20 Something-Experience Lane and the Memory Lane
March 15, 2012 10:07 PM   Subscribe

Help me create a list of things that I (someone in my early 20s) should do this year! I don't want another year to pass me by.

So, I'm pretty sure quite a few people can relate, but I have noticed that it's already March 16th and I can't help but wonder where the first few months of this new year have gone.

Earlier this year I created a list of "goals" rather than "new years resolutions" and I want to keep this list as an ongoing thing to look forward to and look back at too.

It feels great crossing off certain things from my list.

With that being said, I'm running out of things to do now that quite a few things are crossed off of my list. I'm also maintaining many of these things as well.

I'd really like to have some new suggestions from people that are in their 20s or older than 20-something.

What are some of your best memories of your life as a 20-something? What are some things that you would strongly recommend that a 20-something experience or achieve?
I'm thinking of anything really regardless of how exciting or boring it is.

To give some personal information: I am a university student that is just two courses away from completing my degree (graduating by the end of August 2012), I will be working at my current workplace until August 2013, I want to land a job in PR, I enjoy cooking, music, travel, etc...

I'm interested in improving the overall quality of my life in terms of health and enjoyment as well. That's pretty much it.
posted by livinglearning to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (25 answers total) 47 users marked this as a favorite
Starting a weightlifting program.

Starting a retirement savings account.
posted by lollusc at 10:20 PM on March 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

If you enjoy cooking, I would recommend tackling a few kitchen projects that have always intimidated you but that interest you. Defining these will depend on your personal experience level, kitchen space/equipment, and tastes, but a few that I have really enjoyed have been:
--learning to make laminated doughs (croissants, puff pastry, Danish pastry)
--preserves - jams, marmalades, pickles
--breads, especially sourdough (you can make your own starter or purchase one cheaply)
A couple on my to-do list are making homemade vanilla extract and flavored liqueurs, and making my own vinegar. I'd also love to really master homemade pasta - I've made it several times, but never felt it was as awesome as it could be!
posted by cupcakemuffin at 10:28 PM on March 15, 2012

Live in a great building in a great neighborhood with great neighbors and friends.
posted by zagyzebra at 10:32 PM on March 15, 2012

Learn to play an instrument.
posted by saul wright at 10:43 PM on March 15, 2012

I'm currently 22, and right now I'm really, really enjoying having a bit of time off from school and the general rat race. (Right now, I'm living with my parents and working part-time between post-undergrad volunteer service and grad school.) If it's at all feasible for you, take a month or two and just chill. Read books you want to read. Eat junk food. Drink good beer. Eat tons of tasty vegetables. Play a ton of Dungeons & Dragons. Go on walks. You've been in school and/or working since you were four or five, probably. If you can swing it, give yourself a break.
posted by naturalog at 10:45 PM on March 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

Travel and music = summer music festival.

Go to local bands' shows.
posted by XhaustedProphet at 10:46 PM on March 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

Travel! Have adventures. It's harder to do that once you have the big career, and the spouse, and the kids and the dog.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 10:52 PM on March 15, 2012 [3 favorites]

Travel. Get the hell out of the country for at least three years. I lived abroad for 10 years following graduation from university, and I find it really strange that many of my peers have stayed here in Canada. It's not enough to go someplace on a vacation or a trek. You need to pull up stakes and move to a different country and actually live there.

Like I said, I find it strange and sad to think there are people who could have had the opportunity to live overseas and did not.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:54 PM on March 15, 2012 [2 favorites]

Also, what other people have said about living abroad. I've spent almost two years of my life living in other countries (Northern Ireland and Germany), and it's been so ridiculously influential and important to my life.
posted by naturalog at 10:57 PM on March 15, 2012 [5 favorites]

Burning Man is something every young person should see at some time in their lives.
posted by mikeand1 at 11:00 PM on March 15, 2012 [2 favorites]

precursor to travel: learn another language. Sign up at LiveMocha and set a reasonable goal for what level you will be up to by the end of the year.
posted by jacalata at 11:01 PM on March 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'm 41, and here's some suggestions about things it would have been nice to have been introduced to in my 20's:

- If you've never tried yoga or meditation, at least explore it.
- Travel abroad! I never did it when I was younger, and I think it would have been a good thing. Not that I can't do it now, but it's more difficult than it would have been in my 20's
- Since you like cooking, learn how to make homemade root beer and gnocchi. So fun!
- If you haven't already, learn about Astronomy. It'll blow your mind. :)

What a fun and interesting question to ask. Good luck in your endeavors!
posted by icanbreathe at 11:19 PM on March 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

Take a road trip.
posted by Gilbert at 11:20 PM on March 15, 2012 [2 favorites]

Take a road trip

And/or ride a motorcycle.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 11:21 PM on March 15, 2012

Some of my best memories are from involvement in community activism. I feel special pride in some of the achievements we had. So, I say, while spending your day thinking, think about something you'd like to see improved in your town/country/wherever, and then commit to spend some time working on it.

I also spent a lot of wonderful time in amateur theater-- wonderful! If you have artistic inclinations beyond cooking, I think devoting time to this is very worthwhile--you don't have to be on stage -- yo ucan work on lighting, or hair, or costumes and set!

Community radio show at your co-op radio station!

Finally, ride your bike! Makes me happy every day. Mini adventures available every day!
posted by chapps at 11:26 PM on March 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

Ok, the Boring answer the accountant in me is screaming: Master your personal finances and learn to save efficiently and painlessly. True happiness in life is never having to pass up the opportunity to do something awesome just because you're broke.

