15 Badass Life Skills That Will Change Your 20s

1. How to code.

Yeah. We hear this a lot. But honestly, if you want to have a leg up on everyone in the job application process, learn it. It’s like a secret weapon. It’s mind blowing how many coding boot camps exist and how many you can even do from the comfort of your own home. From OneMonth to TreeHouse, take a few weeks, and transform your skillset.

2. How your body actually works.

Learn about your body. What to put in it. What to keep out of it. How sex works. How to make your body healthy and happy. What’s normal for you? What are major warning cries? How to check for breast cancer, melanoma or just straight up bad breath. How much water to drink. How much booze to drink. How to love it and all it’s imperfections. It’s mind blowing how much we actually don’t take the time to understand the thing that keeps us functioning every day. It should be the first, most fundamental lesson we learn. Yet we still get confused about why UTIs happen. Go read basic stuff.

3. How to fluently speak a language you love.

There’s a lot of push to learn the superpower languages in the world: Spanish, Mandarin. But what if you’re obsessed with Italy? Have Greek roots? Always wanted to travel to Japan? Find a culture you love, and then fall in love with their language. Yes, true, Mandarin will be great when you’re an international businesswoman– but if you want to live in the south of France for a year? Girl, become fluent in what you’re passionate about. It’ll unlock doors to amazing adventures.

4. How to understand your family tree.

Sit down with your grandmother. Listen to her stories. Trace your heritage. It struck me the other day that once my older family members pass, there will be little bits of their stories I never get to hear– they’ll just disappear. Make it your life’s work to understand where you come from. By just looking up your great, great grandfather’s birth records, you could find some pretty amazing stuff– you’ll learn hidden stories and tales of your past and just how important your family’s place in history is. It’ll give you perspective on your own journey and how you got to where you are.

5. How to public speak, confidently.

Some girls are just born with a booming voice that projects, hands that never shake and speaking skills that could rival Obama. And those girls are incredibly, incredibly lucky. But if there’s one thing you can practice, over and over again, it’s the confidence to stand up in front of a group of people, and speak your mind, eloquently, slowly and with no “um” and “like” verbal fillers. When you have a chance to speak publicly, even if you know you’ll bomb it, do it. Raise your hand and fake it until you make it. Every time you do it, you’ll get better. By the end of college, you’ll literally be TedTalk status.

6. When enough is enough.

You need to be your own advocate. From your professor’s ludicrous grading system to your best friend’s snarky comments, it may feel unnatural to push back on people you love, or on people of authority, or even random strangers on the street. Most of us were raised to “say something nice or nothing at all.” But if you know in your heart of hearts you’re upset, speak. You’re allowed to stick up for yourself.

7. How to take a picture.

We don’t mean the perfect selfie angle, we mean a picture where you literally don’t care. We take pictures constantly. And then, like clockwork, we hover around our phones and make sure we look cute. Be the girl who loves it either way. Your arm may look fat, your face could look a little blurry, whatever. Take the picture because it’s a memory you cherish, not because you look **Flawless.

8. How to be happy for other people.

Your best friend’s boyfriend is taking her to Paris. Your bio partner got a 4.0. Your roommate just landed her dream internship in NYC. There are endless status updates letting you know how wonderful other people’s lives are. Instead of rolling your eyes and comparing, actually look at the situation for what it is. The people you know in your life are having fun milestones take place, good for them! And when they happen to you and you update the world of your success, good for you!

9. How to master a cool party trick.

Will it get you a job? No. Will it make people cheer for you at the bar? Yes. Good. Everyone needs one completely useless, and completely amazing, party trick to show off. Keep tying those cherry stems in your mouth, girl. Keep juggling those oranges. Your Irish step dance competition skills are making the bar go wild. (And if you can do all three at the same time, well, you’ve just won.)

10. How to drive stick.

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t actually need a third foot to drive a manual car. And here’s a tip: the coolest cars are a stick shift. Off road Jeeps, classic sports cars. If you have the opportunity to drive a Ferrari but “don’t know how” well, that’s just a travesty.

11. How to use your phone as a tool, not as a lifeline.

Phones are meant to make plans, not replace them. Pick up the phone when you want to call someone, then see them. Stop sitting on Snapchat at the party and get the number of that cute guy, so you can text him later and then go. out. with. him. in. person. 

12. How to perfect a firm handshake.

The “dead fish” is out. Strong grips are in. Show how assertive you are by greeting someone by looking them in the eye, giving them a solid handshake, a big smile, and a warm hello. It’s funny how simple body language will let them know you’re a power player (and you’d totally destroy them in a round of golf.) Every #girlboss should have one.

13. How to order a classic cocktail.

No more Shirley Temples for you. You’re a grown up. So get adventurous. Learn what you like, learn what you don’t. Maybe you’re an Old Fashioned kind of gal, maybe gin gimlets are your jam. Hell, go for a bourbon on the rocks. Drinking Frank Sinatra’s favorite cocktails will only lead to big things.

14. How to defend yourself.

Because Ronda Rousey shouldn’t be the only woman in the world with those skillzzz. We hate to say it, but the world is cruel, confusing and sometimes dangerous. Taking a quick self-defense class may seem a little over the top now, but wouldn’t you just love to know you had those skills in your back pocket, just in case?

15. When to stop gossiping.

Unless you want your adult years to turn into one life-long episode of RHONY, we suggest cutting the talking shit thing. It doesn’t make you feel good, it doesn’t make other people feel good. Separate yourself from people who think that’s an appropriate dinner conversation and set yourself free from the #drama.

16. How to walk away from a relationship that’s going nowhere.

Dating can be tough – and you’re most likely going to have to weed through a lot of psychos to get to the good ones. But too often we stay in relationships we know are bad for us that are flat-out going nowhere. Your time is valuable, and so is your love and energy. So don’t spend more of it than needed on dead-end dating. Plus it’s way better to live the single life than “you’ll-do-for-now” life.

Now go forth and be a total badass.

 

Featured Image via Amelia Kramer

 

Katherine Crowley

Her heart belongs to: Cape Cod, cucumber cocktails and classic rock Her guilty pleasures: using bad pickup lines on purpose, trying to bring scrunchies back and drawing caricatures of her friends on napkins

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