22 Things You Should Know By 22

Itxy Lopez

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Rather than imparting my endless wisdom (okay, fine — it’s not endless) in this piece, I decided to ask a bunch of great women, all writers here on Medium, what advice they would give to young adults before they turned twenty-two. Some advice of my own is sprinkled in between.

1. Explore before you settle

Don’t feel like you need to know exactly what you want to do with your life by 22. I’m 22 going on 23 and . . . I’m still not sure where I’ll end up, and that’s okay. You’re allowed to explore before settling down. — Marisa Valotta

2. Spreadsheets matter more than you think

I guess the one thing I’ll say is, just be prepared. At some point, you’re GOING to be spreadsheeting your finances. You think it’ll never happen but it’s gonna fuckin’ happen. And the freakier part is… you’re gonna get satisfaction out of it. It’s gonna feel reeeaaal good getting your affairs in order. Making budgets, checking your balance regularly to make sure there are no fraudulent purchases, building credit, paying off student loans… mmm that’s the good stuff. —Katlyn Roberts 

3. Stop talking, start doing

Stop talking about your dreams and the plans you have for the future, and start doing them instead. You’re young, and this is your time to explore, mess up, and figure out what you want to by experimenting.

4. Be present

Live in the NOW. You can’t change the past and the future is guaranteed to no one. Be present — for yourself and others. Be kind. —D.E. Fulford

5. Don’t let the world tame you

We don’t finish maturing until well into our 20s. Chemically, physically, emotionally, if we’re lucky. But that doesn’t matter other than for your own internal data.

Be gentle, reassure yourself you are wisdom filtered through amazing growth. The internal chaos is just noise, and it will even out.

Don’t let the world tame that electric energy, and hold it as best you can while you learn about yourself. — Jessica Ball

6. Surround yourself with good people

Don’t put up with people who make you feel small or hold you back from living your best life. You can always find new friends or a better job. — Mollie Nelson

7. Put your phone down and be present

Don’t miss your baby niece’s first steps or the conversations during dinner. What’s so important on Instagram that you can’t be present? Twitter’s funny, but are you missing real laughter from what’s going on right in front of you?

8. Beat fear

Don’t let fear hold you back. Step into it, move through it, and give it everything you’ve got. Don’t wait until mid-life and look back with regret. —Sandy Bishop

9. Have a skin-care routine

Start your skin care routine now, even if your skin is fine. Do something simple like toner and moisturise. You will thank yourself later. — ZUVA

10. Fail a lot, fail on purpose, fail fast

It’s okay to fail and to look stupid. In fact, I encourage you to fall on your face, repeatedly. It will hurt like hell the first couple of times but after stumble three or four, you’ll realize the impact of your failure doesn’t hurt as bad as it once did. Instead, your mistakes will start to roll off you, and you’ll suddenly see the lessons and opportunities failure has to offer. — Shaina Waterhouse

11. Don’t be strict with your plans

Plan your life but be flexible at the same time. ––Hurriya Burney

12. When you’re stressed, take a nap

I can’t express enough how much naps help if you’re stressed. Rather than binge-watching a Netflix series to deal with stress, take a thirty-minute nap. You’ll wake up refreshed and better equipped to tackle that issue that caused your stress in the first place.

13. Ask for help

You are grown up but you don’t always have to act like a grown up. You don’t have to know what you are doing with your life RIGHT NOW. Accept help and don’t be afraid to make changes to your life plans. — Jessica Hillis

14. Don’t feel pressured to move out

Live with your parents while you go to college. Don’t move out until after you graduate. Being able to not worry about bills while following your dreams will allow you to make the best decisions. —Salathia Richburg 

15. Mistakes are okay

Mistakes are simply scenic routes. Life always course corrects. So you can’t fuck it up. — Stacey Herrera

16. Only you define your worth

The only person who determines your worth is you. Don’t let anyone fool you into thinking otherwise. You deserve respect, happiness, joy, and love. Some of this will come from other people, but mostly it comes from you. Never settle for good enough, and never let anyone convince you that you don’t deserve a beautiful life. — Rachael Hope

17. Save your money

Start saving NOW. Old age with little money is no fun, I speak from experience. —Grey Hen With a Pen

18. What you see on social media isn’t real

No one’s life is as perfect as it seems on social media. Don’t compare yourself to something fake — and don’t compare yourself to anyone in general. You only waste time and feel like shit after. Instead think, “If they can do it, so can I.”

19. Explore as much as you can

Take this time to explore every whim and live life actively. Engage the process, don’t just trust it. Travel far and wide, and if you can, live in a country that speaks a different language for at least a year. Continuously challenge your world view. — Nicole Bedford

20. Say no

Learn to say no. It’s simple yet difficult! —Sayra Khanwelker 

21. Think About Your Future

Picture yourself in 20 years.

Are you married? In the suburbs? City? Small town?

Do you have kids? Pets?

Are you dressed casually or in business clothes? Are your hands callused from physical work or smooth like an office worker? Or a writer?

These answers will guide you to a life path. Once you begin to see the shape of what you want your life to be, you can make decisions that lead you there.

Life happens. The vision will alter over time or you will drift from the path. You will simply adjust your goals or make decisions that move you back on the path. —Shelly McIntosh

22. Always expect good things to happen

Don’t be negative, expect good things to happen. No matter what you do, no matter the risk you take, always assume you’ll succeed and get your dreams.

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