Birthday Cake


They say when you turn 25 your brain is finally fully developed. Last weekend I turned 25, so I guess this is apparently as good as it's (I'm?) going to get. I feel it is now my duty to pass on all the wisdom I've gained. This is everything I've learned in the first quarter century I've been on this planet (but mostly in the last five years—nobody learns anything in high school).

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1. It's OK to skip a night out. The FOMO death toll is currently: 0. If you're sitting on the couch on a Friday night and dreading even the thought of getting dressed up and meeting people at a bar, or at a party, or whatever it may be that night, don't go. There will be other nights out. You won't miss anything that important.

2. It's also OK to get a little too drunk when you do go out. Sometimes. Every now and then. On the rare occasion. If you are constantly getting too drunk and needing to be taken care of, you very soon will not be going out at all. Because no one will invite you. But if you do get, uh, over served, don't beat yourself up about it for too long. Your hangover will be punishment enough. Stay safe. Say thank you to anyone who may have helped you along in the night. Take one less shot next time. It happens to everyone.

3. Friendship shouldn't be that hard. All relationships require work, in so much as if you get in a fight, figure it out. If you haven't talked it a while, reach out. But friendships shouldn't be one-sided. You shouldn't always be the one that has to make amends. You shouldn't always be the one reaching out. If you find that you are, maybe that friendship has run its course. That's fine, too. (Oh, and there is no such thing as "frenemies.")

4. There's a reason your first love didn't last. The breakup will feel like the worst thing that has ever and will ever happen to you. But when you look back from the distance of a few years, you will see why everyone told you it wasn't meant to be. And you will agree with them. You can't rush past the heartbreak of it all to get that distance, but you can (at least try to) contain some of the messiness in the aftermath. No matter how much if f--king sucks.

5. But don't hate your exes. Barring serious physical or emotional trauma, don't give someone that power. Hating someone requires active work. You don't have to be friends, but be friendly.

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6. Procrastination will ultimately just make you more stressed. Filing your taxes. Responding to work emails. Making that phone call you really don't want to make, but you know you have to. You'll have to do it eventually. Do it now and you won't have it looming over your head all day. In the end, it won't be as bad as what you built it up to over so many hours. If it is, at least it's over.

7. Be proud of your friends. Their success is not your failure. There isn't a finite amount of good things that can happen in the world. When your friend gets that cool new job and you're stuck at the same old same old, be happy. Not fake happy—truly happy. Then go home and use your jealousy as motivation.

8. You can't wait for your boss to notice you. You have to ask for that promotion. You have to ask for that raise. You are not being greedy or arrogant, you are looking out for No. 1. If you sit and wait for it, you will grow resentful of your work. Bosses have their own s--t to worry about. Know why you deserve it and ask. 

9. Accept help from connections. This one skews slightly specific to the entertainment industry, but it might apply: if you know someone that can get your resume on a desk, or get your foot in the door, TAKE IT. You want to get success on your own merit, but that's not the way the world works. It isn't honorable, it's stupid. You're not even getting an advantage; you're leveling the playing field

10. It's easy to forget your motivation. Once you start working a job every day, all day, it's easy to get comfortable and forget any aspirations or dreams outside of cashing that paycheck and paying your rent. After working all day, it's so hard to find time to work on your writing or your acting or whatever you want to do that doesn't involve a cubicle. Even though watching TV or doing literally nothing might be more appealing, set aside an hour a night to work.

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11. It feels good to cook yourself a meal. God, is it more work than going through the Taco Bell drive thru. The planning. The prepping. The actual cooking. And then you have to do the dishes? It's absolutely more effort than throwing out an empty take out bag, but it really is more rewarding. For some reason.

12. There's no reason not to eat that dessert. Unless you are a model or an actor or someone who is PAID to have a six-pack, who honestly cares if you aren't chiseled, cut up, totally ripped with blasted pecs and bulging things and the smallest waist possible? If that piece of cake looks good, eat it. Depriving every single enjoyment in life is insane. And nobody likes going out to eat with the person who doesn't eat anything.

