Nowadays, people are having what the kids are calling the “quarter life crisis.” While I don’t give the idea much credit (by whose standard are we measuring all life ever?), enough people have powerful life fantasies running through their consciousness to warrant a bit of discussion. Truthfully, there is no magic dial that switches when you reach any age, and lifestyle and profession should be yours to choose, happiness a level you set yourself. But by about the time you’re in your mid-twenties, there are a few things you should own and a few tasks you should be able to accomplish that will help you start your life on your own terms (when you’re ready). You need to be able to play the game when the rules aren’t in your favor.
First, objects of importance. No one should tell you how to dress, but in the depressingly real world, smart dress is generally accepted as the norm. So, even if you sport gothic colors, or hippie attire, normally, have at your disposal a well-fitted suit (male or female, whichever you are) for interviews or elegant occasions (you never know when a fancy event will creep out of the woodwork). You’ll need a nice pair of shoes to match the suit, and two ties, a jazzy one and a reserved one.
Also, outfit your kitchen with some slightly more expensive cooking ware. For instance, there is nothing better than getting to cook for a special person whilst getting to show off a good knife, an excellent set of pots and pans (a really nice wooden cutting board is a plus), and good quality drinkin’ glasses (even better if you have a few good bottles of wine or a fancy ass bottle of whiskey). Drink-mixing technology is also strongly encouraged. Really, you should be able to cook with whatever your ducats have afforded you, but making it rain (as certain musicians proclaim) in your kitchen never hurts.
Along with a strong show in the kitchen, you need stuff for fixin’ other stuff. So, tools, for woods and electronics alike, are essential. And learning how to use them is definitely a strong plus.
But if you’re not a material savvy person, then make sure to scatter books elegantly around the house/apartment. A well placed Ulysses or Being and Time can go a long way, unless the person you’re trying to impress has read these books (oh yes, you should read everything you have on your shelves). Or, have books that everyone has read and are accepted as excellent (“You haven’t read Harry Potter? For shame! Looks like you’re indebted to me and my bookshelf.”).
Beyond useful and sweet looking objects, you need some general knowledge, and representations of these acquired skills and wisdoms.
One extremely important thing to have by the time 25 and the rest of your 20s set in is a resume, cover letter, and a practiced interview demeanor. Even if you are the creative type and despise office work, knowing how to snatch up employment means you have confidence and know your strong qualities well enough to suavely advertise them on paper and whilst wearing your excellent suit. By that same logic, know how to switch on your professional voice and face whenever the opportunity arises. A well-practiced professional identity is valuable, and doesn’t suggest you are selling your soul or anything. Sadly, professionalism is seen often as maturity, and even if you super hate how this particular facet of life is run, you need to be able to play the game to the best of your ability. If you have a business card, you won’t become Patrick Bateman (now there are creatively produced cards that won’t inspire serial killing).
Another useful skill is the knowledge of how to entertain. Knowing how to be a good host is awesomely valuable, and means that you can be at the helm of your social circle, as opposed to being a victim of the swirling vortex of unreliable friends that probably exist around you. Learn how to throw a shindig and make each one count. Sounds silly, but it can be a simple way to garner control in your life (simulate for yourself some high stakes situations, then win at them).
Above all, teach yourself to be informed, even if you really dislike the way media tends to skew the world. Get past prejudices (liberal or conservative), and find ways to keep in the loop news-wise, and build well-researched opinions about things. Know what to avoid in social discourse, and offer insight when it may actually be useful, and not just to boost a personal truth that may be limiting.
Think, you’re a citizen of the world now, so act like it (while still enjoying the tits out of it, of course).