1. Landing the perfect job.
There is a big difference between working at an upscale shoe store helping old ladies wedge a pair of Stuart Weitzmans on their feet (I have been there, and, ugh) and getting to work doing the thing you’ve always dreamed of. We all talk about the kinds of careers we want — and make sure to distinguish between ‘job’ and ‘career’ while we’re at it — but how are we actually going about making it happen?
How to achieve it: Basically we know at this point that submitting your resume to random postings online is necessary, but the professional equivalent of putting a message in a bottle and throwing it into the cold, ruthless ocean. The much more savvy way to job hunt is to ask people who’ve already done it out to a drink to pick their brain, making contacts on Linked In, starting projects that initially might earn no money but which get your name out there and show people you have work ethic, and asking questions. It’s basically working the party of life, without being the sweaty used car salesman who is always handing out business cards. The universe wants you to be curious and humble, and that is how you will likely find your dream job.
2. Finding Prince(ss) Charming.
Everyone is susceptible to the profound loneliness we feel when the credits roll on a rom-com and, looking to our left, we realize that we are not being cuddled by Tom Hiddleston. Wanting to skip all of the hard work and just find that one person who is going to ride in on his or her noble steed and make everything worth doing is a powerful drug, but simply watching in longing as the leading lady and man embrace at the end of the movie is not going to make it happen.
How to achieve it: Make a list of places you are meeting people on a regular basis, and double that. Sign up for online dating. Join meetup groups. Go to a dance class held in a restaurant in your city. Make it so that you are casting as wide a net as possible, and along with all of the tires and rusted cat food cans and krill you are picking up, you might also be picking up someone who is going to love you forever. The more chance you give yourself, the likelier it is that you’re going to fall in love.
3. Getting more money for less work.
You are lazy, I get it, me too. You want more money, I get it, me too. But for some reason our terrible bosses are not going to suddenly start dropping more and more luxuriant salaries in our accounts without us putting in more actual work. How do we remedy this?
How to achieve it: In all seriousness, call your bank agent (and, yes, if you have a checking account, you have one) and be like, “Give me the account and the information that will accumulate me a little money, even if it’s only like five bucks a year.” Those five bucks add up, and are better than zero bucks. Combine that with someone knowledgeable enough on your taxes to get you a legit refund and you are going to be rolling in all that sweet, sweet “penny saved/penny earned money” in no time.
4. Traveling the world.
Nothing is more envy-inducing than watching some basic friend trot their way around the Eastern hemisphere, laughing and eating generous bowls of delicious-looking food as they go. The desire to travel, to live abroad, and to find out all that this world has to offer is one that affects us all, no matter how many places we might have already been.
How to achieve it: Learn about the jobs offered to people looking to live in new countries that don’t happen to have trust funds at their disposal. Teach english, au pair, be a tour guide, do private tutoring, work on a farm or a coop. Instead of ogling postcards, ogle immigration websites and visa applications, and start planning a budget that allows you to take care of your bills while also Anthony Bourdain-ing it in a thrilling new land.
5. Having a ruthlessly stylish living space.
You long for those Instagram-ready shots of the couch with the various-sized frames behind it and throw pillows laying akimbo across the cushions, do you not? We all do. It’s only human to want the kind of apartment that people walk into and give that genuine, “Whoa, hey, nice place” comment about.
How to achieve it: The golden ratio of home decoration is 60 percent IKEA/Target/other-bargain-brands-that-everyone-else-has, 40 percent DIY/thrift. No one can afford a living room furnished to the hilt with Crate & Barrel, nor should they. But they can afford the practicality of an IKEA couch/trundle bed combo and dining set, liberally sprinkled with mason-jar based Pinterest candle holders and a decorative end table you picked up for 20 dollars at a yard sale. Once you master the golden ratio, nothing can hold you back.
6. Having the perfect, tight-knit group of friends.
Who doesn’t want to have that group of friends who stick together through years of changes, moves, life events, and people getting into relationships and stopping coming out to the bars for happy hour? It’s the mythical creature of the social world, often represented in media but rarely achieved in real life. Speaking personally, I once bore witness to an acquaintance who had a “Happy Engagement!” compilation video made by her incredibly tight-knit group of friends that was a journey through their years together set to adorable music. I basically threw my laptop across the room.
How to achieve it: Hold on to the one or two friends who last the decades, and actually make time to appreciate them more than you do the cool new people who happen to float through your life. The trick to maintaining group closeness through the years seems to be based on setting aside time and effort for one another, and the best you can do is work actively on the ones you have. You may not end up with some Cheers-like scenario where 10 of you grow old together, but you will have strengthened the bonds that you are lucky enough to have kept so far.