1. Educate yourself. You don’t have to go to college to do this. Get work experience. Travel. Read challenging things. Just don’t be ignorant.
2. Vote. Make that education count.
3. Date lots of people. Who cares if they’re “right for you” or marriage material or even boyfriend material? Are they cool and interesting and fun, and do you like yourself more when they are around? You’ll learn about yourself a lot more quickly by learning what you do and don’t like in a partner. Enjoy it.
4. Get rid of assholes you don’t like anymore. Don’t waste your time with people who you don’t like yourself around, whether those people are friends or romantic interests.
5. Eat new foods. It’s exciting and good for you, probably! Aristotle said that.
6. Spend your money on experiences instead of things. You can buy expensive boots anytime, but your threshold for going to music festivals will die out pretty fast so use it while you got it. This is why $5 stuff from Forever21 is the uniform of music festivals.
7. Spend a lot of time with your friends. Rent beach houses and go on vacations and run away for the weekend even though you can’t afford it, because everyone you know will be tied down with kids way sooner than you think.
8. Ask your still-alive grandparents to tell you stories about their own 20s. When you realize your grandparents might not make it to your wedding, it suddenly becomes urgent that you spend every holiday with them and have real, meaningful chats on the phone. Even if you have to shout into the receiver to do it.
9. Set up a 401(k) and a savings account, and contribute to them regularly. That shit compounds over time and you want to retire like a ~*qUeEn~*.
10. Work really, really hard on something you care about. Train for a marathon or take on a big project at work or plan a party and completely kick its ass. You need a win.
11. Party on weeknights. Before you know it you won’t even want to party on weekends so, like, live shit up.
12. Quit that job you hate. Job quitters are the happiest people.
13. Wear whatever the hell you want. If you love peplum tops, wear peplum tops. If you hate peplum tops, fuck peplum tops. You’re your own woman!
14. Splurge on concert tickets. You’ll never regret seeing Beyoncé in the flesh. Never.
15. Realize every woman ever has flaws and your body is amazing. The sooner you can accept everything about it, the better. Fighting with food and your body for years is a waste of time and you’re busy.
16. Don’t fake your orgasms. The sooner your partner knows you’re not feeling it, the sooner you can introduce them to your clit and start enjoying sex.
17. Don’t buy “grown up” furniture. You’re going to spend your 20s moving from apartment to apartment — maybe even city to city — and getting rid of stuff as often as you need to buy it. This is why Ikea exists.
18. Find some sort of exercise you don’t hate. Exercising feels like the worst form of psychological torture until you find a kind that’s fun for you. Then it feels like the worst for of physical torture but at least you’re happy about it?
19. Do things alone. You will spend most of your adult life surrounded by other people, so take advantage of solo time while you can. Eat at a restaurant alone. Drink at a bar alone. Go on a trip alone. Live alone.
20. Learn one skill that will help you network in your career. Take a wine-tasting class, or learn how to play golf. Anything that will give you something to talk about with stuffy Olds in interviews and at conferences.
21. Be a great friend to a very small number of people. Learn to be The Person to someone you are not romantically involved with. That means showing up when it’s not always convenient.
22. And build a network of friendly acquaintances. Meet them for occasional drinks, show up to their events when they invite you, and answer their texts within a few hours. These are the people who will hook you up with an interview when you get laid off or suggest a spare room when you need somewhere to crash for a couple days.
23. Go to therapy. Even if you don’t think you have any issues. You do, and talking about them with a neutral party will help. (If you’re still in college, it might even be free!)
24. Masturbate. This is the single best way to figure out what you like in bed and fall in love with your own body.
25. Figure out what makes you relax, and do it. This doesn’t have to be the same stuff that makes everyone else feel good. Have you tried making Pinterest-perfect little crafts or Instagram-worthy meals and it turns out you hate that crap and it feels way more indulgent to order Chinese food and splurge on a really expensive bottle of wine? Do that!
26. Do something wild and crazy. Go on a whirlwind three-day-long date. Book a spontaneous trip. Go skinny-dipping. Now’s your chance before you get married to your HBO Go account.