A lot of unnerving things happen after your mid 20s: you aren’t always carded for alcohol, your metabolism starts to catch up with you, you have to start figuring out what you actually want to do with your life, and you can’t be on your parents insurance even if you really needed to.
But a lot of really awesome things happen too. In fact, if you ask me, life gets much easier after 25. By this age, you have a pretty decent idea of who you are and what you value; you’ve started being pickier with who you hang around and you have some serious life lessons under your belt. Basically you’re a stronger, more independent person—especially when it comes to everyday life and situations. Here’s some proof that it’s good to move on and up in your 20s.
1. Deciding what to wear
Remember the days of frantic mass texts with your friends that involve the harried question, “What are you wearing?!” before every single event/dinner/drinks/dentist appointment? Well, once you get into your later 20s and for sure 30s, you pretty much stop caring what everyone else is wearing. Sure, there are still moments where you need some backup or clarification from your pals—just the other day my friend was going to a benefit for her local zoo and the invite said “jungle cocktail attire,” what??—but for the most part, at our age you wear what you like and what you want. To hell with what other people are wearing.
2. Saying “no”
I didn’t really learn about boundaries until I reached the ripe age of 27. Blame it on my middle-child upbringing, or my once-crippling need to please others and be liked, but once I got some counseling under my belt and read a few books, it was as though I was a toddler who just learned the word, “No.” Once you’re a little past young adulthood, you have probably latched on to the truth that you can’t please everyone, and that makes life so much easier.
3. Hearing “no”
Similar to the newfound freedom of saying no, when you get into your late 20s, it gets easier to hear “no,” as well. This could mean not landing the job or promotion, or having a friend RSVP ‘maybe’ to your dinner party (because we all know maybe means no), but whatever it is, you not only have developed thick skin from some years of “no,” but you also know from experience that it’s not ever the end of the world, or the story.
4. Going on first dates
The only reason this is easier after 25 is because you’ve probably had to do it so much you’re practically a pro. A pro who never wanted to be a pro, maybe, but a pro nonetheless. You also are better at small talk than you once were, you have some tried and true stories and anecdotes, and you are pretty aware of what you’re looking for. Dating in your late 20s should alleviate pressure, not add on to it, since everyone has a better grasp on themselves and what they want out of a partner. Let’s not let some biological clock ruin the fun and turn us into insane people, ok?
Once upon a time, you had that one friend who actually was really sh***y. But you put up with her. Maybe she was in your sorority, or maybe she was your roommate, or perhaps she was in your group of friends (which, in your early 20s could sometimes be absolutely massive). But now that you are a little older and wiser, you have probably realized that you don’t have to have these people in your life. You are busier, you may be in a relationship, you are traveling—all things that make your time much more scarce and precious. You also have seen who has stuck around and who really adds to your life. Same goes with meeting new friends: you don’t feel the pressure to include everyone and you have let some older friendships go because, as some wise person said, there’s a season for everything.
6. Weekend plans
If you haven’t already noticed, a common theme with getting into your late 20s and beyond is that you care a lot less about what other people think. This is glorious! It means that even if it is 82 and sunny and your friends all wanna hit the beach but you just started season 2 of OITNB, you will probably just do that. This is also the season in life when everyone stops trying so hard and starts to leave those late-night bars behind. This is also glorious! You have whatever the opposite of FOMO (fear of missing out) is, and it makes your weekends a lot sweeter.
Other notable things to look forward to and/or celebrate about this season in adulthood: you know what wine you like, you are finally really good at parallel parking, you’re not (as) terrified of networking events, and your apartment is slowly but surely looking less like an IKEA catalog. So, celebrate the good times COME ON.