23 Things I Wish I Knew…Wait NVM

Jesse Herzog
Jesse Herzog

I drafted a post titled “23 things I wish I knew at 22.” Be more cliché, Beth, I dare you.

Although I crafted some pretty good points and shed some light on things that my 22-year-old self would have scoffed at, I reread it and thought “haha, wait, am I actually significantly older and wiser than I was at 22?” Ummmm…I’m going to go with a hard “no.”

Nobody likes you when you’re 23. An Instagram caption I will most definitely be using on my picture in 3 days although I’m sure 87% sure 99% of 23 year olds Googled what song that came from (including myself). My basic-ness has not changed a bit. From an Instagram standpoint, it has in fact gotten worse.

Writing-wise, I’ve improved. Although that all comes with practice. I still suck at picking men; I learned that the hard way when  I agreed to a date on Thursday with a dude who’s greeting to the bartender was “Ay, boo. Can we snag 2 brews?”  *straight eye and mouth emoji*

I pay my rent, although not sure if that totally qualifies me as fiscally responsible. A paycheck still screams “clothes” rather than “retirement fund.” I can’t tell the difference between a free sample of red wine from Trader Joe’s and a $150 bottle of Cab. Vodka sodas are my jam, and I’ve only recently made the upgrade from Bowman’s to Tito’s.

I’m still directionally challenged, even in one of the most walkable cities in the country. “Should I take M to 20th?” says the cab driver. My mouth responds “yes,” but my brain says “just pretend like you know what he’s talking about.”

I’ve done a decent job at racking my weekly news-watching hours, although RHOBH still has my heart. I ran by the NPR headquarters yesterday whilst blasting JBiebs and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

* * *

Another year older, another year wiser? Maybe. Moving away from home and the familiar has challenged me in more ways than one- as it does for everyone. You learn how much Ubers actually cost. A $7 ride without a surcharge may scream #winning…but I can in fact tell you that you are most certainly still #losing. Hangovers on weekends used to be ok, but now it means doing laundry at obscene hours during the week since I couldn’t muster up the energy to do it on Sunday. And that totally sucks.

You want your life to be #goals, but you aren’t entirely sure what #goals entails. Your health, job, bills, social life, and overall well being are supposed to be in check at all times- and that’s what you let your followers on social media believe. But, are they? Probs not.

I put on a front, as we all do, that my life is a perfectly oiled machine. I hardly talk about the blood (sometimes quite literally), sweat (which will only get worse when I experience my first summer in DC), and tears (a lot of them) that come with the life I chose at age 23.

Realities have smacked me hard across the face on multiple occasions. Like- going out on a Thursday and being productive at work the next day do NOT go hand in hand. Drunk pizza will make you gain weight, even if you run 7 miles the next day. Working a full day only to go straight to a bartending shift is exhausting, but necessary, and your body will adjust-not because it wants to, but your college loan bill at the end of the month forces it to.

Money never used to be the motivator in my YOLO college days, but lately I’ve been doing a lot less YOLO-ing and a lot more INTCUWAGIAW-ing (I need to come up with a grand in a week-ing). My savings account is less than impressive; it’s almost at the “rainy-day fund” status, but not quite.

The point of this post is not to bash my life choices, because tbh I’ve been doing a pretty damn good job of making it work. To you my $100/mo gym membership is unnecessary when I have a gym in my apartment, but it’s an investment that I chose and that I work to be able to afford. Ok, maybe I don’t NEED to order food for lunch with a $5 delivery fee, but that turkey sandwich is totes necessary sometimes.

I was living off of cash tips for my first few months here. It wasn’t ideal, and was unsettling at times. I almost couldn’t afford my FIRST college loan bill. I panicked for a moment, then researched CL for quick cash. Turns out there was short time blogging gig that paid $50/ per post. I banged out 6 posts in 2 weeks and FedLoan Services no longer haunted my dreams.

I’ve said this before, but perhaps luck has fallen on my side since I’ve moved down here–however, it’s more than that. When you’re own your own and have no safety net, you make it work. You pick up that extra shift even if you had brunch plans with your friends. You aggressively search CL for random gigs. You understand that your credit card is not cash and face the reality that you can’t afford an extra bill to pay at the end of the month. Shopping sprees no longer become a past time.

* * *

My life is not perfect and I don’t know “all of the things you should know” at age 23. Meet me now, and in many ways I am the same as I was at age of 22. Old habits die hard– or they just stay habits.

The letter that circled the internet a few weeks back to Yelp from a woman named Talia exposed the grievances that many young twenty-somethings have in the job market out of college. I wanted to be like “OMG you go girl! I totally feel you!” But I didn’t, like at all. In fact, I cringed at her sentiments.

The CEO of Yelp may be a perfectly decent human being. But to him, you are irrelevant. That is frustrating, I get it. But you are in fact, irrelevant. Accept it and make yourself relevant to someone else.

I want an apartment with a dishwasher and enough counter space to cut more than a medium-sized butternut squash. I want the Whole Foods salad bar ALL OF THE TIME, I dream of it. A 40 hour work week? Yes plz. To stop using my ex-boyfriend brother’s Netflix account and get my own. To be irreplaceable in the field I’m in–companies fighting until the death to have me on their team (ok, dramatic but srsly). To be the Olivia Pope of DC.

^the life I want, but the life that just isn’t. At least for now.

When you’re pushed in a direction of vulnerability and have no other options but to make it work, you find ways to make it work. I wouldn’t call it a “simple” concept to understand, but it’s one you quickly grow accustomed to when you, like, actually don’t have any other choice…

Maybe I don’t know half as much as I probably should at this age (s/o to mom for hiring someone to do my taxes) but I think I’ve nailed the basics of hustling to get by. Life isn’t freaking easy by any means, but as soon as you realize that you do not need to have it all figured out is when you can work with what you do have figured out.

For example, JBiebs is life. Therefore, premium Spotify is worth the investment. See? Not so hard.

I don’t know what 23 will bring but I do know a few things I want to leave behind in 22: bros in pastel pants (we are mutually exclusive), cheap socks, Bank of America overdraft fees…annnndd hooking up with co-workers.

I don’t know about you…but I’m feelin’ 23. Sort of. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Beth is a Netflix and fitness enthusiast, with an undying desire to see the world. Read her blog.

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