– By Lane Moore
1. Figure out how to incorporate working out into your schedule. Life doesn’t get less busy, so you have to figure out how to make time for stuff that’s good for you. Not because you want to lose 20 pounds or become obscenely ripped, but because you want to feel better and when you work out, you feel better. It’s that simple.
2. Drink more water! No, more than that. The difference it makes in your skin, your body, and your mood is no freaking joke. Put in cut-up fruit if you have to, but just drink it already.
3. Keep in touch with people from previous jobs. Just because you left the job doesn’t mean you don’t still get along, not to mention you never know when they’ll move on to another company you’d love to work for and then they can be like, “Oh, we should hire this wonderful human I know because I still talk to her and she is still wonderful to this day!”
4. Try not giving a shit about your relationship status. Date around and have lots of sex. Or be single for long stretches of time. Enjoy this time to do whatever you want without stressing out about your relationship status or trying to find a husband. It’ll happen when it’s meant to and you’ll be so glad you didn’t spend all your time stressing about it. Stress is bad for your health.
5. Read a newspaper every day, even if it’s online. Knowledge about the world gets built over time, and if you want to be a well-informed thirtysomething, you have to build that base now. And it doesn’t have to be painful; just read something every day about a topic that interests you.
6. Take big career risks. Hate what you’re doing and want to try something else, but afraid you won’t make any money/don’t think you’ll get the job/have no idea what you’re doing? Who cares? Unless you have kids to feed, really jump off the cliff and go for what you want.
7. Travel. Your back is still able to tolerate hostel beds and you should be fine eating $1 street kabobs for dinner, so you can travel on the cheap in ways that Olds just cannot anymore. Go places, and go alone at least once, because you might not get the chance again. Plus, when you get older and have $$, you can go back to your favorite places and actually do it up right.
8. Wear sunscreen so you don’t look like a leather bag when you’re in your late 30s and beyond. One of the things I hear 30+ women say constantly is that they wish they’d worn sunscreen in their 20s because the sun is an asshole and its effects are lasting.
9. Come to terms with the fact that your life is not going to be what you imagined it to be when you were 20. It’ll probably be better overall and honestly, you probably ended up looking way cuter than you ever thought you would. So there’s that.
10. Figure out who you can truly count on to be there for you, and invest your time in those friendships. It’s fine to hang out with the one girl you party with constantly, but also hang out with the person who genuinely cares about you even when you’re feeling like garbage and have been crying a lot lately and you don’t know why, because they’ll be the ones who still care 10 years from now when you’re not going to clubs as often at all. Like, not even one-quarter as much.
11. Learn how to cook (or marry someone who does). My plan is the latter, but even so, you can’t go through life eating microwavable meals and getting takeout. It’s not great for you financially or physically, so just take a simple cooking class, something to get you started. You can still microwave those Lean Cuisines and get takeout from your favorite Thai place sometimes, but at least if those aren’t options, you’re not clawing at the walls fearing starvation.
12. Break up with your college boyfriend. Or your high school boyfriend if you somehow haven’t done that yet. Obviously not if it’s working and you’re really happy, but if it’s not that great and you’re just holding onto memories and nostalgia, let each other go and find someone new. Worse-cast scenario, you try someone new and realize he was The One after all.
13. Actually take care of your skin. That skin care routine you do every night isn’t bullshit, so don’t quit it. By using a regimen with good-for-you ingredients, you’re actually supporting your skin’s structure, so it doesn’t fall when you turn 30. Trust me, if you take care of your skin, you’ll look the best/youngest at your 15-year reunion when everyone else will look, um, not so much.
14. Get a pet. Even if it’s just a goldfish, getting some kind of animal companionship will make you more responsible and loving, yes, but it’ll also give you something wonderful to come home to and make you feel more rooted in your life.
15. Permanently mark your friends’ and loved ones’ birthdays in your calendar. How will this make your life better? Because you won’t get angry texts asking how you could have forgotten your niece’s birthday, and you won’t be the loser sibling who forgot to send mom a mother’s day card. Plus, being the person who always remembers means so much to people and you’ll feel great about how great you’re making other people feel. It’s the little things.