As a 20-something, you're forced into adulthood by all means necessary, and it's no easy task.
Not only are all of the “fun” birthdays over, but, as most people will remind you over and over again, it’s all downhill from here.
That’s not necessarily true, however, as my 22nd year was one of my best.
I gained and lost friends, made some important self-discoveries and learned more about life than I ever thought possible.
Of course, I still have so much more to learn, but I thought it was crucial to share some information to help you survive up until (and maybe past) your 22nd birthday.
1. Life is not easy.
The number-one most important thing to remember — it may be the only thing you really need to know to get through those tough days — is everyone is fighting his or her own battle.
2. You need to work hard for what you want.
But, you also have to want it more than anything else in the world.
People can work themselves to the bone and come up short of their true desires. It takes heart, soul and a whole lot of sweat and tears to get what you want.
Earning something by fighting for it will be one of the most rewarding experiences you will have the opportunity to come by.
3. Everyone is going to get engaged, married and have babies.
This doesn’t mean you should hop on that bandwagon, though. If you aren’t even close to being ready, just know your time will come.
4. Patience is a virtue.
And it's a rare one. With the constant technological expansion, the world moves fast and doesn't wait for anyone.
Learning to stand back, take a breath and allow yourself to pause is crucial to maintaining your sanity.
Also, be a person for others, and stop rushing everyone. I'm sure they have enough naggers to push them through their days.
5. People are mean.
Everyone isn't always mean, but most of the time, people don’t care if you are having a bad day.
Suck it up and be an adult. (You can eat ice cream and cry about it when you get home.)
6. Netflix is your friend.
But if you have homework, you must avoid it like the plague. Don’t worry, though; it will be right there waiting when you’re ready for it.
7. People die.
As harsh as it sounds, now that you're an “adult,” you are going to start losing family members and even friends to unexpected deaths or illnesses.
Death is now a very real and tangible thing that will continue to affect you for the rest of your life. Grieve, then dust yourself off and (as cliché as it sounds) live your life to the fullest.
8. Friends are not always going to be lifelong.
All of those “peeps” you had in high school, or even college, will either move away and lose touch with you, or just stop working on the friendship.
Life is constantly moving, ebbing and flowing, and sometimes, we lose people in order to make room for the bigger and better.
Trust me, it’s not you; you don’t smell. This is just a part of life; grow from it.
9. Working sucks.
Of course, I’ve known this since I started working full-time right out of high school, but it’s even more excruciating as you get older.
I cannot say this enough: If you have the opportunity to avoid work in your adolescence, do it.
You have about 50 years of work ahead of you, so enjoy your youth and do something you love. Life is too short.
10. You don’t know everything.
You probably don’t even know what you want to do with your life, and despite what some people may tell you, that’s okay.
Finding out who you are and who you want to be is all part of the journey.
11. Family over everything.
Friends, boyfriends, girlfriends and flings come and go. Stay true to yourself, and spend time with the people who truly care about and love you.
Of course, have fun and make memories with others, but don't ever lose sight of where you come from and who you want to be.
Family will keep you grounded (even though they might drive you to drink on multiple occasions).
12. Just like money, time is valuable.
Unlike money, time cannot be earned or replaced. Spend it wisely.
13. You will be broke for a lot of your life.
Unless you were born into money, you win the lottery or miraculously find yourself suing your cable company for every wrong thing they do (and I mean everything), you are going to find living paycheck to paycheck is just a fact of life.
14. Don't let a relationship rule or ruin you.
Love is fun, emotional and endlessly surprising. Sometimes, you can't help but fall so deep you can't find your way back to reality.
For seven long years, I let one boy tell me how I should live my life over and over again.
Although I learned a lot from this failed relationship, I also lost time I could have spent doing what I wanted and seeing the world.
Until you find someone who can keep up with you and have your back no matter what, it’s best to stay single.
Life is too short to be unhappy in love.
15. Shopping is no longer fun.
Unless you have money to blow, going shopping in your early 20s is like dieting: You have to spend wisely, and you can't bring home anything that's going to make you feel bad about yourself.
Generally, this means bargain shopping and no more malls. It's like choosing to go to the all-natural or organic health food store: more expensive and definitely not as flavorful.
16. Fat likes you a lot.
It will attach itself to all sorts of places and hold on tight while it enjoys its unwelcome stay.
You might find yourself having to get bigger clothes (or never wearing jeans again because no modern clothing designer knows how to make clothes for real women).
And, if you even dare try to get rid of the fat, it's going to be a hell of a fight. Don't give up!
17. Obsessing over your image is useless and disappointing.
I've spent years unhappy with my body, and I've come up with nothing but grief over it.
My time and energy is too precious to be wasted on worrying if my arms flap a little too much when I wave.
18. Exercise is still important.
Start early; get into a routine, and stick to it. You'll feel better and live longer because of it.
19. Cooking is a money-saving chore that's also kind of boring.
Unless you have a whole day to plan, cooking for one person is not fun, and cooking for two people is not much fun, either.
It's even more excruciating if you have a limited diet of chicken and broccoli for most meals.
If it’s been a long day, you have every excuse to go out to eat. Try new places; try new foods; f*ck the haters and get dessert first.
20. Apply for scholarships and grants like no other.
There are scholarships for just about anything, and if you’re making the plunge to go (or go back) to school, make scholarship applications your priority.
There is nothing better than having part of your tuition paid for and coming out almost debt-free.
21. Naps equal life.
Naps are a gift, so take advantage of any time you have been allotted to sleep.
Need a pick-me-up? Naps are great for that. And, studies show they make you smarter!
Just don't let them take over your entire day. There’s nothing worse than a beautiful day gone to waste.
In my few years as an adult, I have not fulfilled this desire, and it has left me unhappy, unsatisfied and "stuck."
No matter what, make the time to get out of town, and screw the job that holds you back. #YOLO