21 Things I Have NOT Learned In My Twenties Hi Hello How Do I Learn Them

woman standing in sunlight
Ben White

1. How to stop telling people about something I’m determined to achieve, but with an inflection that makes it sound like a question? So that I’m not sounding too braggy or self-assured? And that I don’t make anybody uncomfortable with my determination?

2. How to ingest a dignified amount of food and drink at a Mexican restaurant.

3. How to explain to my fellow airplane passengers that if I’m in the middle seat, I get at least one of the armrests.

4. How to stop saying “so, yeah” at the end of a conversation because I feel like it’s my duty to fill the awkward pause.

5. How to just say “thank you” when I receive a compliment instead of my typical route of saying something chic like “thanks but NO THIS SWEATER IS ACTUALLY HIDEOUS AND ME AND THE SWEATER ARE UNDESERVING OF YOUR PRAISE.”

6. When to say “me and the sweater” and when to say “the sweater and I.”

7. How to be patient when someone is telling you a story and you can tell that certain parts are definitely superfluous and totally unrelated to whatever the big reveal will be but you’re trying to be better at listening and being present but then you get distracted thinking about how you’re trying to be more present in your relationships and then you start grading yourself on how well or how poorly you’ve achieved that goal this month and then you start thinking about how fun it is to write down goals all prettily in a notebook but then how boring it becomes when you actually have to try to do them every day anyways what was Blair saying about her cousin’s bridal shower.

8. How to stop convincing myself that I will somehow get somewhere at least six minutes before the GPS says I will get there and then smugly deciding I have six more minutes than I actually do when I’m getting ready.

9. How to admit that I drink La Croix without also feeling the need to say I’m basic or I’m the worst.

10. How to stop saying “no, I’m not mad” in that high-pitched voice instead of just saying “yeah I’m mad.”

11. How to take a shower and then not lay on my bed doing nothing for 16 minutes afterwards.

12. How to stop having arguments with people in my head and then forgetting that the arguments didn’t actually happen in real life and then accidentally treating those people as if those arguments did happen and acting self-congratulatory about my imaginary victory.

13. How to say something other than “gooooooooood, bussssyyyyyy!” whenever someone says “How have you been?”

14. How to say “bless you” with confidence when a stranger sneezes, instead of just muttering it to myself in a way where if they were expecting a bless you from me, they could detect it, but if they thought saying bless you was weird, my muttering was vague enough that they couldn’t assume I said it.

15. How to snack on one thing and enjoy it instead of needing to snack on six different things in eight minutes

16. How to use dry shampoo an appropriate amount of the time.

17. How to stop laugh-saying “sorry!” when someone runs into ME.

18. How to think of things to say other than “look at me writing in this journal” whenever I’m writing in a journal.

19. How to not be a little bit annoying when someone is apologizing to me.

20. How to not feel like Venmo is Monopoly money.

21. How to stop being SHOCKED every time I wake up hungover after drinking two glasses of wine. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

I’m a staff writer for Thought Catalog. I like comedy and improv. I live in Chicago. My Uber rating is just okay.

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