When I was 12 years old, I would lie in my bed imagining myself at 21. I would write stories about her (my future self). In my mind, she wore a burgandy shade of matte lipstick and spoke to people around a long conference table at work with confident hand gestures and an even tone of voice. In my imagination, she was interning at Teen Vogue, with ringed fingers gripping a Starbucks coffee and reading over her planner. On her off hours, she read voraciously and having already been through the classics, she took up learning about the stock market and the economy. She was a socialite too— the type of girl the dinner party felt incomplete without. She had cute wrinkles next to her eyes when she smiled and she had just adopted a puppy that she walked around the NYC streets in the evening hours. She was well-rounded, brilliant, kind and “adult.” She knew stuff. As an actual 21 year old now, this woman that I had dreamt up as a girl is still a stranger to me. To be honest, I don’t personally know anyone like her either. In her honor, here are the 21 lessons I still haven’t managed to learn by 21:
1. Lights, darks and brights must be separated in the laundry machine.
2. You shouldn’t cry at work.
3. How to spell “millennial” (I googled that)
4. What a “super delegate” is.
5. You can’t make people love you.
6. How to successfully use a twitter account.
7. How to not seem awkward and nervous during a job interview.
8. Don’t fight fire with fire.
9. How to cut tomatoes.
10. Take your birth control at the same time every day.
11. Don’t use snapchat, go on Instagram or log on to Facebook while writing an essay.
12. If you sleep in, you waste half of your day.
13. Going out until 4 in the morning makes you cranky at work the next day.
14. Binge-drinking is technically defined as 4+ drinks.
15. Raw cookie dough can give you salmonella.
16. Drinking excessive amounts of wine isn’t a good way to cope with stress.
17. There’s a difference between “bad boys” and boys who disrespect you. (Actually, this one I do know.)
18. Eating a yogurt is better than eating an Eggo waffle for breakfast.
19. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
21. I might be too old for crop tops.
22. Success takes patience.