25 Things I’ve Learned by 25

Now that I’ve tricked people into thinking they clicked on an Odyssey Online article with that headline and stock photo . . .

I turn 25 in a week and, honestly, I’m pretty excited. Twenty-five is my second-favorite number after five (the number, not the time; I don’t have a different favorite number during the workday). Sure, there’s some angst that I haven’t accomplished as much as “I should have,” but the e-mails from the admissions offices of law and art schools (I’m  . . . an enigma) are reminding me of that, not my age.  I’m honestly pretty happy with where I am in life: some lovable dork not only agreed to marry me but actually ASKED ME LIKE WHAT EVEN, I have a job in my field that allows me to travel, and my cat is just the. Cutest. Thing. I suppose I’ve learned some things about things along the way, so here goes:

1.) Know enough about science so that you can kind of wrinkle your nose when someone is trying to sell you something that will get rid of “toxins.”
2.) Adulthood isn’t about knowing everything. It’s about knowing maybe like three things, tops, and getting gainful employment for one of those three things so you’ll have enough capital to hire professionals to take care of everything else.
3.) No one will know the suit is from H&M if you get it tailored.

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4.) Everyone is the protagonist of their own story. This piece of knowledge is fundamental to empathy, but also to dealing with your average white man, who is used to being the protagonist of . . . everything.
5.) Don’t bitch about having to go to a lot of weddings when you’re young, for in about 30 years, you’re going to start going to a lot of funerals, and that’s if you’re lucky.
6.) Knowing your personal style is important. For instance, for work mine is “ModCloth had sex with the J. Crew catalog and the resulting child grew up to be a librarian,” for play it’s “Geeky former camp counselor who can’t give up Chacos SHUT UP, THEY’RE COOL NOW.” (Plus your future kids will love looking at pictures of you being fly as hell.)
7.) The best things in life require a lot of work: marriage, training a cat to use the toilet, food presentation.
8.) Your grandparents are so baller once you get them to talk about when they were younger. One of my grandmothers grew up in Nazi-occupied Germany and then learned four languages to become an interpreter, and the other gave birth to my dad and finished her master’s thesis in the same year. You come from good stock; own that.
9.) Get a weird haircut/color when you’re young, preferably high school or early college before you do a lot of internships. You don’t want to be stuck in an office job where the dress code says “only hair colors found in nature are allowed” but your heart’s like, “well purple is a color found on flowers found in nature, boom, bitch!”
10.) Don’t hitch your identity to what you consume but what you create . . . Yeah, Fight Club was really good, why do you ask?
11.) The “sisterhood” is not of the traveling pants, nor is it exclusive to Black women. It is the look you give other women when a man says something dumb.

12.) There will always be cute young men and women who can harmonize and/or play instruments and the ones from your youth (or your parent’s youth) aren’t objectively, technically any better than the ones popular now.
13.) Only eat the very best junk food, and be healthy the rest of the time. Life is too short for “just okay” potato chips and mediocre pizza.
14.) Don’t get too worked up about articles about how Millennials are terrible or Baby Boomers ruined everything. The older generation will always treat the younger generation in a “whoever smelt it dealt it” sort of way and the younger generation will always treat the older generation in a “whoever denied it supplied it” sort of way. It is the circle of life and it moves us all.
15.) Disliking someone because they’re “awkward” is a piss-poor reason. To paraphrase Mia in The Princess Diaries, it’s easier to grow out of awkward than mean.
16.) Your hobby doesn’t have to be a “side hustle” for it to be valid, but gurl, I get wanting to break even on those Michael’s bills.

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17.) Even though most methods of travel are booty, travel is still very, very worth it.
18.) Never piss off a bunch of coffee snobs.
19.) Everyone who complains about people posting “Single Ladies” lyrics when they get engaged definitely posted “Nobody likes you when you’re 23” when they turned 23. #GlassHouses
20.) Get healthy, if not fit. Nothing’s quite as humbling as getting married and people on “baby watch” looking at your belly after the wedding, only to have you explain to them that it’s a food baby and they really don’t want to know when it’s due.
21.) The world owes you nothing, and you owe the world nothing (exception: when you see a really cute dog, you are obligated to tell someone).

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22.) Getting along with family is good practice for getting along with coworkers, for family also often eats sandwiches you said were yours, MATT.
23.) If you’re not excited about going to Walmart at least once a week for the rest of your life with that person, don’t marry them.
24.) Don’t give someone shit for not acquiring a taste that you’ve acquired. You weren’t born liking beer or coffee. (And if you were . . . are you okay? Do you need to talk to someone?)
25.) And finally, there’s a belief when you’re in your 20’s that you have to get all your adventuring and career-hustling out of the way, at least if Thought Catalog/Elite Daily/The Odyssey Online/whatever navel-gazing flavor-of-the-month Millennial website is to be believed. While I’ve gotten a lot of adventurin’ and career-hustlin’ under my belt at this point, if I stop all this when I’m 30, kill me. Seriously. Your person is not set in stone at 30. You will still grow and change. And, if my 30+ year-old friends are to be believed, you give fewer shits once you hit 30, and I am REALLY looking forward to that.

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