How To: Be Happy in Your Late-Twenties

It’s hard to be happy. I often equate it with going to work. Somedays you wake up, and it’s easy. Simple as that. Other days, you hit snooze seven times and pray for a sudden bout of strep throat so you can have an excuse to call out sick. Those days are when you have to really remember why you’re doing this “responsible adult” thing in the first place. But you get up anyway, you put on your big-girl pants, and you go to work.

That analogy is not to say that I’m always happy. Anyone who follows me on twitter knows that’s definitely not the case, and people who are very close to me are probably reading this wondering what I’m talking about because the chances of me being “in a mood” are about 50/50 on any given day. The kind of happiness I’m talking about isn’t a constant, giddy happiness that, if we’re being honest, is kind of annoying. I’m referring to something that might better be defined as contentment. A state of happiness that runs deeper than just smiling a lot. Anyone can do that. What’s more challenging is being truly satisfied with life. Finding reasons to keep going, keep pushing, and keep smiling (a normal not creepy amount of smiling, of course).

I’d like to share with you 27 ways to be happy at 27, from my personal experiences. Some are silly, some are more serious, but all have been important to me. Keep in mind that everyone has their own path to happiness!

  1. Never underestimate the power of a bubble bath
  2. Wine. But don’t spend more than $20 on a bottle. Good wine is wine that you enjoy. Good wine doesn’t need to be expensive. (Bonus points if you combine numbers 1 and 2).
  3. Get a bikini wax. Just suck it up and do it! You’ll be so much happier and more confident without razor burn and gross stubble while you’re at the beach.
  4. Don’t put off marriage because you think you’re too young. You’ll grow and learn together as a team. (*Disclaimer: this is assuming you’re mature enough to know the difference between lust and real love. Don’t be a fool. Marriage is for life. Make sure you know without a doubt that this is who you want to spend it with. And when I say young, I mean 24 with some real life experience, not 19).
  5. Invest in good makeup. It can make all the difference.
  6. Understand that your parents are human. You’ll start to see them as fallible and not as the perfect superhumans that they were when you were younger, but that’s okay. They’re your friends now.
  7. Cut toxic people out. Cut them out fast and cut them out completely. You don’t need them.
  8. Take selfies, take lots of selfies.
  9. Some friendships will dissolve. It’s okay to let them go.
  10. You’ll make new friends. Embrace them.
  11. Don’t drink so much that you can’t remember your night. Don’t make a fool of yourself. Drink safe and stay classy. You can still have fun without throwing up on yourself at 3am.
  12. Figure out your religious/spiritual beliefs. It may or may not match up with exactly how you were raised and that’s okay.
  13. Find a good job. Waitressing and/or working part-time retail can be fun but the hours suck and you usually don’t get benefits. Health insurance and paid vacation time are important. Even if you start at a mindless entry level position, you can work your way up pretty quickly in most companies.
  14. Stay organized. Your desk, your house, your car, your bills. Everything. Keep your life tidy.
  15. Give back to your parents. In your own way, show them that you appreciate all that they’ve done for you.
  16. Be generous. Give your friends wedding gifts, buy your siblings nice Christmas presents, give your boss a gift card for their birthday. Give as much as you can, as often as you can!
  17. Cultivate your passions. If you’re interested in something, even if it seems inconsequential, explore it. It could very well turn into something significant. Or not. But either way, give it a chance.
  18. Don’t get into credit card debt. Just don’t. Do not do it. Don’t spend what you don’t have. Be smart with your finances.
  19. Travel. Travel as much as you possibly can. Go everywhere and anywhere. (But don’t go into debt doing it. See #18).
  20. Don’t let anyone make you feel less than for not getting your eyebrows threaded, not getting a gel manicure every 2 weeks or not shopping designer labels. You don’t need to look like an instagram model. This goes vice versa as well. If you do care about it, don’t let anyone make you feel bad about caring. And in turn, don’t be the one making someone else feel bad.
  21. Exercise. I don’t do it enough. But it always makes me happy when I do.
  22. Wake up early. There’s nothing like being outside on a warm, spring morning with a cup of coffee and a good book.
  23. Learn how to love the difficult people in your life. Focus on their good qualities.
  24. Social media should be fun. If it stops being fun, it’s time to step back, even if it’s just for a little while.
  25. Have a healthy dose of intellectual skepticism. Realize that you do not know everything. Conversate with people who know more than you. Be willing to change your opinion. Do not be so set in your ways that you cannot see your own faults, because you do have them. Be self-aware. Be introspective. Examine yourself. Why do you believe what you believe? Why do you live the way you live? Always be growing as a person.
  26. Don’t stay up until 3am on a Tuesday reading One Direction fan-fiction. Sleep is important.
  27. Let yourself feel.

And a bonus 28. Choose to be happy. You hear it all the time but happiness truly is a choice. It is far too easy to look at the bad things that have happened to you and internalize them. Don’t do that. There is always joy to be found.

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