24 Things Everyone Should Do Before Turning 24

This month, I turn 24 years old...and while I don’t have a ton of free time to reflect on what that means (hello grad school, two jobs and one thesis to be completed!), I wanted to spend some time thinking about how year 23 treated me. And considering how popular my post on 22 things to do before you’re 22 turned out to be, I thought it was about time for a repeat.

24 Things Everyone Should Do Before Turning 24

So whether you’re about to turn 24 as well or you just want some inspiration for things you can do to positively impact your own life, here are 24 things to do before you turn 24.

1. Go thrifting and buy at least one piece of clothing that’s in a style, color, etc. you’ve never dared or thought to try before. 

Read more of my thoughts on body image and thrifting here...

2. Learn something new about your family history, or your own childhood. 

And it doesn’t have to be earth-shattering either. You might just spend one night chatting to your mom or dad about their childhood and learn a funny story about how they really got that scar under their chin.

3. Master at least one recipe you feel comfortable cooking for others. 

Might I recommend some of mine to start with?

24 Things Everyone Should Do Before Turning 24

4. Try out strength training. 

Weight lifting may not be for everyone, but research shows that it offers plenty of benefits...and while I was self-conscious when I first started hitting the weight room, I love how strong I feel now that I’m a few years into lifting.

5. Write a letter to your family, friends (or role models of choice), telling them what you’d want them to know if the world ended tomorrow. 

Sounds sappy...and it may be. But that doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea!

6. Say “yes” to something that (safely!) scares the crud out of you. 

Like, for me this year, working three jobs...staying in Minnesota for the summer...saying “yes” to a long-distance relationship.

7. Reach out to a friend you haven’t talked to in a while, and catch up...even if it’s only a short phone call or a few texts. 

24 Things Everyone Should Do Before Turning 24

8. Try a yoga class - one as hard or easy as you want! 

Read more about my experience with hot yoga and what I've learned from yoga here.

9. Go to therapy, if you have the opportunity. 

If you’re still in college or grad school like me, you may receive a certain amount of free therapy appointments per semester with your school’s Counseling Center. And if you do have free resources available...use them. You may be surprised at what you learn - even if it’s just that it’s normal for you to be overwhelmed with everything on your plate, or that it feels realllly good to have someone objective yet caring listen to you talk.

10. Spend at least one day completely alone...and experiment with learning what being happy while alone looks like for you. 

11. Enjoy a staycation. 

Don’t worry about traveling somewhere exciting or new! Stay at home and treat yourself however you want - whether it’s by eating out or trying new recipes, watching Netflix or spending the whole day unplugged.

24 Things Everyone Should Do Before Turning 24

12. Get real about your budget and learn what you actually value spending money on...and what you’re OK saying “no” to.

In my case, I know that food is something I really enjoy and would be willing to splurge on more than other things (like going to the movies). Learn how I save money grocery shopping and eat gluten free for only $35 a week here.

13. Read a “classic” book you’ve always heard about but never tried. 

Some of my favorites from this exercise are 1984 and The Handmaid’s Tale.

14.  Go dancing in a club or fun spot downtown. 

You don’t have to stay until the club closes or even drink. (I didn’t do either!). But staying up way past my bedtime to dance to super loud music with friends in Minneapolis is one of my fave memories from grad school.

24 Things Everyone Should Do Before Turning 24

15. Go through your social media profiles and stop following accounts that don’t add something good to your life, whatever that might be. 

16. Get involved with your community in some way. 

It could be volunteering at the local library or making friends with people at the gym you go to. But I know from personal experience that giving back to others’ comes with plenty of personal benefits.

17. Forget that you’re an adult for at least an hour each week.

How? By dancing in your pj’s to your favorite songs, eating ice cream for dinner, sleeping as late as you want or doing whatever else makes your childish heart happy.

24 Things Everyone Should Do Before Turning 24

18. Forgive someone who you think truly deserves a second chance. 

19. Go on a hike with a good friend (of an acquaintance you want to get to know better) and really talk as you walk. 

20. Find at least one self-care practice you can rely on when things get tough. 

And if you need ideas...find plenty here and here.

24 Things Everyone Should Do Before Turning 24

21. Stay sober at a party where most people are drinking. 

Trust me - it’ll be a very interesting experience, and you may learn more about how much alcohol you really prefer to enjoy while socializing.

22. Work a job not directly related to your future career goals.

If you haven’t worked as a grocery cashier or a salesclerk by this age...consider yourself lucky. However, working as a produce stocker for a local grocery store while I'm going to grad school has taught me a lot about staying motivated and grateful and shown me the benefits of being able to leave work at the office (errr...grocery store). Plus, it's helped me build a better mental picture of what I do and don't want from a long-term job.

23. Go roller skating - outdoors or in an old-fashioned roller skating rink. 

24 Things Everyone Should Do Before Turning 24

24. Make a list of five things you’re grateful for and five ways you’ve grown during the last year. 

'Cause...why not end your birthday on a positive note?!? 

My Biggest Takeaways From Year 23

And while I’ve done a good job of checking every box off on this list at age 23...it seems only fitting to end this post (and start my 24th year) by answering point 24.

Age 23 and my second (and very start of my third) year of grad school has honestly been a roller coaster. I’ve felt overwhelmed and broken-hearted and angry and uncertain...but I’ve also felt extremely proud and, at moments, more comfortable in my own skin than I have been in ages.

24 Things Everyone Should Do Before Turning 24

So when I think back to this last year, I’m grateful that I survived the Polar Vortex of 2018 (and am reallllly hoping 2019's winter won’t be as bad) and traveled safely through at least two blizzards. I’m thankful for the college friends that I can still reach out to when I’m feeling low, and to have parents I can always call for advice or comfort. And I’m grateful for good health, even though I have ups and downs with my body and we certainly don’t always get along.

As for how I’ve grown...the list could seriously add some major words to my thesis! But to narrow it down to five, I’d say I’ve grown:
  • In no longer being afraid to show my funny side when I'm teaching English 101...even if it can sometimes be a real challenge to get my students to laugh at 10 AM.
  • As a graduate student. So. Much. I ended my first year with maybe one drafted essay and the worry that I’d never crack my code for creative writing. I’m starting my third year with 60,000 words (around 240 double-spaced pages) of material already written for my thesis. 
  • In knowing that I can juggle going to school full time, three jobs, a blog, and a minimal social life...though that workload isn't ideal, so I've also grown to realize that less is more in many ways.
  • In the gym! I'm very proud to say that I can now bench press and do a lat pulldown with 50 pounds...which isn't huge to some people but is huge for me.
  • In my fears of uncertainty (more on that below).
I know I still have so much to learn. After all, I’m hopefully still less than a fourth of a way through this crazy life of mine. But I’m slowly learning more about who I am, and how my chronic illnesses fit into my identity. And while I still have soooo many questions about this world and who I am and what is going to happen next for me...I’m getting a little better at accepting the uncertainty and leaning into the unknown.

24 Things Everyone Should Do Before Turning 24

So on that note...I’m going to enjoy the only known part of turning 24 so far: eating some yummy gluten free dessert! And I’m excited to see where I - and this blog - go in this next year.

What's one thing you think everyone should do this year? Tell me in the comments!


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