As for the fun stuff, travel has been mentioned and that's kind of a no brainer. Try something different though, instead of (or in addition to) the cliched trip to S.E. Asia/Europe do a trip that puts you out of your comfort zone. If you've always been a city person do a wilderness trek... if you've been outdoorsy all the time head to the city. Learn about your family history and travel to where your families roots are. Learn to fly and get your private pilots licence!
posted by Beacon Inbound at 11:46 PM on March 15, 2012

Start setting money aside for your retirement. It really makes a difference if you start early.

N-thing travel. Go someplace where English isn't spoken, go somewhere less developed. Travel independently. It eeally opens your eyes. Not as much as living abroad, which I also recommend.

Now is also a good time to try out some adventure sports or anything active that's out of the ordinary.

And if you haven't read the classics yet, do so.
posted by plonkee at 1:41 AM on March 16, 2012

I am old. Here are my suggestions:

- If you travel, do it in a way that you actively participate in the culture, not just as a tourist backpacker. Volunteer, get a job, climb a mountain, go on a week long bike or hike, engage yourself as much as possible.

- Related: learn a foreign language. It gets much much harder as you get older, and it opens up a lot of possibilities for that kind of intense engagement.

- It feels good to be good at something. Gladwell, others, say it takes about 10,000 hours to become great. Again, the earlier you start the better. Start looking for something and putting in your time.

- Make friends as you do these things. Maintain those friendships as you get older. Having people around who knew you in different stages of your life is incredibly grounding.

- Make money and save money. It makes a big difference later on.

- Memories are made when they are recorded. Take pictures. Write journals. Not just the facebook twitter thing, but actually thoughtful blogs of sentences and paragraphs written mostly for yourself and only secondarily shared with others so that you have a record of what actually happened and how you felt when it did, not just how you remember it later.
posted by RandlePatrickMcMurphy at 2:35 AM on March 16, 2012 [6 favorites]

In my mid-twenties, also recently sought out the wisdom of the elders. I like the answers from these threads. I tallied/distilled them down into:

1. Finance: Save money for retirement. Pay off debts.
2. Fitness/Physical: Running, weight lifting, go to the gym. Do Kegels. Take care of your health. Floss. Eat well. Do things you won't be able to physically do later on (bad knees, bad back): climb a mountain, run a marathon.
3. Have more sex. Way more sex. And be more adventurous, crazy, wacky in general NOW, because some things are sad if you do them at 30/40 (binge drinking, sleeping around).
4. Skills: Turn off the TV. Learn a language/instrument.
5. Travel more.
6. Friendships and relationships: Get out of toxic ones, put in more effort to sustain current ones.

And another thread on great life experiences to have.

Come on 20-somethings, let's get crackin'!
posted by pimli at 3:34 AM on March 16, 2012 [5 favorites]

Travel. But not the kind of travel that you can do when you are older.
My parents, in their 70s, can tour Europe.

Only the young can do adventure type trips.
Go dog-sledding in the Arctic.
Hike across the Grand Canyon.
Learn to Sail.

I did several of those type of adventure trips when I was in my 20s, and they are among my fondest memories.
Age, family, and work make them nearly impossible to do now.
If you do not hike across the Grand Canyon soon, while you are young, you will never do it.
posted by Flood at 4:32 AM on March 16, 2012 [2 favorites]

Polar bear dive.

Stay up all night (both alone and with a friend.)

Run a 10K (or more, if you're already a runner.)

Run a 10K hungover. You win if you don't throw up or pass out.

Get in car, start driving. Stop when you're hungry or tired. In three days, turn around.

Decide on a whim to go anywhere. This is really the most beautiful thing about being youngish and unencumbered. You can decide on Thursday to fly to anywhere, and there's nothing stopping you.

Call in to work sick; spend the day in bed doing whatever you want.

And yeah, everyone upthread who says to get a hold on your finances is right. I've been diligent about saving, and am right now contemplating quitting my corporate job to go work at a bakery for the rest of the year. And I can do this without changing my relatively hedonistic lifestyle. Saving money sets you free from the obligation of working.
posted by punchtothehead at 5:33 AM on March 16, 2012

Ballroom dance. It will make your inevitable upcoming spate of weddings more enjoyable, it's sociable, and it's fun! All social dance is based on the major ballroom dances styles (waltz, foxtrot, chacha, etc.) and learning the elements of one will help you with your dance floor moves in any style.

Many colleges offer community or evening ballroom dance classes for not too much money. Bonus points: learn to both lead AND follow!
posted by Liesl at 6:22 AM on March 16, 2012

I quit my job last summer (25 then) and have been backpacking since (Turkey, Iran, India, Nepal, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and now dipping between Argentina and Chile in Patagonia). The density of experience utterly blows away normal life before. I couldn't recommend it enough, it's tired and cliché but it really is transformative to be near-perpetually outside your comfort zone (and I'd have been first to dismiss that as twaddle a few years ago). Eagerly awaiting others suggestions here, when I get home the real fun will begin!
posted by nfg at 7:22 AM on March 16, 2012

Travel as much as you can. There are a ton more options when you're young compared to later life. Work-study, volunteering, buy an open ticket and work your way around the globe as a ski-bum/barrista/day labourer. You'll remember it all your life, with no regrets.

The secret to travel is to get outside the first-world bubble. Get out of the safe tourist experiences and meet the locals.
posted by bonehead at 8:01 AM on March 16, 2012

Don't buy bread. If you want bread, bake it.
posted by cmoj at 11:33 AM on March 16, 2012

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