Usually when someone makes a list like this they have one piece of advice for each year they’ve been alive, but let’s be honest: I learned very little in the first ten years of my life except all of the lyrics to every Spice Girls, BSB and Hanson song. Also, 26 pieces of advice would be way too long and you would fall asleep half way through. I want to impart wisdom, not bore you to tears. So here goes!
1. IT’S ABOUT QUALITY, NOT QUANTITY.
I mostly just mean this in reference to friendship, not alcohol (because I am way too cheap to buy expensive liquor). When you’re young everything seems to be measured by quantity. You want to have more friends on your Facebook list than other people, you want to have a birthday party with more people than that girl you don’t like who only had 30 friends show up. It’s apparently some sort of testament to who you are as a person. But then, as you get a little older, you realize it’s not about the numbers, rather it’s about the type of people you surround yourself with. And then you delete 400 people from your facebook friends list because you don’t want those random acquaintances from high school seeing all of your photos. Just make sure you have a few friends (or even just one) who understands you, let’s you be yourself, supports you, and knits you hats for Christmas so you don’t have to keep buying winter accessories. You will seriously save a ton of money.
2. IT’S OKAY TO BE SILLY.
Some people take themselves way too seriously. They think being an adult means you can’t find things funny anymore, or that you have to always look deep in thought and slightly perturbed about NASDAQ plummeting 3 points in the market. Gross. If that’s what being an adult is I want nothing to do with it. I want to be a professional at work and then I want to go home and watch The Mindy Project and dance around to my happy pop songza playlist. I want to watch videos of cute animals because they make me laugh. You’re still allowed to have fun when you’re an adult. You can have a water gun fight with your friends, play board games or pretend you have a British accent while walking around museums. If being silly doesn’t appeal to you then I’m not sure why you’re even reading this blog.
3. BE CAREFUL WHEN MIXING ALCOHOL.
There should be a public service announcement on NBC with a celebrity just saying “Beer before liquor, you’ve never been sicker. Liquor before beer, you’re in the clear.” Don’t forget that. Someone took the time to come up with that rhyme for a reason: it’s true.
4. STOP CARING WHAT OTHER PEOPLE THINK.
When I was younger I would go through these phases where I would be embarrassed to be seen at the cinema with my mom on a Friday night. And now I look back on that and I think that’s total bullshit. My mom is really cool and a lot of fun to hang out with. I should never have skipped a chance to do something fun with my mom just because I worried that the popular kids in high school would see me with her and make fun of me for being lame and not having friends. You will always be concerned by what other people think, and that’s fine to a certain degree. But when it stops you from doing the things you want to do, remind yourself that it’s your life and you can live it how you please (as long as you don’t take that saying as far as that creepy old man in Kevin Smith’s Tusk).
5. DON’T PRETEND TO LIKE THINGS JUST TO IMPRESS SOMEONE.
It’s just not cool. Want to know what is cool, though? Confidence. Just because my boyfriend loves The Smiths and Oasis doesn’t mean I’m not going to listen to my entire Hilary Duff discography when I feel like dancing on a Friday night. So don’t always dress in yellow when you want to dress in gold. Just do what makes you happy, whether it’s listening to Hilary Duff, watching soap operas, reading smut, or wearing a Krusty the Clown t-shirt even though your girlfriend hates it. Everyone likes something lame.
6. ONE PERSON CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE.
Don’t hold back from trying to make a difference in the world because you worry that one person can’t make much of a difference on their own. Yeah well, if everyone thought like that great things would never happen. Einstein wouldn’t have created whatever it is that E=MC2 created, Jesus wouldn’t have cured all those lepers, and Arrested Development never would have come back to Netflix. And that’s a world I would never want to live in. So keep doing what you’re doing and tell yourself you are making a difference. The world needs people like you (to bring back Jericho for another season).
7. DON’T CHEAP OUT WHEN BUYING TIGHTS.
Sometimes tights are the bane of my existence. Bright colourful tights seem to be invincible and last forever rip-free, but any time you buy a black pair that you need for a fancy business meeting it tears two minutes after you put them on. And while there’s great truth in the advice to use clear nail polish to stop a run, it’s probably better advice to fork over the money for a good pair of tights. American Apparel tights are great. Just don’t get them in the clearance bin at Wal-Mart. And put them in a mesh bag when you’re washing them so they don’t get tangled around that thingy in the middle of the washing machine that spins. There’s no way they will survive that.
8. LAUGH OFTEN.
I sound like a tacky wall decal quote above someone’s living room sofa right now, but I mean it. Bad things are bound to happen in life, no one is immune from shit hitting their fan, but it’s how you deal with a bad situation that shows your true character. You’re allowed to be sad sometimes, but try your best to be positive. If you keep your sense of humour, no matter what crappy things happen to you, you can get through it. Laughter is the best medicine, and trust me, I’ve tried a lot of medicine. I know that laughter doesn’t cure cancer, but it does help you focus on the good things in life instead of dwelling on the bad. Watch funny movies and read funny books. It’s therapeutic.
9. YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE FAMOUS TO HAVE A FULFILLING LIFE.
When I was younger I thought the only thing that mattered in life was being famous. I wanted to be on Days of Our Lives and then retire from soap operas to write my own tv shows, and I wanted to wine and dine with my celeb best friends. But that’s not really important. Life is about more than having a celebrity re-tweet something witty you say on Twitter. As long as you are creating, and doing something you are passionate about, it doesn’t matter if it makes you famous or not. As my corny dad would say, “it’s about the journey, not the destination.”
10. BUY AN IRON AND LEARN HOW TO IRON YOUR CLOTHES.
I’m guilty of being that girl who puts her blouse in the dryer for ten minutes to de-wrinkle it before a meeting, but it never really works the way you want it to. It’s not that hard to buy an iron and learn how to iron your shirts. I’m sure there are a million Youtube video tutorials. Someday you will find yourself on a business trip with no access to a dryer and your shirt will be wrinkly from the flight. Educate yourself on how to use that iron in the top of your closet. Don’t be like me and have to get your coworkers to iron your clothes for you. That’s just embarrassing. But no matter what your methods of dewrinklification are (if an iron just frightens you too much) just make sure you do SOMETHING to make your clothes look presentable.
11. BEING WEIRD IS COOL, EMBRACE IT.
Thanks to people like Tina Fey, being a weird and awkward female is super trendy right now. This works out really well for me because I am an extremely strange human being. As Luke Wilson said in The Family Stone, “let your freak flag fly.” Don’t hide the fact that you are weird, because the things that make you different are definitely the best things about you. So just do you. Unless you’re an asshole, then change your personality entirely.
12. ACTUALLY PUT EFFORT INTO JOB INTERVIEWS.
I used to be a manager and I participated in job fairs where I met a hundred different people in the run of a day and had to decide if they were the right fit for my company. It truly amazed me how many people showed up in jeans and baggy shirts. One girl had a black t-shirt on that said “Wild” across her chest. They seemed terrified when I extended my hand for a handshake (one guy actually fist bumped me instead) and then sat down and proceeded to be as uninteresting as possible. A JOB INTERVIEW IS YOUR OPPORTUNITY TO SHOW PEOPLE THAT YOU ARE WORTH THEIR TIME AND MONEY. Show up early, learn how to give a firm handshake, put on a nice collared shirt and dress pants, and confidently explain what’s so great about you. Do some research about the company before your interview and throw out some facts while answering your questions. Employers love that. And when you’re asked about why you are leaving your last employer don’t take that as an opportunity to trash talk them. It doesn’t impress anyone. Use real life examples when you are asked questions about your capability to perform a task. And when your potential employer asks you why they should hire you, don’t just shrug and say “Idunno.”
13. TRAVEL AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE.
Some people think traveling takes way too much money so it’s impossible for them to do, that’s just not true. Budget traveling is just as much fun as luxury traveling (I say that as if I have ever known what luxury travel is like) and it can be easy to save for. Instead of spending all of your money on stuff, why not spend it on experiences? You can’t take that 75″ smart tv to the grave with you, but you can look back on your life and be flooded with amazing memories of seeing the world. Try new things. Get out of your comfort zone. You can really learn a lot about yourself when you find yourself in an entirely foreign culture with an open mind. I seriously cannot say enough good things about traveling.
14. IT’S OKAY TO HAVE CAKE FOR BREAKFAST.
Nutritionists probably don’t agree with this, but I’m just letting you know that I, personally, will not judge you if you want to eat a piece of cake for breakfast. I did it yesterday.
15. YOU ARE THE STAR IN THE MOVIE THAT IS YOUR LIFE-DON’T ACT LIKE A SUPPORTING ROLE.
I believe the cool old guy in The Holiday said this to Kate Winslet and it really resonated with me. You are the star of your life. It is seen through your eyes. You are the hero or the heroine (hopefully not the villain) so it is okay to act like it. You deserve to chase your dreams. You deserve to get the girl or guy. Don’t just act like a supporting character in the movie of your friend’s life without trying to get your own spin-off. Don’t just be the girl who shows up at the gym only to give advice to the lead female about how she can totally get this guy to break up with her in ten days so she can write an article about it for her magazine. Be the lead role! But don’t be super selfish and make everything about you either. If everyone has this mentality your best friend will be the lead role too, so you’ll have to play the supporting role in her life. It sounds confusing, I know. I’m really bad at this advice thing. I drew a pie chart to see if I can make it less confusing.
Okay, still just as confusing. Pie charts are hard. How about this: just take charge of your life, believe you deserve the things you want, and don’t be a dick to your friends.
16. READ A BOOK EVERY ONCE AND AWHILE, FOR GOD SAKES.
I have actually met a lot of people whose response to my question “what is your favourite book?” is “oh, I don’t really read.” HOW IS THAT EVEN A THING?! I would seriously be super embarrassed if I told someone I didn’t read books. You are doing yourself a great disservice if you don’t let yourself get lost in some fictional world every once and awhile, or learn about real life things that have happened to other people. Reading is such an amazing thing, and it makes you so much smarter and someone I would actually want to have a conversation with. So don’t underestimate the power of a good book. And if you actually have trouble reading due to some sort of learning disability then I won’t actually get mad at you for not reading books but you should seriously check out audio books. Books are the best.