As I’ve gotten older, I’ve found that my birthdays don’t quite have the same luster to them as they used to. But as my birthdays become less significant, the people that have stuck along for the ride have grown more and more important. I’ve read that a pitfall that twenty-somethings fall into is mistaking your twenties as your chance to make your mark on the world. In the past, women were considered failures if they weren’t married by the time they were 30, nowadays women that aren’t successful by the time they hit their thirties have failures stamped onto their crease-lined foreheads. By wanting it all too fast, we’re rushing through one of life’s best decades! We forget to celebrate the small stuff, living in the accomplishments that get lost in our fast-paced lives, and reminding ourselves that aging gratefully versus gracefully becomes just as important.
So before I turn 24, instead of mourning for becoming another year older, I will look back at what is now considered my early twenties (I must admit that I had a minor panic attack just typing out my early twenties); and share with you a small list of my favorite discoveries, accomplishments, and lessons that I’ve learned along the way. All of which I will carry onward with me to my newer and wiser 24-mid-twenties-year-old-self.
By Your Mid-Twenties You Should:
- Get your own brigade of health professionals. You’ve graduated college, you’ve entered the workforce, and there’s nothing more embarassing than admitting to your colleagues that the doctor you see is the same one that you’ve since middle school (sad but true). Find a doctor that’s well-educated and specialized about what’s going on with your body, get your teeth cleaned twice a year, and get your physical and blood work done. Take the lead in being well-informed about your health! Nothing says adulthood more than being in charge of your own doctor appointments and being able to give out personal recommendations, instead of calling up your parents, of your great new dentist that is gifted in painless shots.
- Have found the one. The one pair of glasses you will ever need. It should be well-fitted, comfortable, and classic – able to keep up with the ever-changing fashion trends. It should keep you looking sharp and put-together at all times, whether you’re dropping off your dog at the groomers and especially in the workplace. And lastly, you shouldn’t be self-consicence about going on a date with them. Just like in relationships, this may take a long time before you find one that fits all the criteria. For me it took 23 years, but like anyone that’s found true love would say – it’s worth it.
- Conquer the dreaded task of filing your own tax return. A woman that knows where her money goes and where she can reap the most benefits, that woman has become her own financial advisor – and that’s powerful. Tip: Buy TurboTax. Seriously.
- Have two lipsticks in your beauty arsenal kit at all times. One flattering shade of lipstick that’s appropriate for work touch-ups and a night out with the girls. And although you probably heard this a dozen times, have the second lipstick be a red. Go to the beauty counter, get several opinions, and find the one shade that’s right for you. Then with just two lipsticks, you’ll be picture-ready for any occasion!
- Buy 30 Things Every Woman Should Have & Should Know By the Time They’re 30. Masterfully put together by the editors of Glamour, this book is life-changing, powerful, and wonderfully written. Best $13 you will ever spend, guaranteed. Perfect guidebook to help your twenty-something-self conquer the road pre-30.
- Dedicate one day out of the week to spend it with your family. As you get older, you’ll notice that time really slips by so cherish them. You only get one set of parents, one set of grandparents, and one set of siblings. And by this point, you should know that you can’t change people’s personalities, it’s much easier to change yourself instead. Don’t sweat the small stuff, fill it instead with more love, more patience, and more kindness; all things that the world could use a bit more of so why not get a head-start?
- Have a signature dish that you can whip up by memory, that can be easily packed, have minimal effort, and still look like you spent a good hour in the kitchen. This skill will prove to be useful when your friends happen to linger till dinnertime, your boyfriend’s mom drops by (unannounced of course), or need a potluck dish that will impress at the office. Mine is this herb-filled Shrimp + Orzo dish that the wonderful Ina Garten created – so good.
- Keep a stash of thank you cards in the car. You never know when you need one and they always end up being worth that extra effort. Keep the cards simple, gender-neutral, but with your own personal twist that makes them memorable. Most importantly, don’t forget to keep a nice pen in your compartment (I like the black inky ones by Papermate) – no pencils please.
- Get a nice set of pajamas. Believe me, I’m all about comfort, I was the one wearing leggings and a big sweatshirt to bed. But then, as an experiment, I indulged and got these Victoria Secret Satin Pajamas and it was life-changing. As crazy as it sounds, I felt empowered, sexy, and the phrase “I am woman, hear me roar” rang through me. Really sets you into the bedtime mood, I was relaxed and able to unwind from my day. It’s the perfect addition for your at-home spa retreats because just like the description reads, “a little extravagance should be part of every day.”
- Have mastered your make-up routine. I’m not saying that all women need to wear makeup on a daily basis but at one point or another (your cousin’s wedding, graduations, interviews, to name a few) all women will one day be faced with the task of applying her own makeup. So might as well know how to do it well! You should have a “Can’t tell that I’m trying” 5-minute routine, a 30-minute routine (for those occasions that you really need to knock it out of the ballpark), and a 5-minutes-or-less make-up removal routine*. Always, always, always, remove your makeup before you sleep. Mascara remnants make your lashes brittle – we want lush lashes! No one wants to see pillowcases stained with foundation and smudged eyeliner, and most importantly everyone wants to be pimple-free.
*My 5-minutes-or-less make-up removal routine: I love using Neutrogena Make-Up Remover Wipes, I buy these in bulk from Costco and they come with these great travel sized portions. Next, I follow with either Estee Lauder’s Idealist or Perfectionist Serum. I’m a big believer in Estee Lauder products, these serums smell fantastic and their lightweight formula is hydrating enough for night. You also get a nice dosage of skin perfectors so you can put your skin to work while you’re sleeping! A familiar saying goes,”You are never too young to start putting on eye cream.” My last step, is putting on eye cream. This has stuck closely with me since I bought my first eye cream when I was in 17 and recently have discovered this Say Yes to Grapefruit eye cream that I really like. A lightweight citrus scented formula that combats dark circles and rich in antioxidants – all winning marks in my book!