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Growing up we hear all about what we are “supposed” to do in life – graduate high school, go to college, get a job, get married, buy a house, have children… These days, interpretations of the traditional path are varied and none are set in stone. You may have heard the phrase, “30s are the new 20s” and it could not be more true.

So what are some common misconceptions about being in your 20s?

1. You need to settle down and start a family.

Most people graduate college in their early-20s and very few are thinking about getting married or having kids. They want to enjoy life without being a student for the first time that they can remember. They want to find a job they enjoy and put their all into it. And of course they want to indulge on weekends have fun.

There is no set time when you need to get married and have children, you should do it when you are ready despite your age. And while we are on the subject…

2. You need to buy a house.

Buying a house costs a lot of money, both in terms of a loan as well as upfront costs. Also, the buying experience, while fun, is incredibly stressful and time-consuming.

Once you become a homeowner you no longer have a landlord (or parent) to fix what needs fixing, you are either on your own or need the finances to hire someone. Take your time! There is no reason you need to buy a house before you are financially and emotionally prepared.

3. You need a “career” not a “job”

“Career” being a life choice, and “job” being something to pay the bills while you are looking for a career. Please do not feel the need to rush because you should never settle. A career should be something you are passionate about, makes you feel fulfilled at the end of the day, and adds to your life rather than detracting from it. So pay the bills, and look for that opportunity to grow and thrive doing what you love.

4. You need to put your party days behind you.

When did there become an age limit on having a good time? Granted you may not want to go shot-for-shot, stumble home, and lose your cell phone and/or keys but you can still have fun. It is perfectly acceptable to spend your weekends doing whatever makes you happy, and if it makes you happy to day drink at a barbecue with your buddies, then that is what you should do (responsibly, of course!)

Just keep in mind that when you are at work you are a professional and the weekend is behind you.

5. You need to “get your life together”.

Who has their life together? Most 40- or 50-year-olds will tell you that they do not, and it is ridiculous to think that you will straight out of college. Yes, you should develop a fair amount of responsibility and will likely have to start waking up before noon, but as long as you are paying your bills and not getting evicted from your apartment you are doing just fine.

The wrap up

Forget the social conventions and ideas of what is “supposed” to happen after you graduate. Take your time making decisions, especially those which will change or shape your life for the duration of it. Make informed and intelligent choices, and don’t forget to be yourself and have fun.