Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. Even if you’re in your 20s and feel like every situation a huge deal, it probably isn’t. You have one shot on this earth, so make it count. Below are thirty things you should do while you’re old enough to know, but young enough not to say no (thanks, Pat Monahan!):
1. Travel to another country. This includes going on an airplane, even if you’ve never been. If you’re in your 20s and have no children, now is probably the best and only time for you to see the world and fully experience it while having some sense of responsibility and care.
2. Go to another state. If another state is daunting or financially impossible, simply cross state lines. Pull a Mandy Moore from “A Walk to Remember” and have one foot in one state and the other in another, so you’re literally in two places at once.
3. Road trip. This ties in to #2, but really roadtrip with your friends or significant other. See the country and different sceneries.
4. Find a cause in which you truly believe. There is a lot that is wrong with this world, and thinking of trying to solve every problem can be overwhelming. Find a cause that strikes a chord in you and makes you want to rise up in arms and truly take action. Even if you can’t save the world, you can at least make a difference in it.
5. Go on a date. Even if you’ve been with your man or woman since high school, at least experience what it’s like to get dressed up, do something to your physical appearance, and go out somewhere. Feel the butterflies and excitement.
6. Fall in love. Once, twice, several times—however much it takes for you to learn how to love and be loved by someone.
7. Participate in a marathon or race. No matter how painful training is and no matter how difficult the actual competition is, there’s nothing quite like receiving that award at the end of the race and knowing you accomplished something so physically grueling.
8. Find a sport or exercise you truly enjoy. Whether it’s martial arts, pole dancing, or yoga, find something that will make you get off the couch at 5 p.m. and sweat.
9. Eat whatever you damn well please. Particularly before you’re 25 and your metabolism drops like crazy. Don’t eat like a football player every day, but eat the damn cake and drink the beer.
10. Splurge on a quality, designer item. Whether it’s a handbag, shoes, or scarf, own one quality designer item that makes you feel like a million bucks any time you wear it.
11. Have a truly fun Girls’ Night Out. Like the equivalent of the bachelor party in The Hangover, except don’t leave anyone on the roof.
12. Learn how to cook (at least one amazing meal.) One amazing meal is all you really need for awhile anyway, but you should probably learn how to make and sustain yourself on something other than ramen or toast.
13. Get a complete makeover once. Both physical and mental. Completely re-do your look and style, and also try changing a habit you don’t like that you have.
14. Create something. Whether it’s a painting, a book, or a screenplay, make something that you can keep and be proud of for finishing.
15. Learn a new language. You don’t have to become fluent or as good as a native speaker, but at least learn the basics of another language.
16. Make a difference in someone’s life. Whether by being a mentor or donating goods/services, change someone’s health and well-being for the better.
17. Forgive someone. No matter how someone’s wronged you, you can find a peace of mind and better clarity when you let go of negative feelings you’re holding.
18. Visit a major city. NYC, San Francisco, LA, or Chicago—visit a major city at least once and experience the concrete jungle.
19. Complete a challenge. Whether it’s a 90-day fitness challenge or a #100happydays on Instagram, complete a challenge for the fun. It will teach you how to stick to a goal.
20. See a Wonder of the World. This coincides with number one, but see a natural wonder of the world in person.
21. Work a low-level job. Know what it’s like to be at the bottom of the economic totem pole. Use it as a way to learn how to deal with people and motivate yourself to work hard.
22. Work up the ranks in your career. When you finally do start your actual job, work hard and do the best that you can do. Having a job or career path at all in this economy is a privilege, not a guaranteed right or something to which you’re entitled. Treat it as such.
23. Write yourself a letter to be opened in a decade. Write a letter to your future self-outlining your goals for the next ten years. Open it up in your thirties to see how far you’ve come.
24. Take care of a pet. Whether it’s a goldfish or a dog, learn how to take care of another living thing besides yourself.
25. Do something extreme. Skydiving, deep sea diving, para-sailing—do something that scares you senseless but absolutely heightens your adrenaline.
26. Prove people wrong. Do something that people believe you cannot do—get into a graduate program, kick your cigarette habit, anything that shows you that you are doing anything of which you are capable.
27. Finish your schooling, but never your learning. Graduate from the highest level of education you need for your respective lifestyle, whether it’s high school, college, or graduate school—get the diploma, but don’t stop learning. Continue to be curious about the world. The more you know, the more you realize how much you don’t know.
28. Pull an all nighter. Whether it’s for school or by partying all weekend, know that you are capable of staying awake for a long period of time to do what you gotta do.
29. Unplug for an entire day. In this age of endless social media, we are constantly glued to our phones or computers. Take a day to unwind and remember that the world doesn’t stop turning just because you’re not electronically connected to it.
30. Feel happy in your own skin. Learn that very little amounts to life or death; that you are beautiful the way you are both physically and mentally; that there is always room for growth; and that you have one life, and you should determine how you live the best years of it.
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