Advice from a wise 30something to you lucky 20somethings. Come, let me be your Sherpa.
By Anne Walls
Illustrations: Amy Paschall
1. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes
2. But when you make them, own them. This means apologizing to whomever you offended/puked on/ditched/stalked/tagged in unflattering photos on Facebook.
3. Don’t be afraid to incur some debt to go after your dream. To expand on this: taking out loans for grad school, putting your savings into making a movie, traveling around the country while you write that Great American novel—now’s the time to do it. Of course, running up $24,935.28 on a buffet of credit cards just to support your “artistic lifestyle” (read: Ketel One, Barney’s Co-Op and too many Pastis brunches) so you don’t have to get a job or produce any actual work is a little more frowned upon.
4. Stay in touch with your high school friends. The older you get, the more you’ll want to stay friends with people who knew, not only the awkward, nerdy you, but where you’re from.
5. Be proud of where you’re from. It’s part of what made you who you are today, regardless of the situation you escaped.
6. Be proud of who you’re from regardless of the situation you escaped.
7. Siblings can be troubling at times, but if you’re lucky, they will be there your entire life. Treasure them.
8. A word about sunscreen: Yes. Wear it. Every day. Even if it’s cloudy.
9. A similar word about eye cream: Yes. Wear it. Every night.
10. One word about Botox: No.
11. I hate to break it to you, but as your 20’s progress, the way your body handles food and alcohol changes. And by changes, I mean becomes a bastard who hoards sugar, dairy and booze in cute little saddlebags in the upper thigh and muffin top regions.
12. While I’m breaking it to you: hangovers get much, much worse as you get closer to 30. Brace yo’self.
13. Go to your high school reunion. Blah blah, you hated those losers/that town/your ceramics teacher/that time of your life. And you are much more fabulous now. Right? Great. Now go show it off.
14.You’re going to be attending a lot of weddings in your 20s. A LOT. A few tips of the trade:
a. Eat before you go (the food is usually terrible and/or hours away and you’ll be getting hammered. Put a base layer down).
b. Do not ask ANYONE you have been dating for less than 3 months to be your date for a wedding more than 3 months away. ESPECIALLY a destination wedding. Recipe for disaster.
c. If you are in the wedding, do NOT hook up with any groomsmen at the rehearsal dinner/shower/bachelor(ette) weekend. Save it for the wedding night, ladies. Just like you were taught.
d. As a bridesmaid, you will be forced at one point to wear a watermelon-colored potato sack as a dress. Grin and bear it gracefully.
e. Try to not get caught doing illegal drugs (surely an attempt to forget about the sack you’re wearing) in the bathroom by the Father of the Bride.
15. Accept that your 20s is the time when your friends (and of course, you) are going to be changing at warp speed. Some will get married, some will have babies, some will move away, some will succeed in their jobs, some will fail, and some will get really, really famous. Be happy for everyone (or sympathetic if things go poorly). But, be supportive – your time is coming and one day you’ll need that support too.
16. That being said, know that sometimes the changes will be too much for certain friendships to survive. And this just happens. People drift/splinter apart and that’s just life.
17. Don’t be afraid to clean out the friendship closet yourself, either. If you find yourself dreading hanging out with certain people, or feel small/ashamed around them, or not good enough, then end it. End the friendship. No one needs that, especially not a fabulous 20something like yourself.
18. Date everyone.
19. To clarify #18, date everyone within reason. This is the time to meet/date/makeout with/spoon/fork a bunch of different people. The world is completely open to you and the choices are limitless. Try to date people who are different from your normal “type.”
20. Speaking of “types,” get over having one. Your type is human. Date them.
21.This one is tricky: in relationships, be open to everything, but don’t throw everything into the other person’s boat too soon. Keep one foot on the dock.
22. Oh, what am I talking about? You’re a 20-something. It’s impossible to not set sail.
23. Just remember where your harbor is. (Nautical metaphors will stop now.)
24. Sex in public places is encouraged, as long as you don’t get caught/stuck/injured.
25. Sex with your boyfriend’s friends is not encouraged.
26. Likewise RE: sex with your friend’s boyfriend.
27. If someone you’re dating makes you feel ashamed to be yourself, dump them immediately.
28. Believe in true love. It exists. It just takes a lot of searching to find it.
29. Don’t settle for anything (or anyone) less.
30 Don’t be afraid of getting older and leaving your 20’s behind. One day, on the eve of your 30th birthday, you’ll look back at the crazy, horrifying, giddy, exciting, sprawling mess that was your 20’s and smile. You’ll smile because of all you’ve learned, how far you’ve come and the fact that life is still exciting. Maybe even a little more exciting than before. Because you’ve got your wild, exuberant, sparkling 30’s in front of you.
And that, my friend,
is when shit gets REAL.