1. Learn to be comfortable in your own company.
One part of this comes naturally to me because as an introvert I enjoy being alone to recharge my batteries, and it's just more comfortable to me. The other part was more difficult, which is to learn not to invest your happiness into another person. It's important to learn how to be happy with who you are, regardless of what your friend, or significant other, or family might think or do. That part was pretty hard for me to learn and sometimes I still struggle with it, but I try my best, and it goes hand-in-hand with the next thing.
2. Stop being a people pleaser.
It's nice to make someone smile and just to be a genuinely caring human being, but it's unhealthy to live your life to make everyone else happy all of the time. For one thing it's exhausting and for another it's actually impossible to make everyone happy all of the time. Some people aren't going to be happy no matter what you do, and that's not your fault. Direct more of your energy toward your own happiness.
3. Take care of yourself/know your body
As the sort of person who wants to always be doing something productive I find it hard to give myself a break. I am learning how to give myself a break because when I do too much my body gets sick and I have to take a much longer break than I would have if I had just paused and given myself a day to relax.
4. Know that your mental health is super important.
I'm still learning to feel and express my emotions instead of bottling them up. It's really important to be able to tell when there's just too much stress and try to eliminate some or calm yourself somehow. It could be taking a personal day from a stressful job or curling up in your softest comfiest clothes to read a book or watch a movie or taking a nice relaxing lovely-smelling bubble bath. De-stressing feels great and it will save you from a meltdown in the long run.
5. Set a budget and stick to it.
This is one of the most adult things I have done so far. Actually write down your income and all of your expenses for the month and then figure out how much extra you can spend for extra things like dates or clothes or fun stuff, and then pick an amount to put in savings if you can afford it. It's really comforting to know that you have some extra money if you need it or to save toward a goal. You can even use sites like Personal Capital to keep track of your finances using their helpful personal financial software. For me it's great because I get really sick so it's a relief to have extra for new medications or vitamins or doctor bills when they arise.
6. Live in a place that you love.
I haven't gotten this one yet. Right now I live in a place that I am so tired of, even worse since I can't walk and there are stairs everywhere. My current list of amenities in a place would be simple: an unshared kitchen, an unshared bathroom, and a bathtub. I hope we'll check this one off sooner rather than later.
I really haven't done a lot of traveling in my life, but I have been to some very cool places. I especially love mountains and beaches. I do love traveling around my own city and exploring the different neighborhoods and little shops though. I fancy myself an adventurer, and even tiny adventures are really exciting. I just love going somewhere entirely new. It's so full of possibility!
8. Live with less.
Living in a tiny room makes me feel like we have a ton of stuff but if we had a normal apartment situation it would end up feeling like minimalist decor. Being poor and sick but stubborn and independent has pretty much forced me to live with less. Most of the things I do own are from yard sales or thrift stores or free from other people who have moved. I feel like it gives me the option to relocate without a lot of notice if the perfect place becomes available.
|Click the photo to see this pretty embroidery on Etsy|
9. Be silly/have fun.
I feel like your 20s are the years when you can be a little bit childish sometimes and get away with it. Embrace that and get in touch with your inner child. Draw with sidewalk chalk, blow bubbles, go for a skip instead of a jog, dye your hair a fun color or get it cut a crazy way, wear something outrageous because you like it. Obviously you can still be silly and have fun when you're older than your 20s but it might not be so accepted. And that brings me to my last thing.
10. Really stop caring what other people think.
I have this one maybe half down. When I'm having a really good, low-anxiety day I am completely comfortable in my own skin regardless of anyone else. But on a hard day I just feel like everyone is looking at me and judging me. I won't leave the house if my hair isn't super clean and I'll usually put a hat on to avoid seeing anyone looking at me if I have to go out. It can be tough with anxiety but I would love to feel okay going for a walk because I want to and be comfortable around whoever I might run into without feeling like I'm being judged.
Those are 10 things that are important to learn and do growing up. What are some of the things that make you feel like a real adult? Share them in the comments.