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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12 Little Nuggets of Truth Gleaned From One Year of Post-Grad Life

Today is the one-year anniversary of my graduating college. Yesterday the people who were juniors when I was a senior graduated, and in addition to a flurry of “congratulations!” posts and heartwarming pictures of people with their friends and family in their gowns, there were also a few posts from people in my year along the lines of “Wow, it’s been a year already?”


Just goes to show how quickly time speeds up when you get older. I’ve been out of elementary school for thirteen years and I still feel like it was an eternity to get out of there. So, new grads, I wish you the best of luck in your post-college endeavors. This time is scary and exciting but mostly scary. People trust you now! As an adult! It’s weird!


For what it’s worth, here are some life truths I, personally, have learned. They may apply to you, they may not–I just write in the second person because I like to.

1.) The job search sucks all the body parts one doesn’t want to suck. Getting rejected from jobs hurts worse than getting rejected from potential romantic partners. But you will get through it. You will! You’ll feel like a towel that has been wrung every which way to get all the water out, but you will get through it. See my previous post for more job-searching tips.


2.) Don’t settle, for anything. You’re probably heard this romantically, but I mean don’t settle for anything in life that you just feel “okay” about. If what you’re really in the mood for is a Chick-fil-A chicken sandwich and they’re still serving breakfast, wait until after 10:30 and get what you really want, even if it inconveniences you more.

3.) You will run out of opportunities to wear casual clothes. You’ll still like them and buy them. But on weeknights you’ll just feel like changing into pajamas and on weekends you will just feel like being in your pajamas. You’ll only put on jeans to go somewhere fancy, like Target or Whole Foods.


4.) There is so much judgment, from every direction. People will be both worried that you’re not adjusting to adulthood quickly enough for their tastes but also that you’re wasting your youth by being too serious. If you have a career plan, and a career plan only, that seems to shut people up.

5.) Don’t stick to your career plan. To a “T,” anyway.


6.) People your age are getting engaged and married, myself included. Just deal with it. This is not a reflection of your supposed romantic inadequacy.

7.) Cooking is a Catch-22: You’re tired of spending so much money to go out to eat, so you decide to learn how to cook. You buy ingredients and follow a recipe. It blows up in your face . . . literally. You stew (ha) because you have wasted money buying the ingredients and time following the recipe. So you go out to eat.


8.) The reason why all the people in your life are doing cool things that they can post on Facebook is because they get off Facebook and do cool things.

9.) People will like to harp on you for the “immature” things you “still” like (Disney, video games, YA novels, etc.), but it’s better to like Disney and be employed than to be “too cool” in your parent’s basement.


10.) Yes, no one taught you this stuff. Yes, you still have to do it, and figure out a way to do it by yourself. Even if you’re frantically Googling it as we speak.


11.) Your friends will leave your college or home town to go do cool things, look down on you if you stay there, AND complain that you’re hard to visit, because people are picky and weird.

12.) At first it will seem like people don’t take you seriously. But if you take yourself seriously and you take your time and other people’s time seriously, then people will start taking you seriously.


30 Ways to Introduce Myself

15 Ways in Which I Am a Millennial

1.) I’m writing a list-icle.

2.) This list-icle is all about me.

3.) Sometimes I use hashtags in place of punchlines. #amifunnyyet

4.) I get panicky when I take a picture and can’t use an Instagram filter. What if the picture actually does look better in Rise?

5.) I take pictures of/post about food I’ve made to show people that I’m slowly somewhat transitioning into adulthood/that I have good taste.

6.) I did have to move in with my parents after college until I found a job, so sue me.

7.) My student loans and the >3 years until I’m off my parent’s insurance absolutely petrify me.

8.) I like to check Tumblr to know about the hip new thing to be offended by.

9.) I will own your ass in Disney movie or Harry Potter trivia.


10.) FOMO is a thing that genuinely scares me. I don’t want to attend most events that are advertised to me (namely ones that don’t involve family, close friends, movies, delicious food, or art) but it seems lame that what I’m looking forward to at the end of my week is watching the newly added episodes of Parks and Recreation on Netflix.

11.) Related to the last entry, I do worry about how my life looks to other people on social networking. I had a gym teacher in middle school who tried to appeal to our permeable pubescent minds by saying, “You’re more worried about yourself than other people are worried about you.” I remind myself of this constantly.

12.) This post is peppered with GIFs I yanked from Tumblr.


13.) I feel contractually obligated to buy magazines with Jennifer Lawrence’s face on the cover.


14.) I like “Mean Girls” so much that I read the non-fiction parental self-help book it’s based on: “Queen Bees and Wannabes.” I love it too. Gretchen’s speech on what the Plastics wear each day of the week is actually lifted straight from the book. (Yes, on Wednesdays those real-life teenage girls quoted in the book wore pink.)

15.) I’m too fond of useless adverbs and hyperbole. I once had a creative writing professor ban me from using adverbs for one semester.


And 15 Ways in Which I Am Not a Millennial

1.) I’m not all that nostalgic for the 90’s. I didn’t have cable growing up, so I missed out on Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, and Disney Channel shows. I had to watch Disney movies and educational television like The Magic School Bus, Bill Nye the Science Guy, Kratt’s Creatures, Reading Rainbow, and Nature on “grown-up PBS.” When I was sick and my parents weren’t there, I’d watch Jerry Springer, which is a wonderfully different kind of educational television, and Oprah, especially when she had “behind the scenes of movies” segments.

2.) I also wasn’t allowed to play video games. I want to play them but I am terrible at them, like I am at every sport ever invented, and coincidentally for most of the same reasons (hint: hand-eye coordination).


3.) I also wasn’t allowed to eat garbage processed food. My favorite food from childhood was a shitake mushroom gravy my mom made. My fond memories of foods such as Fruit Gushers are from freshman year of college.

4.) I listen to NPR like it’s my job. In fact, I saw Wait, Wait . . . Don’t Tell Me! when they came to Atlanta, and my brother and I were the youngest and second youngest people in the audience, respectively.

5.) Downton Abbey is my jam, spread on a piece of bread with some peanut butter.

6.) I love to read the news, long-form if possible, on print if possible.


7.) I’m waiting for the day to come when I come up with a funny caption for the cartoon contest in the back of the New Yorker.

8.) I know what the New Yorker is.

9.) I could get lost in the “Documentaries” section of Netflix.

10.) I got what people told me all throughout college was a “useless” degree (English-Creative Writing with a minor in Visual Arts) and I found a big-girl job within my field within 3 months of graduating.


11.) I do read classic literature, it’s just people talk to me about reading Divergent, the Hunger Games books, and the A Song of Ice and Fire books. I’ll read just about any type of fiction, provided it doesn’t rhyme with Schmwilight or Schifty Schades of Schey.

12.) I don’t like Lena Dunham. I really want to like her, but I just can’t.


13.) I don’t like dubstep. I prefer my electronica with vocals, thank you very much.

14.) I really don’t like to binge watch things. My friends get so frustrated at how long it takes me to finish things. For instance, I started watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer sophomore year of college, and I’m still only on season 4. For a point of reference, my boyfriend watched all seven seasons in a week.

15.) Damn kids these days, man.