While I still hold steady to my sentiments from last year regarding birthdays (and how no one really cares when it's not their own), this is probably an appropriate day to reflect back on that list of cynicism. Tongue and cheek aside, the truth is that I actually do care about your anniversary and dog and baby. I want to see pictures of your pet, especially if you dress it in costume. Of your kid too– but only if there's a noticeable physical difference between the last photo I saw (or if he/she is dressed in costume). Your big win in Vegas? Take those casinos for every dime they took from you! And teach me how to play Craps.
I've officially entered that capital T true period of young adulthood when there's just no turning back:
- That career path needs to have been paved (even if it's just a few square feet).
- If you're not financially independent by now...well you should be wanting to be.
- Irresponsible behavior catches up to you in every corner of your life, so just take responsibility.
- You have a better sense of what your body can and can't handle; and know what consequences lie ahead.
Since writing a birthday post on your own blog is plenty self-serving, I thought I'd gather some advice from some of the wiser and older people in my life, asking what they'd like to tell someone in their twenties.
Here's what they had to say:
"Continue learning as much as you can. No matter the subject."
"Someone's health is at the end what counts most, even if it isn't obvious at that age.
"Live life! But do it without developing credit card debt. If you can't afford it dont do it- except maybe one trip you can't refuse- but have a payment plan set before you make the commitment."
"Date! I don't mean be a slut but meet people! Worrying about getting married/having kids is for your 30's- trust me. If you don't think so, your family, friends with kids, strangers and especially your mom's friends will remind you (because they pray for you)."
"Live somewhere else! Move from your hometown- for AT LEAST a year. It's good for you."
"Explore- life's best lessons are from experiences."
"'You are going to die' – Place this FACT somewhere near your bed so that it is one of the first things you see every morning. If you really take this fact in and don't just ignore it, it may help clarify your priorities. Is posting that selfie with smoochie lips really going to further your goals and aspirations? Is doing that dead-end job so you can live off your parents a little longer really going to make you feel good in the long run? Are you keeping that guy/gal around for the right reasons? OR are you living consciously and choosing your direction so that when the big moment comes - either by accident, sickness, foul play, or natural causes - you aren't really really f**king sorry you didn't turn off Candy Crush Saga and solve the environmental crises that are destroying all our quality of lives. Or whatever really rocks your socks."
"You are not alone. Someone somewhere has experienced exactly what you are going through and someone after you will experience exactly what you are going through. FIND those people. Learn from your predecessors and then pass it on."
"If you are going to complain, make it funny. Yes you need to vent, but have the courtesy that most people will find your complaining or annoying or boring so give them something in return for their effort."
"Fix your bad habits NOW. It's much harder when you have REAL responsibilities, like children, mortgages and ailing parents."
"Get over yourself and smile. You are young, healthy and can do whatever the hell you want and look good doing it. Enjoy it - soak it up!"
"If you are a female, don't dress like a hoochie mama. Men will treat you with more respect and women will like you more. Trust that your beauty is evident. No need to use a sledgehammer."
"Im terrible at this stuff – how about, 'Get over yourself and realize you are nothing but an ant in this world and a microbe in the universe.' – it helps me to think this way and keep it all in perspective but maybe it depresses people, I don’t know."
"There are so many things I tell my younger cousins! But I think the one thing that I always tell them no matter what and will one day encourage my nieces and nephews and my own children to do, is to travel and live somewhere other than home! Explore and experience as many new and different places as possible. Travel all over America, travel abroad, study abroad, take an internship in a big city if you grew up in the country and one in a rural setting if you grew up in the city, spend a summer working with children. Get out of your comfort zone and experience as many new cultures as you can. If afterwards you decide that home is the place for you, great, now you know without a shadow of a doubt."
"I can't express enough how my travels have changed and shaped my life and have made me the strong confident (my family would say crazy) woman I am today. If I could go back and redo my 20s, the only thing I would change would be to travel more and start sooner."
"Outwork everyone else and you will succeed."
“Find ten minutes in the morning to meditate and ten minutes before you go to bed."
"Regarding careers: "When you don't know what to do just try anything. You may be lucky and stumble upon something you love to do; worst case scenario you can at least rule something out."
"The most valuable thing you take through life and follows you wherever you go is your reputation. You only get one, so do your best to protect it."
"Everything is better in the morning!"