23 Lessons I Wish I’d Learned Before Turning 23

In the grand scheme of things, I am but a mere fetus impersonating a quasi-functional adult. I recently turned yet another insubstantial post-21-pre-30 age, and I’m the first to admit I still don’t know jack-squat about anything that falls outside the realm of what I might be eating in the next two hours. However, it is with this lack of worldly knowledge in mind, dear reader, which I impart the following gems.

Some of these may seem incredibly obvious to you, and if so, congratulations for figuring your shit out so promptly. But some of us are a little slower than others, mkay, and to my fellow strugglers, I hope this helps you come to a profound life-changing conclusion about yourself. Or at least convinces you to never take advice from me ever again.

So, here we go: 23 tidbits of wisdom from a girl who, admittedly, couldn’t decide between a burrito or brownies for dinner.

    1. You don’t have to have everything figured out just yet, but being a “twenty something” isn’t an excuse for being totally incompetent at life. Stop using youth and opportunity as a shield, ya weenie.

    2. If the person you consider a total stud muffin treats you like a week old bagel, move on and make room for something/one else. A chocolate croissant, maybe. Those are bomb. “Unrequited love” is not romantic or selfless. It’s painful.

    3.Tequila is not your friend. Stop trusting that conniving whore.

    4. Closely related: being “so drunk” is never an excuse for being a dick. Getting it, maybe; being one, not so much.

    5. Your family is more than a source of amusing anecdotes and free lodging.

    6. Friends will come in and out of your life as long as you’ll let them. Stop crying next to the toilet over the ones who couldn’t give less of a shit, and don’t take the ones trying to get you out of the damn bathroom for granted.

    7. Not looking at your bank statement doesn’t change the fact that it exists and that you are, indeed, broke. The world sadly does not run on cuddles and puppy kisses—paper & plastic help get things done.

    8. Getting straight A’s is a moderately sweet accomplishment, but is also socially unacceptable to brag about, and therefore neurotic and useless to anyone but your parents.

    9. It’s OK to cry. Or to get overly excited. Or to be abso-fucking-lutely livid. Being sensitive and emotional can only cripple you if you let it.

    10. Exploring your sexuality should feel amazing, physically and emotionally. If it doesn’t, switch partners or learn how to get the job done yourself.

    11. Friday nights spent binging on Parks and Rec may not be as memorable as raging in the city with your peers, but sometimes you just gotta treat yo self.

    12. Life is too short to listen to the mediocre songs on shuffle, or to be embarrassed by your favorite band. Think of this as a metaphor for everything beyond music and mind = blown.

    13. Save your apologies for when you actually mean them. Alternatively, avoid doing things you won’t want to own up to and subsequently have to grovel for in the first place.

    14. Try new things once or twice, if only to be able to confidently say, “Nah, I’m good” the next time someone has an idea/activity/incredibly stupid suggestion you’re not into.

    15. Using your grandma’s imaginary death as an excuse to leave work during a completely unrelated break down is a sure fire way to get a reserved seat in Hell, and will probably bite you in the ass down the line. Find another way to play hooky.

    16. Even if your boss is, like, so totally groovy, establish boundaries at work, lest you be stuck listening to monologues on menstruation or spellchecking their online dating profile.

    17. Eating an apple for lunch is not a sustainable diet, and you will end up waiting crankily at Taco Bell wanting to consume copious amounts of fake cheese. Feed yourself properly and be nice to your body.

    18. You’re never too old for pimples, or too young for grey hairs and deep-set wrinkles. The human species is kinda ugly. Deal with it.

    19. No one else is as obsessed with your “failures” as you are. And if they are, then… wow. What assholes. Avoid those people entirely.

    20. Nothing—and I mean nothing—is permanent.

    21. The severity of other people’s problems does not belittle or inflate the importance of your own.

    22. Laundry is never as daunting as it seems. Wash your sheets already.

And, last but not least,

    23. If you’re not doing the person or the things you love in life, what exactly are you doing? Priorities, man. Work on ’em.

Bonus #24: ignore this entire post and learn your own silly lessons. Your mom told baby you not to touch the hot stove countless times, and I bet your dumb ass still did it. We learn by doing. Go out and make your own mistakes, no shame.


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