23 Things You Should Do Before You’re 23

List of 23 things

At the end of 2013 I saw an article that caught my eye. It turns out, it also caught the eyes of millions of others and I watched it closely as it has went viral, spawning thousands of comments that both praised and vilified the author in equal measure.

I don’t have an opinion on the age that somebody should get married and I am certainly not using this as an opportunity to attack the author. A friend of mine, who married at the age of 22 and who now has two beautiful children once told me that she wanted to share her life with her husband and children rather than living it on her own first, and I thought it was a lovely sentiment to have. However, ’23 Things To Do Instead Of Getting Engaged At 23′ was a title that instantly appealed to me – at thirty-three years old I am not married, despite the fact that I have lived with The Bloke for quite a few years – and because of this I had an expectation that this post was going to offer some fantastic ideas or life advice that would inspire me.

Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case.  The list of things that were given, such as eat a jar of Nutella in one sitting, disappoint your parents, hangout naked in front of a window, cut your hair, make out with a stranger and sign up for CrossFit wasn’t just uninspiring, it was downright silly (and in some cases, dangerous). I have eaten a jar of Nutella in one sitting, I have disappointed my parents (many times), I have cut my hair, but I found it ridiculous to list these as an alternative to engagement.

However boring this may sound, being an adult means having some level of responsibility, regardless of marital status. Therefore, I created my own list of things that I believe that everyone should do before they are twenty-three, whether they are married or not.

1. Gain as many qualifications as possible. These don’t have to be academic qualifications, there are lots of vocational alternatives.

2. Learn to be financially knowledgable. This may not necessarily mean financial independence, but it is important to know how to pay bills, live to a budget and understand how a bank account works.

3. Learn to cook from scratch and prepare nutritious meals with minimal ingredients. Good for the health, good for the bank balance.

4. Know how to look after yourself. Be able to keep yourself, your clothes and your home clean (you’d be surprised how many nineteen year olds that I know that still don’t have a concept of this).

5. Learn to be comfortable in your own skin, and being alone with yourself.

6. Know your alcohol limit. Just occasionally, be able to stop drinking before you go over it. It doesn’t stop you from staying out until 6.00am, it just means you can do so without having vomit in your hair.

7. In between disappointing your parents, which will usually at some point be inevitable, take the time to appreciate them and tell them how much they mean to you.

8. Occasionally, take the time to do absolutely nothing but indulge yourself. Rest, relax, recharge your batteries. Have a long hot bath, read a book, sleep all day.

9. If you can, travel as much as possible with people you love. It doesn’t have to be abroad – explore the sights and sounds of your home country. Road trip, anyone?

10. Give your time to a charitable cause.

11. Go out in fancy dress.

12. Learn at least the basic elements of a foreign language. It’s rude the assume that the rest of the world will speak English.

13. See your favourite singer/band in concert.

14. Forgive (although this doesn’t mean you have to forget) and move on.

15. Spend 24 hours without any media – no internet, tv, phone or consoles. See what you accomplish in your boredom.

16. Learn to say no, to yourself and to others.

17. Get rid of that one rude, inconsiderate friend who makes your time together a chore. Best thing I ever did.

18. Take photographs. Lots of photographs.

19. Get a job working in the service/retail industry. Trust me, after eighteen months of working at McDonalds and three years working in a nightclub, I’ll never be rude to a waitress, shop assistant or barman ever.

20. Understand that if you really want something, you’re going to have to start working for it, or be really good at asking for it.

21. Spontaneously do something that you have never done before.

22. Splurge on something that you’ve always wanted.

23. Ultimately, don’t allow fear to stop you from doing something that you have always wanted to accomplish. It’s better to try and fail than to wonder about the ‘what ifs.’

What about you guys? Are there life lessons you believe you should follow from an early age?

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @Suzie81blog, and don’t forget to check out my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/suzie81speaks, my Pinterest page http://www.pinterest.com/suzie81speaks and my Instagram page http://www.instagram.com/suzie81speaks

312 thoughts on “23 Things You Should Do Before You’re 23

  1. Pingback: I Speak with . . . Suzie81Speaks. | ronovanwrites

  2. Wish I read this before I was 23 😦 Now I’m in my 30’s but never to late to add some to my list. #19 totally agree! Great post Suzie, I love the way you write.

  3. Great post. I’m 32 as well and super proud of all the things I’ve achieved in my little life so far with lots more goals to reach for. A lovely positive post. #SundayStars

  4. I’m recently 23 and although I’d say I have a good handle on things, I’m definitely still learning when it comes to finances (#2) and saying “no” (#16). I live at home with my parents to save money while I pay off school-loans, and I’ve just started a budget, it’s hard but it definitely is helping. I think that being grateful to parents (#7) is so hard for some young adults, but I’ve grown to really appreciate them and realize all they’ve given up for me. I really liked this post, much better than most posts I’ve seen.

