These last 26 years have been filled with breakups, figuring out how to make spaghetti, learning to love coffee, calling my dad when my car makes a weird noise, calling my mom every time I get a stain on a shirt, and numerous other obstacles. As I embark upon 27, I am freaking out a bit. Twenty-seven…tweeeennnty-seven… 2-7. It even sounds old. I can no longer claim the mid-twenties as my bracket. Granted, I can pass for 16 still, but the reality is that I am nearing 30. So here is some of the wisdom I have gathered in my 27 years. Enjoy.
1. The broil setting on the oven is not something to leave unwatched. Something can go from white and fluffy to a block of char in the matter of seconds.
2. It is a reality that your metabolism will slow down. This is not an old wives’ tale; it is a true story. Ice cream for dinner is no longer acceptable (except on occasion). But don’t forget to take care of yourself. Who the fuck cares what people at the gym think of you? Get your workout on.
3. Your siblings may have bitten you and blamed things on you as a child. They may have allowed you to put tweezers in an outlet when babysitting you, but what matters is that you survived. Honestly, your siblings are the people that you should be able to relate to more than anyone else. Reminisce with them and don’t lose sight of them being your built-in best friend.
4. I read somewhere once that you should no longer wear graphic tees after you hit 25. Well, I can still rock my Star Wars shirts and I will continue to until I don’t want to anymore.
5. Caffeine may not have affected you in the past, but as you get older, you should probably drink decaf after noon unless you want to stay up for the next two nights.
6. The bullies from high school may, in fact, be successful. This was not something you were prepared for, because they were supposed to fail at life. Don’t let it get to you—just strive to be twice as successful (and by successful, I mean happy).
7. You may have expected to be somewhere else by the time you are 27: in the perfect job, 1.25 children, a gorgeous husband, two dogs, and living in a glamorous home. It’s OK. If you are happy, you don’t need these things. If you aren’t happy, these things aren’t going to fill whatever void you are feeling.
8. Toasters will still scare the hell out of you every time your bagel pops up.
9. Make sure you schedule and keep your annual doctor appointments. Health is important.
10. Mentor someone. There are tons of kids and teenagers that are looking for someone to connect with, someone to look up to. You have a lot of knowledge, and even if you don’t think you do, you have spare time that you may not have later on. Do something that makes a difference.
11. Do your best to understand politics. When the controversial topics take over the media, it is good to understand where you fall on the topic. Don’t gather all your information from Facebook; actually do some research. There is this thing called a newspaper; it’s a pretty cool invention. There are different types, left wing, right wing; you basically have your choice, even if the ink comes off on your hands.
12. Friendships become more difficult to maintain because you could be spread across the world, working different shifts, and just finding yourself in different stages in life. It is good to maintain some of those friendships, even if it is just a couple.
13. You don’t NEED to be in a relationship. I know, ladies, your biological clock is ticking. 90% of your eggs are gone by the time you are 30 (This is what New Girl has taught me.) Please don’t rush a relationship or settle just because of this absurdity. Science has had so many breakthroughs. Relationships are not something we should be pressuring ourselves with. Also, you can always adopt (even though it is crazy expensive).
14. You are finally at the age where you know that your parents don’t know everything, yet you know that they know a whole hell of a lot more than you do. Ask questions. Learn about your family history. You are also at the point that you know that your parents are not immortal, along with the rest of your family members. Love the moments that you have with them.
15. Learn to cook your favorite foods and the favorite foods of those that you care about. Experiment with a cookbook. At this age, you should own at least two.
16. You will still feel like you are twenty years old. But you aren’t. It’s important to know that.
17. You should own a suit for potential interviews and business meetings, even if it is to just to make a good impression.
18. Encourage the kids in your lives to be kids. Make sure they are playing with toys, coloring, and using their imagination in numerous ways. You need to nurture this behavior, because society robs children of what it once meant to be a child. It is true that kids are our future, so cultivate creativity.
19. Thank those that have aided in making you who you are today: parents, guardians, mentors, teachers, siblings, grandparents, friends, aunts, uncles, etc. (Thanks, Mom and Dad!)
20. You may need things that you never needed before, like glasses. Rock them. It doesn’t mean you are getting old (it sort of does though).
21. Put your gadgets down sometimes. Set a time when you are home to power down. Despite popular belief, you do not NEED your phones, computers, notebooks, iPads, and Kindles. Converse with the people around you, take in the scenery and take a deep breath. There is more to life than a screen that connects you to anything and everything. There is a real world out there, too.
22. By this age, there are people that have really hurt you. Forgive them. Not for them, but for yourself. Let it go.
23. When you try to be cool, you will now come across as a nerd and embarrassing to those younger than you. Who cares? Do it anyway if you want to.
24. Planners are actually useful in keeping you organized. They help you remember birthdays, meetings, doctor appointments, and make you feel like you have it all together (just don’t lose them—heed this warning).
25. It might be a good idea to have a pet of some sort. It helps you to realize the importance of the needs of others and to keep you from being completely selfish. For goodness sake, you have to keep another living creature alive!
26. No matter what stage you are at in life, there will always be someone trying to tear you down. Stay positive. Love yourself. Push forward. Be kind despite of how others treat you.
27. You will be OK. I had a teacher that saw me in tears one day in high school. She said, “This too shall pass.” This is something I tell myself every time I am dealing with something difficult. It is true. No matter what today holds, there is always a tomorrow. Just keep pushing forward.