In preparation for my golden birthday on Nov. 27, I’m being That Girl and expounding my questionable knowledge upon you. Twenty-seven years is a long time to live and learn – at least it feels like a long time – and so, without further blabbing, here are 27 life experiences you should have by age 27. (I’ve had MOST of them.)
1. Vote. Exercising your right to vote is important! You should DEFINITELY have cast a ballot for a presidential election, at least. Do a little research, get informed and vote! People often complain that voting doesn’t change anything, but the recent Republican takeover of the House shows that a lot of millennials aren’t voting.
2. Get your own place. Living alone can really help you understand yourself. You’ll have to handle things like leaky faucets by yourself. You can decorate as you please. You’ll learn to like your own company.
3. Break someone’s heart.
4. Have your heart broken.
5. Travel internationally. Or if anything, travel as often as you can.
6. Know who your real friends are, but don’t be afraid to make new friends. Appreciate all of your friends every day.
7. Open a savings account. Put money in it. Savings will save your ass more than you can imagine.
8. Get a tattoo, or seriously consider one. I have two, and while one is a silly tattoo I got after tailgating in college, the other one actually has sentimental value. But if your tattoos don’t, who cares? As long as it’s something you love and find beautiful, go for it. And if tattoos aren’t for you, that’s cool too.
9. Make an entire meal by yourself. Serve it to someone.
10. Own one very expensive item of clothing. Guard it with your life. Or at the very least, spend a significant amount of money on something important to you, whether that’s a handbag, a computer or a new pair of shoes. Don’t judge others for their spending habits, either.
11. Kiss a stranger.
12. Get lost in a city you don’t know intimately. Obviously we have Google Maps and smartphones to help us navigate new places, but getting lost is kind of fun. Wandering around NYC quasi-lost is one of my favorite things to do.
13. Change a diaper. If you haven’t done this by 27, who are you? Be responsible for a small child at some point in your life. It might help you decide whether or not you want to have kids of your own.
14. Get a “dream job” and get paid what you deserve. Landing a job you love and requesting to be paid what you’re worth is a HUGE step, and a scary one. Ask for a raise.
15. Have an orgasm. Know what gets you there, whether that’s with a partner or alone.
16. Lose a friend. Sometimes people grow apart. Sometimes lines get crossed. Either way, losing a friend is really, really hard, but it teaches you a lot about yourself and the way you relate to others.
17. Make a mistake. Let yourself be open to errors. Be vulnerable. Totally fail at something, and learn from it.
18. Fall in love. I don’t care if you fall in love with a person, a place or an object, but fall in love. Fall in love a lot, and do it without fear.
19. Take a road trip. Everyone deserves the Britney-in-“Crossroads” experience once in their lives.
20. Feel really, truly happy. Maybe that’s with someone else. Maybe that’s at Disney World. Be happy and don’t over analyze it. Relish it.
21. Lose a loved one. I don’t wish this on anyone, but grief is something we’ll all go through once or twice in our lives. It shows you how strong you really are.
22. See your favorite musical artist in concert. Pay whatever for it. It’s worth it, I promise.
23. Get into debt, then get out of it. Those credit cards you opened in your early twenties and went wild with? Pay them off. You’re gonna feel AWESOME when you do.
24. Do something out of your comfort zone. Even if it’s just karaoke.
25. Shoot a gun. It’s scary. It’s intense. It’s an experience everyone should have once, under the guidance of someone who knows what they’re doing with weapons.
26. Attend a close friend’s wedding. Weddings were boring when you were a kid, something to suffer through as a teen. But when your friends get married, you’re actually in on the action. You know they’re in love. You know this is the happiest day of your life. And you’re so happy for them! I always cry at weddings now.
27. Be a bridesmaid. The true test of a good friend is how good of a bridesmaid she is. It’s fun – pretty (I hope) dresses! – but it’s stressful and a lot of work. All of that stress fades, though, when you watch your girl walk down the aisle.