  5. Pingback: Slow Burning Posts | Suzie81 Speaks

  6. This is a great list! I’m 23, and feeling proud that I’ve done pretty much all these things. Just need to see a few more people in concert..

  7. Pingback: January Loves: Blog Posts | My Naturalish Life

  8. This is a great post. My daughter is three, but I’ll make sure she reads this list in the future as it is great advice for life.

  9. Pingback: 23 Things You Should Actually Do Before You’re 23 | Donna's Blog

  10. Will turn 23 on Saturday.
    Am so happy i went through your lovely words and realized that i have nearly accomplished these things before my 23.
    You rock with this blog!
    Kisses and good luck for your future inspiration to guide younger people.

  11. Thank you Suzie for all your presentation I have been so very busy did not have the time to read all your wonderful story. For your success daily

  12. Great list! It’s quite a while ago that I turned 23 (a long time ago), and even if I might sound like my own parents in saying this, but the one advice I would give my younger self is to take more advantage of the huge amount of free time that one still has at 23. I probably would travel around the world for a year after school. Later in life, one won’t have so much time at one’s disposition.

  13. We were just talking about how the human brain isn’t even fully formed until age 24ish, it is amazing how your perspective changes as you mature.
    Great list, especially the be comfortable in your own skin…so necessary.

  14. This is fantastic. I think that this goes for everybody at every age. Anyone out there reading this and your past 23, you need to get on this.

  15. Great suggestions for everyone, regardless of age. Before getting married and having kids, my girlfriends and I would jump into our old cars and head off for a couple of days to just get away from everything. It was a combination of no technology, cooking together from scratch and recharging our batteries that just made us instantly feel so much better, and more focused to tackle big projects at work the next week.

  16. Great suggestions! Though I’m already 23, I’m going to start focusing on some of these things that I don’t already.

    Christine | DimesandDonuts.com

  17. Pingback: Me, Myself and I #2 | Suzie Speaks

  18. Pingback: 30 things to do before you turn 30* | Psychochromatic Inception

  19. I think it might take a lot longer to fulfill as many of the items on a list like this one before the age of 23 or even 32.

    I’m almost seventy and I have done many of them, and I’m not done yet. Maybe the title should have said, “Things to do before you die” or “How much can you accomplish before your last breath?”


    • Thanks! I posted this 18 months ago and I still get at least 30 views a day on it… I don’t think it will ever go viral though – there’s so many of these sorts of lists out there I think everyone is sick of them by now! It’s my favourite post…

  20. It’s I while since my twenty-third birthday (!), but I’m fairly sure that I’d done all of these except for working in the service/retail industry. I believe I scored a reasonable alternative by working as an assistant dairyman on a farm in the Highlands of Scotland. You try bring the 210 head of cattle into the parlour to start milking at 6 am, working 15 hours a day, 7 days a week. Certainly trains you to keep your sense of humour at all times, and you soon understand why dairymen wear flat caps and waxed jackets! 😉

  21. I have often said I wish I understood the value of money and how to set things up financially better when I was 23. So much of my struggles later in life was because of lack of understand of how to make money work for you. That was huge.. It wasn’t until my mid to late 30’s that I began to understand how to do that by then I was deep into my marriage with 2 children to raise so it was harder to do it then. As for a blog that either people read or one I feel great about…is one that I wrote about …Michael Jordan vs Muhammad Ali who was bigger? It is the most read post all year it is read at least once a day by someone.I am grateful for the interest that post has sparked on my blog.

  22. What a wonder and thoughtful post, Suzie! My God do I ever wish someone had given me this profound advice MANY years ago. They are like guideposts; steering one in the correct direction. Fantastic post, my dear! Cher xo

  23. Reblogged this on christinasribena and commented:
    A fun and insightful post 🙂 Unfortunately I haven’t accomplished all 23 of these 23 things to do before turning 23…however…I’ve still got time to try! 😉

  24. Great list. I worked as a cocktail waitress and barmaid while in college and I am always nice to anyone waiting on me and tend to overtip. No doubt because I was once there.

  25. Reading this again gives me an idea! I’m going to write a 50 Things to Do Before You’re 50! I hope you don’t mind me borrowing your idea a little bit. I’ll link to yours of course. Hi Suzie! Hope you’re having a nice weekend!

  26. Pingback: Me, Myself and I #5 | Suzie Speaks

  27. Great list. I especially love #23. Ultimately, don’t allow fear to stop you from doing something that you have always wanted to accomplish. It’s better to try and fail than to wonder about the ‘what ifs.

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