5 Things You Probably Won’t Accomplish By 25 (And That’s OK)

GIRLS / Amazon.com
GIRLS / Amazon.com
In August of 2009, I celebrated my 21st birthday. I had just begun my senior year of college, and I could finally legally drink. As far as I was concerned, the world was mine for the taking. Even though my confidence was at an all time high, I wanted to make sure that I stayed focused and goal oriented. After all, I could now walk into a bar or liquor store at any time, and the ability to get boozed up on a whim has been the downfall of many great men before me. With that in mind, I thought it would be a good idea to make a list of 25 things I wanted to accomplish by the end of my 25th year on earth.
While I have been able to cross off many of the goals on that list over the last 5 years, I have also had my share of letdowns. As my 26th birthday rapidly approaches, I would like to share 5 goals from that list that I am most disappointed I could not accomplish.

1. I have not yet had an intimate relationship with Jennifer Love Hewitt.

In the late ’90s and early 2000s, Jennifer Love Hewitt and her ample bosom were very influential in my transition from boy- to manhood. In 2009, I was finishing college, and in my mind there was nothing but potential for me on the horizon. I was just entering my prime. At the same time, Jennifer Love Hewitt had recently turned 30, which can be a life altering tragedy for a Hollywood starlet. She had recently called off her engagement, and was now dating Jamie Kennedy, of Son of the Mask. I figured that over the next 5 years I would accomplish great things and contribute to our world in ways that surpassed even revered American classics like Malibu’s Most Wanted or The Jamie Kennedy Experiment. With serendipity on my side, I knew if I could catch JLH on the right (vulnerable) night, I would be able to make some magic happen, and it would be the start of a beautiful romance. Fast forward to present day, and now she is married with a kid, and I’m here, writing about my failures.

At least things didn’t work out between her and Jamie Kennedy, right?

2. I have not yet published a “tell all” memoir.

I was certain that after spending 25 years on this planet, I would have accumulated so many fascinating life experiences and insights that I’d actually be doing a disservice to the world by not sharing them in my very own memoir. Telling my story wouldn’t just be an opportunity for me to reflect on all of my adventures and achievements. It would act as a delivery vehicle of hope, inspiration, and entertainment to anyone that might read it. However, instead of traveling the globe, creating beautiful works of art, or sharing groundbreaking ideas with society, over the last 5 years I found myself spending months at a time drinking Bourbon out of a plastic bottle while playing Tony Hawk Pro Skater 4 on a PC, or binge watching every episode of Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn on YouTube. During this time, it became clear, if I continued on with these activities, my writing will severely lack the same depth of experience or profundity present in works by fellow liquor enthusiasts such as Jack Kerouac or Hunter S. Thompson. Considering the current state of the literary industry, I think I may have to swallow my pride and explore the option of self-publishing my life’s story on the internet.

3. I failed to be included on any “25 Hottest Under 25” lists.

My mother has always told me that I am the most handsome boy she’s ever seen. Yet despite her reassurances, it’s become clear over the years that most other people do not hold the same opinion. And then something weird happened: in 2009, Shia LeBouf and Michael Cera were making these “25 Hottest Under 25” lists; and in my mind, the inclusion of these two rather homely, untraditionally handsome men set the bar to a pretty low, attainable level. Sure, I wasn’t blessed with the most sculpted physique or the strongest jaw line, and my teeth might be a little crooked, but within 5 years, I thought that I could really get my act together and have a legitimate shot at being included on one of these lists. Unfortunately, a steady diet of craft beer, bread, and cheese, combined with a total of zero major accomplishments since 2009 has resulted in me being perpetually overlooked and excluded by these list makers. By September it will be too late for me, and another one of my dreams will have died.

4. I have not yet completed the Blazin’ Challenge at Buffalo Wild Wings.

In the US, excelling at a food challenge is one of the coolest things you can possibly do. (Or in this case, the hottest!) If recorded on your cell phone and uploaded to the internet correctly, a solid display of eating prowess has the power to get you tens of thousands of likes on social media. These “feats of feast” have even turned Joey Chestnut into a bona fide American hero.

But tasting the heat of the Blazin’ Challenge wasn’t the only thing I desired; I wanted a taste of the adoration of my peers that comes along with completing it too. Overall, I attempted the challenge 3 times and on each of my first two attempts, I was nearly up to the task. I finished 10 wings on my first try, and 11 on the second. Then, on one horrific Sunday early in the 2012/2013 NFL season, my third attempt ended tragically. It went so poorly that I was forced to give up on this goal with nearly 2 years left to try and achieve it. On that day, as I strived for Blazin’ immortality, I fainted and then pooped myself a little, even though I had only finished 6 wings in 4 minutes. I had to be carried out of the restaurant by my friends, and was asked by restaurant management to never come back. The pain didn’t stop there, as I wound up suffering permanent damage to my taste buds as result of the incident. Cilantro, which I previously thought tasted like expired dish soap, is now actually edible with certain meals. My vision was also affected, and I have trouble distinguishing between the colors green and yellow. This has made both driving and celebrating St. Patrick’s Day extremely difficult in recent years.

5. I have not yet started a successful business.

In 2009, college graduation was rapidly approaching, but I was certain my entrepreneurial spirit would allow me to succeed in creating my own small business; I would be free from the tyranny of having to work for someone else! However, the economy was in shambles, and with student loan payments on the horizon, I knew I was fortunate when I secured employment with a strong company after graduating college. Then in 2011, after a couple years of drudging through the monotony of the “real world,” I finally believed I had an idea that would be my golden ticket to success. However, I was unable to secure a loan from a bank, so I was forced to take a loan from a local “investor” in order to get my passion project off the ground. Then, 6 months into the endeavor, I ran out of cash before my idea could really gain any traction, and I had to shut down the operation. From the outside, one might say that I made a glaring oversight when creating my business plan, but I still believe that the idea was just ahead of its time.

At that point, I was broke and unable to pay back my “investor,” who was a middle aged Albanian man. In order to settle my debt, from October of 2011 until May of 2013, I was forced to do the landscaping on his property and clean his house, where he lived by himself. The catch was that the uniform I was forced to wear consisted of only a tank top and a European style bathing suit. It was degrading and uncomfortable, but the way he looked at me while I worked was oddly flattering. These events certainly put a damper on my entrepreneurial spirit for a while, but in the end, I prefer to look at the whole thing as a character building experience.

Here’s to hoping these failures are only bumps in the road as I head into the next chapter of my life. TC mark

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