6 surprising revelations at 26 years old

Apoorva Addepalli
4 min readDec 27, 2023
Photo by Adi Goldstein on Unsplash

So, I’ve officially leveled up to the mid-20s bracket, and let me tell you that being 26 is like upgrading from a tricycle to a bicycle- still figuring out the gears, but with a bit more finesse.

No, I’m not the youngest in the room anymore, but don’t expect me to move mountains just yet!

In the spirit of embracing another trip around the sun and indulging in some contemplation, here are six revelations that come with the territory

Investing in overall “HEALTH”

What becomes of being in your mid-20’s is that now you are past your stingy budgets and are ready to uplift your standard of living. While I can’t hold myself straight post 2 drinks, I can safely say that I have joined the bandwagon of having 1. A personal trainer, 2. A nutritionist (SUREPISE- I am “Gluten-intolerant+ potentially “Lactose intolerant”) and 3. A Therapist. I have also been skimming through the myriad of expensive celebrity endorsed beauty products and skincare lines, because reducing fine lines is now a priority!

It’s the privilege of a single, well-earned 26-year-old. But a clear revelation is the need to stay sane and in shape for the life ahead. It is a non-negotiable. Even if it means outsourcing duties

Drawing boundaries is a NEED, not a NICE

Turning older transitions you from being a people pleaser to a selfish goddess (I had to find a positive adjective!). Gone are the days of yielding to social pressures and succumbing to emotional parental theatrics!

Of course I’ve got family functions and late night rendezvous on the agenda, BUT I’ve learned the hard way that by pleasing others and checking all the boxes for social media, I am only demeaning my schedule and the quality of my life. I am learning the art of saying ‘no’ without the pang of guilt.

No one gets to determine your TIMELINES.

One of the many joys in turning older as an Indian woman is the sudden change in societal perception of where my life should head. Everyone is a nosy life coach spewing unsolicited advice.

When I turned 25 (may I add, JUST 25) my mother said to me, “Please get married”. When I inched over 1 year in my current corporate job, my parents said to me, “ What are your future plans”, when I on a plane headed to our annual family vacation, my sibling said to me concerned, “Think about your future”…. Well guess what?! — That is solely up to me.

I often laugh when I think about the irony. Gender aside, put any human my age outside of India, and they would only hear, “You are in your 20’s. Spread your wings and explore”. And I agree. These are my decisions to make. This is my timeline and I make the rules. I cannot be rushed to make a decision and neither will I slip into that panic of having to make a decision as though this is life or death. No one else’s opinions are fast tracking my life.

Becoming more financially literate

I have lately been asking myself this question, “If I want to build wealth for the future, what do I do?”. And it scares me that I am a scatter brain here.

In the US, I had to do everything on my own. The first thing I did when I got my first job out of college was buy myself a personal finance book to navigate finances like a pro. However in India, relying on family to man my finances blurred the lines of self-education. So this coming year, I want to read up more, invest further and be learned about the money flows.

Moving past living with a roommate

Along the lines of trying to be financially literate and independent is test firing solo living. No groceries to split, no rent to share and total freedom to have whoever, whenever. While I have a lovely co-living situation, I do want to be on my own and observe how I operate.

Making more lasting memories with the people I love

Boundaries in life don’t mean cutting people out. It is to utilize the extra time efficiently with the people I love. Over the years, my friend circle has thinned out. The ones that matter, stay. The ones I keep in touch with, continue to understand me. Similarly with family. The older I grow, I want to see them more often- tension free and happy. And this includes spending more time with me too! Taking myself more on solo dates and trips to get in check with my emotions. Being comfortable in my uncomfortable.

I want to provide myself the opportunity to build relationships and nurture connections. Especially after the year that I’ve had!

In conclusion

For a lot of single, Indian women, growing older may feel like you are privy to countless baseless opinions. Through burnouts and comebacks this year, I’ve learned that rushing through the process will only deliver negativity.

I am ready to embrace the peculiar dance of being slightly older yet forever sillier! Here’s to navigating 26 with flair, wit, and a touch of rebellious charm. 🚀

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