By my estimations, at any given moment, about 10% of the internet is made up of “self help” articles.
There’s “12 Tips To Lose Weight Before Friday,” and “20 Things All Successful People Do While Taking a Shit,” and my personal favorites “30 Must See Life Hacks.” Congratulations to everyone who drinks a glass of cold water in the mornings, you’ve “hacked your life” into a higher level. You’ve transcended beyond us mere mortals, and with your brilliant idea to “make your bed every morning,” you have now broken into a special secondary level of humanity, where only you, Warren Buffet, and the never-aging Rob Lowe reside.
Fuck all that bullshit. I’m not trying to change your whole lifestyle, or tell you that with these tricks you can be a millionaire with the skin of a baby whose crib is lined with moisturizer. I’ve just got a few simple changes you can make in your life that will help you feel a little bit better about it. Take the advice or don’t; I don’t give a shit.
1. Eat More Cauliflower Rice
Carbs are delicious. They are the staple of a tasty meal. However, your body, rebelling after decades of abuse, has decided to fight back, and it’s hitting you where it hurts. All of a sudden, your metabolism has decided that all carbs will now puff you up like that bratty girl in Willy Wonka. That’s where cauliflower rice comes in. Just substitute a bag of it every time you would have a meal with rice, and you can trick your mouth into thinking it’s eating something delicious; when in reality you’re eating broccoli’s albino cousin. You can toss it in tacos, stir-fry, gyros, or even just fry it with some seasonings for a delicious side to your BBQ. Is it as good as rice? No, of course not. It’s fucking cauliflower. But it’s pretty close, and since you’re on your last belt notch, it’s your only choice.
2. Eat A Simple Meal After The Bars
As someone who gets horrible, debilitating hangovers, I wish I could tell you I’ve “found the cure,” like so many other articles. But I haven’t, and I wouldn’t lie to you like that. Should you drink a glass of water with each drink you consume? Sure, but you’re not going to, because you’ll be bloated and have to pee every eight minutes at the bar. Should you drink responsibly? I’ve heard that phrase before, but I always figured it was a wives’ tale, like “sticking to one type of liquor,” or “not drunk texting your ex at 4 a.m.”
My only advice to you is to have a quick meal before you go to sleep. Your body has been desperately trying to metabolize whisky gingers for the last six hours, and it needs fuel. Food kicks your metabolism into high gear, which means that while you pass out on the couch with SportsCenter playing on repeat for six hours, your body is sobering you up as fast as possible. Your meal doesn’t have to be healthy, but something not super greasy or heavy is ideal, and it should be relatively easy to make (so you don’t burn the house down, you drunk asshole). My go-to is frozen dinosaur chicken nuggets, because I’m a child.
3. Use (and PAY OFF) a credit card
It baffles me how many people my age don’t have or, regularly use, a credit card. Using a debit card instead of a credit card is literally saying “no thanks” to free money. As long as you make sure to pay the card off in full every month, you’ll be getting anywhere between 1%-4% cash back, depending on the card. There are plenty of websites that will help you compare cards, and you can pick one that best suits your needs. Simply want more money in your pocket? I’d recommend the Citi Double Cash Card (1% back when you buy, plus 1% back when you pay), or the Bank of America Cash Rewards Card (1% back on everything, 2% on groceries, 3% on gas). If you want your credit card company to act as a savings account for your traveling expenses, I’d recommend the Southwest card or Alaskan Airlines card. These cards will often have signup perks and bonuses as well, and all you need to do to take advantage of them is a little math, and the willpower to NOT SPEND MORE THAN YOU CAN PAY OFF. Believe me, I’m guilty of doing it, and it’s a slippery slope.
4. Respond to E-Mails Immediately
We’ve all done it. You get an email and decide to put it off until you have the time, or energy, or mental fortitude to respond. Then, four days later you realize you never responded, and now have to look like a slapdick and reply with the standard “Sorry for the delayed response, it’s been a crazy week!” bullshit. Whether the email is important or unimportant, personal or work-related, taking ten seconds to fire off a quick response is always preferable to letting it sit. In the rare case where it’s an email that needs some actual time and effort put it, make sure to mark it as unread, and if you’ve got the attention span that I do, put a note in your calendar to respond later. You’ll look better to your bosses, and you’ll feel better not having those anxiety-inducing red badges hovering around your email app.
5. Shake Up your First Dates
Let me guess how your first dates go. You meet a someone at the bar (or, realistically, on a dating app), have a flirtatious conversation, and get their number. You message for a few days to ensure the other person isn’t a serial killer, or worse, someone who tExTs LiEk Dis, and then you say the three words they’ve been dying to hear. “Wanna get drinks?” You go to a bar that has enough character to say “I’m unique,” but is also at least two money signs on Yelp, to reassure them that you’re not broke. And it’s nice. It’s easy, the conversation is flowing, and it’s not a huge financial or emotional commitment in case things don’t work out.
But it’s also kind of boring. And when you’re in your twenties or thirties, you’ve got enough boring in your life. You likely do the same work, gym, dinner routine four days a week. You probably go to the same bars with the same friends on the weekends. I’m not hating on the routine, hell, I do it as much as the next guy. But when it comes to dating, things shouldn’t be routine. Dating in your twenties is an exciting, choose-your-own-adventure-style story that you’ll likely never get again, and you should make the most of it. Go somewhere weird on first dates. Go somewhere you wouldn’t go alone. Go with someone you wouldn’t normally date.
Do it to find out what you’re really into. Do it for a story to tell your friends at brunch. Do it because, even though it might crash and burn, there’s a small percentage it will be something great, and that sliver of uncertainty is what makes you feel alive. As long as you stay safe, even the worse date is better than a boring one..
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