34 Things I've Learned in 34 Years

You know how these posts work. It's my birthday, let's get to it.  

1. Create a life worth living alone and you'll automatically create a life worth being shared. 

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2. Drink more water than coffee, more coffee than whiskey, more whiskey than beer. And never, ever drink vodka. 

3. New York City is wonderful and the perfect place to find a hidden energy and drive you never knew you had. You don't have to stay forever to live, though, even though you once thought that to be true.

4. No matter how drunk you are, don't ask your friends to send you dick pics. They'll remember, and call you on it later.

5. Speaking of pics, should you decide to send ones of yourself in your birthday suit (ahem), always crop out your head/face. You know how stuff lives on the Internet forever...

6. Speaking of getting naked (again), just one time you should get naked with your friends in a totally platonic way. Because that shit is hilarious. 

7. The best way to get through a cold, dark winter is a space heater, a Slanket, and doing anything, ANYTHING that gets you out of the house regularly. Throw in a monthly 60's dance party and those cold winter months will fly by.  

8. Yes, you CAN have meaningful, connected, emotional sex with someone you are not in a relationship with, nor plan to have a relationship with.  And yes, you can both still respect each other after, and even--gasp--maintain a friendship.

9. It's never too late to find something you are passionate about and pursue the shit out of it. 

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10. No one cares about how often you change your profile pic. Not really. 

11. You may think in your head something ridiculous like, "I have the mind of a 30-something, but a vagina of a 20-something," but you probably shouldn't ever say this out loud.  

12. Yes, you can choose your friends, and yes, it is okay to carefully curate the group of people that are your favorites.  

13. Get a coach, a therapist, a mentor or a rabbi. You don't have to seem them that often, but sometimes a little perspective is good.  

14. Only YOU can regulate your emotions. 

15. On that note, the way you react to people's behavior is more often a reflection of you rather than the person doing the thing that shocks/annoys/angers you. 

16. Try not to live your life like a 44 year old man living in his mom's basement. Go grocery shopping every now and again, and don't stretch a large pizza into four meals.  

17. Sometimes you should, you know, ask for help for things. Like when you install your giant AC unit and almost fall out of your second story window.  No one will think you are weak for not dropping that thing on someone's head. Or, you know, not falling out that window and dying..

18. One of the greatest skills you will ever learn, hands down, is how to have a conversation with ANYONE for an hour.  Fact.

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19. Find your weird. Embrace it. Flaunt it. Make that shit funny.

20. People just want to know where they belong

21. Speaking of which, this is why people hold tight to their INTJ stuff, their introvert/extrovert stuff, their hipster/Brony/Mac-loving stuff. But don't let your search for identity or belonging pigeonhole you. You are, after all, a incredibly nuanced individual. And being shoved into a box so you can be labeled is not a good look.

22. A "Like," a click, a comment or a view is not the same as being valued

23. To add to #22, these taps and keystrokes ultimately cannot replace the sense of value you create for yourself when you pursue a life you're passionate about.

24. If you've just gotten your heart broken, do yourself a favor and nurse it with the old, "starve a fever, feed a cold," mantra. Except this time the fever is your ex, and the cold is your sweet, salty tears that keep dripping into your jumbo sized glass of wine. All that to say, take 30 days an observe a generous period of no contact. Seriously. 

25. If you DON'T follow #24, and end up destroying yourself in the process of clinging to some dickhead who never loved you in the first place, you should write a book about it. You'll learn a ton, and you'll probably help somebody in the meantime. 

26. MAC AND CHEESE IS STILL DELICIOUS, DAMMIT, AND YOU DON'T HAVE TO APOLOGIZE TO ANYONE FOR LIKING THAT SHIT. 

27. Some situations don't have a right or wrong answer. Truly. So calm the eff down already.

28. Oh, naps. You are the best friend a girl could ever have.

29. Soo,,,gluten free cookies. You can't actually eat a whole bag at a time. Just FYI.  Also, donuts? Super good, but now that you're not 16, you know that shit goes right to your thighs. Just keep thinking "sometimes food, sometimes food, sometimes food" NOOOMMMM.

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30. Lower the stakes, reframe the situation, manage your expectations, then simply do your best. Relax. You've got this. And, go. 

31. Don't hold people up to such a high standard that you forget they can make mistakes. Instead, support them when they fall, ask them for better next time.  

32. Since we're talking about asking...you can't expect people to magically know what you want. You have to ask for it, or at least communicate it clearly. And stop making shit up in your head based on assumptions. Assumptions are not facts.

33. Stop comparing your life to others'. And stop trying to live someone else's dream. This is your life. It ain't over until it's over. You're never too old to learn something new, or fall in love with something (or someone), or try the thing you always wanted to try. There's no due date or expiration or timeline. Just go. Do it. 

34. Be grateful. Work hard. Don't isolate yourself too much. Learn something new from everyone you meet.  Write, revise, write again, but never stay in draft mode. Produce, perform, play. 

Live. 

<3 you guys! Thanks for another great year on TNR. :)