1. You don’t have to “make” it in your 20s/you have your whole life to get ahead.
Have you seen those people who flat-line at domesticity and a semi-decent salary in their 30s? Yeah, those are the people who followed this advice. I’m well-aware that I’m not going to be Beyoncé tomorrow. But, I am still going to work my sweet ass off because mediocrity is a fate worse than failure.
2. “You’ll understand/change your mind when you’re older.”
If any sentence includes “You’ll understand when you’re older” or “When I was your age,” please think twice before letting the sentence escape your mouth, you old fuck.
3. Enjoy being single; you’ll find love when you least expect it.
Stop any sentences that sound like the beginning of a Carrie Bradshaw column. Please and thank you. And, also, this sentence does nothing for you when you’re curled up into a ball of feelings, drinking red wine and belting out Adele. Being single is like being in a relationship: there are good days and there are bad days. There are times when you enjoy it and times when you would like a significant other. But, just no more of the amorphous and ambiguous, “Don’t worry, he/she will show up when you least expect it.” Gives me too many visions of someone materializing from a cloud of smoke a la “I Dream of Jeannie”.
4. Settle down.
Or, any other iteration of “Your clock is ticking, go make babies, go find a husband, wonk, wonk, wonk.” No thanks. Get out of here, Susan Patton.
5. Get a mentor.
I have mentors. And, I still absolutely hate this advice. Someone mentoring you is a very organic process, born out of a natural rapport you have with a person and your respect for them, their work, etc. You don’t just go pick out a mentor the way you would a cucumber in the produce aisle.
6. This is the best decade of your life; enjoy it while it lasts.
I’m looking forward to my life consistently getting better, not worse. More earning power. Divorcing Sallie Mae. Jumping on yachts and other fancy shit. Witnessing weddings and births (weddings in person, births…not so much.) I crave the day where I can write books on top of books. I am looking forward to a lot of goodness in this life, not just in this one decade.
7. Follow your passion.
Please, cut this bullshit and cut it now. Telling someone to follow their passion is a piece of recycled advice born out of complete privilege. What a wonderful world it would be if we could all work our dream jobs and paint ribbons in the sky. Now, let me introduce you to my little friend called student loans. Right next to her sits my other friend, the exorbitant cost of living, particularly on the East coast. This is America, not Narnia. Often times, you have to keep a roof over you head by working a colorless nine to five while nursing your passion on the side. You hope and wish on shooting stars that the rubber eventually meets the road, also known as your passion becomes your full-time gig. But, in the mean time, get those checks. Be that corporate drone by day and that creative spirit by night. You are no more or no less for a hybrid kind of existence.