Top 10 learnings of a 29-year-old who is knocking on 30’s door.
1. Let People Be: She’d be cool…if she wasn’t such a negative Nancy. If only he wasn’t a smoker. You wouldn’t want an “if” hanging over your head, so don’t hang one on other people. They are who they are. Take it or leave it. Your stipulations are more reflective of yourself than of them.
2. Run Your Mouth: That’s right. I recommend you not take Imodium for your verbal diarrhea. You’re going to regret some of the shit you say. But there will be even more stuff that you’re glad you put out there into the universe. Whether it was after a few pints at the pub or in the heat of the moment, if it’s bubbling up inside of you, let it out.
3. Accept Praise: You know why people hang out with you? Because they like you, fool. You know why employers hire you? You’re talented and capable. You know why the lady in the checkout line at Trader Joe’s strikes up a conversation? Because you have a friendly face. When someone extends a compliment, say “thank you.” It doesn’t matter if your shirt was a wicked deal on the clearance rack at Marshall’s. If someone says they like it, they’re not asking for the play-by-play or cost. “Thanks!” will do it.
4. Accept Criticism: I already want to amend this to “Accept Constructive Criticism.” Don’t smile as someone tears you down, but be gracious with feedback and edits that come from a genuine place.
5. Laugh at Yourself: You are one. goofy. bastard. Own it. Retell the story of when you slipped on your diaper-less son’s fresh puddle of pee and hit the kitchen floor so hard the whole house shook. Have a moment when you’re furiously trying to unlock someone else’s identical car in the parking lot. Situations can be maddening, or they can be comedic gold. Depends on your perspective.
6. Be Fuckin’ Weird: Everyone has quirks. Show them. When you call my cell around the holidays, I’m always going to answer, “Santa’s Hotline, this is Kate.” I’m always going to call my cats everything other than their actual name when I talk to them. Fuck, I’m always going to have multiple cats to talk to. If that’s weird, that’s me. You do you.
7. Sing the Blues: Things are going to hurt like hell. Shit’s gonna pile up, shit’s gonna hit the fan. Lean on people – hard, if you need to. If you’re not a perma-Debby Downer, they probably won’t mind, and will come to know they can expect the same from you when their own sky is falling.
8. Sing, Period: Don’t forget to sing when you’re happy, too. And I don’t mean metaphorically. Sing out loud! Some of my favorite moments include belting it out like a complete asshole. In the car with my aunt, cousin and mom to “Midnight Train to Georgia.” To my newborn son, who gave his first giant smiles to my rendition of Katy Perry’s “Roar.” With my husband and his family at a Zac Brown concert, where the lyrics carried us back to a few days in paradise we’d all spent together. Sing alone. Sing together.
9. Admire Green Grass: Nothing is worse than a “grass is always greener” type. Water your own grass, bitch! And stop to look at it once in a while. Someone else having a newer this or a bigger that doesn’t change the fact that you’ve got it made in the shade.
10. Shave Your Legs: A less traditional way of saying “Take Care of Your Damn Self.” No one’s gonna do it for you. Buy that fancy face wash if it makes your skin feel like cashmere. Do your nails. For God’s sake, pluck your unibrow. Self maintenance. Or not. Whatever makes you feel good.
If you can look back at your first 29 years fondly and with pride, you done good, kid.