If you're like most young adults, you've been inundated with messaging about the 'typical life' of college then relationship, then engagement, then marriage — all before you reach the age of 30. It's a nicely packaged story that works well in big romantic comedies, but it also sets unfair expectations for most people whose lives doesn't fit within this narrative. Although 72% of people thought they'd get married by age 30, only 44% of people actually do. This illustrates pretty clearly how our societal expectations have been formed, as well as what reality looks like.
Not only does this "before 30" storyline make people feel like they're doing something wrong if they're on a different path (particularly if you're on the receiving end of, "so are you seeing anyone?" questions from family members at every... single... family event), but it also can prevent young adults from thinking of their life beyond romance. We aren't defined by a romantic relationship, so why should that be the main objective of our lives? Answer: We shouldn't.
This isn't to say love isn't important, it just shouldn't be the only aspect of life that we focus on. With that in mind, here are six things to do in your 20s that aren't related to romantic relationships.
1. Learn how to cook something really well.
Think of someone in your family or otherwise who makes a certain dish often, and makes it so well. That can be you. Figure out a dish you really enjoy eating, then find a fool-proof recipe for it that you love. Practice making it until it becomes your go-to for any situation where you have to make someone dinner, and need something easy but impressive.
2. Figure out how you feel about travel, and then do some of it (if you want).
I'll admit that I'm part of the minority that does not enjoy traveling. Just going to put that out there. If this also describes you, then don't force yourself to travel because it's what everyone seems to love. However, you may like certain types of travel and dislike others — so figure that out and get to know yourself better!
3. Learn a new skill.
This is intentionally vague because it can be anything. Something career-related, a baking technique, playing an instrument, writing a script, or whatever else makes sense for you. Go to an extension class listing for a school like Pasadena City College for ideas if needed.
4. Work on your mental health.
Even if you think you're "fine", you could benefit from working on your mental health — everyone can. Try out meditation or look for a therapist to speak to if possible. It's not black and white that someone is "happy" or "sad" in life, and adults have to take responsibility for their well-being.
5. Do something — even something tiny — related to personal finance.
This can be tough while still in college and even after, but doing something to work on your personal finance will be immensely valuable. This could mean reading up on how retirement accounts work, putting $5 each month in a savings account, or something else.
6. Find an exercise regimen that works for you.
Crossfit, yoga, and 10ks are not for everyone, so don't force yourself into some strict exercise routine if it doesn't make sense for you. Take the time in your 20s to figure out how you can stay active and enjoy it, whether that's a daily walk, a dance class, a barre workout, or otherwise.