7 Reasons Why You Should Appreciate Your 20s A Little Bit More

by Ali Catalano

Chances are, when you were younger, your perception of age was much different. Twenties were old, thirties were elderly and beyond forty was ancient.

What’s even more laughable – even frightening – are the expectations. So many of us anticipated getting married in our early twenties, having kids in our mid-twenties and living happily ever after far before thirty.

Sorry, 1960, but we’re moving on.

Although your twenties were an age once feared -- especially in college because it’s “all over” once you graduate -- the time is really one of new beginnings, with just the right amount of responsibility, when you can change your mind and most definitely, a time you should appreciate.

Here are seven reasons why you should appreciate your twenties while you’re in them.

People start taking you seriously.

For whatever reason, as you get older, people start asking you more questions and genuinely seem more interested in the things you have to say. It could be that magical piece of paper called a degree or just a little life experience. But more likely, it might have something to do with the fact that when you are in your twenties, you start taking yourself seriously. That can make all the difference.

You start taking care of yourself.

Your twenties are the time when most people begin to realize that they aren’t invincible. You quit smoking, stop eating [entirely] like crap, find a physical activity you can handle doing more than once a month and stop skipping doctor and dentist appointments. Whether it’s all of these things or just one, what it really shines through is a newfound sense of self-worth — and that’s something that feels good at any age.

Finding joy in the simple things.

Money in your savings account, a clean apartment or the Holy Grail (waking up without a hangover) can make all the difference in your attitude.

It may seem silly, but as you start to get on your feet, you will really appreciate the little things that rarely happened when you were younger. You start to realize the things that benefit you bring you more joy than fleeting, meaningless experiences that often come in the form of a bar tab.

You’re young enough to make mistakes but old enough to fix them.

Your twenties are the one time when you’re perfectly in-between being a kid and an adult. You probably should have your sh*t together, but you probably don’t. Still, no one really has any right to make you feel bad about wherever you are. You’re still young enough to accidentally get too wasted during a night out, but you’re old enough to know that you should stay in the next weekend… or two.

You’re still young enough to defer your loans for six months to travel or take an unpaid internship at your dream job, but you’re old enough to know to pay off the interest or start paying more than the minimum balance when you’re back on track. Take advantage of being in between, because it won’t last forever.

You’ve found real friends who are worthy of your time.

We’ve all had our fair share of sh*tty friends: the flakes, the fakes and the phonies -- they’re the worst. But, as you get older, you’ll figure out which ones put in the effort when they need to do so and which ones put in the effort when you need them.

Figuring out your friends when you’re trying to figure out everything else can be an eye-opening and even painful experience, but it’s one for which you’ll be very grateful once it’s all said and done.

Learning from your parents.

Whether you were blessed with the most present and influential parents or parental figures who weren’t role models at all, learning from the successes or failures of those who came before you is so important. Your twenties are a time for you begin to see the positive traits in your parents that you wish to possess and to gain the ability to turn their mistakes into fuel for your own self-improvement.

Being comfortable with who you are.

Your twenties are the age of no apologies. The things you may have hidden when you were younger slowly transition to things with which you are comfortable. Your twenties are an age of self-discovery. There’s nothing more liberating than learning about yourself, without the burden of feeling self-conscious or ashamed of who you are.

Photo credit: Theo Gosselin