Things To Focus On In Your 20s That Aren’t Romantic

Things To Focus On In Your 20s That Aren’t Romantic Relationships

There's much more to focus on than just a love interest.

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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.

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The Truth About Young Marriage

Different doesn't mean wrong.
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When I was a kid, I had an exact picture in my mind of what my life was going to look like. I was definitely not the kind of girl who would get married young, before the age of 25, at least.

And let me tell you, I was just as judgmental as that sentence sounds.

I could not wrap my head around people making life-long commitments before they even had an established life. It’s not my fault that I thought this way, because the majority opinion about young marriage in today’s society is not a supportive one. Over the years, it has become the norm to put off marriage until you have an education and an established career. Basically, this means you put off marriage until you learn how to be an adult, instead of using marriage as a foundation to launch into adulthood.

When young couples get married, people will assume that you are having a baby, and they will say that you’re throwing your life away — it’s inevitable.

It’s safe to say that my perspective changed once I signed my marriage certificate at the age of 18. Although marriage is not always easy and getting married at such a young age definitely sets you up for some extra challenges, there is something to be said about entering into marriage and adulthood at the same time.

SEE ALSO: Finding A Husband In College

Getting married young does not mean giving up your dreams. It means having someone dream your dreams with you. When you get lost along the way, and your dreams and goals seem out of reach, it’s having someone there to point you in the right direction and show you the way back. Despite what people are going to tell you, it definitely doesn’t mean that you are going to miss out on all the experiences life has to offer. It simply means that you get to share all of these great adventures with the person you love most in the world.

And trust me, there is nothing better than that. It doesn’t mean that you are already grown up, it means that you have someone to grow with.

You have someone to stick with you through anything from college classes and changing bodies to negative bank account balances.

You have someone to sit on your used furniture with and talk about what you want to do and who you want to be someday.

Then, when someday comes, you get to look back on all of that and realize what a blessing it is to watch someone grow. Even after just one year of marriage, I look back and I am incredibly proud of my husband. I’m proud of the person he has become, and I’m proud of what we have accomplished together. I can’t wait to see what the rest of our lives have in store for us.

“You can drive at 16, go to war at 18, drink at 21, and retire at 65. So who can say what age you have to be to find your one true love?" — One Tree Hill
Cover Image Credit: Sara Donnelli Photography

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If Shonda Can Do A Year Of Yes, Then So Can I

Yes.

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A few years ago, Shonda Rimes decided to do a year of saying yes, after her sister told her she says "No" to everything. It ended up changing her life.

So, I've decided to embark on my own year of yes.

Sure, it may be easy to say yes to everything when you're a millionaire with a bunch of record-setting televisions shows, but the rest of us can do it too.

Say yes to treating yourself.

Say yes to taking care of yourself.

Say yes to saying no, don't stretch yourself too thin.

Say yes to new opportunities

The year of yes is about taking better care of yourself.

My year of yes starts right now.

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