10 Concepts Every 22-Year-Old Woman Can Take Comfort in Knowing

Image courtesy of Glamour.

When I watched the Jennifer Gardner rom-com “13 Going on 30” as a teenager, I never understood why a middle-school girl would want to gloss over her 20s completely. Now that I’m 22 though, and the ever-present deadness has settled behind my eyes, I now see the appeal to being “thirty, flirty and thriving.” Imagine, a time when student loans are at last winding down to payable increments. When you’re not digging around LinkedIn every day for a job vaguely in your degree field; any job really that will look better on a business card than “Chipotle Burrito Master.” What a glorious time that must be!

But we’re not there yet, and it’s going to take a while of falling down that foggy rabbit hole of chemistry beaker-style cocktails, Tinder regrets and eviction notices before we can finally survey the damage on the other side. In the meantime, we can take solace in the adult skills we have mastered that were once foreign concepts not too long ago, like changing the bed linens – not the most glamourous skill but it feels pretty good to not sleep on stale Pringles and dead skin cells every night. It’s all about the little victories, right?     

1. Waking Up at a Decent Hour (I.E. 9 a.m. or Earlier)

Just because you can do it doesn’t mean you have to like it. It also helps to switch the alarm on your phone to your favorite guilty pleasure pop song (don’t tell ‘em, don’t tell ‘em, you ain’t even got to them).

2. Your Alcohol Preferences and Limit

You had your entire 21st year to sample every shot, cocktail, wine and beer known to man and monitor the physical and mental effects. Now it’s time to know your limit, stick to your signature drinks, and keep emergency bottles of tequila and margarita mix on deck for those days when you almost got the job.  

3. Weight Fluctuation Every Day is Normal

Also, just because you ate half of a large pizza with the works yesterday doesn’t mean you’re fat today. By now you should know that everyone’s weight goes up and down a few pounds every day; just maintain a healthy average and you’re golden. Also, you will never be as skinny as you were in high school, so love those curves instead.

4. The Planned Parenthood Pamphlet Info. on Birth Control and Vaginal Infections

Chances are that you’re probably sexually active by this time, and if you’re not, that’s still no excuse to not educate yourself on birth control options and possible vaginal infections after sex. With the right insurance, Obamacare has made it possible to get certain prescriptions of the pill, the ring, IUDS and injections for free! (Let’s hope it stays that way America). Every woman should also be aware of what causes yeast infections, bacterial vaginosis and U.T.I.’s; spoiler alert: it’s not always sex-related, but it never hurts to pee afterwards or stock cranberry juice in the fridge.

5. Servicing Your Car

I’ll admit that I’ve kind of dropped the ball on this one, but at least I can point to all of the parts under my Volvo’s hood and explain what they do … ok, maybe only 70 percent of it. But according to CarTalk.com, it’s important to know basic car maintenance skills like checking the tire pressure, changing the oil, replacing a headlight and getting regular emissions tests if required in your area. 

6. Building a Website

It’s not enough to have a pretty resume and beefed up social media pages if you don’t have a basic website employers can trace you back to. If none of your major classes covered this, don’t sweat it. Coding skills are not required when there are a handful of free website building templates to choose from like WordPress, Wix and Weebly. Squarespace is also a viable option but it comes with a small monthly fee.

7. Budgeting … somewhat.

Many 22 year-olds are at the jumping off point of becoming financially independent adults – both an empowering and terrifying thought. Most colleges have career services where an adviser will work with you to put together a budgeting plan with programs like YouNeedABudget.com and get you set up on StudentLoans.gov for making on-time payments. I know, how can you stand the excitement?

8. Voting

If anything, the 2016 presidential election results should be enough to convince any 20-something woman of the importance of voting. But 22 is also not too soon to start paying attention to local government elections and community news in general. You’re now a valued member of society, use that power to push for some real social change.

9. Exercising Regularly

If you’re still packing on weight from the freshman 15, it’s time to make some changes. I’m not saying to enter yourself into the next big road race or anything, but making a conscious effort to try a beginner’s yoga class or jog on the treadmill a few times a week can make all the difference physically and emotionally.

10. Making your Mother’s Easiest Dinner Recipe

Don’t get me wrong, grilled cheese, fried rice and sautéed vegetables are all impressive stepping stones to knowing your way around a kitchenette. But this year it’s time to take it up a notch by tackling your mother or grandmother’s easiest dinner recipe and maybe learning how to cook *gasp* with the oven. Meatloaf, casseroles and mac and cheese are all easy comfort food recipes to fiddle around with and will later serve as a delicious reward for your adulting efforts.

Bonus! Starting to Catch Glimpses of Your Mother in the Mirror

No matter what your relationship is with mother, sooner or later her signature phrases, opinions and actions will wriggle their way into your daily habits. At first this can be daunting, but it just goes to show the type of woman you might get lucky enough to be someday, and if not, then there’s still time to get a piercing and hop on a direct flight to Vegas.