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1. Go on a trip by yourself.
Whether it be backpacking across Europe or driving cross country, do it alone. Do what you want to do. See what you want to see. Sleep when you’re tired and truly live when you’re not. Speak with strangers. Dance alone. Eat exotic food. Trust your instincts, but abandon your inhibitions. You are the tour guide.
2. Learn how to cook.
Takeout is expensive and eating chicken fingers every night is not only unacceptable, it’s sad. Buy a cookbook, turn on the Food Network, and channel your inner Julia Childs. It doesn’t have to be great, it just has to be edible.
3. Have your heart broken.
Cry the really ugly tears – the kind that make your eyes puffy and your head hurt. Drink too much wine and watch too many chick flicks. Stay in bed for a few days. Scream his name if you have too. Learn from this feeling. Be a better you. Be a better partner. Find a better man.
4. Let go of the past.
Stop holding onto the resentment and the anger and the bitterness. The hurt and the embarrassment and the shame and the “Oh my God, I can’t believe I did that” are yesterday’s concern. It’s not worth it heartache. Just let it go.
5. Date the wrong guy.
Hell, date a few of them. Have some fun. Learn a few things. Use protection and gain a few tricks.
6. Go on a blind date.
A true blind date, that is. No social media stalking beforehand. Embrace the unknown and have fun. You never know what might happen.
7. Run a marathon, climb a mountain, learn a new language.
Maybe not all of these things. Hell, maybe not even one of these things. But decide to do something, to learn something, to commit to something out of your comfort zone. Stop making excuses. Just do it.
8. Dance in the rain.
Literally and figuratively. Let down your inhabitations. Act silly. Be silly. Look silly. Stop caring so much what others think about you. Just enjoy life.
9. Take more pictures.
Weddings, graduations, anniversaries, births, first steps, etc. Have your camera ready. Life doesn’t slow down and there’s no rewind button to speak of. Make memories and capture them. You’ll be thankful you did.
10. Stop being so anxious.
Your job is stressful, your rent is due tomorrow, and your student loans are crushing you. At times it seems like the world is caving in on you, but it’s not. Always remember that no matter what, you’ll get through it. Hold your head up, champ, life is too short to be miserable.
11. Be a better person.
Volunteer. Hold the door open for strangers. Go to a fundraiser because you believe in the cause, not just to network. Send a thank you letter to the troops. Put a $20 in the plate at church. Do something for others. Seriously, stop being selfish. Give back.
12. Figure out what you want to be when you grow up.
It’s expected that you screw around at 20, questionable at 25, and completely unacceptable at 30. Figure out your life. Make a plan and make it happen.
13. Fall in love with a man.
Not a boy, but a man. Someone who loves his mom and believes in something bigger than himself. Someone who holds the door open and stands when you enter a room. Someone who tells you you’re beautiful even when you’re in sweatpants and last night’s makeup. Someone who loves you and appreciates you. Cherish this man. Treat him right.
14. Rescue an animal.
Do this before you have children. It will teach you responsibility, prepare you for waking up at 3am on a Tuesday, and require you to care about something other than yourself. Make sure that you’re fully ready before you do this. As with babies, there are no takebacks.
15. Stop being so afraid to eat alone in public.
It’s not embarrassing. In fact, in can be quite lovely. Take a book, do a crossword, or simply enjoy the silence and take in your surroundings. No one is looking at you. Just relax.
16. Get healthy.
Your metabolism won’t work in overtime forever. Exercise more. Eat better. Stop drinking so damn much. Take care of yourself. Get up off the couch. Netflix can wait, life cannot.
17. Learn to choose your words wisely.
Realize that you can’t take them back. Be smart. Be wise. Be careful. Regret is a terrible feeling.
18. Cherish those around you.
Love with everything you have. Say “I love you” when you mean it. Say “I miss you” when you feel it. Hug your friends. Tell your parents you appreciate them. Be emotional. Be affectionate. Be sincere.
19. Stop putting off tomorrow what you can do today.
Life waits for no one and time seems to be going by faster with each tick of the clock. Be productive. Stop being lazy. You have one life, live it.