26 Things I Have Learned In 26 Years


Exactly one year ago, I was about to turn 25 and sat down to my computer pretty depressed and admittedly a little drunk and typed out 25 thoughts I had prior to turning 25. Well, another 365 days have passed, my career trajectory has changed dramatically, but while I do feel (unfortunately) older I don’t feel that much wiser. That being said, I have learned some life lessons in my time on this place called Earth and as a little hat tip to the piece that started this weird little journey and a toast to myself, I’ve decided to share them.

1. You cannot force anyone to like you.

It’s so hard because it’s human nature to want to be accepted and liked but (predominantly thanks to the internet) I’ve really accepted that no matter what I do there will always be people who for whatever or no reason just don’t like me. I can fight tooth and nail and try and mold myself to their supposed standards but it won’t change anything. You really cannot please everyone and the second you accept that and move on, the happier you will be.

2. Wash off your makeup at the end of every day, even if you’re tired and don’t want to.

Makeup wipes will never be as effective and the night zits just aren’t worth it.

3. Making a major dietary change isn’t as hard as everyone makes it out to be.

In February I stopped eating meat and everyone around me kind of went nuts. But you know what? It was people making a big deal about it that made it seem “difficult.” It actually wasn’t that hard. Once I made the choice and decided to stick with it frankly, it came pretty naturally.

4. Trust your gut.

About anything and everything. If a situation feels sketchy? Get out of there. If someone is rubbing you the wrong way, they probably don’t need to be in your life. Your gut will rarely steer your wrong so listen to it.

5. Vacuum twice as much as you think you should.

I live with a dog and honestly, she sheds enough that I could probably make a fur version of her in one week from collecting all of the hair she sheds. Combine that with dust and dirt from the wind and other what-have-yous… Just vacuum. You probably need to.

6. Paying bills will never stop sucking.

Even Jennifer Lawrence probably wishes she didn’t have to pay for water or electricity, but it’s a damn part of life.

7. Some friendships aren’t forever.

And even accepting that won’t stop it from stinging when their name comes up. The reality is that forever friends are rare, so you should cherish them while you have them because whether it be circumstantial or due to a falling out, some people just won’t be in your life forever. You’ll have memories, sure, but they won’t be a part of your life anymore and you won’t be in theirs. It sucks, but that’s just the way it is.

8. Drink more water.

You are probably dehydrated.

9. Your friends shouldn’t be “yes men”.

It is great when we have friends who tell us how beautiful we are and how talented we are, but that can’t be the only thing they bring to the table. True friends will call you on your shit, challenge you, inspire you, and won’t allow you to coast personally, professionally, or anything in between. If they just give you a thumbs up all the time, they honestly aren’t real friends. Your friends are the family you get to choose so you should surround yourself with friends who push you to be the best version of yourself you can be.

10. Listen to your body.

We all love pizza and fried food and if you say you don’t, you are a LIAR. But the fact of the matter is filling yourself with junk will, weirdly enough, make you feel like junk. I had to accept that I cannot handle too much red wine or dark chocolate (tragic because I love both) because I inherited my dad’s migraines and those trigger them. Your body will tell you what it needs and what hurts it. LISTEN.

11. Your age is not an excuse to not try new things.

Sure, at 26 I am never going to be a ballerina. But that doesn’t mean I can’t go to barre class and have a GREAT time. And sure, I’ve spent most of my 26 years hating all forms of sports and physical activity, but low and behold I learned this summer that I love paddle boarding and actually don’t hate running. The only person you limit by saying, “I could never do that” is you.

12. Clear nail polish will slow cheap rings from turning your fingers green.

It will also help protect your ears from earrings if they’re sensitive.

13. Don’t waste your time with boys who don’t text you back.

They aren’t wasting their time by pretending to pay attention to you, so don’t sit there festering and trying to claw your way in. You’re only going to end up disappointed. (This is still something I am struggling to put into practice. But I’m trying.)

14. No one’s life looks as cool as it does on Instagram.

There is a girl I follow on Instagram who I was just supremely jealous of for the longest time. She has the right clothes, the right poses, the right filters, the right captions. And I just pictured her living in this bubble of a perfect life. Then I found out through mutual friends that **SHOCKER** she’s normal and has days of depression and not a picture perfect relationship status and even could be really rude in person. Not what I pictured when I got green with envy over an OOTD post. Instagram models: they’re just like us.

15. Be nice to people.

We live in a world where people are constantly at odds with each other and there’s enough hate in the world to last 26 (million) more years. Don’t perpetuate it. Just be nice. It isn’t that hard.

16. Say no to shitty wine.

Life is too short for Carlo Rossi.

17. Always say hello to dogs on the street.

Dogs are unapologetically happy animals and you might get to pet it (after always asking!!!) and that can only make your day better.

18. Use technology for good, not evil.

Technology is a blessing and a curse. In some ways it’s amazing and has made it possible for my best friend since middle school and me to keep in contact even though we haven’t lived in the same state since 2008. In other ways it sucks because it gives people an opportunity to hide behind a screen and act like a jerk or a creep. Don’t be a troll, just don’t do it.

19. Clean out your dishwasher and disposal with baking soda and white vinegar.

Seriously that shit is gross. No, you aren’t imagining the smell. Ew.

20. Read more books.

Remember reading things in your hands with pages for fun? It’s relaxing and good for your brain. Also looking at the glow from an LCD screen as often as we do cannot be good for our eyes. Get a library card or just buy a paperback at a store once a month. At the very least it will make you look cooler (and by proxy more ‘Gramable) at the coffee shop.

21. Drink two pints of water before bed after drinking.

Hangovers are not fun and not cute. The water might not totally prevent it but it will help. I promise.

22. Send cards for no reason.

Life isn’t always about the celebrations, it’s kind of just about living. So send your mom or your grandma or even just your friend an actual card. It will break up their mail, which is usually just comprised of bills, and make them smile. Plus you get to hunt for quirky and weird cards and that is seriously so fun.

23. Don’t bite your cuticles.

This is my way late (or way early depending on how you look at it) new years resolution. I am tired of looking like Natalie Portman’s hand in Black Swan. It hurts and it’s not attractive.

24. Never be a person who ghosts.

Ghosting is cowardly, weak, and there’s no pride in it. Be honest with people. Sure, it will be awkward but it’s better in the long run for both you and them. Don’t disappear. Don’t allow people to call you, “That asshole who ghosted.” Just don’t do it.

25. Love yourself.

It’s hard and you will have to work on it every day. You’re going to have days where you feel like Beyoncé and days where you want to do nothing but cry in the shower. But the only person who is stuck with you forever is you so you might as well be your own best friend.

26. Floss.

Aren’t you getting tired of your gums being a bloody mess every time you leave the dentist? Just floss more. Come on, it takes two seconds just effing do it.