21 Things I Know By 21

21 Things I Know By 21

Writing is an addictively vulnerable hobby. I grapple constantly with wanting to express myself and hesitating to let anyone get to know me without earning it. I imagine bloggers to be a lot like the person making a phone call on the bus — people will listen, but they’ll never really care, and they’ll probably tweet something about how annoying you are. It’s those thoughts, from a place of pure cynicism, that have held me off blogging in the past.

Fortunately, I’m now a senior in college, which allows me certain liberties: I can make really pretentious generalizations about freshman, I can start crying at literally any hour of the day, and I can make any dramatic, ambitious lifestyle change I want in the spirit of “finding myself” and “looking good for employers.”

Since I don’t see myself picking up Crossfit or learning to knit, I’m gonna start a blog.

See how it goes.

It’s not that serious, I guess.

So, welcome. Today is my 21st birthday, and as strange as that is for me to type and probably for my mom to read, it’s pretty exciting. In honor of being alive long enough to order a beer, here are the 21 best lessons life’s given me so far.

  1. Nobody notices when you leave the party early.
  2. It is absolutely necessary to tell people how you feel and ask them for the things that you want.
  3. Be who your friends need you to be. It doesn’t make you fake to adapt to the personalities around you, it makes you a good communicator.
  4. No one goes back and re-reads your Twitter feed as much as you do. Distance yourself from the perception of others. Just do your own thing.
  5. Always splurge on birthdays and eyeliner.
  6. It’s easy to claim that all good relationships will be easy. Don’t let other people’s mantras convince you that your difficult relationships are not real. Trust your intuition. If something is right for you at this moment, you will know it. You decide how much anxiety you allow.
  7. It is possible for you to stay the same person for a while. Don’t get so caught up in new beginnings that you leave your foundations behind.
  8. Get to know yourself. Spend time alone in bookstores and cafes, even if it makes you feel pretentious.
  9. It’s okay to be the kind of person who cares a lot about Instagram. It’s okay to be the kind of person who couldn’t care less. It’s shitty to be the kind of person who makes others feel bad about who they’ve chosen to be.
  10. When you leave people, do it softly. Don’t let guilt close you off. Respect others’ need for communication and let them go easily.
  11. The only people on Facebook who care about your political opinions are the ones who disagree with you.
  12. Loving yourself is a decision you make every day. You are capable of it.
  13. Your likes, interests and passions are your own, no matter where they began. Just because your ex showed you something doesn’t mean you can’t love it wholeheartedly.
  14. Solitude isn’t a part of your nature, but that doesn’t make it an inherently bad part of someone else’s. Protect your introverted friends.
  15. Confrontation sucks and avoiding it is worse. Practicing standing up for yourself in the little moments so you’re prepared for the big ones.
  16. When you finally find someone who completely understands you, sign another lease with her.
  17. If you want someone to love you, make yourself vulnerable. If you want someone to want you, make yourself unavailable. If you want to drive yourself batshit crazy, listen to love advice on the internet.
  18. The cool thing about being your own person is deciding what matters to you. Even if the things you choose seem trivial to everyone else.
  19. Part of being a leader is being honest about your failures and shortcomings. Be open to criticism and don’t take it personally.
  20. Let your experiences shape you, but don’t hold them against the next one. Nothing can grow under a microscope of insecurity. Be careful about how quickly you “call it.”
  21. You wake up every day with the innate and spiritual ability to be exactly the kind of person you want to be. Be patient and honest with yourself as you determine what’s meant for you.