So, birthdays. They’re just self-centered excuses for us to dedicate a day to ourselves. (As if every day of our life isn’t already doing that) So, we expect all our fair weather Facebook friends to post the hollow, obligatory, well wishes on our wall. We expect birds to help us dress in the morning, everyone to bow before our birth, and all other unreasonable dreams to come true. That being said, yesterday was my birthday. Like most other women, I adopted the I-Don’t-Care-What-We-Do-Wait-No-Not-That attitude. The older I get, I understand that birthdays become less important- but no matter how grand it is, I’m always left with the feeling it’s supposed to be bigger, badder, better. Nevertheless, considering it was the first birthday I didn’t have an emotional Peter Pan I-Don’t-Wanna-Grow-Up moment, it was pretty successful. So, in the theme of acting like a pretentious know it all (which I am), I’d like to share 19 things I’ve learned over the last 19 years.
1. You can’t always get what you want (to be sung in Rolling Stones fashion) Message to myself and the world: You’re spoiled, get a job and get over yourself.
2. But if you try sometimes, you get what you need (Also to be sung like the Stones) I started college with the intent to teach in the future. I liked the idea of it and still do. But since then, I realized what I really wanted to do is Law. Why didn’t I think about it before? Because I’ve been underestimating myself all these years. “Lawyers are rich people that go to Harvard” –stupid thought I used to have. With the risk of contradicting my number one, there are some things you can afford to work for that will pay off.
3. People are mean
If you know yourself at all, you know this one is true. The rude thought I just had about the Mexican man shoes the girl next to me is wearing proves this. We hate to be teased but we love to tease. Woe is man.
4. Moderation matters
Cake is good. You won’t see me posting passive aggressive subtweets toward cake. But eating 5 pieces of cake in one sitting? You’re single handedly keeping the cardiovascular disease treatment industry alive. You can have your cake and eat (small portions of) it too.
5. Secrets don’t make friends (unless they keep people from being hurt)
We all know them, those people who always have the scoop on everything. People who religiously use the phrase “I’m just being honest” undoubtedly enjoy telling you what’s what under the guise of honesty. If you can’t think of anyone like this, it’s you. People might like to hear shocking secrets about other people from you but you can bet your deceptive little mouth they won’t be telling you anything important to them.
6. Stranger danger
Yes, smiling and greeting strangers in public may get you some funny looks but wearing your most unapproachable stink eye face will definitely enhance your chances of getting beat up in the Walmart parking lot. So be good for goodness sake! (Santa Clause is coming to town so watch out)
7. Return your grocery cart in the parking lot
Unless you are physically impaired, there’s no acceptable excuse for why you can’t walk the 20 feet to the nearest cart corral. WWJD?
8. Cook dinner at home
You can eat more, be healthier, and have more money in your pocket. If any of those sound like a con, I know a good therapist you can see.
9. Go to college
I understand that some people aren’t “college people”, but I dare you to find someone who took a few semesters to take some basic courses who says they don’t use any of it today. I double dog dare you.
10. Send letters
You know you love getting them, so take the time to send them. They don’t have to be Pilgrim’s Progress length to get the job done. A simple, “Hey look at this unflattering doodle I drew of my dreary Philosophy professor yesterday. I miss you!” will do.
11. Read a different book each month
It’s impossible for reading books to make you stupid. Read more books and you’ll find yourself winning more arguments. (The more you know the more you get to school people)
12. Watch the news
Yes, it’s depressing. Yes, it will make you paranoid. Yes, it will make you a well-informed contribution to the world. (Just do it)
13. Go to town meetings
These things are like they’re depicted in Gilmore Girls, except with less silliness and more drama than the whole of MTV can contain. Bring some popcorn, sit in the back, and it’s a free dinner and a show.
14. Smile and thank people who accidentally mess up your food order
We all know that feeling of victory when your food comes towards you. We also know the feeling when your steak is overcooked, there are unwanted pickles on your burger, or you get potatoes instead of fries. But it really makes you feel better when you’re gracious and understanding when an establishment that serves hundreds of meals a day makes an error. Move on! Eat your fries!
NONE OF US ARE CONSISTENT ENOUGH TO KEEP A DAILY JOURNAL. Now that that’s out of the way, Future You will thank you for the laughs when they run across the angrily scrawled note you wrote to yourself after getting a flat tire- in the rain.
16. Think first, speak later
I was wacked out mad at my English professor because of a grading error and wrote a steamed interview on the Rate My Professor website. When I went to class, he had corrected the error and complimented my writing. Shame ensued.
17. Some people will never be nice
You can’t be everyone’s friend. There are a lot of people who will never like you. Don’t take it so hard! Haters gon’ hate. Wipe the sweat off your forehead and eat some Oreos.
18. Take less pictures
While I really appreciate capturing special moments, it’s a shame to only remember the way it looked through my camera lens.
19. Sing…..a lot
Whether you’re Celine Dion or Cee Lo Green, singing releases endorphins- just like eating chocolate, without the calories. Do a deer, a female deer, re a drop of golden sun…..
I am 19, going on Too Old (to be sung in Sound of Music fashion)