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Top Things Not to Do in Your 20s

30 Things You'll Be Glad You Didn't Do in Your 20s

Dear Wendy shares what she's glad she didn't do before she hit 30.

The Huffington Post ran an article called "35 Things I Wish I Had Done Before Turning 35," which got me thinking about all the things I was glad I hadn't done in my youth, especially things I had the opportunity to do or came close to doing. Sure, there are plenty of things I wish I had done — save money, end bad relationships sooner, wear sunscreen more often — but it makes me feel better to think about what went right instead of what went terribly wrong. So here are 30 things I'm glad I didn't do before I turned 30.

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1. A reality TV show.

I did make it to the semifinal auditions for Big Brother back in 2000 when I was 24. Thank God that didn't pan out.

2. Get a tattoo.

Any tattoo I would have gotten in my 20s I'd surely hate now.

3. Get married.

None of the guys I loved or dated before I met Drew were good husband material for me, and I'd either be unhappy or divorced now had I married any of them. (For the record, I met Drew four months shy of my 30th birthday.)


4. Have a baby.

I know plenty of people who had babies before 30 and are perfectly happy with their choice to do so. I just don't believe I would have been one of them.

5. Start a PhD program.

I got accepted to a program and considered it for a hot second, but seeing as my MA was mostly a waste of time and money, I'm glad I shut that idea down.

6. Sleep with a married man.

I can think of at least one married man who pursued me aggressively for over a year. He said his marriage was "open" and even introduced me to his wife several times. That was not a triangle I cared to make.

7. Get Botox.

A) I didn't need it. And B) I probably would have convinced myself I did and that it helped me, and then I'd be hooked and end up with a raging Botox addiction by 35.

8. Move to NYC.

I moved to NYC a few weeks after I turned 31, safely out of my 20s, and for that, I'm glad. I mean, have you seen Girls?

9. Shave my head.

I had a cousin who needed fast cash, so she let some dude she found in the Chicago Reader shave her head for $500. I'm glad I didn't do that.

10. Get arrested.

It could have happened at several points in my 20s. I'm glad it didn't.

11. Sleep with that one guy.

You know, that same one you're glad you didn't sleep with. You know the one!

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12. Follow Dave Matthews.

I don't mean follow as in go to the shows (I never did). I mean, like, literally follow the guy back to his hotel. I had the opportunity once, and if I hadn't had a boyfriend, I probably would have been that girl. You know the one.

13. Walk on a stranger's back for money.

Along with the guy who paid young women to shave their heads, there was another guy who advertised in the Chicago Reader, looking for young women who'd walk on his back for money. I was broke, but no thanks.

14. Pierce my nose.

Question: does piercing your nose leave a forever hole the same way piercing your ears does?

15. Get a third cat.

Because then I'd be the girl with three cats. You know what happens to that girl? A fourth cat, no boyfriend.

16. Slam poetry.

Any poetry I wrote in my 20s was bad enough without sharing it, slam style, in front of a group of people unironically. I mean, talk about cringe.

17. Spend money on cable.

I did have cable briefly, but the boyfriend I lived with paid for it since he was the one who couldn't live without the Golf Channel (ugh). I got to watch Sex and the City, so it wasn't a bad deal.

18. Drink a lot.

I didn't start really hitting the sauce until I was 28, and by then, my 20s were almost over. Think of the money and calories I saved by being an almost teetotaler all those years.

19. Get back with any ex-boyfriend.

It wasn't for lack of trying on my part, but thankfully the universe was looking out, you know?

20. Vote for George W.

Not that that would have ever happened or anything, but it still feels good knowing that I am in no way responsible for that whole thang.

21. Drink and drive.

Duh. Drink and karaoke, though — that is a cause I can get behind.

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22. Facebook.

It helped that it didn't even exist until I was 27. I did do Friendster and Myspace though (remember those?) and, oh God, the hours I wasted, the dates I regret . . .

23. Join a cult.

I had a friend who was very into one, and let's just say, shit got weird.

24. Become a yoga devotee.

You know what happens to girls in their 20s who become addicted to yoga? A fourth cat, no boyfriend.

25. Post pictures of myself in my underwear online.

I did, however, post one photo of myself in a bikini on my Flickr page once upon a time. I look at it now, 15 pounds, eight years, and one pregnancy later, and weep.

26. Buy a house.

As if.

27. Start writing professionally on the Internet.

I started my own personal blog when I was 27, which could have been disastrous enough (luckily, I was careful about what I shared), but I didn't start getting paid to write online until I was 30. I was about 32 before anything I wrote gained traction — or went "viral" — and even at 32, my skin was still thin enough that the comments hurt. Four years later, I've got a bit more wisdom and experience to (usually) not let the haters get me down.

28. Launch

It's been a lot of work: the learning curve — even for someone who has been blogging since 2004 — was steep, the money is slow to come, and the negative feedback has, at times, been difficult to take. I never would have lasted more than a couple of months had I started this in my 20s.

29. Eat a lot of fast food.

My battle against the bulge is hard enough without an established fast-food addiction, although I do love an Egg McMuffin two or three times a year as a tasty hangover cure.

30. Skydive.

The time I do it on my 80th birthday would be a little less special if I'd already done it in my 20s.

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