7 Things You Learn in Your Early 20s


Cristina Florescu

Cristina is a bookworm, feminist, film junkie and foodie who likes to write about all of the above.

When you’re a teenager  you have this idealised image of what your life away from your parents’ home will look like. You will take the world by storm, be successful and happy, and nothing can go wrong because you’re young and full of energy. In reality, as soon as we set foot into the adult world, we realise that things are a bit different.

Your Friendships Will Change

Not only will the friendships with the people you left back home change, but the way you make friends will be significantly different. With stepping out of education, friendships will come through work or shared hobbies, but with lack the intensity of your adolescence friendships, crowned by sleepovers and knowing each-other’s deepest secrets. Instead the term 'friend' will have a more expandable meaning and it will encompass people who are on your emergency contact list and people you only see once a month (if you're lucky and organised).

Adult Life is Not That Glamorous

It involves a lot of independence and a lot of paying bills, finding rent, learning how to put up a shelf and just general everyday things that your parents used to take care of. What’s more, you realise that your parents, the sources of all wisdom and knowledge, most likely didn’t have a clue either and spent their youth winging it. Just like you will.

Quiet Time Will Become a Blessing

As a teen you look forward to all those wild parties without adult supervision. As an adult, that stage will probably last through your college years, before your liver and mind give up. You might enjoy the occasional night out, but getting drunk on a bottle of wine while watching TV will become your perfect oasis of peace and relaxation.

You Will Have Different Hobbies

And they will often make you resemble your mother. You will find yourself wanting to learn more about how to make your own jam for a healthier lifestyle or knitting just because it relaxes you. In a hectic world that takes over our mental and physical health, having boring hobbies will become the best part of the day.

Relationships Aren’t Easy

You might have dreamt that you will have a steady partner by the age of 25, or you might go through an extensive hooking up period, but in both cases you will learn that relationships aren’t easy. Being with another person on whatever terms means being concerned about their feelings, constantly measuring their reaction and moulding your life to fit alongside theirs. And that can be a beautiful or an awful thing, so your early twenties won’t offer you your perfect fairytale romance. More like a process of discovering who you are in a relationship and what a healthy relationship means to you. Embrace it!

A Career Is Difficult to Find

I blame films and TV for glamourizing this part of our lives. In spite of your expectations you will not have a dream home, a dream job and a great circle of friends in an amazing city as soon as you graduate from college. Finding a career is a long and sometimes painful process, where you need to adapt to transitions and changes of plans. There might be a lot of insecurity and anxiety involved, and you will find that most people don’t have their careers sorted until their 30s. So look at this process realistically and embrace it for what it is.

Your Priorities Will Change

If as a teenager you were determined to travel the world and stick it to the man, as an adult you might actually discover you want the stability that comes with a steady job and a roof over your head. That doesn’t mean that the exciting anarchist in you is dead, it just means she has to express herself in different ways.