Today, I turn 27. It’s strange and horrible and wonderful, isn’t it? To keep getting older and older and older along with the earth and everyone around you? Sometimes life is all too much and sometimes a host of quiet, beautiful moments and days fall into your lap “like pearls slipping off a string,” and you are grateful to be alive, no matter the cost.
As I told one of my co-worker’s husbands one night when I had one too many martinis: “Think of how old the universe is. Our human lives are just a tiny speck in the grand scheme of things, whether you’re twenty or one hundred!” (I was very popular that night).
In honor of my 27th birthday, I’d like to share 27 things I have learned in the short amount of time I have spent on this earth.
1. Listen to people. I mean REALLY listen to them. Stop thinking about what you’re going to say next and listen to what they are saying right now.
2. Live by the 80/20 rule. 80% good-for-you food and 20% I-probably-shouldn’t-be-eating-or-drinking-this keeps your body healthy and happy. The little bit of rebellion does a body good.
3. Don’t get too jealous of others. You are always the hero of your own story.
4. Don’t fake liking something for someone else’s sake. It’s simply too exhausting to be anyone more than yourself.
5. Don’t boil vegetables. They just don’t taste good that way.
6. Always keep an extra sweatshirt in your car, but not your best one. This way if it gets lent to a friend and never returned, you won’t feel so bad.
7. Get an external hard drive and back up your files. That way, when your computer dies, you will still have some of your sanity.
8. Don’t date someone who’s wrong for you just so you can say you did. Be with someone who is worth your time.
9. Listen to your parents. They’re pretty much always right.
10. Don’t fight over the restaurant bill. If someone offers to pay, thank them, and then remember to pay for the next drink or meal. If you’re friends long enough, things will all even out.
11. Make a fuss when your significant other gets home. The simplest things can do wonders for a relationship.
12. Give people small, unexpected presents. They often mean just as much (if not more) as presents on holidays. My favorite random gifts from Dave include Burt’s Bees chapstick, cheese curds, and red wine. In the past I’ve given Dave a Star Trek beach towel, a “Real Men Like Cats” coffee mug, and a glow-in-the-dark Ghostbusters t-shirt just because. This is true love, friends.
13. If you don’t want to go to your high school reunion, don’t. You will still keep in contact with the people you wanted to, so unless you want to show off the fact that you designed a new kind of rubber used in shoes, stay home with friends and watch Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion.
14. Some things don’t need to be documented with a photograph. Some do. Keep a camera with you just in case (unless you have a friend like me who is always itching to take pictures).
15. Spend money on experiences instead of things. The memories from a trip can last a lifetime; a new TV that’s two inches bigger than your old one probably won’t.
16. Don’t exclusively shop in the junior’s section when you are over 25. Some things just fit better from the women’s section, especially if you want shorts that actually cover your bum. (Men don’t seem to have this problem as they go straight from Boyz II Men in the clothes department).
17. Friends are as important as family, and family is as important as friends. Treat them as such.
18. Bad customer service sometimes happens because you are a bad customer. Be kind to those who serve you and mistakes will be fixed much more quickly.
19. Love is hard. A good relationship requires a lot of communication, more “I’m sorry’s” than you’d like to own up to, and a willingness to deal with change. It’s worth it.
20. There are few things in life that a martini can’t fix.
21. Wisdom from Red in Orange is the New Black. “Don’t ever let go, not until they make you.” This applies to so many things, including but not limited to: life, love, and the pursuit of happiness.
22. Do what you say you’re going to do. If you’re not going to do it, say “no” up front. It’s better for everyone involved.
23. Not everyone you meet is going to like you. It’s okay.
24. Plant something. It shows you have hope for the future.
25. It’s okay to feel stupid. It’s a sign of growth. People who are truly stupid often think they’re brilliant.
26. Celebrate every birthday. Some people get too few, so every birthday is your very own gift to yourself.
27. Life is hard. Sometimes, you just have to jump in the pool.
And one to grow on:
28. Happiness is a choice. Everything else is a matter of perspective.