23 Things To Do At 23 (No Matter Your Relationship Status)

I was once 23.  I was also really dumb when I was 23, and 24 and a good portion of 25.  I also got engaged when I was 23 and married when I was 25.  I can tell you which part of this paragraph I regret (actually I can’t because I’m too ashamed).  That was also the time of life I made a list of things I wanted to accomplish in the next couple of years to really make good use of my youth.  It was a great list – there were places to go, things to do , work to be done.  I actually recommend this tactic to anyone out there wanting to really challenge themselves on the brink of a moment in their lives.

Then there’s this article floating around out there, and, I’m sorry, it’s just asinine, narcissistic drivel.

I could go on about how most people I know completed the worthwhile parts of that list married and had a blast (cake mix, nutella… naked? Sounds like a good weekend in the married world to me).  I could go on about how boring her goals are.  I could go on about how doing a good portion of that list repetitively will only set a person up to be that “Crazy Cat Lady With the Embarrassing Past Who Buys Nutella and Boxed Cake Mix in Bulk”.  But I want to be civil, so I’ll keep things simple here.

1) It’s great to know, particularly at a young age, if you are ready for a commitment like marriage.
2) It’s great to take marriage seriously because not doing so will only make your life messy and painful down the road.
3) It’s great to decide you are ready to make that commitment.
4) It’s better if you realize now that it’s not for you.

However, none of the above at any age is a good reason to act like a fool.  Those early 20’s were a time of stupidity and selfishness on my part.  I have learned from them, but I hurt a lot of people along the way and I’m not proud of that.  However, everyone will make mistakes and to an extent that’s good and a normal part of life.

I will tell you this, once you get out of the college years (about 18-22) and you’re still acting like you’re an inebriated college girl with no thought to the consequences of her actions the opinions and sympathy will start to take a steep nose dive for every year you’re out of school.  By the time you’re on the other side of your twenties, in only 2 short years, behaviors that were cute and risque at twenty just start to look pathetic.  That’s the gospel truth and I’m sorry if it hurts.

However, that has nothing to do with your marital status so here’s another gospel lesson….

The excitement in your life has nothing to do with your relationship status and everything to do with your personal choices.  Some people get their thrills out of their lone wolf adventures and some people enjoy having someone else around to take pictures with, but their adventures can be just as exciting as long as you choose to do something interesting with the time you’re given.

And I’m sorry honey, at 23 no matter what, you have better things to do than sitting around watch reruns of anything while eating ridiculous amounts of Nutella whether you’re single or not.

I have and will continue to advise people that if you feel you’re at a time in your life where you feel like you can’t consider another person equally to your self, if you feel like you need some time to be “selfish” than that is a good nugget of wisdom coming from your personal Jiminy Cricket.  You should always listen when that is your conclusion.  Go be wild and adventurous without another person to consider if that is what you need, but don’t rain on anothers parade if they’re in a different spot in life than you.

So whether you are a Lone Wolf or a Dynamic Duo at age 23 I give you my list of things you should be accomplishing while you still have a chance that you’ll never regret.

  1. Move to a new city – the one you’ve always wanted to live in – if only for a year.
  2. Dip your toes in as many bodies of water as you can – ponds, lakes, rivers, oceans.
  3. Volunteer for something that will push your boundaries and shake you to the core.
  4. Constantly try to find your “thing”; you’ll never find it, but it’s the journey that’s fun.
  5. Live on a small income and enjoy it.
  6. Act ridiculous with your favorite person in public – with or without alcohol.
  7. Announce one morning “Let’s go on an adventure”.
  8. Announce one evening “Let’s go on an adventure”.
  9. Explore your faith and explore the faith of those around you.
  10. Get a passport and actually use it for something more exciting than an international bar hop.
  11. Find out who your real friends are; keep the good and toss the bad.
  12. Make a list of concerts and shows you want to see and see them.
  13. Make a list of foods you want to try and eat them.
  14. Make a list of places you want to go to and get there.
  15. Make a list of books you want to read and read them.
  16. Buy an amazing pair of shoes and do something amazing in them.
  17. Find that dress, that suit, those pants, etc. that makes you feel truly confident.
  18. Find something – a picture, a quote, a song, anything – that inspires you.
  19. Set goals, constantly.
  20. Do something that pushes you to the limits physically.
  21.  Do something that pushes you to the limits emotionally.
  22.  Let yourself cry, a lot.
  23. Let yourself laugh, a lot.
  24. Realize that, most likely, you have years to do all of the above and life will not be over if this list is not done by age 24 or by the time you get married.

