I can’t count how many “20 Things Every 20 Something Should Have” lists I’ve read. In my first few months out of college, I was unemployed and reading these lists from my mom’s couch daily. You mean to tell me my life is shit because I don’t have A1 credit and a chaise lounge from Williams-Sonoma? I have to be doing this 20 something thing all wrong.
Fuck them. I’ll create my own list & it won’t knock you for not having been on at least 15 international trips by the age of 21 (although, that would be pretty cool.) So, yeah. Here we go:
1. A Solid Pair of Riding Boots
Yes, riding boots are #1. I’m not talking about the $35 ones you pick up from H&M when you just need a quick fit. I mean some good, quality, leather boots that will last you many years if you’re good to them. I’m no big baller and I’ve never been much of a shot caller, but I do know that the money you spend on good boots at 24 is the money you won’t have to spend next winter.
2. A Journal
Writing isn’t everyone’s thing, I know but I also know that recording your thoughts can be therapeutic and funny when you reread them in a few years. I document e v e r y t h i n g in hopes that one day I can pass it all on to my daughter or maybe even publish it. Get yourself a cool journal (TJ Maxx, FTW) and see where your mind takes you. You’ll surprise yourself.
3. A Form of Birth Control
Listen, if you want children this part clearly isn’t for you but if you don’t you should definitely have a form of birth control more reliable than condoms or his pull-out method. I am pro-choice but I am also pro-making sure I do everything to avoid ending up in a predicament that may or may not require the big “a.” We’re all adults here and if you know in your heart that you aren’t ready, discuss BC options with your gyno & get you a little bit of clarity. NO ONE enjoys that “it’s the 10th and my period was supposed to be here last Friday” feeling.
4. A Quality Sex Partner
Yes, I believe every woman should have this. We all work (or go to school) and there is scientific proof that sex is one of the greatest stress relievers so why not? Your partner could be your boyfriend, could be bae, or could be a guy you see every other week whenever you just need a fix…no judgment, get yours but make sure that you’re actually getting yours. If you are currently having bad sex with someone, you have shamed me.
5. Talenti (at least two flavors just in case the grocery store is ever out)
If for some reason or another sex just isn’t your thing look no further, talenti is the kinda sex that won’t have you looking for a possibly missed period or in the gyno because something weird is going on down there. Talenti will always be true, and if your housemates aren’t a piece of shit it will always be waiting for you in your freezer when you get home. No back talk, no side chicks, no drama. Talenti just wants to please you and give you all that you deserve. Treat yo’ self.
6. A Personal Library
Books are probably the cheapest vacations most will ever experience. If you’re a lover of fiction like me, you get to meet new people and visit new places every time you crack open a new book. You can read for entertainment, for education, or for both but you should always be reading something. My mom (a teacher) has this saying, “the more you read, the better you write.” It’s true. Reading not only introduces you to new concepts, but it can also expand your vocabulary in ways you couldn’t imagine.
7. A Business Suit (& the shoes to match)
Don’t let me catch you wearing that tight ass maxi skirt to a job interview. Don’t let me catch you wearing platform heels to an office. Don’t you do it, don’t you piss Rif off like that. Even if you only have one, you need a good suit and JC Penney has them for the low for all of my baes on a budget. My first suit has been with me for failed attempts at joining a sorority, meetings with public officials, and my first “big girl job” interview. Shoes are important, too. I hate everything about kitten heels but leave the Jeffrey Campbells at home when you’re trying to be taken seriously and bring out a classic 3-4″ round toe or pointy toe pump.
8. A Favorite Beyonce/Rihanna/Nicki Minaj Song
Sometimes you’re having a rough day and you just need to be reminded of how ***Flawlessyou are. Maybe you need to put one in the air and twerk to “Pour It Up.” When I’m having a bad day I HAVE to listen to Beyonce so that I don’t choke someone. My casually misogynistic supervisor makes comments about women in the work place and I literally have “Run the World (Girls)” waiting on my itunes to keep from smacking him. For some reason, listening to these 3 women who are running things in a game controlled by men recharges me. Turn on some Nicki and get your life.
9. A Good Bra
One day gravity will defy you and your titties will start to fall from glory, we know this but don’t you go speeding up the process by failing to treat your lady lumps with the respect they deserve. BUY GOOD BRAS. Yes, they are expensive but this is one of those things you can’t go cheap on. I’m a 36D, a piece of me dies every time I pay $45+ for a bra but it’s necessary. Pay veryyyyy close attention to the dates of VS’ Semi Annual sales and come up on bras marked down to $15-$20.
