Twenty-Five Life Lessons in Twenty-Five Years

by thethreepennyguignol

Every year, come my birthday, I find myself wanting to do those “X life lessons in X years” sort of posts. And I always talk myself out of it, because I am still, fundamentally, a real dumbass with real dumbass energy underqualified to give anyone advice on anything other than what horror movie to watch, maybe.

But I’m turning twenty-six this month. And some tenuous research implies that, by the time you pass twenty-five, some rational-thinking bits of your brain have finally finished developing. Which means that I am now a Full-Grown Adult, capable of and perhaps obliged to shout my nuggets of wisdom into the internet at large – and thus, this year, I am giving in to the urge to share those with you. Here are twenty-five vital life lessons I have learned in the last twenty-five years and change!

  1. There are people who are only meant to be in your life for a certain period of time. Trying to battle to keep them longer when neither of you fit anymore is far sadder and more difficult than just letting them go.
  2. Being hot has nothing to do with the way you look. Being hot has everything to do with the moment when you just decide that, in fact, you are hot as fuck. I strongly recommend it.
  3. You don’t need to hit a certain threshold of unwellness to need or deserve help, and comparing your struggles to those of everyone else is just going to convince you not to get the support you need.
  4. Take your fucking make-up off before you go to bed. I only started doing this at twenty-two, and I think of my eczema-riddled face in my early twenties and cringe, regularly.
  5. Pee after sex.
  6. I spent a lot of my life convincing myself of the lie that enjoying traditionally girly things made me a less serious person. It’s bullshit. I can paint a full pastel-bright smoky eye on my face and expect respect, and it’s far too fun not to, right?
  7. Limiting significant relationships to those with a romantic element is a terrible idea. Fall in love with your friends, foster deep love with people you’re not dating. It’s a beautiful thing, and one of the best parts about life at large to me.
  8. Just because you happen to be a part of a certain demographic does not mean you’re immune to the negative societal beliefs about that demographic. Question what you believe about yourself.
  9. Women are fucking great. Stop trying to not-like-the-other-girls yourself out of awesome relationships with women.
  10. Stuff that seems woo-woo or hippy-dippy (provided you’re not steaming your fucking vagina or some obviously terrible shit) can actually be really nice. At worst, you’re spending some time with yourself, being mindful and aware of where you’re at, and that’s got to be a helpful thing. Yoga, meditation? Actually great, it turns out.
  11. Cringe culture is dead. Bury it. Burn it. Passionately love the stuff you love, even if everyone else thinks it embarrassing as hell. Buy a Riverdale shirt and enjoy America’s Next Top Model unironically. You deserve it.
  12. If it has taken you a long time to get to the point you’re at now, it’s going to take a long time to change it. Give yourself that time.
  13. Ageing is a privilege. Not everyone gets to do it. The signs of growing up on your body are genuine celebrations of the fact that you did.
  14. You don’t have to be constantly improving at something for it to be worthwhile. You just have to enjoy it. Me and my unchanging 5K run-time understand this, viscerally.
  15. Inside jokes are really obnoxious, but one of the great joys of life. Because you need a surgeon, Ellie.
  16. Working yourself to death just to prove a point about how committed you are is really, really dumb. Take time off, ignore work emails for a while. It won’t matter a year from now.
  17. Work leafy green vegetables into your breakfast. That way, no matter how many vegan hot dogs and snickerdoodle cookies you eat the rest of the day, you know you got some goodness in there too.
  18. Befriend and date people with a different taste in books with you. Raid their shelves, liberally.
  19. “This person hurt me in a serious way” and “I do not hate this person” don’t contradict each other, and can exist at the same time.
  20. Periods: track ’em if you’ve got ’em. Shit changed my life, and saved my sheets and underwear.
  21. You don’t owe anyone your time, your love, or your attention. Giving them generously is a great thing, but only to the people who’ve earned it.
  22. Do not trust anyone who claims not to like animals. Watching dogs at the park is a valid way to spend an afternoon.
  23. Your boundaries matter. If someone disrespects them, they don’t respect you. Lay down that shit like the law, and mean it.
  24. Second-hand shopping. It’s recycling, it’s cheap, and it’s often giving to charity. I could be the richest bitch in the world, and I’d still mostly buy tacky coats and cheesy men’s shirts from charity shops to fill my wardrobe.
  25. Hating yourself is easy. A lot of people benefit from you hating yourself, especially that one shitty ex you have. Loving yourself is far fucking harder, and far fucking better, too.

What life lessons do you wish everyone could hear? Let me know in the comments below. Oh, and if you are feeling generous and want to do a nice thing for my birthday, please consider donating to this wonderful cause!