20 Things to Stop Doing in Your 20's
If I could hop into a time machine to talk to 19-year old me, these are some of the non-personal things I would tell young Sarah. I hope to never tell you what to wear or how you should be, however I'd love to save all the servantless young gals out there the trouble of learning some of these lessons the hard way.
1. Visiting tanning beds
Listen ladies, it is 2017... Stop going to the tanning bed! While we are on the topic, when you tan in the sun, use sunscreen. I promise, you can still get a tan while protecting yourself with sunscreen. While you are young, it is hard to think about things like skin cancer and aging skin. Dump your excuses and protect yourself... no tan is worth suffering a skin cancer for! And on a surface level, every time you tan you're increasing the chances you'll have dull, wrinkled, and leathery skin before you're a grandma.
2. Binge dieting or letting ED go untreated
Healthy is the new skinny, we promise. If you find yourself cycling through diets and cleanses, we encourage you to seek a balanced lifestyle. Many of these habits can develop into full-blown eating disorders later on. If you don't feel in control, talk to someone! Open up to a friend or family member you respect. If you suspect it's deeper than tweaking a few habits, or your wellbeing is being affected by restriction/binging, a nutritionist and/or counselor can help! There is no shame in getting help. If you need guidance on where to start, don't think twice to contact any of the gals behind True Co.
3. Misusing Your Credit
Woah woah... yeah we got up in your personal space for this one. TRUST ME when I say "do not rack up your credit card!" Actually, don't even buy something unless you have the money now. If you see yourself making a big purchase (such as a home or car) or see yourself getting married, take this advice even more seriously. There is nothing worse than being denied of your perfect home over a stupid shopping spree you took two years ago and can't pay off. Also, starting a marriage where one or both people are in serious debt is STRESSFUL! And we all know, no one needs any factors working against a marriage in 2017.
PSA: we are not saying you need to stop drinking, visiting bars, or going out for a night on the town. Those are all good things that we believe create a balanced life when done in control. If you find yourself partying too hard, waking up hungover, or craving the need to be inebriated... take back the reins! Losing control of yourself is not an attractive quality and it also can put you at risk for many things you aren't thinking about while having fun.
5. Following people who make you feel bad about yourself
There is nothing green about this detox. Your 20's is this perfect time to block out negative influencers. For myself, it is unfollowing accounts on social media that make me feel small or like my beautiful life is inferior due to lacking money, a certain body, or the image of perfection. There are some perfectly OK accounts out there that trigger negative thoughts for me, so I unfollowed them. Also, girls who *always* are put together don't make my follow list either. Too much of that can creep into your life and make you feel constantly down.
6. Unhealthy dating relationships
This one pains me to see. If a relationship isn't healthy or actively seeking health (and making strides towards this), then ditch the dude. Yikes, sounds rough, I know. Your 20's are a time of setting the tone for your adult life... if you fill this important time of growth with manipulative, jealous, tension-filled dating, you may be settling into a cycle of unhealthy relationships and potentially abuse. If you are being abused--physically or mentally-- it is okay to leave, get help, and report it. http://nnedv.org/ is a great resource + shares tips on leaving an abusive relationship.
7. Basing your worldview solely off your parents' views
If you choose to, this is a great time to sort out your political, religious, and world views. It is okay to be unsure of where you land on viewpoint. I hope our generation can be less tumultuous than our parents--this will only happen if each of us commit to seeking knowledge so we can make informed decisions on what we believe + respecting others, even if their worldview opposes your own. If your religious/political position matches your parents and you find yourself not knowing why (other than being able to regurgitate the arguments of your parents), then I encourage a good soul search. I did this myself in my twenties... and as much as I hated hearing my grandparents say "I told you so," I found myself to hold similar beliefs. Now, I wholeheartedly believe in my convictions + strive to love and see the views of those who see differently.
8. Ignoring the need for a skincare routine
Oh, how I would love to tell this to 20-year-old me! Your 20's are the perfect time to form the habit of cleaning your face nightly + preventing damage/aging. I know I speak for all the True Co. ladies when I say: natural products rock! There are lots of non-toxic lines out there... our favorite is CocoKind. The most important part is: removing makeup nightly + using a daily sunscreen.
9. Comparing your current body to your high-school body
Your body is probably a lot different than it was in high school, especially if you find yourself in the mid to late twenties category. Even at the same weight, your body is simply changed. And girl, that doesn't have to mean "it sucks." Embrace your new woman body... strive for balance + wellness and love your damn self! Stop your longing stares at your old prom pictures and get in the mirror to check yourself out. You are way cuter now, and if you have a man, he will back me up on this.
10. Working towards a degree/career you don't love
Sorry parents... I am not backing you up on the "just go to college because" thing. And before you call me a typical millennial, understand that I solemnly do not believe in laziness. If you are working on a degree or clocking in and out somewhere because you feel you have to... just don't! If you hate the degree you're working towards, stop it! Now now, I don't mean to quit a job you need to pay your bills... what I am saying is, why not find one that makes you happy AND pays your bills? And if your in a university program you hate (not just a temporary annoyance), why not switch to something you love? If you don't know what you want to do, it is also SO OKAY to take a break and live life. Student debt is a real + scary thing, don't get into unless you're sure your degree is worth it + fulfills you.