13. People like people who dance. You don't have to dance well, either. You just have to be DGAF and be willing to make a fool of yourself. Dance, people. Dance.

14. Set Advil and water out before you go out. After 22, you can drink a single glass of wine at dinner and feel it the next day. So if you're going to have a handful of beers, plan ahead. Not-as-horribly-hungover-as-you-could-be you will be grateful. Also: Order drunk pizza at midnight. You will feel better for it (assuming you don't eat the entire pizza yourself, in which case you will probably feel worse).

15. Get a regular doctor and go to the doctor when you feel sick. When you're in college, the clinic is acceptable (if not necessary). But when you have health insurance and can afford the $30 co-pay, find a doctor who you like and who will keep a running tally of your health and get to know your body. And then actually go to that doctor if you think something is wrong with you. It takes a lot to kill a human from within (we're pretty resilient, you might be able to cure yourself), but you'll feel a lot better diagnosed.

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16. Hate watching is a waste of time. There's a difference between having guilty pleasures and watching a TV show so that you can become physically angry and bitch about it afterward. Stop it. If you don't like something, do not watch it (listen to it, play it, so on and so forth). Your time is—hopefully—more valuable than that. And leave people alone who do like watching it. There is no bigger waste of time in life than anonymously fighting with someone on the Internet.

17. Invest in: a nice pillow, a solid mattress, a good duvet, curtains. There are cheaper options, but you will not regret spending a little more to get something nicer when it comes to getting a good night's sleep. These are investment pieces.

18. For every new social media you join, delete one you don't want any more. If you need to document every moment on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and SnapChat and whatever app becomes popular tomorrow, you will spend your life picking filters. Have one or two main social media accounts and get rid of the rest. If you like the Gram and Twitter, delete the Book. You will survive without it. You will not go into withdrawals.

19. It really is the thought that counts. Your friends' presence is the present. Because they came to your birthday party even though they could be doing anything else (including staying at home: See No. 1). The same goes for any actual gift you receive, be it homemade or purchased or straight up free. No one ever has to give you anything.

20. It all comes out in the wash. Don't count pennies when you're splitting a dinner bill. Split it down two-ways or three-ways. If one of your friends needs you to cover them for a drink when you're out, don't hold that over their head until they VenMo you the amount with interest. We could all use that extra $15 in our bank account, but if you get a friend now, they'll get you later. (Counter point: DO NOT BE A MOOCH. DO NOT BE CHEAP. DO NOT TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE WASH.)

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21. Your family is (probably) very fun. Look, every family has their own business that is none of my business. Maybe this doesn't apply to you. But maybe you've never given your parents a chance to be anything other than your parents. You might be surprised to find out they can get pretty turnT too. Or, at the very least, that they give good conversation.

22. Everyone should be a little selfish sometimes, no one should be selfish all the time. Don't be afraid to put yourself first. Sometimes you have to do you, even if other people don't like it. But don't be a d--k about it either.

23. Some people are just miserable people. Some people you cannot and will not ever make like you. Or reason with you. Some people wake up every day and are just hateful and sad and horrible until they go to sleep (or die). Don't let them make you a miserable person.

24. It's easier just to say sorry. In the grand scheme of things, it's easier just to say sorry and get the ball rolling on forgiveness—even if it's the other person's fault or inside you're feeling sorry not sorry. There is no cosmic tally of wins and losses in arguments. There are only crappy feelings until things get resolved.

25. You're not too young. 25 is young! But 25 is not, in the voice of your haters, "SOOO YOUNG! You're still a baby!" Don't let these people tell you that you don't deserve something because you are "only" 25. Don't let them project where they were at 25, and what they think a 25-year-old could or should be doing, onto you. Don't let them convince you that you don't know anything, because, bitch, know at least 25 things (^^^this list). And that's not bad. 

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