28 Little Lessons For Your 28th Year

Flickr / Silvia Sala
Flickr / Silvia Sala

Twenty-eight. Officially a late twenty-something. Saturn edging into return. Big changes, inside and out. 28 for 28, as a way to guide this coming year.

Your time is now, baby.

It always was.

1. Fall in love with taking care of yourself. Eat. Sleep. Love. There will be times you will, of course, forget that you’ve ever learned how your body needs to be nourished and ultimately you’ll gain a few pounds, or won’t work out, or skip eight hours a night, because you couldn’t not. That’s okay. Forgive yourself imperfection and then get back on the bandwagon. That’s what matters, love. NBD.

2. Lay down your own path like a big girl in charge of herself. Everyone knows that you can. You need to start believing it, too.

3. Boys – men – happen. Remember to keep casual sex respectful, because it is so much more enjoyable that way. And when the time comes that maybe – just maybe – there’s one worth becoming exclusive with, speak up. He’s not a mind reader.

4. Whilst we’re talking about respect, the jig is up: you can’t wait for people to treat you how you deserve to be treated. You have to either demonstrate your expectations, or scarier still: verbalise them. Weak people with bad energy respond badly to this. Those are the ones you bid ciao to. You won’t have lost anything.

5. What would Beyonce do?

6. SPOILER ALERT: It seldom looks how you thought it might. Repeat this to yourself until the end of all time.

7. You don’t have enemies. That’s in your imagination.

8. When your period is late they’ll be a part of you that wonders, “But… what if…?” You’ll be a mother, one day, if that’s what you want. The wait will be worth it.

9. Use a condom.

10. When somebody does something that touches you – stranger or friend – say so. Don’t take the kindness of others for granted, and be original with your praise. Everybody deserves that much.

11. Make a home that you love. Don’t get pissy when somebody forgets to wash up, or talks too loudly when they come in at night. The dishes will get washed, and you’ll fall back to sleep. Keep your perspective.

12. Not working out feels worse than actually lacing up your sneakers and just going on the goddamn run. Always.

13. Your biggest responsibilities are to the people you love most. Prioritise them accordingly. Everyone else has to come second, else you’ll go mad.

14. Everyone has an online myth and an offline truth. Learn the difference between your own – and let other people do whatever they have to do.

15. Switch your phone off between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m. and see if it makes a difference to how frazzled you feel. No judgment. Just see.

16. You need about 67% more time alone than you admit to yourself. Resolve to take a trip somewhere once a month, alone, to somewhere you have never been, even if it is just a new part of town. Do this for twelve months, and report back on how it makes you feel. Place your bets on “GLORIOUS” now.

17. Picture messages are the fastest, most effective way to say, “You’re on my mind.” Use them liberally.

18. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BE BROKEN TO BE INTERESTING.

19. Related: when somebody calls you inspiring/beautiful/talented, you can totally just say, “Oh! Thanks!” #noexcuses

20. Declare your intentions. Do it to yourself, and then do it to the people who matter to you. If you decide the people who matter to you are the whole goddamn Internet then sod it – post the weight loss pictures, or write about the boy. You’ve nothing to apologise for.

21. If he speaks in black and white and you talk rainbow, that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook on this one. He’ll push you to be clearer, to simplify and say precisely what you mean, and you should let him. You might learn something.

22. It’s probably the cheese giving you the acne. Sorry.

23. Start your days with what you love, and see how it transforms your relationship with “having enough time.” For me, it goes like this: 1. Write. 2. Sweat. 3. Everything else.

24. Saying no to others more often than you say yes could mean that you end up saying yes to yourself with greater ease. I’ve seen glimpses of this already – experiment with it. You feel like the most selfish person in the world when you do it, but it will get easier. Probably.

25. Be a documentarian: that’s how you draw your own narrative. Take the photos and write the notes and make everything a story for yourself. It will start to make sense.

26. You have parents, but you also have a mother, and a father. Keep those relationships separate, because it’s what makes them stronger. When you realise this it will be like lightening striking your brain.

27. Trust yourself. You only need ask the question once – if you keep talking, you won’t hear the answer. Ease off the gas.

28. Just show up. Above all, day after day, know that for all things it begins with just showing up. Do that, if you are ever in doubt. Sit at the computer, pull out your running shorts, pick up the phone. It starts with action. Show up. TC mark

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