Advice From a Late 20-Year-Old
[Listen to an audio version of this blog here.]
Quite bold of me to dispense advice, if I do say so myself.
I turned 28 yesterday (happy birthday to meeeee). Aren't birthdays a wee bit overrated and also a goddamned godsend? Sometimes we just need a reason to celebrate. And sometimes, it gets fucking tiring to celebrate. And at some point, saying "happy birthday" begins to sound a lot like "congratulations on being born and not dying!"
I have the added luck of being born on my parents wedding anniversary (happy marriage day, you two!). As a mostly-adult, having parents who are still married is rare, and this seems more celebratory than me being born, but I digress. Getting older has been mostly good, and I like to joke to anyone older than me that I'm still "young and vibrant." Last year I wrote a fun and quirky list of things I've learned and needless to say, I've learned some things since then. Here are a few.
1. If someone says, "You sure have changed," take it as a compliment and maybe respond with, "haven't you?" Change is supposed to happen, even if it's uncomfortable or makes someone else uncomfortable.
2. Be patient. "This too shall pass," said Abraham Lincoln, and don't we all love to love him? Sometimes a lot of bad shit happens at once, but nothing *nothing* in this life is forever. We are all temporary and so are our triumphs and trials.
3. If someone doesn't respect your time they don't respect you.
4. If you aren't sure how someone feels about you, ask. Also, if you feel unsure they might be flakey or you might be insecure. Look inward.
5. If you don't like your life, you can change it. Leave the job. Leave the city. Leave the person. Whatever it is that is making you unhappy literally doesn't have to continue to exist.
6. Save money. Make a budget. Make investments, start a 401k, have a savings account and a "fun fund" for other shit. Finances are only intimidating if you don't know anything about them, but taking control of your money is synonymous with taking control of your life.
7. To the point about money, some shit is worth spending money on, and that's up to you to decide. For me, it's running and traveling and all the shit that goes along with that. I'd rather spend money on a gym membership than on getting my nails done or having a nice dinner out. I'd rather buy a plane ticket than spend more money to live in a nicer apartment. You do you, boo.
8. You are either a creator or a consumer, and you get to decide which you'd rather be. You can't be original if you fill your brain with other people's content, so put down your phone and do your own thing. Unless, that is, you want to be a consumer, in which case, whatever.
9. There is absolutely no point in comparing your life to anyone else's or harboring resentment for the perceived privilege granted to others. Focus on you and I promise, you won't care enough about anyone else to be jealous or resentful.
10. And finally, one of the biggest causes of unhappiness is feeling like you lack purpose. If you feel adrift in a sea of ennui and existential meaninglessness, find something you care about and pursue that will your whole heart. A purpose though, will not find you. You're going to need to find it.
P.S. Read last year's birthday blog here, support one of my favorite orgs ever, Polar Bears International, or Bigger Than The Trail.