23 things I learned before turning 23.

You may be thinking to yourself, whoa now, don’t you know the number of things you are allowed to learn must directly correlate to your age?

Well, I’d say to you, sirs and madams, I’m a go-getter.

I’m turning 23 on Monday, or as a friend of mine says, 22 round 2. And because the Internet seems to be exploding with advice these days, I figured I’d jump on the bandwagon.

Below are 23 things I’ve learned BEFORE turning 23. These are specific to my life, and if you disagree, write a response blog and then we can be blogemies and have epic Internet battles and become famous. Until then, enjoy.

(Also, these appear in no particular order other than the order they popped into my mind.)

1. You don’t always have to have an opinion. – Bold for a blogger to say, I know. But there are times when I don’t have an opinion on some supposedly important social issue, and no matter how hard you may pressure me, I won’t give you one. Maybe I don’t know enough about the topic, or maybe I just don’t care enough about the topic. Whatever my reason, you can’t force me to have an opinion. And if you do, I will be quite sure to have the exact opposite as you.

2. It really is worth it to bring your lunch to work. – Even if you only spend $5/day on lunch, that’s $20/week and…umm…well you can do the math. It comes out to a lot. And while I enjoy eating out as much as the next person, saving on the food (and the gas to get to it) will definitely outweigh that McDonald’s burger, if not on your thighs, at least in your wallet.

3. That being said, it’s totally cool to by yourself flowers every now and then. – Yes, flowers. They’re so important. Maybe you don’t want flowers, fine, whatever, but for me, they can completely change my mood. Yes, I have a boyfriend, and yes, he buys me flowers. But just because I can get them from him doesn’t mean I can’t get them for myself. So go, buy yourself some flowers from a farmers market and go stare at them.

4. When it comes time to choose between ice cream and wine, choose both. – There is no ‘either/or,’ only ‘and.’ Buy both and you won’t regret it. Ever.

5. Your parents are probably way cooler than you used to give them credit for. – Man, I used to be mean to them in high school. If I could, I’d go back and shake myself out of it. Because not only are they way cooler, but you’re probably a lot like them, too.

6. Staying fit is a lot harder without four gym memberships. – Yep, I had four at one point. Two on campus, one at my apartment complex, one at work. And guess how many I used? Barely one. Now I’m kicking myself because I must now resort to running the old-fashioned way: outside. (I complain, but I actually prefer outside, unless it’s storming, which is every other day here.)

7. Minutes become hours at work, and hours become minutes at home. – It’s like time speeds up when you’re off the clock, so make every second count. Whether you’re playing Xbox, taking a nap, cooking, do something you enjoy. Don’t waste your time by stressing out over things you can’t change and effectively ruining your evening. ENJOY YOUR LIFE!

8. Buzzfeed quizzes suddenly become extremely accurate at this age. – When I was in middle and high school, quizzes were stupid and pointless. Just take a stroll back onto your old Myspace (yea, you probably still check it every once in a while) and see what you posted. What were you thinking? Great question. We’ll call Myspace the Dark Ages and move on. Enter Facebook and the sudden availability of buzzfeed quizzes every other status. What Disney song am I? I dunno, never thought about it. But suddenly I need to know. I need to know right NOW.

9. It’s okay to make new friends. – You may be clinging to your high school or college friends so tightly they can’t breathe, but hey, it’s gonna be okay. People move, people get jobs, people get married, life happens. It’s okay. Stay in touch if you can, but don’t have a fit about it if things change.

10. Oh yea, change. Well, there’s a lot of it. And then also none of it. – Your world is now completely different, whether you’re just starting college or just entering the real world. Either way it’s so totally not what you expected. And then you settle into your routine and you’re like “Really? Is this it?” And you wake up, and you do your thing, and you go to bed. And it may repeat like that for a while. Until change happens again, and either you’re scrambling for what you had before or you’re settling into something new. Either way, it’s unavoidable, so just do yourself a favor and embrace it.

11. I go to bed early all the time. – I have a love/hate relationship with this. Sleep is good. Being boring is not. I’m torn between the two often.

