1. The phone numbers of people you shouldn’t have the option to contact again if and when temptation strikes, social media connections with people you feel you have to constantly prove yourself to, and the general presence of those who you’ve simply outgrown.
2. The timelines you crafted for yourself in the past. There’s no right time for anything, and what’s most painful is being attached to what’s “supposed-to-be” as opposed to whatever is.
3. Speaking ill of people for leisure. Making commodity of someone’s life over drinks or at a party is not only something that you shouldn’t have done in high school, but should have left back there if you did.
4. Waiting for a relationship to save you, because doing so is a dangerously unstable foundation on which you’ll end up building the rest of your life.
5. The old stuff on your résumé, like the volunteer work you did in high school and the club you belonged to for a week your freshman year of college. Nobody cares about it professionally, and probably not personally either.
6. Remnants of former loves you’ve kept around because some part of you is still holding onto them. You can claim they are sentimental things you’ll want in the future, but if they only serve to remind you of something missing in your life, you can do without them.
7. Feeling as though you are obligated to be the person you think someone else sees you as: be it your parents, your former self or someone you love. You can respect all of those authorities but still realize that you are not indebted to be anybody but who you choose in the present moment.
8. The need to have the last word and win every argument.
9. Abusing your body with crash diets, dangerously excessive alcohol consumption, disregard for what nourishment means, etc. These things do not prove that you’re cool because you’re ‘reckless but in control’ but rather just serve to show that you’re not being responsible or realistic about your body or health.
10. Using other people for financial dependency, because there’s a difference between receiving help when you genuinely need it and using someone under the guise of it.
11. Deciding who you are based on upward and downward comparisons to people, or worse – believing that the person you are is the person you project yourself to be based on what you assume people think of you.
12. What success means. Not being able to pursue your passion in the same way you support yourself is not a mark of failure. But not finding a way to incorporate those passions into your life outside of work usually is.
13. Excessive consumption and spending as a means of validating your self worth. You are not what you have or what you can convince other people you are.
14. The idea that you’re “above” any kind of work. At it’s core, a job is just a means of supporting yourself, and in my book, taking whatever steps are necessary to do so is success in that it displays a resiliency in character.
15. Being too passive about the things that matter very much to you and then getting upset when they go ignored by the people to whom you should have voiced your feelings. You can’t ever expect people to mind-read.
16. Anxiety over the way your body fills out– or doesn’t– as you enter adulthood. Fat is not a thing you are, it’s a thing you have, and not having enough or having too much doesn’t make you any less capable of love and warmth and happiness and passion. The body is only a vessel.
17. The illusion of control. You can work hard, be devoted, care infinitely, and things could still crumble. Nothing hurts worse than spending your life desperately grasping at having a kind of control that is only viable by delusion.
18. The desire to settle because you’d rather not be alone. The unknown may be a little intimidating now, but if you have the inkling that you shouldn’t be with someone– go. That’s all the reason you need.
19. Insulting people’s life choices out of your own resentment and bitterness. People who get married young, or work at jobs that pay well but aren’t “fulfilling” are easy targets, but are ultimately neither inherently sad nor wrong, and neither is doing the opposite. But the need to pass judgment about these things is almost always a directly reflection of yourself (and p.s. I’m guilty of it).
20. Acting on the idea that any other person is beneath you, especially for what they think, feel or believe. There’s a lot to be said about a person who can discuss an issue with someone who inherently disagrees, and a lot more to be said about a person who can’t.
This post brought to you by HBO GIRLS.
Don’t forget to watch the Season 3 Premiere on Sunday, Jan. 12th.