29 Things Every Twenty-Something Should Know

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today marks my 29th birthday! i went to bed last night as a 28 year old and woke up this morning with gray hair and indigestion (just kidding, i started getting gray hair when i was 20). as i was reflecting, because i love a good processing-in-my-head-session, i started thinking about what it means to be in my last year of my 20s. last year i wrote about 28 things i knew for sure at 28 so this year  i thought i would pass on 29 things every twenty-something should know because all of these things i wish i would have learned earlier on in my twenties…

  1. though your teenage years meant lots of physical changes, the emotional and mental changes in your 20s will be vast.
  2. much of your 20s will be spent unlearning much of what you were taught and socialized to believe during your previous years.
  3. you will compare yourself to others, it’s normal. try to do less of it.
  4. you don’t have to drink to dance and have a good time.
  5. if you’re lucky enough to find true love in your 20s, do everything in your power to respect it, nourish it and keep it.
  6. the single most important factor in being in a healthy and happy relationship is to be healthy and happy on your own first.
  7. save and budget. it might not be sexy but you will thank yourself later.
  8. internet quizzes are not a good use of your time.
  9. the relationship you have with your parents will shift as you learn how to have an adult relationship with them.
  10. there will come a day when you can sit down at a restaurant and order what you actually want vs. what’s under $7. it will be glorious.
  11. you may still feel like a teenager even as each year passes. that’s normal, until you hang out with teenagers and then are like “nope i’m actually not a teenager anymore!”
  12. take care of your body for you – it’s the only one you’ve got.things every twenty-something should know
  13. you will experience a quarter-life crisis, give or take a few years. you will come out stronger.
  14. figure out what makes you feel good mentally, emotionally, physically and sexually. do more of that (safely and responsibly).
  15. don’t let others tell you you’re too young or too old to get married. if you’re dedicated to the ups and downs with your partner, respect yourself and each other and both prioritize your marriage – it’s less about age and more about maturity (which doesn’t always come with age).
  16. it’s okay to secretly still hope your letter from hogwarts may arrive.
  17. once you stop needing validation on what you think, believe, or do – you will feel unstoppable. also stop apologizing for navigating the world.
  18. it’s okay to change your career. your experience and education are not wasted as they influence who you are with each passing day.
  19. your friend situation will change. you will lose connections with people you would have sworn you’d be friends with forever. that’s okay, a better fit in a friend will come along soon and be worth it.
  20. face-to-face brunches, happy hours and adventures will always trump social media interactions.
  21. death is inevitable. start processing this fact so it doesn’t completely immobilize you when it happens to someone close to you and eventually to you.
  22. keep reading books and try ones that may not be a typical read for you. they may be just the ones you needed.
  23. it’s okay to decline an invitation to hang out or go to an event if it’s not what you want to do.
  24. call your family and call them often.
  25. spend time and money on things important to you, even if others don’t get it.
  26. your bank status, homeownership status and expensive clothing status does not determine your success.
  27. learn to love hanging out with yourself. you’re pretty cool.
  28. you will change and you will grow and others may not get it. keep changing and keep growing because it’s part of finding yourself.
  29. you still don’t know everything.

what else would you add to the list for twenty-somethings?



  1. Kim Daniel

    January 25, 2016 at 9:27 am

    #19 has been a hard one for me this year!! These are all great! Happy Birthday!

    • chelsea

      January 25, 2016 at 11:13 am

      oh the friend situation can be such a doozy! sorry to hear that ones been hard lately but better friends are around the corner 🙂

  2. Amanda

    January 25, 2016 at 10:00 am

    #2. TRUTH.
    Amanda recently posted…First Stitch Fix of 2016

  3. Meagan @ All the Joys

    January 25, 2016 at 10:05 am

    Love these! Happy Birthday! Even in my 30’s these are still true 🙂
    Meagan @ All the Joys recently posted…January Currently

  4. chelsea jacobs

    January 25, 2016 at 10:16 am

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Cheers to this being your best year yet!
    chelsea jacobs recently posted…Life Changes.

  5. Audrey

    January 25, 2016 at 10:26 am

    No. 11 and No. 16 FOREVER.

    No. 21 is something I realized a few years ago. We ALL end up dead- no matter what we do. And it’s not something to dread or fear. So long as we live a life that makes us smile, death is nothing but a period at the end of the sentence. And all sentences have to end.

    No. 26 is such an important thing to know and/or learn. I still struggle with it, but it’s so true.

