These are not rules. These are not guidelines. I have walked the Earth for 24 years and here is a bit of advice I have picked up on the way. Some I learned from experience. Some is the advice of people smarter than me. Some I’ve gathered from reading. Most are probably drawn from the too many movies I watch.
In the words of Fitzgerald, “For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same; there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again.”
1. Comparison will kill you.
Your worth is not conditional on others. You are your own person with your own thoughts, skills, and experiences. You aren’t any more or any less capable based on what someone else can do. You are truly unique, and that should be a point of celebration, not competition. There’s room in the sun for everyone.
2. It is always easier to leave than it is to be left. With this in mind, don’t be the one to leave.
I don’t mean this one to be taken so literal. If you are in a bad situation, you can often be better off leaving. What I’m saying is don’t abandon someone in a selfish attempt to save yourself. If you are in a relationship that is tasking, it isn’t worth throwing away just because it might get tough. (DISCLAIMER: If you are in an emotionally or, heaven forbid, physically abusive relationship, LEAVE! That person is awful and deserves to be alone forever.) That begin said if you are going through a rough patch because you are both stressed, stick around and try to work it out. The one who leaves will regret leaving. The one who stays will be hurt, but they will move on.
3. Love your life or change it. Read that again.
There is no reason why you shouldn’t be living your happiest life. Don’t like your job? Quit. A new one will come along. Rethinking your major? Switch. The extra dollars are worth the added joy. I wrote this as a 21-year-old, and I’m assuming many of you reading are that age. Let me tell you this, 21 is too young to give up on your dreams. Find what you love and chase it to eternity.
4. Nothing is more attractive than being smart. Read the paper, always keep learning, and don’t be an asshole about it.
Intelligence is sexy. Knowing what is going on in the world around you is important. Play in active role in the world that surrounds you. Read headlines, just the headlines, and you will seem so much smarter. Dig deeper and understand the world you live in, and participate in it. But don’t be an asshole. No one likes a know-it-all, and correcting someone to show how smart you are is rude and petty. Stop it.
5. Life is only out to get you if you let it.
The best advice I’ve ever gotten from the dearest friend I’ve ever had. I was sulking, feeling sorry for myself, and she was the only friend I had with the balls to tell me to go after what I wanted and to stop waiting for things to happen to me. The world isn’t your enemy. Don’t pretend it is.
6. Keep a bottle of champagne in the fridge and whiskey in the medicine cabinet.
You never know when it is time for an impromptu celebration, and celebrations are best executed with champagne. Get an A on a test? Pop the bubbly. First date go well? Break out the Andre. (Save the high dollar stuff for the big events.) And for the whiskey? Well, sometimes whiskey is just what the doctor ordered.
7. There are a few things you should always say yes to; seeing friends, adventures, tequila, and brunch.
Live an adventurous life. Keep friends close. Even when distance tries to drive a wedge between you, don’t let it. Bruch is a great way to catch up when friends are in town, and a great way to battle a hangover. Tequila is always, always, always a good idea.
8. Drink your coffee black. That’s how it was intended to be drunk. That cream and sugar shit isn’t good for you anyway.
This is my coffee purist rant. I get it. Not everyone likes the bitter brew. But learn to drink your coffee black, and you’ll gain an appreciation for a quality cup o’ joe. There is something entrancing about steam billowing out of a hot cup of coffee on a cold December day. You don’t get that when you cool it off with milk and sugar. Need another reason? Black coffee has, basically, zero calories. Isn’t that reason enough?
9. Never miss an opportunity to take a photo, but remember not every moment is a photo op. Know the difference.
We live in a fantastic age where we can document our memories for our future. Take photos, and smile big in them. This is a great way to have those memories forever and to virtually share them with others. That said; keep in mind that not every moment is meant for others. Not all the things you do need to be uploaded to Instagram. Sometimes the memory is best saved for those that are there. Something just for you.
10. When you feel on top of the world, stay humble. It doesn’t last forever. When you feel underneath it, stay hopeful. That doesn’t last either.
There will be times you feel invincible, and that’s great. But don’t forget how quickly you can be knocked back down. If you made it, don’t forget the people who helped you along the way. There will be times you feel crushed, and I’m sorry. But don’t stay down forever. I promise, if you are humble in times of triumph there will be many hands reaching down to help you back up when you falter.
