This is a list slated to have been posted when I turned 26, a few weeks ago. I spent my birthday on board a plane, and then shaken (angrily) awake for a surly dinner—sorry parents!—in Chicago, at a restaurant where they made their garlic bread with truffle oil.
Suffice to say that I have been hard-pressed to think of twenty-five actually useful things that I’ve learned in the past twenty-five years, or approx. 9,125 days, that weren’t just vague and uplifting reminders unnecessary for me to repeat. I also have been thinking about my place in the world and how I am pretty much ill-equipped to dole out any sort of advice to anyone. But then I realized that this didn’t have to be beneficial advice (hah). I could just share some things that I found to be true, for me, personally. Emphasis on personally.
After much eyebrow-furrowing and mental filing away, it is now nearing the end of October, and I think I finally have my list of 25.
1. You will always find an excuse. Don’t make them.
2. Your brain is not wired to the Internet. Take tangible note of important things because you WILL forget.
3. Trying to please everyone doesn’t work, and you end up hating yourself in the process.
4. The most valuable currency in life is kindness.
5. The world doesn’t owe you shit. Owning this truth makes it easier to accept other truths.
6. Your opinion on yourself and your life matters more than anyone else’s.
7. Blood is not always thicker than water.
8. Dwelling on problems is not the same thing as fixing them.
9. Second-guessing often leads to inaction.
10. Only take the time to say things that are worth saying. Keep the dumb stuff to yourself.
“You must understand, young Hobbit, it takes a long time to say anything in Old Entish. And we never say anything unless it is worth taking a long time to say.” — Treebeard, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
12. There is always another way.
14. Try, try, try.
15. It is worth truly getting to know yourself.
16. You have to make space in your life for art and dessert.
17. It is okay to change your mind.
19. Know when to quit.
20. If there is a problem and someone asks you what it is, don’t say “Nothing.”
21. Passive aggression is both unhelpful and not cute. So quit it.
22. Don’t be careless with money.
23. Say “sorry,” even if you don’t feel like it. (But only if you have something to be sorry about, and if you are truly sorry about it.)
24. Time is easy to waste, so be careful what/who/where you spend it on.
25. Turning 26 isn’t that scary. I think.
Obviously, I have way more than 25 things I have learned in this dinky little life of mine, but I hope this list helps someone else figure some stuff out.
In other news: the return of the journal has finally come and I have been deliberately trying to write again. It’s so weird that I even have to pretty much force myself to write when I used to just do this allll day, but it’s a start. It’s something I think I have to do for myself because I’ve been forgetting huge chunks of my life literally immediately after they happen, and I think that internalizing and processing these things would probably help me make sense of things. Or not, I could be wrong.
(This is why I shouldn’t make these lists. I am really not the person for that job.)