Ah, 21. The long awaited day of freedom from adolescence and embracing the captivity of adulthood. Maybe I’m the only one who has counted down to the miracle age for two years now (I seriously doubt it), but in honor of my recent age upgrade I have compiled a list of things you should do when you turn 21 and make the switch from teen to adult.
1. Take a trip
Let’s be honest, this is necessary at all ages. I recommend a monthly trip to some place new. It doesn’t have to be expensive or a week-long stay at a five-star hotel, but once a month, get out of your town even if only for a few hours and breathe in some new scenery. You can thank me later.
2. Read a book
Once again, necessary at all ages, but if you haven’t read a book in a while I say 21 is the perfect age to do it. We can all benefit from crying alone in the dark at 2:00 a.m. when our favorite character dies. P.S. If you need a recommendation, I’m your girl.
3. Watch a series on Netflix (Bonus points if you finish it)
Does anyone even have cable anymore, honestly? Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, etc. The list of entertainment platforms is endless. Find a series, watch it, love it, and cry when it ends. It’s good for you.
4. Get a pet
We could all use a furry friend (or scaly, feathery, whatever you prefer). Find a local shelter and give a lucky animal a forever home. They’ll love you even when you watch Netflix for 37 hours straight and cry over a book at 2:00 a.m.
5. Start a blog
Keep tabs of what’s going on in your life. You don’t even have to publish it, but it’ll make for a great keep sake later on in life.
6. Open a savings account
Let’s include something responsible on this list, since we’re in the adult club now. You don’t have to tell anyone it only has 29 cents.
7. Get a planner
I don’t understand how anyone survives without one at any age, however, with all your new found 21-year-old activities, you need a way to keep up with your busy adult life.
8. Treat yourself
Once a week (or once a month if that’s what the budget allows), go out to dinner with your friends. You deserve it. They deserve it. Don’t forget to order dessert.
9. Order dessert
Actually, dessert deserves its own number on the agenda. You know you’ve been dreaming about that triple chocolate meltdown since you sat down in the booth, buy it. Enjoy it.
10. Go for a run
Maybe not like, every day, I mean let’s not get crazy here, but once a week. Start small, maybe even with a walk. Get some fresh air, take a friend. Then have dessert.
11. Call your parents
College is a vacuum and it sucks you in. It sucks your time and money and sanity sometimes, but make time to call your parents. They want to know that you’re still doing okay and all the ramen noodles you’re eating haven’t put you in a coma yet.
12. Find a hobby
Find something that interests you. Whether it be another activity on this list or something entirely different, find something you enjoy and then get really good at it.
13. Try something new
Do something you’ve never done. Sky dive, scuba dive, rock climb, snorkel, anything you haven’t done before.
14. Learn something new
Whether it be an activity, a hobby, a song, etc. Stretch your thinking.
15. Listen to an entire album
Put a record on, one you’ve never heard before, and listen to it. From start to finish.
16. Listen to a new artist
Spotify is a great place to start. They have up and coming sections with artists you probably haven’t heard of before, start there and listen to someone new each week.
17. Encourage someone
It isn’t hard to find someone in need of a little positivity. Search for the chance to make someone smile, and be genuine with it. Make other people feel good.
Seems simple enough, but I think we miss out on experience oftentimes because we are so terrified of things we aren’t familiar with. Experience new things, explore the way you feel about them.
19. Figure out what you stand for
Our morals are instilled at a young age and are reflected in our personalities daily, but do we really know, at the root of it all what it is that we stand for? Can we defend it with knowledge and kindness?
20. Go to a concert
I will defend live music until my lungs give out because it is single-handedly the most amazing experience that one can have. Search your favorite artist or even someone that you just kind of like if you’re unsure, find out when they’re coming to your city (or nearby), buy a ticket and go. Experience it for yourself.
21. Challenge yourself to find happiness
Seems simple enough, but so many of us are just merely existing and not really living. We’re content with how things are because it’s what we know. Step outside your comfort zone. Find what makes your heart race and soul feel new again. When you find it, chase it. Pursue it.
So many of these things seem obvious and easy, and a lot of them are. However, my challenge to myself this year, and to you whether you are 21 or not: explore until you find what sets your soul on fire, and then let it burn inside you until you are consumed with happiness.