For God's sake, just eat the damn cheesecake.
I learned a lot in my 20s. I learned just how many calculus classes I could skip and still get a "C." I learned how to survive a breakup and how to reconcile with a friend.
Thanks to three years of law school, I learned the rules of civil procedure and how to deal with a professor who uses the Socratic method. I learned how to get out of debt and how to nurse a baby. I learned how to fall in love and how to stay in love.
But there are a few things that I didn't learn, but wish that I had. (In the interest of full disclosure, I should say that I'm now 30-something, though I've always been a bit of a slow learner.) Here's what you should know about happiness in your 20s.
- Cherish your friendships. You may never have friendships as strong or easy to maintain again.
- Exercise so that you feel good, not so your body looks good.
- Laugh at yourself.
- Do Kegels.
- Don't feel guilty for buying the cheap wine. Or the expensive wine, for that matter.
- Women aren't your competition; they are your allies.
- An authentic apology isn't a sign of weakness, but a powerful act of courage and strength.
- Ask for help now and then.
- Stop calling yourself "fat." Really, just stop.
- Your parents might actually know what they're talking about. Sometimes.
- Just eat the damn cheesecake.
- Comparisons to other people can destroy you; the only comparisons that you should make are to the woman you were, the woman you are, and the woman you want to be.
- Do more kegels.
- When in doubt, choose the sexy shoes over the comfortable ones. There will be plenty of time for comfortable shoes later on.
- Treat people with respect — and expect nothing less in return.
- Say "no" and mean it.
- Feminism doesn't mean feminine; it means equality. Wearing jewelry and makeup, taking your husband's last name and getting manicures don't make you any less of a feminist.
- Don't lose touch with your spirituality, even if you don't go to church or know what you believe.
- Surround yourself with people who allow you to be your best self.
- Know the difference between tights, leggings and yoga pants.
- Friendships are absolutely essential to your well-being. Make them as important as romantic relationships.
- Find a gynecologist that you trust.
- Changing your mind, attitude, beliefs or behavior doesn't mean that you're wishy-washy; it means that you're thoughtful and evolving.
- It's OK to not know whether you want to be a mother. If you are a mother, it's OK to not know whether you like being a mother all the time.
- Enjoy this time in your life, but trust that the best is yet to come.
This article was originally published at The Huffington Post. Reprinted with permission from the author.