11. You’re going to regret not kissing her a lot more than you will regret kissing her.
Listen, man. This is a no-brainer. Kissing girls is awesome. If you have feelings that complicate it, let me break it down. If you kiss her and she likes it, congrats! That is the best-case scenario. If she doesn’t, trust me, you’ll know immediately. That’s like applying for a job and getting the rejection email, the second you hit submit. Instant feedback. Now you have the opportunity to regroup and move on. You gambled, you took a risk, and you know the outcome. Now, what if you don’t kiss her? First, you’re not kissing girls and that’s lame. Second, you are going to think about it for a LONG time. No closure, forever unsure of what might be. Does that sound appealing? Hell no.
12. A person who is nice to you but rude to the waiter is not a nice person. Go about life accordingly.
I’m going to keep this simple. If you are on a date and someone is nice to you but is rude to the server they are not actually a nice person. They just want something from you. They think that by being nice to you, they are more likely to get it. Since the waiter can’t get them what they want, they show how they actually are as a person. Does that make sense? Go ahead and read rule 11 one more time for good measure.
13. Don’t ruin an apology with an excuse.
“I’m sorry, but…” is not an apology. That says you are sorry they disagreed with you, not your sorry for what you did. Because even in your “apology” you are trying to justify your actions. If you are truly apologizing and asking for forgiveness, recognize your mistake. We all make them. It’s okay.
14. If you admire someone, you should go ahead and tell them. People rarely get the flowers while they can still smell them.
Kanye West lyrics. I’ll admit it. But the man nailed it on the head. You don’t know how long you have with anyone so tell them how you feel about them. Some people fade from your life over time and some are taken in an instant. Always be in good standing with the people you care about, and make sure they know you care about them.
15. If you are ever with a girl who is too good for you, marry her.
Again, no brainer. If you find yourself lucky enough to be with a woman who is incredible and you can’t figure out why she is with you, lock it down man. Marry that girl.
16. Wash your hair with coconut oil twice a month.
I’ve got beautiful brown hair, so thick you can barely run a comb through it. After 24 years, I just learned this helps with hydration and volume. Good hair goes a long way. You’re welcome.
17. Have a favorite movie, favorite book, favorite song. Have favorites.
This is a quick way for someone to know a bit more about you. I know you like a lot of movies. I know there are books you haven’t read yet. That’s okay. You can (and should) constantly update this answer, but always have an answer. The person who always says, “Huh… I don’t know” is a boring ass person.
18. You aren’t drinking enough water. You’ll feel better hydrated and it helps clear your skin.
The easiest way to clear skin is hydration. Hungover? Drink water. Basically, drink more water.
19. If you have never missed a flight, you are spending too much time in airports.
Listen, I get it. I hate being late; it drives me crazy. Airports already suck so much travel time from our lives between security, delays, and cancellations. Cut it a little close once or twice and reclaim some of your time. And if you end up missing flight, well the airport bar should be open. Start a tab and sleep on the plane.
20. Don’t have sex with someone who doesn’t want you as badly as you want them.
Sex complicates things. We all know that. If you really like someone, but those feelings aren’t mutual then sex probably isn’t a good idea. You’ll probably get hurt. And if you are the person who is lacking in feelings, you’re probably going to hurt that other person. I know sex isn’t always about feelings and liking each other. Just make sure there is mutual interest. Meet up at a bar and both just want to get laid? Go for it! Congrats on the sex!
21. Wear black and be gold.
Shameless shout to my alma mater. Like Dior, wear black. It goes with everything. Black is poetic. Black is slimming. There are thousands of reasons to wear black. Be gold. Be your best self. Shine baby. Stay gold, Ponyboy.
22. If you love someone, you will fight for them. If you love yourself, you won’t compete for them.
There is a huge difference. Fight for the ones you love, in whatever capacity that is. Do not compete for love, you deserve better than that.
23. Your own imagination is the most terrifying thing. Whatever you are afraid of is not nearly as bad as your made up reasons for holding yourself back.
The fallout from going after what you want isn’t going to be as bad as you think. Everything you want is just on the other side of you taking a shot. We all play up these ludicrous scenarios in our heads of things that will never happen. Why are you letting that stop you from what you want to achieve? I know it seems insurmountable. Just start.
24. Your family is going to be there for you, but surround yourself with friends you love. They are going to be there for you when you really need it.
I’m here today because of my friends. My friends are my counselors, my drinking buddies, my dinner dates, my influence both good and bad, my wingman (or woman), and they are the people I always want to talk to. I call my friends when I’m going through life-changing decisions or when I don’t know what to eat for dinner. My friends are the family I chose, and they have always been there for me, even when they didn’t have to be. They are the cause of my good days and have pulled me through my bad ones. I am forever indebted to them and overjoyed to have them in my life. Find friends like that. I’m sorry though, the best are already taken.