A few days ago, I turned the big 2-8.
Yep. I’m 28. Don’t believe me? I’ll let you look at my driver’s license.
So here I am, entering the late-20’s phase of life. You can browse about the internet and there are a plethora of articles about twenty-somethings, including: The Differences Between Your Early and Late 20’s; Things You Should Stop Doing In Your 20’s; Things You Should Start Doing In Your 20’s; How to Survive Your Quarterlife Crisis…
And so on, and so forth.
Personally, I’ve read these articles. Some are scarily spot on. Some aren’t. There’s songs about growing up during turbulent phases of one’s life that invade our eardrums and stick around in our long-term memory for far too long (we know the ones). There’s how-to books on how to be a 20-something adult (Adulting by Kelly WIlliams Brown is FANTASTIC. I highly recommend it.) There’s a treasure chest full of resources available to us. It’s nice to have perspective from the countless amounts of twenty-somethings out there that are willing to contribute their ideas and experiences to the masses. It does make the process of navigating the turbulent waters a little easier. Still, for the majority of us, it hasn’t been easy, and for anyone who says their 20’s are easy is deceiving you.
As a contribution to the blogosphere, here are my 28 Thoughts on Being 28…
1. The universe is so much bigger and exciting than your backyard. If you don’t get out there and explore, you’re missing out.
2. Pursue what YOU want to pursue. This could be your education, a craft, a hobby, whatever. You’re the master of your fate, and the captain of your soul. No one else. It’s ultimately YOUR decision on whatever you decide to do. I spent so long in a field that I was pushed to pursue, and got burned out to the point where thousands of dollars and years of education have gone down the drain because I don’t want to be around it. Recently, I’m realizing now more than ever that I’m the happiest when I have a camera in my hand.
3. Grad school can be good…just find a way to NOT take loans out for it. Scholarships and assistantships will go far. Search them out.
4. Make sure you eat right, hydrate, and work out. Nothing screams bodily failure than dehydration leading to kidney stones.
5. If you need to cut ties with someone because they’re poisioning your soul, cut that tie and move on. You’re better off without it.
6. Let friendships run their course. If it dies, it dies. There’s no use beating a dead horse with a stick. As you get older, having a few good friends is better than a massive entourage.
7. Solitude can be the best form of recharging. It’s okay to be alone. Personally, I prefer it. You’ll find me walking around Disney World by my lonesome after running a race eating a treat and snapping pictures of ducks. I’m happy doing that.
8. If something is not right, speak up. Nothing will get fixed if you’re idle.
9. Splurge on experiences, not stuff. Memories last forever. Stuff collects dust.
10. Work retail or hospitality at least once. Get a feel for what it is like behind the scenes.
11. Learn how to write a cover letter, a proper resume, how to do your taxes…basically, everything they never taught you in high school or college.
12. The quarterlife crisis sucks initially, and it may take weeks or months to snap out of the intense funk that you’ll be in…but the relief that comes when you’ve come out of it is like hitting the lottery.
13. Be conscious about your purchases and squirrel money away. Emergency funds are your best friend if something breaks down or you’re in a bind over your car, apartment, musical instrument, etc…
14. Pinterest can be the best motivator in the world. I have a great board for fitness/healthy stuff, and any time I need a boost, I stare at it for about 10 minutes, and then put on my running shoes.
15. Getting older is like wine…gets better as the days go by. You care less about what others think of you, and you’re much more of a free spirit.
16. Skipping parties and events to get decent sleep trumps the backlash from your younger friends who insist on staying out all night. FOMO applies less. My party philosophy circles back to, “Been there, done that. Big whoop.” Plus, you’re not putting yourself at risk of getting hit by a drunk driver trying to get back from the pub at 2 AM. And… hangovers really are worse when you get older.
17. It’s okay to work hard, just don’t become a workaholic. It’s also okay to party hard, just don’t become a party animal. Find that balance between work and play.
18. The sun rises and sets every day, and the universe continues to evolve and expand. Even if the worst thing in the world happens and you can’t seem to get through it, just remember: Life goes on.
19. Clean underwear and dry socks. ‘nough said.
20. It’s fun to leave people guessing about what you’re up to. Sometimes I won’t post on social media for days. Not everything has to go online.
21. Handwritten letters and journals have such a personal connotation to them. I’ve seen historical documents in the U.S. and in Scotland, and they carry such an energy to them. Even my own personal writings (which I still kick myself in the ass for throwing a lot of them out) are a direct reflection of me and my thoughts at one specific point in my life.
22. Don’t be afraid of change. It’s boring to be stagnant. Switch your hairstyle, wardrobe, current city/country/planet, career…your life is short, and life is too short to pay bills and die immediately thereafter.
23. Age is just a number. Your high school class rank and GPA…just a number. Your SAT/GRE score…just a number. Nobody cares about numbers, and no one will remember these numbers. Build a life, not a resume. A piece of paper means nothing in the grand scheme of life.
24. Turn down the volume on your headphones. Start saving your hearing.
25. You have a purpose. It may take a very long time (or a very short time) to determine what this is. Soul searching and deep thinking can be your best friends.
26. Remember those that helped you along the way, and make sure you say thanks. Without them, you wouldn’t be standing where you are today.
27. It’s okay to look back and reflect, but don’t dwell on the past and forget to look ahead to the future.
28. Smile. Enjoy life. You get one chance to leave a legacy. Have fun doing it.