I could be upset about this, sure. And I do have my days. But for the most part I’m very happy things haven’t turned out the way my 16-year-old self wanted. Me as a married woman right now would mean a stifling schedule, prescription medication and ugly crying in the shower every morning. In the dark. The amount of emphasis and pressure we place on certain ages, or age in general, is bogus and damaging. Despite my adult status, there’s a lot I still haven’t figured out.
These are the only 25 things that I know for sure:
1. Chicken flavored ramen noodles, grapes and McDonalds chicken nuggets (not necessarily in that order) are the best hangover foods, guaranteed.
2. Going places alone isn’t just OK, it’s practically preferable by now. Travel, shop, eat, do whatever you want without worrying about coordinating with and entertaining an entourage. If you worry people will judge you for grabbing a drink alone, don’t. Nobody cares.
3. Whoever said a lady should *never* have to buy herself jewelry or flowers was probably wrong about everything else, too.
4. Romantic failure is nothing to be afraid of. Every single relationship will end. The last one is just going to end with one of you dying.
5. If you’re the most interesting person at the party it’s time to leave. Don’t waste time trying to say a million polite goodbyes, just get your ass to the exit and find something better to do. Like going home to take off your bra and hang out with your dog, who is probably more interesting than 75% of the people at the average dinner party.
6. Time spent outside can cure everything except money problems.
7. Shopping at Forever 21 past the age of 21 is perfectly acceptable. Extra points if you have the balls to buy and actually wear crop tops.
8. If you’re going to put faith in anything, it should be: the importance of fresh food, beautiful clothing and having the kind of sex teenagers dream about.
9. The next night alone could inspire the best idea you’ve ever had. Staying in from time to time is nothing to be sorry about.
10. Go barefoot whenever possible.
11. Don’t marry routines when it isn’t necessary. Your schedule should serve you, not visa versa.
12. Try new things. This applies to career, men/women, sex, wine, food, hobbies and geography. But if you don’t dig something, drop it. Quick.
13. Live within your means. Period.
14. One of the most important life skills you can master is how to have a blast at a wedding where you don’t know a single soul.
15. College isn’t the last opportunity you’ll have to make long-lasting friends. Knowing that, don’t cling to people who are nothing more than drinking buddies.
16. There is nothing wrong with dating someone you met at a bar. Don’t let anyone make you feel bad about something so shallow.
17. Flannel, leggings and being lazy can also be cute as hell. Androgynous fashion is my favorite thing about not giving a shit anymore.
18. Vodka is satan in liquid form.
19. Going on dates with a literal checklist of qualities in mind is stupid: Whether or not someone makes a certain dollar amount, owns a home, or likes beagles should not be your main concerns when meeting a stranger. Also, you’re taking all of the magic out of it.
20. Setting clear intentions for yourself and what you really want can make all of the difference. Extra points if you write them down and look at them every day. You’ll be amazed at the things that will happen for you.
21. Nostalgia is great, but do NOT pour over old playlists, notes and photos more than once or twice a year. It’s poisonous. Spending too much time looking in the rearview is the reason why I was miserable for all of 2013.
22. Sometimes showering just isn’t worth it. Life hack: put cornstarch in your hair to soak up oil and always always always keep deodorant and perfume in your purse.
23. There is no such thing as easy money. I’ve consistently worked multiple jobs since I joined the workforce at age 15. I’ve done customer service, sales, recruiting, marketing, retail and freelance writing. I even did a 14-minute stint as a cam girl. None of it has been easy. Every job will require effort and sweat, so just decide what sucks the least and go with that.
24. It’s OK to not be where you thought you would be at this age or any age. Goals should be liquid, evaluated consistently as you change.
25. Follow anything that has the potential to blow your damn mind.