wished maybe I at least had one ear sticking out of my asshole.
1.) Remember that you’re not the only self-centered twenty-something going through shit, with “shit” being relative
It’s really easy in your 20s to think you’re the only gosh damn person who is worrying about employment, money, relationships and creative endeavors. Well, guess what? You’re not! In fact, probably the majority of people have more shit to worry about than you do- like getting their house foreclosed on or trying to figure out a way to pay for their medical bills. Everyone is a stinkin’ bag of insecurity and anxiety in their 20s and the ones who are not are just in denial. Wait until it hits them at 40. All the questions and concerns and drama that you are going through is not new, to anyone, ever, in the history of the planet. You can sit there and rattle off about why you keep hooking up with a dude who treats you like crap or why you hate your post-graduate job even though it was what you always wanted to do, but after awhile, you sound like a self-centered boob. Talk to friends and realize that- SURPRISE!- they’re in the same boat and take solace in that.
2.) Don’t Date Jerks
But you’re going to anyways, so the best way to deal with it is to remember that you’re better than that and one day you’ll wake up and realize it. Whether it be men or women, twenty-somethings are usually an insecure mess pile and they’re not going to be the best people to date. In fact, they may take out their own insecurities on you by treating you like poo: not calling you back, disappearing, cheating on you, etc. Your twenties are about figuring out who you are and what you want in a partner, and sometimes it may take you into your thirties to figure that out. Or maybe you thought you figured it out and one day you wake up next to your significant other and say in a low rumble, “I’ve made a huge mistake.” Dating jerks early on is not going to help your already questionable self-esteem get any better, so try to avoid creating piles of baggage by not doing it in the first place. Date someone who is 40 and who can navigate you through this difficult decade of your life.
3.) Get a Job
Listen, don’t be a bum. I know the job market sucks right now and I know that reportedly 54% of kids under 25 are unemployed now, but get a job, any job. Living in your parents basement, whining about not being able to find a job in theater because that’s what you got your $60,000 degree in, not paying your bills and becoming complacent is not going to help anyone. Taking a year off to relax and save money living at your folks is one thing. Getting an allowance from your folks at 30 is another. Working is what keeps your mind active and your ambitions alive. It is also what makes us independent from your parents vice-like grip. Everyone has to work (unless you come from a wealthy family therefore I quietly judge you) and sometimes you might have to work at Forever 21 or Domino’s until that job you really want comes along. And if you think you’re better than working at Forever 21 or Domino’s and it’s better to have no job than work at places like that, well, I feel sorry for you.
4.) Pay Your Bills
It’s easy not to understand the severity of falling behind when you’re younger. Running up your credits cards and then not paying them, telling yourself, “Oh, this will fall off my credit report in seven years” is not responsible behavior. Because, guess what? If you want to buy a house or car and the ‘rents won’t co-sign, you might be shit out of luck. Or, what if the creditor decides to go ahead and sue you for the amount owed to them? How about them apples? Being financially responsible at an early age, no matter how difficult it is, will only help you in the future. I’m not telling you to start an IRA or 401k like those other lists tell you. Fuck, I live paycheck to paycheck so I don’t expect you to start contributing to savings accounts right yet (unless you’re that uber-responsible person that doesn’t apply to this entire post at all). Plus, the economy sucks right now anyways, so if you need your dough to survive, keep it. Save yourself a lot of future stress by staying on top of your bills as much as you can, and if you can’t, call your creditors and discuss your situation with them. You’ll be surprised what can happen.
5.) Make Friends With People Older Than You
Because they’re the only people who will tell you to shut the hell up when you start rambling about your shit. I’ve always gravitated towards people who are older than me because a.) they’re more interesting b.) they’re loyal friends and c.) they can give you excellent advice because they’ve already been through it all. Your older friends will keep it real. They’ll look at you and roll their eyes when you tell them for the 50th time how “life is so difficult”. I don’t know where I’d be today without my older friends who range from ten to fifty years older than me. I look up to them and they’re some of the first people I go to for advice.
6.) Listen to Your Parents
Your parents are not as full of shit as you think they are. Remember, they went through the same experiences you did and you are a piece of them that they have known for 20+ years, so they kind of know you better than anyone. My parents were always the first people I went to for advice, but I didn’t always listen to them. I typically tried to convince them how my decision was the best decision and they trusted me and supported me. Looking back, there were a few times where I wish I just stopped talking and listened. Regardless of what we think, our parents are on our side and they only want what is best for us.