- You’re going to look old as shit in a few years if you don’t get it together. Excessive drinking and little sleep means you’re going to be channeling Chelsea Handler’s visage very soon. It’s cute to look like shit when you’re 24 because if you just put a little bit of effort in, you can make yourself cute again. “Wow, there’s youthful and fresh skin underneath all of this grime. Who knew?” That changes as you get older. Every line, every life scar starts to stick like glue and you can no longer wash a hangover off of your face with some organic soap you bought at Whole Foods when you were high.
- In case you haven’t noticed, life is expensive. There are bills for your bills. You get charged a hundred dollars for just thinking that you have a toothache. Your job at Anthropologie is fine for now. Your expenses consist of your $400 a month rent, your $600 a month alcohol habit, and your growing dependency to Chipotle but it’s time for you to think in the long-term. What can give you benefits and health coverage? What job will pay you if you happen to get hurt or sick? Not Anthro! They’ll just give you an empire waist dress, a tofu burrito and write you a get well card.
- It’s fun to see yourself mature! There’s always this fear that you’ll be the last person at the party. You’ll be the guy urging people to do shots when they’re like “um, no. I have to get up at six in the morning.” Don’t be That Guy. Become the guy who’s afraid of That Guy.
- Growing up means liking yourself more and more. You’ve been with yourself long enough to feel comfortable in your own skin. Self-respect can be something that’s innate but it can also develop with age. The awful things you let people do to you when you were seventeen should make you cringe. If it doesn’t, you might still be letting them do it.
- You can have a real relationship with someone. Your mind can handle it. “Why aren’t we fighting every second and having mind-blowing hate sex? Oh right, because I actually like them. Weird.” When you’re younger, you equate love with mind games, manipulation, and experiencing insane highs and lows. It makes sense because that’s where your head is at when you’re young. I mean, how can you love someone for real when you’re batshit insane? Growing up, however, means letting good people into your life and letting healthy relationships happen
- Once you understand that you don’t have to get wasted, sleep with a random, and vomit in a trashcan to have a successful Friday night, you can actually get the good kind of drunk and have the good kind of fun. When people had Walks of Shame in college, they were actually secretly happy about it. Shaming was seen as a good thing. “Wait, you hooked up with three guys, took E, and don’t know how you got home? Ugh, I’m so jealous. I wish I had gone out with you guys.”
- You can grow up anytime you want. You can do it at 20, 25, or 40. It doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with age. Growing up just means deleting things and people who are bad for you. It means taking care of business, taking care of yourself, and not repeating the same mistakes. Everyone has their own growing up to do. It does not mean you have to drink Earl Grey every night, get a cat and be in bed by 11. Jesus, that would suck.
- You can attract better friendships. F.Y.I. your party friends probably don’t give a shit about you. Have you ever seen them in the daylight? They’re not the people you call when stuff gets real anyway. They’re the people you call when you want to avoid everything that’s real. You want to have a fake time? Call your fake friends.
- You’ll be happier. You won’t cry over something as silly as an ignored phone call, won’t walk around feeling like you could break at any moment. When you grow up, things are more steady. No more extremes. Things are just good.
- You can stop worrying that you’re never going to get your shit together. You did it! You didn’t get swallowed up by the bad things. U R A 20-SOMETHING SURVIVOR.
Trace the scars life has left you. It will remind you that at one point, you fought for something. You believed.
“You are the only person who gets to decide if you are happy or not—do not put your happiness into the hands of other people. Do not make it contingent on their acceptance of you or their feelings for you. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if someone dislikes you or if someone doesn’t want to be with you. All that matters is that you are happy with the person you are becoming. All that matters is that you like yourself, that you are proud of what you are putting out into the world. You are in charge of your joy, of your worth. You get to be your own validation. Please don’t ever forget that.” — Bianca Sparacino
Excerpted from The Strength In Our Scars by Bianca Sparacino.