12. Talking on the phone is now exclusively reserved for when I’m en route. – Moms everywhere are probably gasping at this (sorry not sorry), but this was true even in college. There’s just not enough time anymore to lay around on your bed and gab to whoever. It’s more like “Hey mom, I’m heading to Publix, but I can chat for a few minutes, so go.” And then conversations become bullet point lists and it’s a constant game to see how many you can get through in one fifteen minute conversation.

13. Don’t give up on your dream. – I don’t care how wild or unlikely it is. If you really want something, work for it. Figure out how to get there, and go. Don’t be lazy, and don’t make excuses for yourself. Set goals, find someone to hold you accountable, and go. When you do nothing, you prove the skeptics right. Don’t let them be right.

14. Feelings are so important. You shouldn’t be told they’re wrong. – Maybe they’re overdramatic, but if you’re upset about something, it’s okay to be upset. One of my pet peeves is when people tell me I’m overreacting or I shouldn’t feel that way. Well, cool, yea that’s helpful advice. The truth is, I already know when I’m being ridiculous, I don’t need you to tell me. What I need is for you to accept that my feelings toward whatever situation are real, and then help me. I might be ready to move one, and I might not be. Meet me where I’m at. Don’t expect me to jump forward ten steps when I’m barely ready to take one.

15. Again, that being said, don’t be a prat. – If you’re being difficult to just be difficult, then good luck, because the few people who have the patience to wait for you to pull yourself together are going to see through this quick and most will not stay. They’ll still be your friend, but they aren’t going to humor you, and they shouldn’t have to.

16. Welcome to the age of tea and coffee. – Early twenties. We’re all about that loose leaf tea and coffee. Give us a good coffee shop and we simply melt. Make me a cup of tea from the loose leaf whatever you bought from the farmer’s market (that is tea, right?) and I’m a happy camper. Eventually I’ll invest in my own tea strainer thing…what are they called? Tea steeper. That’s it.

17. The first question out of your mouth when talking to those in similar stages of life becomes “So, how was work?” – Why? Because we like to torture ourselves.

18. I wish I could redo high school. – I think I would have been a totally different person if I could go back. I wouldn’t be such a brat, I’d be more relaxed, and the last thing on my mind would be boys. If I knew then what I know now, I would spend my time enjoying my life, rather than wondering if any boys liked me, and if I would have a boyfriend, and all these other pointless thoughts. I find myself warning girls younger than me of this same thing. I tell them, “I wish someone would have told me this. Enjoy where you’re at.” Who knows, someone probably did tell me. I was just too stubborn to listen.

19. The need for a dog is almost unbearable. – It’s like you graduate, get your diploma in the mail, and suddenly you realize, you would really like to share your accomplishments with a four-legged friend. You vicariously live through your friends pets. Offer to petsit for people you barely know, just to have the semblance of having something so furry and happy dependent on you. It’s like all the good things in life balled themselves up into one animal, and you have to have one.

20. Suddenly your entire closet is full of free t-shirts and work clothes. – You can’t even buy clothes at the mall without trying to justify whether you can wear it to work.

21. Everything you did in high school and college that was free, you now have to pay for. – It’s probably one of the worst things. In high school your parents paid for your dance classes, or whatever ‘after school activity’ you did. Then in college, you find a club on campus and get to do it for free. Now, you’re living on your own, and even though you really really want to find a dance class, there aren’t any good ones for ‘adults,’ because that’s what you are now, and even if you do find one, you can’t afford it.

22. When Bonefish raised their $5 Bang Bang Shrimp on Wednesday to $6, you seriously considered writing to the company and complaining. – I kind of wanted to cry. I mean, it’s just a dollar. But it feels like they lured you in, got you hooked, and did a bait and switch. Needless to say, I took it very personally.

23. And finally, you discover that there will never be as good a computer game as Roller Coaster Tycoon or the Sims. – Sims is still going strong, so props to them, but what happened to Roller Coaster Tycoon? I want it to come back. WHY did I ever get rid of them for some quick cash? At least I still have my Pokemon games and Gameboy. OH WAIT I DON’T BECAUSE I WAS A THIRTEEN-YEAR-OLD IDIOT AND SOLD IT AT A GARAGE SALE. Worst mistake of my teenage years.

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