Surprise! Today is not my birthday. My birthday is November 22, which is the same birthday as my Dad, who died over a year ago now out of nowhere but also not out of nowhere at all.
That may explain why on my actual birthday, I was either asleep or throwing up. To be fair, I was also Paris with my best friend — we saw Lauryn Hill live in concert, I turned 24 at midnight, drank too much red wine and fell asleep maybe 4 hours before we needed to pack up and move out of our AirBNB. I spent my actual birthday kind of writhing in pain and avoiding sunlight, convinced that this was it: I was 24 now and could no longer handle drinking and was ruining my life and ohnoi’mgoingtothrowupinthisuber.
I share that awkward, honest and embarrassing story because: A) I’d tell you if we had breakfast together, so why not tell you here? And B) I don’t want to be the kind of person who hawks advice into the Internet without acknowledging how often I mess up. I really mess up all the time.
That being said, in the spirit of tradition and self-preservation I have come up with 24 little lessons I’ve learned up on this year, mostly out of all of those mess-ups. All of them are pretty @me, but here’s to blogging and hoping they might be @you, too.
24 Lessons Learned By 24:
- The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be (Emerson). Furthermore, the only person you will decide to be — whether you like it or not — will be a walking mural of your experiences, expectations, perfect days, rainy days, tattered books, bad tweets, rude comments and love letters. It’s not up to you to create yourself out of thin air. It is, however, your job to count your freckles and toes, say “This is who the heck I am,” and live up to your own values.
- The jury’s still out on whether or not people can change, but you can count on the fact that they are human, and will continue to be human with or without your approval. When you’re acting from a place of “This person owes me something,” you are setting yourself up for disappointment and heartache.
- Cliché things are true before they are cliché. (Still true.)
- Not positive on this one, but pretty sure other people don’t judge, critique or make fun of us as much as we imagine they do in our head.
- It’s really actually very sick to sleep with your phone charging in the living room. Sometimes I get to like 1 p.m. without watching a single Instagram story, which feels a lot like a modern miracle. I use my Alexa as an alarm and keep my laptop open with the brightness down and sound on in case of an emergency. (Read: Because I’m anxious.)
- Sleep is really stupid dumb important.
- Trying rules. The more you try, the more opportunities life hands you. Call it the law of attraction or capitalism or whatever, but life rewards people who try. You have to stop being afraid of looking like you’re trying too hard.
- No one wants to be the person sitting in the corner making slimy critiques about the people dancing. Also, when you stand too close to that person, you stop being able to hear the music. Just dance!
- When you start a sentence with “I know this is stupid…” it can feel like you’re being humble, or maybe by starting low so you have nowhere to go but up. But in reality, it just makes you sound like you think you’re stupid, and why would anyone listen to someone’s idea if they knew the idea-haver thought their own idea was stupid? You’re not stupid. If you wouldn’t say it about someone else in good faith, don’t say it about yourself.
- God is real and He loves me. That’s the sentence that works for me — I love your version, too.
- Working from home is not that easy. It’s comfortable, yes, but not easy. It’s actually kind of excruciatingly hard. That being said, idk how y’all do that 9-5 shit lmao ayeeee
- I cry. A lot. Like, if not every day than maybe every other day. It’s made the bags under my eyes noticeably worse (at least to me), so what helps is drinking a ton of water and using Nars creamy radiant concealer and Laura Mercier setting powder. Also I’ve heard good things about cold spoons.
- You’re really, really, really, really, really not the only one. Ever. There is always someone else and they’re most likely wishing that you would be the one to bring it up.
- Things that ground me: Watching Gilmore Girls, calling my friends, writing down how I feel, writing down my ideas, going outside, scratching my cat’s head until she looks like she’s going to explode with contentedness, drinking a homemade smoothie, tracing the edges of leaves with my eye.
- Being depressed and being optimistic are not mutually exclusive experiences. It’s just that being both at the same time is absurdly confusing.
- Our culture’s current self improvement obsession seems to have morphed into this idea of “Everything in life is up to you and you’re in charge of your happiness 24/7” which is noble but not at all fair. What if a bird takes a dump on your face? Wouldn’t that logically make you a bit grossed out and maybe mess up at least the next 10 minutes? Happiness, IMO, isn’t being totally 100% cool with all of the bad shit that happens. It’s just making the choice to do or watch or listen to something afterward to balance it out.
- Being brave is suuuuuuper tight, and you’ll be even better at it when you can acknowledge your bravery in the moment. Personally, “Damn bitch go off, that was super tough of you!” is my favorite thing to say when I do something that scares me (even when it’s small).
- The easiest path to professional and creative fulfillment is making stuff that helps people.
- You won’t regret doing that thing that you want to do and know is a good idea. You’re just scared of doing it. You’re afraid of how doing it will make you look to others or how you’ll feel if it turns out differently than you expected. Do it anyway.
- Life is not a race.
- Gut feelings are guardian angels.
- When you love someone and subsequently have to detach yourself from the someone that you loved, you will inevitably feel very silly — crazy, obsessive, pathetic, whatever. You aren’t. You loved somebody! Be proud of the fact that your heart and brain were both simultaneously brave enough to do that. Be in awe of the fact that you experienced it. Find one good friend who won’t judge you for still talking about it (if you can’t find one, email me) and be kind to yourself. There is no invisible panel of judges scoring you on your ability to move on and not think about it.
- Speaking of invisible panels of judges, literally please stop reading the comments and replies. It’s so bad for your brain.
- If you can find one moment in every day where you notice the beauty in existing, you’re going to be fine. If you can’t, you’re still going to be fine, and I hope you find one moment soon.