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25 Things You Must Do In Your Twenties

25 Things You Must Do In Your Twenties

Hello, all of you beautiful twenty-somethings and welcome to the prime-time of your life! Want to make the most of it? If so, start with these 25 things you must do in your twenties.

1. Do something scary.

Jump out of a plane. Dive in a shark tank. Zip-line through a rainforest.

2. Learn to cook.

Being at the mercy of take-out is expensive for your wallet (and waistline)You might be blessed with a fast metabolism now, but trust me, it won’t last. Also, you will be able to wow future dates with delicious home-cooked meals.

3. Travel alone.

The world is meant to be explored. Taking an adventure by yourself will help you grow your perspective (plus you’ll get to do all the stuff you want to do without complaint).

4. Ride a plane.

Those trees and buildings that seem so big when you’re at ground level? They will look like specks of dust while you’re in the clouds. Don’t get caught up in the inconveniences of flying. Enjoy the view, because it’s beautiful (and really puts things in perspective)

5. Party all night.

A consistent sleep schedule is your best bet for energy to carry you through the day, but who’s to say you can’t break the rules on occasion? Go to a club, concert, or bar with your friends. Have a blast until the place shuts down and then go to an all-night diner for coffee and conversation. Memories are made up of things like late nights with the people you care about most.

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6. Take a risk.

Aiming to achieve an audacious goal does carry a risk, but inaction guarantees regret. What’s it gonna be?

7. Enlighten yourself.

While other people are buried in their smartphones, you should bury yourself in books that will educate and inspire you. Seek enlightenment and you’ll be light-years ahead of the competition.

8. Play a sport.

What was your favorite sport when you were a kid? Invite some friends out to a park for a game of basketball, dodgeball, four square, hopscotch, or ultimate frisbee. If it’s a hit, make it a weekly event. If you’re feeling brave, spread word in your community and build a league or tournament.

9. Change the script.

If you still live in your home town, odds are you’ve been around the same people for a very long time now. Your actions are in part determined by the people you surround yourself with. Take an extended vacation to a new town (or country!) where you don’t know anybody. Expect to discover a lot about yourself when you’re out of your stomping grounds.

10. Reunite with an old friend.

Think about the school days. Are there any best friends who you haven’t seen in many years? Call them up and plan a trip together because you have a lot of catching up to do.

11. Drop the “I’m busy” farce.

Just because you’re “busy” doesn’t mean you’re accomplishing anything. Take an honest look at how you spend your day and eliminate anything beyond the essentials (and no, obsessively checking your inbox or Facebook feed isn’t essential). 

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12. Pay off your debt.

Frugal living might not be sexy, but there is nothing fun about drowning in debt. Begin by reducing your debts that carry the lowest balances or highest interest rates. Reduce frequent and unneeded costs like restaurant meals (learn to cook!) and drinks at the bar (take it home!) There is nothing wrong with the occasional indulgence, but financial freedom requires making sacrifices (and is so worth it).

13. Get to know your family.

It is amazing how little we can know about a person despite how long we have known them. Find out how your parents and grandparents met. Ask older family members to explain what life was like when they were your age. Explore your family history and make an honest effort to really understand what makes them tick.

14. Re-read the classics.

I don’t know about you, but I didn’t fully grasp how wonderful classic books like The Grapes of Wrath really were in high school. Pick a few titles that come to mind and be amazed at all the things you missed.

15. Go overseas.

It’s a big world out there. Get out of the bubble of your home culture and grow your perspective.

16. Volunteer for a cause.

Complaining about the world’s problems will not make them go away. Choose a cause that connects with you and be a part of the solution.

17. Cut the clutter.

Our responsibilities tend to grow as we age, so you need to cut out some things so you have more time for what makes you really happy. The toxic people you can’t stand to hang out with, time-wasting distractions, and stuff you never use all need to go.

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18. Fall in love.

Love does hurt sometimes, but so does loneliness. You’ve learned a lot about what you desire in a partner by now, so don’t be afraid to open yourself up to another person. Look at it like a roller coaster: yes, it is scary, but you are going to ride it anyway, right?

19. Write a letter.

Ask an old friend for their address, don’t tell them why you need it, and send them a thoughtful, handwritten letter. It will be a welcome surprise among the usual bills and junk (and maybe you’ll end up with a new pen pal!)

20. See your favorite band live.

I know it sounds amazing on your car stereo or vinyl record, but there is something magical about hearing your favorite song performed live and in person. Now I’m curious: you should comment with your favorite concert ever after you read this.

21. Sleep under the stars.

Have a partner? Grab a bottle of wine, snuggle up under a cozy blanket, and enjoy the beauty. If you want to get frisky before you turn in for the night, I won’t stop you.

