Mom, can you drive me to the dentist? Please?

I am young. I have a lot to learn about life, love, and how to stop shrinking my clothes in the dryer. But while drinking some vile mixture of rum, vodka, and various juices out of a bowl with five straws on my 21st birthday, it hit me: I’ve grown. During the past three years of college and a high school experience that stretched on for way too long, I’ve learned a few things about being a young woman in today’s society. It’s scary, it’s hard, and it’s an odd mixture of catcalls, forgetting to take your makeup off before bed, and heartbreak. So, for my 21st birthday, here is my gift to myself: 21 things I’ve (sort of) learned about life

  1. Your friends are your saviors. You don’t realize how important they are until shit hits the fan. So don’t cancel your girls’ night for some guy who texts you at 1am. They’ll be there with a bottle of wine when he makes you cry, and you’ll forget about him (I promise).
  2. Be nice to your parents. My teenage years were full of being an utter brat towards my mom and being embarrassed of my dad. I would do anything to take it back now. So if you’re reading this, call your parents. Tell your mom she’s cool and tell your dad you never get sick of his puns.
  3. A relationship that makes you doubt your self worth is never I don’t care if he’s 6’2 and has a sexy French accent. If he doesn’t make you feel like a badass, it isn’t right, and it’ll never be right.
  4. Also, abuse is never okay. Someone that puts you down, emotionally, physically, or verbally abuses you has no place in your life. Whether it’s a boyfriend, girlfriend or friend, these toxic people don’t deserve your light.
  5. You don’t have to text back if you don’t want to. You don’t owe anyone anything, especially not the guy who bought you a drink at some random bar.
  6. College is going to suck. You will get a bad grade and be surprised because it never happened to you in high school. You will feel completely alone at times, your teachers may not know your name, and you may be so overwhelmed you feel like you will implode. It’s normal. It doesn’t have to be the best 4 years of your life, and that’s ok.
  7. College is going to be amazing. You will find strengths about yourself you never knew existed. You will make friends with people who surprise you every day. You will grow, and you will learn through your experiences.
  8. Go to class. Nothing is worse than having an entire textbook of reading to do the night before the final because you didn’t attend the lectures you are paying tens of thousands of dollars for.
  9. Watch your drink, and watch how much you drink. After you move out of home, your mom isn’t up waiting for you. You need to learn to look after your own safety.
  10. Stay in touch with your high school friends. They know you in a way no one else does. They’re your sisters.
  11. You do not have to know what you want to do with your life. You can be as confused as you want for as long as you want. Don’t force yourself down a path you’re unsure of – there’s no time limit as to when you need to find your calling.
  12. At some point, you’re going to have to start making your own appointments with the doctor, and it’ll suck. You won’t understand why it sucks so much, but it’s because you now realize you have to be independent, which is scary.
  13. Do a weekly challenge wherever you live. Find a cool event: an art show, a bar crawl, a pop-up shop, and just go. Spontaneity cures boredom.
  14. Boredom leads to bad decisions. Don’t do something self destructive because you want to feel something. There are other ways to add excitement into your life that don’t involve answering your ex’s texts.
  15. Keep a journal. Nothing will prove to you how much you’ve grown more. By re-reading old entries, you’ll realize how much you’ve learned from each day.
  16. Write down 3 things you’re grateful for every morning. It sounds like bullshit, but take it from me, it helps.
  17. Get CNN updates on your phone. An informed woman is an empowered woman.
  18. Talk about your mental health. Don’t feel like you have to keep it together all the time. That’s what your people are for. You won’t scare them away if they’re meant to be in your life.
  19. Just eat the cupcake. Your metabolism will not be this way forever, so appreciate it while it lasts. But, eat some carrots too. Balance is key.
  20. DO NOT SPONTANEOUSLY CUT YOUR HAIR. If a haircut is emotional, you’re probably going to hate it in two days.
  21. Repeat after me: this too is for the good. Even if you can’t see it now, one day, you’ll realize that every negative event has a positive outcome. Everything. This one better be true, because I have it permanently tattooed on my body. Sorry dad.

Disclaimer: I wouldn’t say my life is in perfect order right now, so take these with a grain of salt. And a lime. And also a shot of tequila.