I'm 26. Depending on who you are, you might consider me mid-20s. You also might consider me late-20s. Either way, I'm closer to my late 20s than I am my early 20s, that's for sure. Not that I'm lamenting that fact.
Actually, I'm kind of enjoying it. Here's why.
It might be hard to believe, but you don't actually stop being fun when you're in your mid-to-late 20s. You just start having fun in different ways. There's nothing wrong with that.
In my early 20s, fun was going out drinking, partying and making friends with people I met in the bar bathroom.
In my late 20s, fun is happy hour then going out to dinner, dinner parties with my friends.
Maybe it's because I can't handle a hangover like I used to (might as well admit that fact now) or it's just exhausting to party like that. (Also a fact.)
As I have aged, my tastes change. We all know this. The thing we aren't told growing up is that our time becomes something we want to spend in fulfilling ways.
Personally, I spend a lot less time drinking cheap beer just for the sake of drinking it. I spend a lot less time in crappy bars with bad music. I spend more money on quality ingredients than I do on a crap-ton of bad food.
Time, more than anything else, is a huge investment. It has becoming increasingly important to me how and with whom I spend my time. I have been dedicating more time to my health - going to martial arts 3 times a week (when I can and am not working) and trying to eat better.
There are just some things that you should outgrow: binge drinking is one of those things. I don't mean you should stop because it's "not cute" or unattractive, but it's detrimental to your health, people.
Outgrowing the person you were in your early 20s is like outgrowing playing with Barbies. It's just something that happens.
I'm sure that you've seen listicle after listicle from websites that tell you "13 things you start doing in your late 20s" or "22 things that you should be doing at 22". Here's what I have to say to those listicles: STFU.
What you do at 22 and what you do at 26, 28, 32, and so on is YOU. Your choices are yours. There are no rules to follow. There are no directions to read.
I have chosen to spend my time and money outside of work focused on my relationship, my friends and my health. These are things that matter to me, and should have always mattered to me as much as they do now.
But when I was in my early 20s, I spent a good chunk of my time screwing my life up in several ways. I picked up the pieces. Now I'm just putting them back together.
Not that there is anything wrong with doing that. Your 20s is a great time to mess everything up. You don't have a ton to lose, really. So if you're going to make mistakes, make them now. The price you pay for them now is a lot smaller than later, I believe.
In your 20s, there is time to rebuild yourself and who you are. The building and establishment and learning of self is one of the most rewarding things that you can spend your time doing.
Knowing who you are is by far the most important thing in the world - more important than money, fame, your job, everything - because it is the one thing that your life will always revert back to. When you're in a morally compromising situation, knowing who you are will help you make the right decision. When your life gets hard and you aren't sure what to do, knowing yourself is how you make things work. When you have a fight with your significant other, knowing yourself is where you start to make things better.
I spent a lot of my late teens and early 20s not being sure of myself. I let other people's opinions dictate who I was to be and what I could do. Now I have learned who I am and how to be that person. Sure, I still screw things up occasionally, but that's life.
Your only real job is to live it. If you aren't learning from it, you're doing it wrong.