11. Practicing unsafe sex
Can I please just burn all the Cosmo magazines that tell us that releasing your sex demons into the world is the highest form of happiness? I know abstinence and monogamy are so not cool anymore... but I am on the other side of that lifestyle and I can tell you, there is freedom and fullness in making good decisions for your body! "Good" will vary from gal to gal, especially with and religious beliefs in the picture. But let's get the basics down: use protection because STDs are real and if you aren't ready to be responsible for another human life, be responsible enough to protect yourself. And next, NEVER EVER do something physical that you aren't comfortable with. If you say "no" and it is ignored, that is rape + let's not brush it off as anything less than that.
12. Waiting for a "better time" to build your savings + retirement
So you have $4.73 in your banking account... but you know an Americano is only $2.95 and your car can run on E for another 2 days with a little "rolling around" and prayers. Off to Starbucks you go! Can you tell I know this scenario too well? You will NEVER kick yourself for adding $100 to your savings. Shoot... even $10! And don't touch that savings... pretend it isn't there. If your employer offers a match for your retirement account, take advantage of this! The more your put into your retirement at a young age, the more time it will have to grow. When I started savings, my first goal was to never let my checking account go under what I normally make in one week. My second goal was to save 6 weeks worth of pay in my savings. Start small... always set an achievable goal ahead of you!
13. Being financially dependent on your parents
Finding full independence from your parents will be a process in your 20's. My in-laws have been a saving grace for me and my husband! But all things come to an end and I am glad we took the steps to take on life's curveballs without running to parents for help. By the time you hit 30, you should be paying all your bills solo + controlling your finances in a way that leaves room for spending money and big purchases. Start slow, by taking a bill at a time away from them! Baby steps forwards is still progress.
14. Pouring effort into a bad friend
Every person goes through seasons of life... and I hope you have friends who stick by you through it + you are a friend like this to others. Now, there are bad seasons and then there is straight up bad friends. If your gal pal never gets around to texting/calling you back, like ever... or if she's always canceling last minute of plans you've had set, it may be time to consider the value of the friendship. With age and maturity, your circle of friends will get smaller and deeper. If you find yourself relying on a friend who doesn't give you time of day, it may be time to move on and develop other relationships.
15. Being catty
Check yo' self before you wreck yo' self! Seriously though, if you are mean or a bully... do some soul searching and grow up. If you find pleasure in causing chaos, you always find drama where ever you go, and you're constantly burning bridges... it is time to look inside and cut out the junk that causes you to treat others poorly. Bullies do grow up, and they usually become mean school moms... don't be a mean school mom... be a cool school mom that is badass because she doesn't need the mean moms to like her.
16. Avoiding conflict
Conflict is uncomfortable and usually easy to avoid! Yay! Wait... no yay. Unresolved conflict can fester and grow into some pretty yucky stuff in your personal and work relationships. It is always best to work through conflict with others with an open mind and strong sense of how you feel + why. This is especially important in the workplace where superiors can slowly take advantage of you through added responsibilities and low pay. If you don't stick up for yourself, you'll never magically be treated fairly! Start your career and relationships off right by cultivating relationships that can handle conflict. If you do this in your 20's, chances are you'll have some solid gal pals in your 20's and a career that is rewarding + treats you well.
17. Being a yes-man
JUST SAY NO. To drugs and also anything that leaves you running on empty. Any situation in which you have to always say yes to be accepted is not a good situation to be in! an empty cup can't pour anything out to empower others or to simply get a project done. Leave time for yourself to recharge... this makes you able to give 100% to the projects you do take on instead of giving 20% to everything. Also, don't let anyone make you feel guilty for having "me time."
18. "Ignoring the haters"
Oddly enough, this does not go against some of the no-nos discussed above. In my experience, 20-somethings deal with having too many negative voices in their life and I like to tell them to block that noise! However, don't block ALL the noise. Every person (young or old) should have a few tried-and-true influencers who they go to for wisdom + opinions. You should never "ignore *all* the haters" because sometimes your greatest mentor may be "hating" a decision you make. Don't immediately brush this off as jealousy or an annoyance. It is invaluable to have mentors in your life that you trust when they tell you to yield. And back to the whole conflict resolution thing, if you disagree... pick their brain so you understand why someone you respect isn't supporting a decision you're considering.
19. Putting Family on the Back Burner
Guilty as charged. Up until recently, I constantly put my family in 2nd, 3rd, sometimes like 10th place in my life. In my youth, I took my niece for granted. Now that I am 25 and my niece is nearly 9, I love her dearly and I deeply regret not knowing her more as she was a young child. Your 20's will be some of the most fun, wild, and stressful years of life... but remember who is going to be there for you when you're older, wiser, and your "crew" isn't around when it's 4AM and your baby has seemingly been crying for a week. Some of my BEST friends weren't there for me when shit hit the fan in my life... but guess who was? My family. Don't learn this lesson for yourself... learn from mine. Carve out time and space for your family + don't let any relationships or job get in the way!
20. Losing your wonder
Life can wear on your true self! Don't let this ugly world dull the fire in your soul. Whatever it is you daydream about... the causes that you care for so deeply it is burned into your being... HOLD ONTO THOSE CONVICTIONS. Don't forget your wildest dreams. Write them out, make them into a poster and put it somewhere you'll see it everyday. Don't get jaded. Don't get heartless. Don't stop longing for a better world --- and don't get complacent about creating the world you want to live in.