in Life

23 things


I turn 23 soon. In honor of this slightly less than momentous occasion, I thought I’d try and compile a list of 23 life lessons I’ve learned. It wasn’t easy. I got about ten in and started making things up. I had to stop and remind myself to only put stuff down I’ve actually learned.

So here’s a list of 23 things I’ve learned, and try to remember.

  1. Dreams are hard work – they aren’t going to be the best thing in the world every day. But you have to remember that you loved them and work on that love, just like any other good relationship.
  2. Bad things are good teachers – they can teach you what not to do, how you are in bad situations, and plenty of other things. This one everyone tells you, but you don’t really get it until you’ve been through a few bad things.
  3. Coffee is not a luxury – it’s a necessity.
  4. Security is a luxury – I’m very young, and that I don’t have all my finances and career and love and stuff squared away is okay. It’s natural.
  5. Don’t panic – just don’t. See above.
  6. Invest in friendships – when you’re young they tend to take care of themselves, but as you grow older you realize that friends are people too, just like parents, and they need support and encouragement and a little admonishing just like everyone else.
  7. Take care of yourself – don’t lose sleep, don’t eat junk because you can, and work out and eat right and do all those dreadful adult things that will keep your body nice to you. Even at my age my knees are starting to complain.
  8. Sleep is vital – see above, but honestly, sleep is more than just for health. For me, if I don’t sleep well, nothing else in my day is going to be right.
  9. Do hard things right away – they aren’t going to get any easier or less there, so if there’s a mess on the floor, clean it.
  10. Fun stuff is not always fun – which doesn’t make sense but it does. Parties are not great for people like me, and even things I love like art and reading and watching mindless TV can be boring when I’m in the wrong frame of mind.
  11. Don’t thaw chicken until you’re going to use it – a good tip, and one I’ve had to learn about five times.
  12. Remember to daydream – getting lost in worlds beyond the one outside is refreshing. And magical. And don’t ever let anyone take away the magic in other worlds.
  13. There is nothing hot tea and the smell of a book can’t fix – at least, not that I’ve found. I dread the day a problem is too big Earl Grey can’t mend it.
  14. Libraries are the poor man’s cruise – I don’t get out much, so my library is my vacation time.
  15. Being right is never better than being nice – seriously. And maybe this is more for me than the people I’m being nice to, but don’t ever let superiority replace kindness. It doesn’t matter if you win the argument if you lose the friend.
  16. Don’t stop drawing – it won’t ever get easier or less painful, but it might get more habitual.
  17. Slow down, always – there’s very little that really needs to be rushed, and there’s great pleasure in taking things slow.
  18. Some grownup things are fun - like dark chocolate and operas and black coffee and making decisions and buying your own food…
  19. Some are not - like signing leases and answering doors or phones, or getting the mail, or buying your own food…
  20. A smile is free – and brightens up everyone’s day.
  21. If you don’t like something, don’t finish it – whether it’s a book, a relationship, a workout session; if it’s not going to help you, leave it. I am particularly guilty of feeling guilty when I don’t finish a book. It seems dishonest somehow.
  22. It’s okay to be sentimental – and it’s okay to cry. I still struggle with this, with wanting to not be emotional at all ever, but that’s a childishly arrogant point of view to have.
  23. You are never too old for fairy tales – I’d forgotten, and maybe thought I was, but that was silly.