No partner? Who needs a stinking partner? Lay down and think about how insignificant you are in the Grand Scheme of things. Wonder how many other people are staring at the very same constellations you are.

22. Perform for a crowd.

Find a local community theater and audition to become a cast member. Take a few shots of liquid encouragement and perform your favorite song at your favorite bar’s karaoke hours. Visit an open mic night at a coffeehouse and perform stand-up comedy or poetry. Join a Toastmasters club and work on your speaking skills. You’ll develop swagger and confidence like no other (and it’ll be fun, promise!)

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23. Take a road trip with your best friend or partner.

Get outside of the comfort zone of your home town and go exploring. Going on an adventure with the person you care about most will help you grow closer together. Experiencing new things together will cause you to learn new things about each other, developing positive memories that will last a lifetime.

24. Start a garden.

Whether you want to grow tasty veggies or colorful flowers is up to you. Unleash your inner green thumb and let it take you where it will.

25. Find your passion.

The teenage years (and even the early twenties) are a confusing time when most of us don’t have much figured out. But as the years go by, you should grow a sense of purpose. Figure out what you want to be remembered for and make it happen.

Are you in your twenties? If so, please drop your Bucket List items in the comments. Have you already lived through your twenties? If so, feel free to offer your insight below.

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Daniel Wallen

Freelance Writer

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Last Updated on January 15, 2019

How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward

How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward

Many of us feel awkward talking to strangers. I’m a very outgoing person, even though I sometimes feel uncomfortable walking up to someone and asking a question or starting a conversation. I consider myself pretty high up on the extrovert meter. So what is it that makes us pause and become worried or anxious about talking to people we don’t know?

In this article, we will discuss why we feel this way as well as some tips on how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

Step right up, don’t be shy!

Why We Feel Awkward Talking to Strangers

The next time you feel uncomfortable talking to a stranger, tell yourself that’s completely normal. There are numerous reasons why it’s actually natural to feel awkward talking to strangers:

Our Stress Levels Rise Around Strangers

Numerous studies have show that our levels of cortisol go up when we are around strangers.[1] Cortisol is the hormone inside of us which produces stress responses.[2]
So there you go, right off the bat you can see part of your standard response to strangers is due to a chemical reaction!

A very interesting by product of increased cortisol is that it makes us less empathetic. More than likely this can be traced to our evolution. The increase in the cortisol and the corresponding decrease in empathy makes us want to stay away from strangers. We are biologically wired to feel concern around strangers.

Evolution Taught Us to Be Wary

Evolution has also taught us to be wary of strangers in general. Humans as a whole have spent a large chunk of their history banded together in small protective groups. We did this in order to help protect each other and maximize resources.

When you think about it in this context, outsiders to our small groups or strangers are considered potential threats. Fear of strangers is common across almost all human cultures.

Culturally Conditioned

We can also thank our society for helping us feel uncomfortable and sometimes afraid of strangers. The term “stranger danger” is something most of us can relate to either growing up or raising kids. Or both.

I remember hearing this from my parents, mostly about not getting in someone’s car I didn’t know. And as the father of 2 teenage girls, you can be sure I’ve talked to them about this very concept more times that they want to hear.

The thought that strangers can be dangerous is built into us as it is. Toss in the amplification of the media on strangers doing things such as kidnapping kids and it takes it to an even higher level.

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Now that we’ve reviewed some of the reasons why we are nervous, let’s look at why you should talk to strangers more.

Benefits of Getting over the Awkwardness

Let’s take a quick look at some of the advantages of how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward. These are some high level benefits of talking to strangers.

1. Broadens Your Network

After you talk to someone, you didn’t know previously they become someone you know at least a little bit. This alone helps broaden your network of people you know. This is helpful in many ways whether it is work related or socially related.

2. Improves Your Communication Skills

I am a huge proponent of the value of solid communication skills and have written about it often. The more you talk to people, especially people you don’t know, the better your communication skills become.

Interacting with a wider variety of people will bring the added benefit of improving your communication skills.

3. Continually Learning

So many of us don’t actively seek to learn new things. This is one of the primary keys to staying engaged in life and our own personal self fulfillment.

Almost every time I speak to someone I didn’t know previously, I’ve learned something new. When we speak to strangers, it pushes us out of our comfort zones and we tend to learn new things.

4. Increases Self Confidence

Every time we learn to do something we were previously anxious about, we feel better about ourselves.

Forcing ourselves to talk to strangers will lead to increased self confidence. As we get more and more comfortable doing something that previously made us feel awkward, our self confidence will go up and up.

So, how to talk to strangers to reap these benefits?

How to Talk to Strangers

Here are some tips to on how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

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1. Say Hello

Putting “say hello” first may seem a bit obvious but let’s take a deeper look. Much of the social awkwardness when speaking to strangers is simply breaking the ice. The first words that will engage someone.

