Earlier this week my friend shared with me this article from Thought Catalog on the “21 Ways You Should Take Advantage of Your 20s.” After getting past the fact that I couldn’t possibly accomplish 21 things in one decade—I have way too many reality shows to watch—I came to the conclusion that I am, by Thought Catalog’s definition at least, terrible at being young. The most enticing part of the whole article for me is the part where she talks about going home early and watching Parks and Recreation.
In any case, since I am such an influential thought leader and general source of worldly insight, I thought I might share my list of the Top 10 Things to Do in Your 20s, because I have opinions too, and because 10 is a much more manageable number than 21. So, here goes:
(Also I realize this has absolutely nothing to do with books, though Thought Catalog does include “reading nonfiction” as one of its 21 things. Ultimately, books are made up of words, and so are blog posts, so there. Relationship established.)
TOP 10 THINGS TO DO IN YOUR 20s
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1. Do drugs. Some say there’s no acceptable time to try a bit of black tar heroin, but I disagree: there is a time, and it’s between the ages of 20 and 29. Your body is strong enough to handle just about anything right now, and your mind is still open enough to see you through a 12-hour acid trip. Addiction? Please. That’s just a myth A&E made up so they could boost ratings for Intervention.
2. Be a gigantic flake. Did your friend ask you to be their wedding date six months ago but now the wedding is this weekend and you’d kind of rather go to that rooftop barbecue? No worries! Bailing on people close to you is wildly unacceptable when you’re older (unless it’s related to your children, in which case you can get away with a last-minute cancellation on pretty much anything) but your 20-something friends will put up with it, as long as you provide a sufficiently vague excuse. (Sample: “Sorry I can’t make it to your birthday party man. I’m just like, really tired.”)
3. Start your own business. Everyone knows that the best and most successful business ideas come out of 20-somethings, and that ever since Facebook all 20-somethings are entitled to one free pass at entrepreneurship. Have an idea for an iPhone app? What about that hole in the market for caffeinated water? Go for it! When I was in fifth grade, my whole neighborhood helped produce the prototype for my parents’ small business idea: a denim company called Treadz that sold jeans with tire tracks on them. If I’d been in my 20s at the time, I’d probably be a billionare now.
4. Have zero standards for alcohol. It goes without saying that your 20s should be spent primarily in pursuit of sex and alcohol, especially free alcohol (and hopefully free sex.) But if you’re not drinking bottom-shelf liquor or something that ends with “Lite” and comes with dubiously technological packaging (Vortex grip! Cooler Case!) then you’re not doing your 20s justice.
5. Get spontaneous tattoos. Remember when everyone was wearing JNCO jeans and you told your parents that you absolutely had to own a pair, and that it was totally fine if they looked ridiculous and made you trip constantly, because everyone was wearing them? Tattoos are just like that! Who cares what your mom thinks about that forearm piece you got of an anthropomorphic dolphin jumping over a flaming rainbow? She’s not up on the trends.
6. Show your midriff. This one really applies to the ladies, but guys, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be equally proud of that 20s tummy. Sure, halter tops may have gone out of style 15 years ago, and showing off a belly button ring in 2012 is like bringing your Pog collection to the bar, but you’re young, you’re fashion-forward and you’ve got a stomach that you will literally never ever have again in your life. So ignore those bitter glances from your fat friends, and shrug off the raised eyebrows from your boss; XS stands for Xtra Stomach and you are rocking it.
7. Be ironic. The only thing worse than listening to the new Justin Bieber album is doing it sincerely. Make sure everyone knows that 75% of your tastes—musical, cinematic, sartorial or otherwise—are tongue-in-cheek and that you haven’t in fact openly liked anything since roughly 1998. At the same time, be sure to properly shame friends who haven’t gotten on the irony train. Did your pal in law school somehow miss the whole Carly Rae Jepsen boat? Sign that bitch up for “Call Me Maybe” on karaoke night and let her figure it out the hard way.
8. Pick something ubiquitous and refuse to own it. Your 20s is a very important time for taking a stand, and that doesn’t just apply to social justice. Consumerism sucks, so it’s crucial for you to represent a segment of the population that does without. If you’re intimidated by the concept, start small—wine glasses, for example—and work your way up to things like a television, or deodorant.
9. Develop endearingly quirky habits. Ever wished a guy (or girl) would look deep into your eyes and list all of the unique things about you that they’re in love with? Of course you have. Well, quirk has to be earned, and you shouldn’t forget to proactively pursue just enough of it to make yourself stand out, and/or to fill a romantic comedy monologue. Do you not eat ice cream with a fork? Do you shop without trying everything on in three sizes? Do you have zero irrational fears? Unacceptable.
1o. Talk about being in your 20s. Finally, as a 20-something, it is very important to be consistently aware of and borderline obsessed with your current age and how it relates to other ages. At any given time, you should not only know exactly how many months, weeks, days, hours and minutes you are away from turning 30, but also be prepared to frequently analyze what it means to be twenty-____, and how that meaning is significantly different from what it meant to be one year younger. You should also have strong opinions about everyone else who is also twenty-____, because those people are obviously cliches and you are an anomaly of introspective awesomeness.