10. At Least 3 Go-To Hairstyles
Lists like these typically include 3 core meals but no, you can order takeout if you’re ever hungry enough but what are you gonna do when you get caught in the rain and Leticia,your beautician, is out of town? Even if your basic 3 include a high bun, a quick wrap, and a braid out you need SOMETHING. Every girl has their thing and mine is definitely hair. When my hair is a mess, tap me and ask me what I’m going through because I’m clearly breaking down. You don’t want to get caught looking a mess when you have an important meeting in 2 hours.
11. Staple Beauty Products
While we’re on the topic, you should definitely have a list of favorite things that you ALWAYS have. These things are usually small but essential. Example: I NEED my MAC Extreme Dimension Lash Mascara, I NEED my J’adore Dior perfume. If I have nothing else, these two things always make me feel like I’ve gone from ashy to classy. Your staples may include a certain conditioner or nail polish but no matter what they are, they have the power to make you feel good even when you aren’t having the greatest day. Keep them on hand.
12. A Hobby
Some women workout. Some write. Some read. Some play video games. Doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you always set aside time to do the things you enjoy. The things that you are perfectly content doing alone, without any interruption from the world or responsibilities. You need hobbies to keep you sane and if you haven’t figured out one yet, keep looking. Everyone has their thing, you just have to find yours.
You might not be where you want to be but are you working towards it? Are you always remaining cognizant of your dreams and aspirations? Are you respecting the ever present fact that our plans aren’t necessarily our fate? If you can answer “yes” to all of these questions, you’re halfway there. Relax and know that as long as you’re striving for it, success is never too far away.
14. A Solid Circle of Friends
Every girl needs her girls. I don’t care how strong you are, you ALWAYS need another woman to help you through whatever life decides to toss at you this month. It can take years to build an actual circle and the women apart of this circle aren’t always connected, sometimes their only connection is you and that’s ok. We all have our “when I can’t go on” friend, but we also need our “guaranteed great night” friend. Over time, this circle can and more than likely will change and that’s perfectly fine. Just don’t question the importance of friends. We need each other.
15. A Pretty Cool Gyno
I don’t know a woman alive who can honestly say that she looks forward to getting her annual. Do you know one? Point her my way so I can call her out for who she truly is, a liar and a fake. Everything about trips to the gyno is uncomfortable. Getting naked in a cold office, explaining to a stranger how you may or may not have used condoms the last time you had sex, super freaking uncomfortable. Ease the awkwardness by getting a cool gyno. Male or female, you shouldn’t be nervous to talk to anyone inspecting your love nest. This is the one person who you should ALWAYS be 100% honest with, and it’s much easier to discuss your not-so-great decisions with someone who doesn’t make you feel like you’re the scum of the earth.
16. A Vacation (or Staycation if it better suits your budget)
The world is an insanely huge place and every year that you spend not exploring it is a year that you are doing a huge disservice to yourself. I just went on my first adult vacation in April and though it was only to California, I felt alive. I felt like I wasn’t just working to pay rent and student loans. This was the first time that I had ever really experienced the fruits of my labor outside of random shopping sprees. Grab a friend and book a plane ticket (the earlier, the better. traveling is only really expensive when you don’t plan properly.)
17. Up-To-Date Political Knowledge
I love politics so this may seem a little biased but hear me out. There are male politicians who have made comments about “legitimate rape” and completely get rid of employee insurance covered BC options. WE NEED TO WATCH THESE CRAZIES BEFORE THEY TRY TO MAKE BEATING YOUR WIFE LEGAL AGAIN. That might be a stretch but, still. We’ve come a long way, but we’re still making much less than men and basically being penalized for having a uterus. Knowing your officials and their positions on women’s right protects you much more than it hurts. Stay woke.
18. A Sense of Self
Who you were doesn’t determine who you will become and who you are today is subject to change. You will make mistakes and sometimes even deal with feelings of regret, stop that. Regret nothing, trust yourself, and do whatever it takes to keep a smile on your face. As long as you aren’t hurting anyone, I’m here for doing whatever is necessary to maintain your sanity.
19. TO STOP TEXTING THAT ASSHOLE WHO YOU CAN’T SEEM TO LET GO OF
Why do you keep giving yourself to someone who you have to constantly question? Why continue to deal with a person and feel like shit about it later? Why allow his/her happiness to trump yours? We always know when someone is wrong for us whether we choose to shout it to the world or not. You owe it to yourself to quit anyone who makes you feel like your name is Farrah Franklin. You’re Beyonce, bae. Don’t you ever forget it!
20. Meeeeeeee, DUH!
You should be reading the 20-20. alla tahm, erry day. You should tell your friends about this crazy ass girl who posts letters to her former flings for your shits and giggles. You should experience this, why? Because when I make lists like this, they’re for both of us. I’m a hot mess too.
Honorable Mentions: A good purse, Mean Girls on DVD, and sexy black panties.