We all have those days where all we want to do is be a diva, crawl in bed and cry. Hell, I had one just last night. But newsflash – being a kid was hard, being a teen was hell and I have a ton of people in my life who make me realize that the generations to come aren’t all fun and games. It’s called life, and it’s not always rainbows and butterflies… no matter how old you are.
Recently, I came across a “self-help” article about being in your twenties. After reading the first three bullet points, “You’ll be Lonely”, “You’ll be Poor”, and “You’ll be Confused as F*ck”, I immediately closed my browser just in time to avoid reading number four, “You’ll Have Your Heart Broken”. In an attempt to counteract even a smidgen of the self-loathing Millennial articles online, I present to you 20 ways to be happy in your 20s (or any age, for that matter):
1. Life exists outside of 9-5
Don’t like your job? It’s an easy fix. Find something to do that you’re going to look forward to at least once a week – whether it’s a new hobby or an hour long conversation with your mom. If you’re not happy with your job, don’t let it define you. Live life outside of 9-5.
Betches love brunch. Once a month, catch up with your friends by going to a long Sunday brunch. My personal fave? Beermosas at Southport Grocery.
3. Read at least two biographies a year
I’ve always been obsessed with biographies. I find other people’s lives so fascinating. However, they took on a new meaning in my #PostGradProblemz life. I realized that everyone struggles in their 20s… whether it’s Steve Jobs or Chris Farley – at some point they had to really work hard and persevere.
4. Laugh. A lot.
Laugh whenever you can, as often as you can and as loud as you can.
5. Be healthy
A year ago, a 30lb heavier version of me reluctantly stepped into a hip-hop dance class. I couldn’t do most of the moves because I was so out of shape. I attribute at least half of my happiness to the fact I decided to make a change. When you feel good, you’re going to allow yourself to experience life more.
6. Learn to deal with difficult people
Personally, I hate to hate people. It makes me really uncomfortable to admit that I really don’t like someone. Alas, in the past year I met that one person I’m never going to see eye to eye with. Instead of being hard on yourself for not being able to like the person, start to learn from them. Understand the traits that make them unlikable and vow to never pick them up. See them as a lesson on how to be a better person, all while treating them with respect. Just because someone doesn’t earn your respect doesn’t mean that you have to sink down to their level and deny them human decency.
7. Take a personal day
Because everyone needs one of those days every now and again where your biggest accomplishment is getting out of bed to microwave dinner.
8. Move to the city
Ok, maybe this is a bit extreme for most people. But the fact that I can get everything accomplished without walking more than 5 blocks definitely makes me a happy person.
9. Call home
Your family misses you, and you have to admit you miss them too. Nothing will brighten your day more than your brother telling you he’s a “Gigglesaurus” over the phone.
10. “Shoulda’s, woulda’s, coulda’s don’t go on the scoreboard”
Growing up, my dad always said that phrase. Live a life free of regrets. Dream big then attempt to make your dreams happen. What do you have to lose? That 9-5 job you hate? Yeah.
11. Go on BuzzFeed.com, or IWasteSoMuchTime.com, or UpWorthy.com
Because they make lunch at your desk that much better.
12. Pick up a pen and write a letter
There are so many people in your life who deserve to know the good they have done for you. Give them that opportunity.
13. Pick up a hobby. Join a team.
I’ve always been one of those kids who had ten different sports going at once, on top of Girl Scouts and school. Was I busy? Yes. But I was never lonely. No matter what shit goes on during the week, I know that on Thursdays from 7-10 I’ll be with my fabulous improv group. Or that on Wednesdays from 8-9 I’ll be dancing my ass off with my gym friends. No matter what, I’ll always have a group of people behind me every single week.
14. Shop at Old Navy
You guys. They have some seriously trendy stuff these days. Shop there and save your money for things that actually matter – like a trip to the West Coast or a Showtime/HBO subscription.
15. Take a compliment
I’ll admit that this is something I really need to work on. It’s good to be humble but realize that most people in your life aren’t handing out empty compliments to make you feel good. Listen to them and shut your mouth.
16. Count your blessings
No matter what is going on in life, you’re always blessed. It can be as big as landing a new job or as small as getting the last Diet Pepsi from Jewel when you’re hung over. Whatever the case, don’t let life’s little blessings go unnoticed.
Give yourself time to reflect on who you are and where you’re going. Let your mind wander when you’re on the train. Realize your shortcomings and appreciate the good days. Be nostalgic. Plan your next big idea.
18. Find mentors in life
Look for those people who will bring you to the next level. Those who won’t only praise and love you but will challenge you and unlock potential you didn’t know you had. Listen to the experience they have and the inspiration they bring. Life is a continuous learning process. Be a good student.
Forgive your old college roommate for her passive aggressive notes. Forgive the circumstances that led you to graduate in a shitty economy. Most of all, forgive yourself for not being perfect. You’re GOING to fuck up! Life is a series of failures and lessons. That’s perfectly fine. When you learn to shake it off and move on, you’re going to learn how to love yourself and the world around you. You know that one person who always gets everything right? Who had the world handed to them? Yeah, me neither.
20. Just. Fucking. Be. You.
Don’t try to be anyone else – it doesn’t work. Be you. Be happy, silly, depressed, upset, nostalgic, determined, needy, independent, naïve, sassy, frustrated, weird, lazy, sad… whatever the hell you are today. You change. Accept that. And please – don’t ever apologize for who you are or where you’re going in life. Have a dream of being a donkey ranch owner? GREAT! The world needs more of them. The ONLY way to be happy with yourself is to be yourself.
So… there we go. That’s my advice. Now stop reading self-loathing articles and watch this instead: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=32clXPhj14s