As a 22-years-old, I have changed from college student to a mildly functional adult. This age is typically a transformative and influential one in most people, just ask Taylor Swift. These are the 22 most important things I came across on my 22nd year on earth.
1. Always put a bottle of water next to your bed after a night of drinking.
2. Write thank you notes for gifts, great teachers, and spare couches that friends let you crash on. You have no idea how much they’ll mean to people.
3. Celebrate the people you love on their birthday. Don’t just write on their wall. Give them a call or a text, and always send them something, even if it’s just a card. Actions speak louder than Facebook notifications.
4. Don’t worry about being popular. The most popular people I know are often also the fakest. If you’re appealing to everyone, then you’re just too generic. Be authentically you. No, not everyone will want to be your best friend, but your best friends will be there forever.
5. That being said, cut out the people in your life who are bringing you down or bring negative energy. Only surround yourself with loving, ambitious, positive people. It will serve you better in the long run.
6. Read a book. I promise you you’ll remember quickly that you love it. There’s a muscle that you can only exercise through reading, so close out Netflix for an hour and crack open a novel.
7. Don’t gossip. Nothing good can come from it. If you’re sending out that negativity, it will find it’s way back to you. There’s nothing wrong with venting every now and then, but try your hardest to not be mean-spirited.
8. You know that tattoo that you want but are too afraid to get? Just get it. Spontaneity makes for a well-spent youth. Don’t be afraid that one day you won’t like it, you like it now. And with the risk of sounding foolishly nonchalant, it’s just your body.
9. Don’t cry over fuckboys. You miss companionship, not the evil, manipulative man child who toyed with you.
10. Have a five-year plan, but don’t set it in stone. Be flexible. If there’s a chance to run off to Europe for a year, take it. It won’t be possible when you’re middle-aged with three kids in middle-school and a full-time career.
11. Never leave a friend in a compromising situation. If your girl is drunk as the day is long, don’t let her stay at the party, sleep with the guy, or do anything on social media. Having your friends’ back is more important than what might potentially be a funny story.
12. Go the speed limit. Speeding tickets just aren’t worth it.
13. If a boy has a girlfriend and he’s not acting like it, don’t humor him. Boys with girlfriends stay with the girlfriends, and I promise you, you don’t want the snap chats that will follow.
14. Wear sunscreen. Gorgeous at 73 is more important than tanorexic at 22.
15. Tip everyone in the service industry.
16. Post the selfie. There’s nothing wrong with feeling your look, and your kids will love looking back at you in your selfie-driven youth.
17. Who gives a shit if people say you’re being basic? Get the damn Starbucks and wear your Uggs. Starbucks is delicious and Uggs are comfortable. Don’t let the haters get you down.
18. Find your grown-up drink. You’re not in college anymore so you can’t get away with a Powerade and Cheap Vodka. It’s not a real drink. Try a whiskey sour: it’s adult and badass, and also delicious.
19. Keep in touch with your professors that you loved. They shaped who you are and therefore play a role in whatever you become and whoever you are. Show them your appreciation.
20. Go on a girls’ trip with your friends. To somewhere new. You are so young and you’re free and you should go do something crazy and exuberant.
21. Friends don’t let friends walk around with smudged eyebrows.
22. Always eat cake on your birthday. Fuck the diets.