15 thoughts on “23 Things To Do At 23 (No Matter Your Relationship Status)

  1. I just read that article for the first time today and I have to agree with you, it is shallow. I read it almost like she was trying to make herself feel better about not being married yet.

    I feel bad for her that she sees getting married as being tied down and unadventurous. My husband and I have had SO many adventures together, especially that first year after we got married (at 23). Like deciding last minute to fly to the east coast, rent a car and drive around for a week sightseeing during the fall. Yes, having kids means we can't just pick up and go like that, but I love having a husband to do all those things with. Heck, having kids is an adventure in itself 🙂 But you know all this, i'm mostly just replying to her post haha.

    And I LOVE your list. Much more fulfilling 🙂


  2. Oh this is really great Molly! I love it all!

    I always think about getting married young as I started living for someone else when I got married. I feel like if I hadn't gotten married young I would still want the goal of living for others, maybe volunteering, maybe working to help others, maybe joining a convent. But isn't the whole point of life to live for someone else? Isn't that what gives our lives purpose? Living selfishly longer is such a sad and terrible thing to recommend to people.


  3. Great list Molly! Perfect for any adult age/relationship status.

    After reading her list it seemed so juvenile to me. Maybe since I was married with one daughter and another on they way when I was 23 has changed my perspective.

    I did do/could have done any of the things she had listed at any point during my college career when I was living for me –however I had reached a point when I was done living for me. And to be entirely honest the “living for me” stage only lasted about 6 months since I was in previous long term relationship/engagement. So I went from engaged to “freedom” to a relationship with my husband. I am sure you don't have to guess which is the most fulfilling, adventurous, and enjoyable one 😉


  4. This is so good. Keep em coming. Huffington Post is full of narcisstic drivel if you ask me. Ugh WORDLY PERSPECTIVE. it is sooooooo sad. Amen. Well-said. 🙂


  5. I don't say this lightly – because, sadly, it doesn't happen every time in our imperfect world – but if you live for someone else who is equally committed to living for you there is not much to loose.

    Sadly, I think marriage gets it's worst rap from those who aren't willing to muturally sacrifice and that's were the divorce rates and the stories of unhappiness really spring from. Not saying this is the only answer to why relationships fail, but I think it plays a part in many of them.


  6. It got old quickly didn't it? I remember those lists of things we were going to do and places we were going to go too – all the important theatrical work we were going to do without being tied down anywhere! I think we're both in agreement of where we found our “thing”.

    I can justify the author by her age – I was rather dumb at 23 and quiet self-centered, but my goals in life before marriage and children shackled me ::wink,wink:: were at least a bit more far reaching than Nutella and Girls reruns.


  7. I actually feel bad for the original author – if you want to make a list of things you feel you need to do before you consider marriage that's great, but “get a haircut”? “eat nutella”? “watch reruns”? You've barely begun to experience a world and have years to do it in and that's what you want to do with your time? I'm afraid that I want to assume she's going to have a rather boring existence in the end.


  8. That's fantastic! Were you married at the time (just curious)? I will admit I HAVEN'T done everything on this list, but that's okay… I actually can't wait to do it with my little family (particularly traveling abroad one day).


  9. I read this with excitement and a hitch in my stomach, and a the words “but, but” on my lips . . . and then you cast aside my ONLY concern with that last recommendation. I do these things! I still want to do them! I think the things that matter when you're 23 are the things that matter always! If they don't always matter, were they really that important to begin with? ❤


  10. Exactly – I still have so many things from my list that I made when I was 23 that I haven't done yet and that's okay! It gives me something to aim for when the eat/sleep/work/repeat gets to be too much. The biggest ones for me is that I haven't traveled everywhere I want to go – particularly overseas – but now I can't wait to do those things with my family. I'm still going to get there, I'm just taking a different route now.


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