26 things no one tells you about turning 26

This post was originally shared on an earlier version of The City Girl's Guide. The people, places and feelings mentioned or associated with this post are from July of 2015...

This has been a big week. On Tuesday I officially turned 26 and have celebrated in almost every way I can think of. From kicking off the festivities in NYC last weekend with my best friend to enjoying a Carvel ice cream cake at home with my family, 26 is off to an amazing start.Keep reading for a few things I have figured out so far about my new favorite age!

Keep calm and snuggle with your cat. (Model: Ziggy)

Keep calm and snuggle with your cat. (Model: Ziggy)


1. You will have a better sense of who you are. Or at least who you are not.

2. You will have a better understanding of what you want.Happiness, love & a long healthy life. In that order.

3. You will know what “home” means. Home is where my cat is.

4. You will go out only when you want to and when you want to stay home, it’s okay. There is a reason God invented Netflix and take-out.

5. You will know a little bit about a lot of things. It’s the gift you get for being around for a quarter of a century.

New places are the home of new adventures.

New places are the home of new adventures.

6. You will need to make sure your pharmacy knows you have new insurance. In the USA, you are covered under your parents until you are 26. Not matter how young you feel, you will need to be covered in some way, shape or form, by your 26th birthday.

7. You will have developed some form of “work ethic” which should only be improved upon. The grind never ends.

8. Your expectations will change. If you dream big and work hard, some part of the grand plan you had for yourself will transpire. It takes time and is worth adjusting a few things for.

9. Real relationships will matter. The friends I have now are the greatest friends I have had in my whole entire life.

10. You will look for love in unusual places. You will try (some combination of) on-line dating, an introduction through mutual friends, blind dates and awkwardly introducing yourself at the coffee shop. Some will be successful, all will be educational.

Be aware of your surroundings. They’re part of where you are.

Be aware of your surroundings. They’re part of where you are.

11. You will learn how to listen. There’s a lot more going on in the world of you and whether you have a mentor in front of you, a friend who’s down, a complete stranger or new scenery, you should develop a way to tap in and take in moments you can learn from without having to speak.

12. You will learn to take care of yourself. Slow down, drink more water, get some exercise, do what makes you happy. It’s that easy.

13. You will fail at something. It’s not the best feeling in the world but it is an important moment. In that moment of defeat it’s important not to get distracted. You are still a very brave human for trying.

14. You will doubt yourself. You have only peaked by now if you let yourself.

15. You will fall in love with new things. Ten years ago, who knew that things like cold brew iced coffee, avocado toast, House of Cards & barre workouts even existed?!

Don’t miss the little things.

Don’t miss the little things.

16. You will stop giving chances to people who “treat your heart like monkey meat”. One morning I woke up I was like, “You know what? I am too awesome for this.” I have never looked back.

17. You will still love things that made you the person you are today. 90’s pop music, eyeshadow with glitter in it, and souvenir tee shirts give you that feeling for a reason. Just go with it.

18. You will have a lot of adventures. One of the rules of improv acting is to always say “yes”. Say no shuts down the possibility of spontaneity. Spontaneity leads to surprises. I love surprises.

19. The people who don’t judge you for the decisions you make, answer the phone at midnight when your beloved pet escapes or send you flowers on Valentine’s Day when you’re single should probably be in your wedding.

20. Your family loves you. Everyone has a different definition of family. They’re the people who are 1,000% honest with you when it’s the hardest to hear it. Hug them more.

Appreciate where you are but don’t be afraid to look up.

Appreciate where you are but don’t be afraid to look up.

21. You will need to cut yourself a break. Daily, weekly and monthly.

22. A little praise goes a long way. Everyone likes to be recognized. Whether you’re the top dog or the lowly intern, five seconds of recognition can turn someone’s whole day around. It’s the equivalent of getting a gold star in kindergarten.

23. You will be forced to not do things your way. And you know what? It turns out okay. Sometimes it turns out better than okay.

24. You will take on responsibility. You might not like it at first but it will either give you character or one more thing to put on your resume.

25. You will learn that things are not that serious. The easy going girls are the happiest girls. Adaptation is the key to survival.

26. You will never stop learning. This list is just the beginning.