Hindsight is not always 20/20. Neither is perspective. If life has taught me anything, it has taught me that much. I will be celebrating my 27th birthday in a few months. Which means I am closer to 30 than I am to 20.
My 20s have been pretty amazing thus far. And by pretty amazing I mean that despite my ill-advised actions, risky behavior, and willful ignorance, I have somehow managed to make it out without any visible scars. All of my teeth are still intact as well.
There’s no magic formula for navigating through your 20s. In spite of this bumpy ride, I have been fortunate enough to pick up a few things along the way. I’ve compiled a list of 10 things my 20s taught me. Join me on this journey as I tell you a little story about how my life got flipped ― turned upside down and right side up again.
1. Words matter ― There was a time when I believed that I was the Patron Saint of telling it like it is. I was self-appointed (and self-opinionated). In reality, this was really just a poor excuse to be an ass and give unsolicited advice and commentary. This was more than likely a coping mechanism for some underlying/ internal conflict I had. I’ve learned to appreciate the power of words and context.
2. Finances ― My early 20s were filled with a slew of bad financial decisions. I am reminded of them every time I log on to Credit Karma to check my credit score. It’s kind of depressing now that I think about it. Like, did I really need a credit card at 20? Will those charge offs ever drop off of my credit report? Those are rhetorical questions. Of course I didn’t, and probably not Terrance, probably not.
3. We’re all just wingin’ it — Life doesn’t come with an instruction manual. Some assembly may be required There are times when I literally have no idea what i’m doing. I set too many unrealistic expectations in my early 20s that didn’t always pan out. But what I’ve learned is that my woes, my experiences, and my shortcomings are fairly common. I find solace in knowing that we’re all out here trying to get it together. And if we’re lucky enough, one day, things will click.
4. Binge drinking ― Ok, so even back in my partying heyday I knew binge drinking on the weekends was a bad idea. But that didn’t stop me. The turn up was real, the turn up was life. I have a little more perspective now, not to mention I actually value my liver. Cirrhosis of the liver is not something I’m aspiring for. I drank this past weekend and spent the following day hung over, vomiting, and shaking. My ship has sailed, and I’m cool with that.
5. Burning bridges is necessary ― Burning bridges is not only necessary, it’s vital. Some folks simply do not deserve the privilege of your company. Toxic folks are bad for your brand. You owe them absolutely nothing. I’ve never burned a bridge that I had intentions of crossing again. But I knew they would try to cross again. That’s why I burned it.
6. My metabolism owes me nothing ― From the age of 5 to about 23 I ate virtually no vegetables. I’m not exaggerating, nothing that was green, plant based, or of any nutritional value touched my palate. Ironically enough, my metabolism was impeccable. But around 22 I think my metabolism had enough of my shit and began conspiring against me. Almost overnight my six pack merged together in solidarity to form a round, but slightly squishy ball of fat, flesh, and regret on top of my abdominal region. It’s not full-blown dad bod, but pretty damn close.
7. The cost of living is literally the basic cost for survival ― I moved out of my parents’ home at 21. Not because I had to, I was just eager to get this adult shit on the road. I quickly learned that the bare necessities are not cheap. I now understand what my mother meant when she used to ask close-ended questions in the grocery store like, “Does it look like I have Frosted Flakes money!?” Just in case you’re wondering, I don’t have Frosted Flakes money either.
8. I am my parents ― Well, at least when it comes to critiquing the next generation’s music. This one is scary. I first noticed this when I heard that “Watch me whip, watch me nae nae” song. I went on and on about how this was the death of hip hop and we never did things like this when I was in school. But we did. We cranked that Superman... we cranked that Batman... and we cranked everything else with a catchy beat and dance instructions. What a time to be alive.
9. I am an introvert ― I’m not shy or awkward. I actually used be quite the extrovert. In hindsight, I’m not sure if my days as an extrovert were organic or just me fighting to feel something. I think I have always been an introvert at heart. I don’t hate people per , I just have a very low threshold for small talk and large groups of people. Solitude is a virtue, one that I have accepted and fully embraced.
10. Women are smarter than men ― It’s not so much that I thought men were smarter than women. I just thought the playing field was even. It’s not. When it comes to emotional intelligence, rational decision making, conflict resolution, and discernment— men pale in comparison. It’s not even close, bruh.
All in all, my 20s have been great. I truly believe that my experiences have not only given me perspective and insight—they shaped me. I’m looking forward to embracing these last thre years of my 20s. And if you have some time left, embrace yours. Here’s a toast to the next years, may they be your best years.