I’ve been 28 for a little while now and I’d like to think that in my ten plus years of being an adult I’ve learned a few things. I’m sure these aren’t everyone’s truths, but they’ve definitely been mine:
1. Between 26 and 31 you can still go pretty much anywhere unless it’s a college bar in a college town that might as well say “college” on it.
2. Everybody likes timid people but nobody remembers them. You don’t want to be a contrary buffoon, but you do want to have a few solid stances that everyone knows about.
3. Just wear that flashy outfit. Some people might think you’re silly, but more people will think you’re bold. They’ll envy you for having the confidence to be noticed.
4. Don’t laugh at people who have big dreams. Sure, some strivers have talent and some don’t. But it’s brave of anyone to aim that high and even braver of them to tell you.
5. If you’re good at something, people will notice. Not everyone has the same taste, but there does seem to be somewhat of a consensus. Like you rush to buy the prettiest dress on sale because you know it’s going to sell out fast. Granted, a lot of factors play into success so I’m not just going to say talent is x percentage of the equation. But if you just keep doing your best work chances are you’ll gain some kind of a following.
6. Try to eat healthy and get some exercise. I’ve seen a noticeable improvement in my energy and mental acuity when I take care of myself. Plus if you look at people five years older than us you can kind of see who took care of themselves and who didn’t.
7. If you can find a little piece of somebody that matches up with a little piece of you, it can be enough for a great friendship.
8. You can find interesting people in any place doing anything. You’ll be surprised at who turns out to be interesting and who doesn’t.
9. Developing a unique perspective or having an unusual amount of knowledge about something are two ways anyone can become interesting.
10. Being able to relate to many different kinds of people is the most important kind of charisma.
11. It’s not so much about the people you like the most. It’s about the people you fit with.
12. Most people you like will have some giant glaring flaw you can’t stand. But if the other parts are good, you’ll learn to live with it.
13. If you categorize your friends into people you would and would not be ashamed to be seen with at _____ place with ______ people, you should probably be more ashamed of yourself than of them.
14. La Rochefoucauld said it best: “Some people are like popular songs that you only sing for a short time.”
15. Let people love you despite your flaws. But anyone who loves you because of them should probably be avoided.
16. Drama can be satisfying though. You don’t want to look for fulfillment through it, but if you discount the reasons you sought it out at one time you’re discounting the human need for attention, belonging, and that nasty little need for superiority.
17. Marginalized people (speaking from experience) are often harder on each other than the world is on them.
18. Great hardship will either make you a hell of a lot wiser or turn you into a bitter, destructive mess. Sometimes both. But there’s rarely a middle ground.
19. You’d expect good or bad traits to be relatively consistent in people, but that isn’t always the case. The most patient, tolerant friend I’ve ever had couldn’t keep my secrets to himself if his life depended on it. One of the kindest lovers I’ve ever had wanted desperately to be like the assholes he read about on vice.com. When you judge people (and we all do) your instincts are still the best way to do it.
20. Ethics are as relative as anything else. You’ll meet people who don’t have the same ethics you do and it’s going to freak you out.
21. I’m pretty sure the biggest dividers of humanity are money, gender, and culture. In that order. I’m not sure about the biggest uniting point of humanity, but I bet it has something to do with mortality.
22. I hate to say it, but from what I’ve seen most people really aren’t comfortable with people from a different social class. Everyone I’ve met who came from no money and made it themselves has had a kind of toughness about them. I guess it comes from having to shut a lot of things out.
23. Groupthink is a more powerful force than we realize. I’ve been to some famous New York restaurants that served insultingly bad food. This means hordes of people must literally not notice the truth because the right people are lying to them.
24. Feeling comfortable around your partner is the most important thing. You should be able to say those weird things that come into your head and submit to your unflattering habits in front of them. Everything else is icing on the cake.
25. Forgiveness is one of the hardest things in the world to do. But one of the best things about getting older is that you find yourself doing it naturally.
26. Not being that super young person anymore is scary. Let it scare you. Then move on.
27. Now is when you realize that different people are going to live vastly different lives. That’s okay. It’s great, actually. A lot of us lose our tribe, but by making your own decisions about what you want and where you’re going this might be the first time you actually find yourself.
28. A lot of people use their late twenties to do everything they were scared to do earlier. I know I’m doing that. We late twenties people still have youth, energy, optimism, and hopefully some wisdom as well. This is our time.