Most people will respond when someone says hello or hi to them. And those that don’t, you probably don’t want to talk to anyway.

Practice being the person that opens the door to a conversation. Say hello.

2. Ask About Them

Something that I have noticed over the years is that people love to talk about themselves. Even fairly private people tend to open up when asked about events in their lives.

You can ask leading questions that get people to talk about themselves and recent events. Things like recent movies watched or the summer vacation are great to get someone talking.

As a father, I also know that people love to talk about their kids. Asking about kids is a fairly easy topic to bring up and in general, most people will expound upon all the great things their kids do or are involved with.

3. Just Do It

One of the biggest reasons we don’t do things we want to or know we should is because we overthink it. Quit thinking about it so much and just do it.

When you give yourself the time to analyze every little angle about a situation, you also give plenty of time to talk yourself out of it. You’ll wind up thinking what if this happens or what if that happens.

Try to force yourself to jump right in without thinking about it too much. Whenever I have done this, I always feel great about it afterwards, no matter how it turned out.

4. Don’t Take It Personal

One of the greatest lessons in life I ever learned was don’t take anything personally. We all go through life with our own sets of experiences and see things through our own lens. The way people react to different situations has almost nothing to do with us. It has to do with previous experiences and the way people feel about things other than us.

When someone’s reaction isn’t what you’d hoped or expected, chances are it has nothing to do with you. Remember that and keep it in context.

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5. Get a Chuckle If Possible

I used the word chuckle purposely because it makes me laugh. In my opinion, it’s one of those funny words. We all like to laugh because it makes us feel good. And when someone makes us laugh, we typically remember those people in a positive light.

One of the best ways to make a conversation easy and free flowing is to get some laughter going. It doesn’t mean you have to be the master joke teller or anything. See if you can work in a way to make the person you are talking to get a smile or some laughter in. In fact, laughing at yourself maybe a nice try.

6. Detach

A great feeling is when you don’t mind which way something turns out, that you will be fine no matter what happens. Kind of like when I watch my two favorite football teams play against each other. I don’t really care who wins, I just want a fun game.

Treat talking to strangers the same way. You don’t really care how the conversation goes because you are detaching from the outcome. Make it a fun time with yourself and if the conversation goes well, awesome! If not then no big deal, move on.

7. Share Your Stories

Well, all like to feel connected to other people. And many times we wind up hanging out with people that we have things in common with. No surprise here.

To help with how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward, tell stories that have commonalities with the person you are talking to. Kids are an easy one. I have a daughter who was a competitive cheerleader and now plays club volleyball. I have instant connection and stories with strangers I speak with who have kids that play sports. It’s easy to relate to.

So when you are speaking to a stranger and you have a story or mutual connection point, bring it up.

8. Give a Compliment

Almost everyone likes hearing a compliment, whether they admit to it or not. As a general rule, we don’t give out enough compliments. It’s amazing how one small remark someone tosses your way about how good you look can literally make your entire day.

When you are speaking with someone you don’t know, see if you can work a compliment in. Nothing creepy here. Not a good idea to tell someone you just met that they are the prettiest or handsomest person you ever met. However, if you can share how you like their tattoo or shoes or something like that, it will help put the conversation into an easy going, smiling place.

9. Relax Your Body Language

If you go into a situation all worried and nervous, it shows on your body. Your shoulders are tensed up, there’s a look of consternation on your face, things like that.

When you engage a stranger in conversation, make it a point to relax your body language. Take a deep breath before you engage the person, let your body relax, and put a smile on your face. This will help relax you and it has the added benefit of putting the other person more at ease.

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If they see that you are relaxed, it helps them relax. Plus having open, engaging body language is very conducive to inviting someone to open up into a conversation with you.

10. Practice, Practice, Practice

Like everything else in life, talking to strangers gets easier with practice. The more you do it, the easier it becomes.

Make it a point to talk to several strangers each week and it will definitely help you relax as you do it more and more.

After a while, it will become something you don’t even think about, you just do it. And that takes all of the awkwardness out of being in these type situations.

The Bottom Line

As we have seen, it is perfectly natural to feel awkward talking to strangers. We are biologically built that way and we have our own society constantly warning us how dangerous it is. It’s no wonder we feel awkward talking to strangers!

There are numerous benefits to learning to be more comfortable talking to strangers. See if you can employ some of the techniques mentioned to learn how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

Once you start practicing speaking with strangers more often and utilizing some of the tips, you will become more comfortable doing so. This in turn will lead to a learned new skill and increased self confidence.

Remember, everyone you know was a stranger at one time. Now get out there and make some new friends.

More Resources About Strengthening Communication Skills

Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

Reference

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