“Your twenties are all about finding yourself.” “You’re old enough to make the right decisions and young enough to make the wrong ones.” “Your twenties are your selfish years.” “You’re just beginning to figure your life out.”
Heard any of these ones before? Or maybe you’ve seen some similar quotes on Pinterest? Well, all of these common sayings (and more) about your twenties are true — or as true as you want them to be. It’s a time to be selfish. It’s the time to make and learn from all your mistakes. It’s an era of just going with the flow and figuring it all out. It’s an adventure of coming into your own sense of self. And most importantly, it’s the time to be your own best friend.
Now, being your own best friend doesn’t necessarily mean talking to yourself out loud as you move through your days (although hey, no shame in keeping yourself company that way too). It really just means learning how to be your own biggest supporter and advocate. Why is being your own bestie in your twenties important? Many of us who are newcomers to being a twentysomething have just graduated and left the places where we were surrounded by our peers and closest friends at all times. Going from that kind of concentrated environment to living on your own, moving home, or finding new roommates can be just plain hard! So, it’s nothing but beneficial to learn how to be your own support system during this transitional, change-filled time in your life.
Acknowledge all your wants, needs, and feelings.
Perhaps the greatest aspect of being your own best friend is that you’re better able to acknowledge your own feelings regarding where you’re at in your life — and how you want to turn those thoughts into action. Obviously, you can still be there for your friends however you need to be (assuming they may be a bit more spread out from you now, proximity wise), but our twenties are the time to take full advantage of doing the things we really want to do with our time. What comes before that, though, is experiencing and accepting all that you feel as your days roll on.
There will be plenty of highs as we explore these new and super-formative years, but with the highs do come the lows. According to a study conducted by UC San Diego Health in 2020, loneliness is definitely one of those lows. When the 2,843 participants between the ages of 20 and 69 were surveyed across the United States, it was found that loneliness actually peaks in our twenties. There are several predictors of why feelings of loneliness may arise within any decade of life, such as lower levels of empathy and compassion, smaller social networks, and/or sleep disturbances. However, loneliness is often prominent in our twenties due to things like the stress of establishing ourselves as real adults (starting our careers, finding life partners, you know… just the whole shebang that comes with growing up).
So, if you’re feeling lonely in this new phase of life, just know that it’s totally warranted and is extremely normal — any sad or stress-inducing feelings are. Put simply, adulting is a lot! And COVID and pandemic-life certainly hasn’t made things any easier either, as we transition into our twenties.
“I’ve learned that it’s super important to acknowledge that loneliness is there and that it’s okay to be both happy and sad with the ways life is panning out right now.”
Rosie, 22, a recent graduate of Northern Arizona University, just began her first full-time WFH job and moved home after finishing school. “It’s definitely been an adjustment moving back home, but I love that I’m saving money and am getting some extra time with my family,” she tells Her Campus. “I do miss my college friends a lot, now that we’re all living in different parts of the country. And even though I’m here with my family and I’m working all week long, the loneliness can be a lot to deal with sometimes. I’ve learned that it’s super important to acknowledge that it’s there and that it’s okay to be both happy and sad with the ways life is panning out right now. As long as I can separate myself from the loneliness and do little things that bring me joy, I know I’ll find balance.”
Like Rosie said, it’s essential to feel all your feelings as a twentysomething, since they really are what will motivate us to keep hustling and appreciate all the happy moments even more. It’ll also help us act on what truly brings us joy.
Incorporate both spontaneity and self-care into your routine.
Another quote that comes to mind when thinking about our twenties is that saying, “We’ll only be this young once.” Not sure who the first person to have said that line is, but it’s one of those little things that seems to get truer and truer as time goes on. A part of being your own best friend means trying new things that excite you, while also being sure to establish a self-care routine along the way.
Zoë, 22, a recent graduate of Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles and an associate editor at Her Campus, is a new transplant to New York City. “I just moved here and am living alone for the first time ever. Although it’s lonely sometimes, I’ve been learning how to be more comfortable spending time by myself and think there’s a lot of value in learning to enjoy my own company and my new routine,” she shares with Her Campus. “Alone, I love reading in my local park, trying new coffee shops, or even just walking around and exploring the city. It’s honestly healthy (and normal!) to spend time alone, and it’s a great way to learn more about myself and what I truly enjoy doing.”
Trying new things while also taking care of yourself may come with a slight learning curve, but it’s all part of the process of being your own wing-woman. So, want to try that new workout class you’ve been scared to go to alone? Do it! You’ll only be brand new one singular time. Want to check out that cute bar that just opened in your town? Head on over! Yes, it’s totally okay to go to the bar by yourself. Need to take a break and have a spa day at home? By all means, bestie. You deserve it.
Say no to comparison and yes to you.
I’m sure we can all relate, but it truly is just so easy to get caught up in watching the highlight reels of other twentysomethings while simultaneously creating our own. You’d think that since our dorm days are over, we wouldn’t be as stuck in this cycle of social comparison…but social media makes it a pretty hard cycle to break. Opening LinkedIn and seeing all the new-job updates, or starting to see engagement announcements on Instagram, can all be a bit overwhelming. As we move through our twenties, it can feel like everyone is doing everything all at once — comparison being the thief-of-joy that it is can cause us to feel a sense of failure as a result.
“Social media made me be super critical of myself and I didn’t like how insecure I was becoming. Everyone’s at different places in life and that’s completely okay — it’s not a race.”
Alyssa, 24, a digital marketing associate living in Austin, Texas, reflects on how she’s learned to silence the negative voice in her head when it comes to comparing herself to her friends. “It was ridiculous at first [immediately after leaving college]. I was so stuck in this cycle of negative thinking, questioning if I chose the wrong job, shouldn’t be living at home, was dating the right guys, etc.,” Alyssa tells Her Campus. “Social media made me be super critical of myself and I didn’t like how insecure I was becoming. I literally just had to take a long break from it, get comfortable in my own shoes, and realize that everyone’s at different places in life and that’s completely okay — it’s not a race.”
At the end of the day, it’s always good to root for your friends and cheer on their successes, but it’s even more important to be your own #1 fan, too. Saying yes to yourself may look different every single morning when you wake up and start your day, but do keep saying yes. Reflect on what makes you happy and get rid of what isn’t serving you. Do this and us twentysomethings are well on our way to having a fun and fulfilling decade.