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25 Things I Learned Before Turning 25

25

1. I Don’t Know What’s Going On

Aside from recognizing Ygritte from Game of Thrones as one of the maids from season 1 of Downton Abbey (ayoooooo), it’s utterly disturbing how little I know about real life. One of the most frustrating things I’ve encountered is recognizing and dealing with the limitations of my own experience and intelligence. On the bright side, this is when you can ask mentors/random-but-wise-looking old people on the subway for advice and guidance. Or your dad’s accountant can do your taxes. Whatever works.

2. Your Comfort Level Isn’t Negotiable

After moving three times in three years in NYC, what truly resonated is you get what you pay for. You can’t go from having a slew of amenities to none, or even settle for a smaller room. You’ll hate yourself and everything around you, and it’s not worth it. (It’s also bad when you need more space for your clothes than for yourself.)

3. Alcohol and Mixers Have A Lot Of Calories

Get used to drinking straight liquor. It’s easier than you think and your thighs will thank you, which leads me to my next point..

4. “We Accept The Love We Think We Deserve”

As cheesy as the line is, it unfortunately makes a great deal of sense. And it’s regrettable that my type is “raging douchebag,” but some things are out of our control.

5. No One Really Hates You

Okay fine, maybe they do, but it takes effort for them to go out of their way to screw you over. There are few characters that vindictive or who have that much free time on their hands. It boils down to this: hatred is exhausting and everyone has to deal with their own concerns. They couldn’t care less about yours.

6. Dollar Slices Are Amazing

It’s thin crust, tomato sauce and cheese. It’s nearly impossible to ruin, and it’s delicious. Get off your high horse.

7. Perception Is A Cruel Mistress

To quote my favorite author, K.S. Anthony: “People tell the world whatever stories they need to in order to preserve the stories they tell themselves about themselves.” It’s a knee-jerk reaction we implement out of necessity for our own dwindling sanity. Just bear that in mind and be kind to others who do it in spades.

8. The Internet Is A Terrifying Place

Every time I look at twitter, I shudder, because there’s another neo-prep wannabe taking photos of themselves gazing wistfully towards the water. On the other hand, I’ve made more friends than I care to admit through its various platforms, and it’s wonderful meeting people from all walks of life who share similar tastes or senses of humor. You’re all #blessings.

9. The Rule of Return

Everyone comes back. Whether it’s a month, three months, or two years later, it’s a cyclical pattern of dating abuse exacerbated through texting or Facebook messaging.
Delete and block when you can.

10. Save Your Money

Your wants and needs are going to change with every J. Crew email in your inbox. Buy the stuff that’s “missing” in your life, but remember that you can’t build a beach house out of empty liquor bottles, regret and cashmere sweat suits.

11. Instant Gratification Gets Boring

JK LOL I wouldn’t know what it felt like, but it’s cool to watch the things you’re passionate about progress and grow based on the amount of effort and blackmail you put into them.

12. Your Family Is On Your Side

There’s absolutely no use arguing with them. Either take their sage advice or don’t, but accept that they have an older set of your genetic makeup and have probably dealt with the same, if not similar, troubles you’re going through. You also don’t want to be the problem child who doesn’t end up with the good silver.

13. There Are No White Knights

You are not a prince or princess. No one has the time, energy, or empathy to come rescue you from your ivory tower made out of seamless order takeout bags. Get a grip and be someone that can fight their own battles.

14. Recognize What Makes You Happy

And if you’re not, leave. You (most likely) don’t have a bastard child and no one is financially dependent on you. The only thing that’s stopping you are your inhibitions and fear of failure, and failure is such a vague term defined by a society that still wears pleated pants. So, whatever.

15. Acceptance Can Be A Good Thing

One of my most enlightening moments was around two years after I graduated from college and took an impromptu trip to Philadelphia. It was the middle of the day and the people I was staying with were at work, so I knocked on the door of a fraternity I used to hang out in. A pledge answered and I walked by him so I could throw my stuff in the brotherhood room and wander around the city of brotherly/Eskimo sisterly love without being encumbered by my overnight duffle. It was then I realized: everyone I knew had pretty much graduated or no longer lived in the house. The dream was over. Also, the floor was filthy and there was no way I was putting my obnoxiously bright bag down on it.

16. You Need A Job

“Chase your dreams” and all those trite remarks made by guidance counselors paid to say them, but at the end of the day you’re going to need that health insurance for when your liver fails after all the drinking that took place while you were chasing them.

17. You Are Not Immortal

There’s a fine line between going overboard and not waking up. Know your limits.

18. Everyone Has Ulterior Motives

Identify and recognize what they are. It’s not evil; it’s human nature.

19. Know What You Want And Go For It

Especially if he’s wearing croakies. Then it’s a done deal.

20. Invest in Key Pieces

Building a wardrobe takes time and money. Buy the best and most versatile you can afford and treat them with the respect you no longer have for yourself because you’ve eaten nothing but Subway and yogurt for the past two weeks.

21. Your ‘Personal Brand’ Unfortunately Isn’t Just A Marketing Buzz Word

Personal brands are strategy, not reality. Everyone has their own reasons for posting socially–whether they’re making money through affiliate purchasing programs, want to remain competitive in their field and make themselves more attractive to competing companies or brands, or they have a lifestyle image to uphold. L’Wren Scott’s story is an unfortunate example of it. Don’t believe everything you see on Instagram or read on Twitter.

22 – 25. It’s Okay To Sometimes Throw In The Towel

Also, thanks to the Internet, people read far less than they’ll readily admit. So, congratulations on getting this far.

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sarahsolfails

Writer in NYC. To quote Dr. Seuss, "Being crazy isn't enough."

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