The Best Life Lessons from my 20s

2 Mar

Brem and I recently had a milestone weekend (Okay – Brem’s was bigger than mine). Two Fridays ago, I turned 29 and began the last 365 days of being considered a “twenty-something” and on Saturday Brem bid adieu to her 20s and turned the big 3-0 (complete with braces). Pretty crazy that the two ladies who write these blogs for your viewing pleasure should have birthdays that are so close to each other.

I came down with the flu the night before my birthday and had a pretty terrible day (minus the adorable cards/cakes made for me by my students). This day included vomming in the staff bathroom at school and then ended with crying to my mom over Skype when I called to ask her if I can take two more Tylenol on top of the Sudafed I was already ingesting (a very grown up move right?).

As I laid in my bed, cursing the flu and running a high fever which led to dreams such as being bffs with Jessica Chastain (what? I am clearly JLaw’s bff) I started thinking about how weird it was going to be to not be in my 20s any more in less than a year. And then I started thinking about all of the valuable things I have learned in the last 9 years and how much I have changed. And so for your viewing pleasure I’ve compiled a list of the best life lessons I learned in my 20s. Some are funny, some are serious, and some are awkwardly embarrassing.

– An effective way of making sure your friends can find you on your birthday in a crowded club is by having them tie a balloon to the belt loop of your jeans. This might mean you don’t look cool, but it also means that your drunk ass won’t get lost or end up getting into a cab with a rando when you are hammered.

– If and when you decide to drink more alcohol than you should (and we know you’re going  to – because you’re in your 20s and you are young damn it!) – be sure to drink plenty of water before you go to bed. This is common sense. Use it.

-If you are still in college  – I want to grab your face Billy Madison style and tell you to “cherish it”. College will likely be the last time you live in close proximity to your best friends and when drinking on a Wednesday night feels completely acceptable.

-For those of you who just graduated or are in your mid-20s funk. It’s okay. I know it may seem like everyone is having more fun than you or that all of your friends have their shit together and you don’t – but the truth is — they aren’t and they don’t. Even people who seem like they know exactly what they’re doing are just really good at faking it. I guarantee they sometimes cry in the shower too. You’re not alone.

-Figuring out how to be an adult is difficult. I’m still using my “fake it til you make it” motto.

– Confidence is sexy as hell. But not annoying over-confidence — c’mon – that’s just dickish.

– The years after you graduate from college are some of the toughest of your life. I wish someone would have told me this. I don’t know if it would have made it easier, but I wish I knew that.

– No one wants to hear stories about “That time when you studied abroad” or anything that starts with “My ex-boyfriend (or ex-girlfriend)…”. No one. Just stop yourself. Take that, rewind it back, and never let it fly out of your mouth again.

-No good decisions are made after 2am.

-It’s okay if you still haven’t found your passion or life’s calling – I found a lot of things I didn’t want to do before I decided what I wanted to do. And some of the most interesting people I have met are well out of their 30s and still don’t know what they want to do with their lives.

– Check in on your friends. Even the ones who now have babies and are married. They appreciate that you are thinking about them even if they can’t get back to you because they are lactating all over the place or because they are picking out patio furniture for their newly purchased house. It might be annoying – but one day, you may in a similar position and your day could be made by an e-mail or phone call.

-New Years Eve is the prom of adulthood. Stop trying to make it happen. It’s never going to happen. (Said in my best Regina George voice).

– 401ks. Yep. A good idea.

-Tattoos you decided you would get “on a whim” — bad idea. Like it for at least year before committing to it.

-Hiding your phone in a box of cereal is an effective way to not drunk dial. Also, it make you feel like a little kid to find a prize in your cereal box the next day.

– Febreeze is no longer an acceptable form of getting bar smell off of your jeans past the age of 22. Do your fucking laundry slacker. Same goes with wearing bathing suit bottoms when you run out of underwear. Buy more underwear if you hate washing your clothes so much.

– Volunteer. It’s good to help other people and will help you stop feeling so sorry for yourself when you’re in a spiral of self-loathing that your 20s are known to sometimes bring on. And it’s a really nice thing to do. It always warms my heart to see young people doing something good and giving back.

Brem’s Take:

I’ve made it to 30. I know this is totally weird, but for some reason I can’t think of many things I learned in my twenties. I kinda feel like I’m the same person I was when I was 17. I was yet to have a broken heart or break someone’s heart (milestones of your 20s, for most, but something I can absolutely not give you any advice on) but overall, I don’t really feel more mature than I ever have been. I’m guessing this is ok. So, in place of things I’ve learned in my twenties, I give you a list of things I WISH I’d learned in my twenties:

– How to pay my bills, update my registration, get my car inspected, fulfill any time sensitive obligation, etc… on time. I still need to get emails every month that my bills are late in order to pay them. WTF.

-How to cook decently healthy meals. Om nom nom, let’s just go out to eat then.

-How to be assertive in uncomfortable situations. I am a totally non-confrontational person and I often just let things fester instead of facing them head on and you know, saying something. Because that might make someone uncomfortable and I just can’t handle it. Even when I know the worst case scenario is exactly the same as the present. Maybe it’s just a personality trait or maybe it’s just that I need to grow up and grow a pair.

-Get over my fear of animals, dogs in particular.  Nothing awful has ever happened because someone’s dog rubbed up against my leg and I look like a total bitch when I whine and ask people to not let their dog come near me. I need to let it go and try to be nice to a dog so it will be nice back to me and we can be friends. I know that my cowering and running away makes dogs not like me, so it’s a cycle. It’s weird and I should consciously try to get over it, especially because Brad loves dogs and totally wants one.

– How to budget. I just spend money and hope it’s not too much. It’s terrible and makes my husband want to kill me. I totally don’t blame him. It really sucks when your car breaks down and you have no money to get it fixed (or do you!? you have no idea! Why don’t you just run this card and see if it works?!).

– I was going to say how to stop procrastinating, but now that I look at the above topics I think everything may fall into this category.

-How to deal with my mother. She and I fight like we are teenagers and there is no one I want to physically strangle more than her, which brings her great joy! Because she’s a looney! She tortures me and gets serious satisfaction out of it. My sister, on the other hand, does not get this treatment because she doesn’t get pissed off, or she just hides it really well. When will I learn to ignore her and just let her sit in the front seat so we don’t end up in a hair pulling fight in my sister’s driveway because my mom is not following the correct rules of calling shotgun!? Yes. This is really seriously something that recently happened. I told you I haven’t matured in my twenties. Maybe I get it from my mother?

So there. Maybe some advice is to write a blog about the shit you suck at and it will make you feel great about being 30! Because really, eh, it’s ok to pay your student loan 3 days late. You’re still a nice person.

Note: I totally disagree on the Febreezing your jeans thing. I wear mine at least 3 times before washing. But I guess it doesn’t matter if you’re only going back to the bar, right? Or I’m a filthy animal, which is probably more likely.

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