Notes From 23

Usually when adults hear that anyone under 30 has advice to share, they scoff (Exhibit A: the subtitle of Lena Dunham’s book…Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She’s “Learned”). How are we supposed to be productive members of society when 20-somethings get nearly the same respect as teenagers, and because it wasn’t so long ago, let me tell you, we’re not talking about that much. But, because I don’t care about that, here are a few things I’ve been mulling over, as I approach 24:

 If it wasn’t on Facebook, it did happen.

Technology is fantastic, I love it. I even have a blog where I can put out all of my dumb thoughts that no one reads.But that doesn’t mean that I respect all of it, and the expectations that have come along for the ride. You may be familiar with a post that I wrote about the woes of social media, if you haven’t, you certainly can. While it’s cliché to say that we live in a world where we post, and post, and post, but don’t live in the moment, it’s true. We are so busy taking photos to remember moments that we’re not actually in the moment, making the memories. And the content of these posts is another thing entirely. Depending on the person, they can be viewed as self-involved, braggy, and sometimes…just weird. What is the message that you’re trying to convey with your post? While I fall into the shameless photographer category, I try to stay in the present and advocate for stepping back.

Relationships are like your 9-to-5, but they pay less.

Whoever said that relationships shouldn’t be work was wr-wr-wrong. Yes, some relationships are easier than others, but to take them for granted is totally negligent. I don’t believe in taking relationships for granted (i.e. family, longtime friends, or office acquaintances), that just doesn’t work for me. It’s important to both show and tell people that they matter to you. Who wants to feel like they’re the only one who’s invested in a relationship? I’ve been there, and I can say that it’s a pretty shitty feeling. If you’re lucky, your relationships will be fruitful, but sometimes, they feel like more effort than they’re worth.

Being selfish once in a while never killed anybody.

Now that I’ve got both feet into the 20s water, I’ve realized that not only do I have a more defined and asserted sense of who I am, but I’m also more open and accepting of change, something that wasn’t so commonplace when I was 16.  Point being, I know myself, the good, the bad, the everything. Knowing myself as I do, I know when I need “me time” and I know what I need. This may appear selfish, but I think it’s actually one of the best things you can do for yourself. Being selfish may also include small things like letting people know what you want to do, rather than “going with the flow” if you’ve got a real opinion. This is usually a great tool to prevent pent up frustrations, etc…

Saving money is boring but necessary.

This is pretty self-explanatory. My generation is terrible at saving and understandably so. Simply put, we’re not in much of a position to so. We’re not making that much at our jobs and are residing in cities where the cost of living is too high. While we’re doing our best to cover the minimum (i.e. rent and eating), we’re also spending on things that we really can’t afford…without the help of our parents. It’s definitely hard to think about the future when you’ve just spent your entirely life in school, which I bet you thought you’d never get out of. The thought of life after college was daunting and that holds true, for so many reasons, this being just one of them.

That said, if you don’t treat yourself every so often, who will?

A little something special every so often, if you can swing it, is a great way to show yourself how much you care about you. For me, it could be something as small as a stop to Juice Press or a latte and alone time. One time, I did, however, justify taking home a bag from MZ Wallace. But you know what? It made me feel good and I use that bag all the time.

By sweating the small things, you get quite a workout.

“Don’t sweat the small things” is one of my least favorite sayings. Ugh, just the thought of it makes me feel icky. I find it such a condescending thing to say because it instantly creates a diminutive dynamic. Simply put, Person A (the one saying this) is telling Person B that their feelings don’t matter, that what they’re feeling is wrong, and that the issue they’re dealing with is miniscule. Even if their reaction seems disproportionate to you, it’s not your job to say that. While I don’t suggest getting worked up about everything—because who can sustain that much stress?—to be cognizant of your emotions is a very productive and healthy thing.

If you take a job for passion, you might get screwed over, but at least it was worth it.

My generation is supposedly quicker to leave their jobs, risking everything because their not happy or fulfilled, and for this, we get we get a bad reputation. We’re looked at as not serious and that’s not fair, we’re just looking for something different or better. That said, we don’t always think with our heads, staying at a position because of where it may lead, but rather, we live in the moment and leave for jobs that seem more interesting or exciting. These career shifts may not always work out, but in the end, hopefully we’ve learned a thing or two.

Expectations are lame and nonproductive.

I think this says it all. While sometimes expectations push us to “do better,” more often than not, we try for the wrong reasons. Expectations often lead us to do things that we really aren’t interested in doing. I, for one, strive to do things that I want to do, not the things that other people reflect upon me. While this isn’t always the nice thing to do, it ultimately makes me a very happy person. Leading me into my next point…

 You can never get your time back, so spend it wisely.

As I kid, I distinctly remember my mom telling me how important time was, that you could never get more of it and that you could never get it back. Impressing this upon me at such a young age definitely left an indelible mark, which is probably why I believe in being selfish, spending my time exactly how I want to, and being as honest as I can be. I always say, “no regrets” and that’s exactly how I try to live.