    This is a great list, Chelsea. Happy Birthday!
    Audrey recently posted…Monday Morning Gratitude

    • chelsea

      January 25, 2016 at 11:19 am

      whew i was hoping you’d feel me on #16 AND my friend got me a harry potter coloring book for my birthday YAY!!! also beautifully said about living a life that makes us smile and all sentences must come to an end. thanks for the birthday wishes and comment, audrey!

  6. Elyse

    January 25, 2016 at 10:38 am

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHELSEA!! Hope you get spoiled today!

    #2 is serious truth. Bonus points for me personally because I detangled my thoughts from religion.
    Elyse recently posted…Felted Whales And More By JenPoirierDesigns

    • chelsea

      January 25, 2016 at 11:20 am

      my friend took me to get a pedicure yesterday and taking myself to get all my hairs cut now so yes, spoiling indeed! HUGE bonus points for you elyse and detangling your thoughts from religion. i know how challenging that has to be so well done on figuring out what you deeply believe as you!

  7. Vivien

    January 25, 2016 at 12:44 pm

    Happy Birthday chelsea!!! And way to say it like it is, all of these are true! I like them all, especially #11, 13, and number 1! I think my parents would tell you my most difficult years was not my teens but rather my early 20’s.

    • chelsea

      January 27, 2016 at 4:01 pm

      thank you vivien (and i totally note the lower case “c” in my name so thank you)! interesting to get your parent’s perspective on you too! i think my struggles have been different between teenage (ranging hormones and not so pleasant) to more identity crisis come 20s!

  8. Hana Bilqisthi

    January 25, 2016 at 2:05 pm

    Happy birthday Chelsea!
    Wish you all the best!
    Btw, I had fun reading your post!
    Especially at number 11 “you may still feel like a teenager even as each year passes. that’s normal, until you hang out with teenagers and then are like “nope i’m actually not a teenager anymore!”

    Thank you! 🙂
    Hana Bilqisthi recently posted…My Wishlist on Lazada

    • chelsea

      January 27, 2016 at 4:01 pm

      thank you hana! glad you related to the post and i constantly feel that ‘im still a teenager’ one until i actually see teenagers…ha!
      chelsea recently posted…My 29th Birthday Was a Grand Success!

  9. Ashley

    January 25, 2016 at 2:29 pm

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! I love this post 🙂 I hope you’re having a great day and celebrating LOTS! 🙂 🙂

    • chelsea

      January 27, 2016 at 4:02 pm

      yay! thank you ashley for the birthday wishes and it was indeed a great day!

  10. Kate

    January 25, 2016 at 3:13 pm

    This list is the best! Especially the one about friendship–that one was a tough lesson for me to learn. I would add that you aren’t going to figure out how to act like an adult overnight–so it’s totally okay to ask your parents to help you figure out your taxes if you’re just not there yet.
    Kate recently posted…Weekending: Winter Storm Jonas

    • chelsea

      January 27, 2016 at 4:03 pm

      the friendship one has been tough for me too kate! great one to add about feeling fine asking your parents to help you with lots of things! i have resolved to pay someone to forever figure out our taxes….ha! great point

  11. Macy

    January 26, 2016 at 7:13 am

    Such a great list! I am turning 25 in a few weeks and don’t even want to talk about it 😉 happy birthday!!
    Macy recently posted…My Favorite Link-Up’s

    • chelsea

      January 27, 2016 at 4:08 pm

      ohhhh i loved 25! you are going to love it too 🙂 happy early birthday macy!

  12. Nina @ Hugs and Lattes

    January 26, 2016 at 6:40 pm

    But. . . but. . . I love internet quizzes!! JK. I do, but they really aren’t a great use of time. I’ve noticed the less I’m on the Internet, the less I want to be on the Internet and social media. I rediscovering the love of reading and journaling and coloring and crafting more often in my spare time! I can relate to all these numbers, or at least most of them. Being a 20-something is fun and scary all at the same time!

    • chelsea

      January 27, 2016 at 4:04 pm

      hahah i know…those damn internet quizzes! i totally agree with you that once you step away from social media, the grip on you lessons. fun and scary sums it up for sure!

  13. Charlene

    January 27, 2016 at 1:24 pm

    Yes yes yes! I love numbers 4, 5, 8, 15, 16, 20, 22, 23. OMGsh especially 15!!! Happy Belated Birthday!
    Charlene recently posted…Popular Quotes About Marriage That Bother Me (And What I’d Like to Replace Them With)

    • chelsea

      January 27, 2016 at 4:07 pm

      thank you charlene!! glad you could relate and i feel you about that marriage vs. age thing!