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10 Things to Know by 21

By Timia Cobb
Web Content Contributor

Not every age has a right of passage, but some do. The sweet 16, the legal 18 and then there is 21. Most people happily dream of the year they finally turn 21. However, besides the obvious drinking privileges, what makes it any different than turning any other age?

Turning 21 is different because it’s finally the age when people start to realize that they’re adults. The grace period between 18 and 20 goes by quickly. That period of time is a gray area for not truly knowing the level of maturity you are supposed to have. Then the big 21 comes, knocks you off your feet and makes you realize it’s time to do something with your life.

Not everyone is prepared for the fresh-cut piece of reality that comes with turning 21. That is why there are certain things everyone needs to know by 21.

  1. Some things just aren’t worth wasting time over

Worrying about the future, drama, love, or honestly, anything that can cause stress and make you feel as though you’re not doing enough. It’s not worth wasting time over. Yes, you can still care about things, most people do. But, to consistently put yourself down because of things that are out of your control, isn’t worth it.

Have goals and know what you don’t want in your life, but don’t solely focus on all things you don’t have or want. Doing this might put you in the situation of wasting years on wanting something that wasn’t even worth it.

2. If you’re dating, know what you want out of it

Are you dating to have fun? Dating for marriage? These are questions you should ask yourself the next time you go on a date, and also questions you should be asking whomever you’re dating.

Knowing the reason you’re dating refers back to #1 and not wasting time. No one wants to start a committed relationship with someone who, unlike you, doesn’t see a future with the other person.

3. Saving money is hard, but needed

Saving money can be difficult, especially when the person trying to save money is living paycheck to paycheck. No one should feel bad if they don’t have the stability to save money. But even if it’s $5 every couple of weeks, it’s something. Saving allows for a financial safety net to be there if money was ever needed in a time of emergency.

21 might seem young because a lot of 21-year-olds are still in college, working jobs that only allow them to afford essentials and aren’t really motivated to save.

However, college debt, credit card debt, that dream apartment, or the really nice car you’ve been wanting (but can’t afford) doesn’t have to become a financially stressful situation. Think of saving as investing in your future, so the next time you have $5 to spare it won’t go towards a value meal, but instead future investments.

4. There are nine years till you’re 30

Being 30 doesn’t make you old, but it might feel like it. At 30, people think they should have everything figured out, have their dream job, debt-free, the perfect spouse and be financially stable. Yet, This isn’t always the case.

Think about what you want to have by the time you’re 30 and strive to have that. Although, remember, even if you’re nine years away from the big 30 you’re still 21. A 21-year-old who might think they know what they want but doesn’t know what they need. Decide what you want to do with this information.

5. Friends don’t always stick around

They say as you get older the number of friends you havedeclines. Knowing this, it’s best to prepare to see friends less and less. Although, not seeing your friends as frequently as before doesn’t mean you are no longer friends.

Adult friendships can get weird, you can go months without seeing someone but when you all rekindle it’s like nothing has changed. Some friendships do change, however. As you get older, you start to realize that a friendship you had isn’t a friendship you need anymore. We all can outgrow a friendship, even if that friendship has lasted years, but at some point, that relationship isn’t needed anymore.

For example, what if someone had a friend group that only hangs out when they want to party or go out for drinks. When you get older, you might not have the time to always go out, and this puts an “end” to that friendship.

6. You don’t have to have everything figured out

There’s nothing wrong with going with the flow of life and letting fate choose where you end up. Not everyone has a plan– and they for sure don’t know all the obstacles they’ll have to go through in life. All you have to do is remember your values and do what you think is best for you.

7. Take care of your skin

Melanoma doesn’t discriminate and sadly acne still happens when you get older. Getting older means worrying about looking younger.

To save yourself the panic of a mid-life crisis of not looking as young as you used to, here’s a reality check, getting old is going to happen. You can’t fight the wrinkles, the sagging and dark circles, but you can slow the process of them. The skin is our biggest organ so we should take care of it starting now so that when we’re old, we can age like fine wine.

Protect yourself from the sun by wearing sunscreen, always wear moisturizer (even if your skin is naturally oily), don’t over-exfoliate with various masks and use simple cleaning products from brands such as CeraVe or The Ordinary.

8. Eat healthy, be healthy

Your body is a temple, so if you haven’t been treating it like one, the older you get the more it’s going to show. As we all get older, we start to become more aware of the hereditary health issues in our family which pushes us to take precautions on what we decide to put in our body.

Now that you’re 21, worrying more about insurance and possible health issues is serious. Put the Hot Cheetos down because these are the years where we all should strive to be in our best shape.

9. Drama IS avoidable

Social media is a good example of how anything that bothers you, makes you uncomfortable or you don’t like can be blocked at the swipe of a finger. Believe it or not, you can block anyone in real life, not just on social media.

That ex that constantly keeps popping up, block his/her drama from your life! The girls you went to high school with who now constantly brag about their ‘perfect’ lives every time you see them? Blocked.

Avoid the drama, shut it all out. If you don’t want it in your life– it doesn’t have to be. As we get older, we start to realize the power to block out anything that causes negativity in our lives and we can use that power whenever we want to.

10. Get a Therapist

This is something I hope everyone does. It doesn’t have to be because you’re 21, but because everyone needs an outlet.

Therapy is crucial. Therapy lets us become self-aware of how we might be self-sabotaging our own happiness and allows us to let go of past problems that we didn’t even know existed. If you can’t afford an actual therapist, talk to yourself. Set aside a time every day, to be honest with yourself and self-reflect on anything that you feel is important.

Nothing automatically changes when you turn 21. You have to put in work to achieve the life you want. There will be times when you will lose loved ones, friends or hate how your body is changing, but there will also be times when everything you went through was worth it.

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