There are basic things everyone learns when growing up no matter what country, continent, or planet they reside in; don’t run with scissors; remember to say thank you; and swinging back on your chair can, and does, lead to injuries. Though they are important, there are more important things everyone should know by the time they reach the ripe ol’ age of 23 and a half…
1. Honesty is NOT always the best policy. If you are running late to meet a friend telling them truthfully that you just weren’t in the mood to rush may cause offense, a little white lie and shifting the blame to delayed public transport will leave you out of the dog house.
2. Leftover pizza is better than freshly cooked pizza. This also applies to Chinese takeaway.
3. You will never master the messy-but-cute-unbrushed-hair-look. This is reserved solely for models and the Olsen twins.
4. Sometimes friends tell you the truth and it isn’t what you want to hear. Just because they are your friends doesn’t mean they agree with you, nor does it mean they don’t know better than you on some things. Listen to them, they’re usually right.
5. Shopping regrets are major. Buy the shoes. Buy the jacket. Buy the super cool thing you’ve just seen in your favorite store. You’ll regret it the next day if you don’t.
6. Coffee is a big deal. By the time you reach 23 and a half, coffee will play a huge part in your life, this will probably only increase as you get older.
7. Putting things off and procrastinating doesn’t get you out of doing things you don’t want to do. This came as a huge shock, believe me, but things you don’t want to do won’t go away on their own so getting them out of the way first is sometimes best.
8. Going out four nights a week can’t last forever. Though fun throughout college, going out four nights a week becomes a challenge when you actually have to get up for work five mornings out of seven. This is made worse by hangovers that seem to last for two days the second you hit 23.
9. Making sure you are happy should always come first. You are no use to anyone if you are down and miserable all the time, if something isn’t making you happy you are the only person that can change it.
10. You don’t suddenly become a grown up and have a Friends style apartment in the city waiting for you. Nor do you hit your 20s and suddenly live opposite your best friends. Living with your parents is real and it’s happening to most of us.
11. Binge-watching television IS a hobby; even if people tell you otherwise.
12. Being 23 and a half doesn’t mean you get to hang out with your friends whenever you like. Work commitments and early mornings mean it’s just not plausible to spend every night catching up with your friends and doing something fun. We have numerous US sitcoms to blame for this misconception.
13. Your Hogwarts’ acceptance letter is not over a decade late. The postal service may be flawed at times and letters do get lost on the odd occasion but, taking into account just how long you have been waiting plus the fact that Dumbledore would have stepped in at some point and sent another letter, you are not a wizard and you are not going to Hogwarts.
14. Sleep is actually quite important and it does make a difference to the next day.
15. Gut instincts are a thing and they are usually right. Trust yourself.
16. Naps aren’t just for babies and the elderly. Sometimes some of your biggest problems can be solved by an afternoon nap.
17. Student loans don’t disappear. That money you borrowed to get the all-important university degree that you have yet use? Yeah, they want that money back.
18. The older you get, the quicker time passes. It’s hard to believe it’s already September when it feels like a matter of weeks ago it was almost Christmas; the fact of the matter is as you get older, the year passes quicker.
19. The next ‘big’ birthday is 30. Sigh.
20. Winged eyeliner doesn’t get any easier. Practice nor age will help with your winged eyeliner woes. Face it, they’re going to be uneven 90% of the time.
21. Real life isn’t always fun and games. Paying bills, organizing your finances and trying to keep a work/life balance gets in the way of your 24/7 plans for fun.
22. Having a degree doesn’t mean everything. Most people don’t end up using their university degree when starting their career and loads of people start a career that has nothing to do with what they studied. Degrees are important, but they’re not everything.
23. Friends come and go. The friends you had at 16 aren’t always going to be the ones you have in your 20s, but that doesn’t matter. Friendship shouldn’t be based on who you’ve known the longest, it should be based on who you can call at 3am when you’ve forgotten your keys and can’t get home.
23.5. Being 23 and a half isn’t as old as it sounds.