My 24th year of life was a ride. Here’s 10 things I learned this year as I enter the middle of my twenties:
1. Quality over quantity. At this stage of adulting, some friends stick, and others don’t. Fewer solid connections are better than many shallow ones.
2. Wear youth like a badge of honor. I am done hiding my age. It’s been challenging to be a young professional in higher education. If others have an aversion to working with me because of my age, then that’s something they need to work on. My youth brings valuable perspective and I refuse to remain ashamed of my achievements and my life timeline.
3. Family matters. This has always been important to me, but moving closer to my immediate family this year was one of my best decisions.
4. Boring is okay. This was my first full year of not being in an academic program. Sometimes, adulting can be boring outside of that. Finding joy in downtime is a new experience, and I’ve come to look forward to a weeknight or weekend with no plans.
5. Loneliness is real. I spent 10 months of being 24 feeling deeply alone. I moved somewhere that I didn’t know anyone. This concept is romanticized and works for some people, but it didn’t work for me. Managing loneliness will be an ongoing effort in my 20s.
6. Make your life easier. I’m the master of self-sabotage. This year, though, I made some big life decisions that ultimately supported my well-being and comfort. When you have the choice, choose yourself.
7. Friendships take work. My best friends have moved across the country. While it’s costly to visit them, I don’t regret a single trip. They were the highlights of my year.
8. Be flexible with your five year plan.
9. Being single doesn’t mean I’m inadequate. This is still a struggle, and on the hardest of days, it doesn’t feel like I’ll ever find my person. It’s time, now more than ever, to lean into this period of selfishness.
10. Your happiness matters. When I’m miserable, making moves toward change is the best recourse. No regrets.