10 Unexpectedly Life-Changing Things I've Learned In My 20s

Things I learned in my twenties

I feel like someone accidentally dressed me in a grown-up suit.

Sometimes I wonder how I got to this place where I’m two and a half years into my thirties. Like, how did this happen? Who approved this? Does no one run things by me first anymore? *Sigh* Some days (a lot of days) I feel like someone dressed me up in a grown-up suit, pushed me into the world, and I’m left trying to fake my way through it. So, here I am fully entrenched in my thirties and nearing the end of 2014, so I figured I might as well reflect on the 10 unexpectedly life-changing things I learned in my twenties, right? Right.

1. Time is a fickle mistress. Everyone says, “time flies,” but it’s true. With or without your permission, the world keeps turning and before you know it you’re thirty-two with a cat and trying to figure out why you aren’t twenty-six anymore.

2. Your parents are actual, real-life humans. It seems obvious, so I don’t know why it took me so long to fully grasp this concept, but I was well into my twenties before I realized that my parents weren’t some all-knowing, omniscient beings. They weren’t handed a guidebook on parenting when the little strip turned blue. They’re just humans doing their best. And I hate to break it to you: that means they’re going to make mistakes, too.

3. Oh, hello random body hair. One of the ways my best friend knew we were going to be BFFs early on in our friendship I pointed out a random dark chin hair on her face (I've since been known to just pull it out with my fingers without much warning). You know the one. The one that wasn’t there yesterday, but is suddenly three inches long and as dark as the night sky? Why? Why is this a thing? And it’s not just chin hairs; I have one lone nipple hair that shows up every lunar cycle shouting it’s middle eastern heritage from the nipple-tops. My advice: Invest in good tweezers. For your car, for your desk, for your bathroom. You can never have too many pairs of tweezers. Friends who will point out rogue body hairs? Even more important than the tweezers.

4. It really is about who you know. I don’t know how many times I heard “It’s all about who you know” while I was job hunting. I hated it. It shouldn’t be, of course; it should be about being the best fit for the job. But every single job I’ve ever gotten, including writing for YourTango, was about who I know. Who you know won’t neccesarily get you the job but it will get your foot in the door so you’re not just another resume in a stack of hundreds, and that’s usually half the battle.

5. Teenagers, OOF. I would like to formally apologize to any and everyone that had to deal with me when I was a teenager. Especially my parents. I think we can all agree we’re kind of assholes when we’re teens. We don’t mean to be; I think it’s just inate. And hell, I was a good one. But oh, the hormones. So. Many. Hormones.

6. Cooking won’t come through osmosis. This is one of those things that I irrationally thought would just happen, like boom, I’d become an adult and I’d learn to cook. Not that I’d take a class or someone would teach me, but that with aging came cooking skills. Turns out this is not a thing that just happens; you actually have to put effort into it. Quite disappointing.

7. Naps. Oh god, naps are so great. You know what else is great? Going to bed early. Lame? Maybe. But you know what’s not lame? Feeling like a fully functioning human capable of interacting with others because you got some actual, real, deep sleep.

8. Twenty is not old: It feels old at the time. It seems old when you’re younger, but twenty is practically fetus level. Your hormones have only just begun to settle down. You’re still close enough to childhood to really remember it and not understand how good you have it. Babies. All of you!

9. Facebook is the land of engagements and babies: My twenties on Facebook was basically just one big giant engagement/wedding/baby announcement. One day I had six engagement announcements alone. SIX. Y'all, that is just unnecessary.

10. Nobody knows what the hell they’re doing and if they do, they sure don’t tell me: I think the biggest thing I’ve learned is that nobody really knows what they’re doing. We’re all flailing a bit; even the ones who look like they’ve got it all together. Keeping that in mind is hard, but it helps when I feel like an imposter in this grown-up suit.


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