Friday, May 23, 2014

29 things I've learned in 29 years

Here 'tis! 29 things I've learned about life, faith, and myself in 29 years. I feel like last year's list was not quite so heavy on the lessons about moi, so it's possible I've become even more self-involved in my 29th year...?

Happy May 23rd, y'all! Let's get started!:

1. The "Alt + Tab" surfing function on a PC is probably one of the top 10 best computer tricks ever shown to me. Sometimes my left index finger aches, and I wonder if it is because of that daily, repetitive reach over to the Tab key.

2. Having a beverage -- caffeinated, fermented, or otherwise -- with a friend is one of my simplest and most satisfying pleasures in life. I am almost always up for it, and doubt that I will tire of it before I leave this life.

3. No amount of extra noise is going to stop you from thinking or feeling the things inside you.

I have just recently begun to be able to sit quietly, and I am amazed and grateful that it is in fact calming to me.

4. I am still too much of a wuss to utter the words "I have a crush on you/I like you" or "Let's just be friends." This might be [beyond] pathetic at 29 years of age, but there you have it.

5. It is really not worth it to worry so much about that outfit you are putting on.

I find that compliments most often come when I'm not looking for them, people laugh when I'm not trying to be funny, and that extra praise in my direction can be shortcoming when I put a lot of thought into something that is done with the hope of receiving superficial, fleeting attention. Appearance is fleeting in all its forms -- decor, style, youth, etc.

Also, mismatching, I have decided, is kind of my thing. People expect it, and I think they love it. Coworkers, pals -- they can never quite expect which cardigan-dress-sock-shoe-earring mash up they're going to encounter with me on any given day. And I think they find some comfort in the fact that they can always count on me to not really give enough of a care about wardrobe.

6. On the above note, Ladies: (straight) guys find us attractive no matter what. This really is something I have learned and come to firmly believe in 29 years. Sure, boys enjoy the way lip gloss makes our lips shine. They don't mind heels and a slinky dress. But I really, really think that if we are bald, wearing sweats, weighing whatever we weigh, having whatever hair color we have, blah blah blah -- they still find us attractive. I think it's just natural.

I think of course each guy has his own cup of tea (that's the cool part about chemistry and love, is that we're not all perfect for each other, otherwise this place would be an even madder madhouse), but if a guy is attracted to women generally, you can probably do yourself a favor by trusting that more men than you think are indeed checking you out. And there are certain people on this planet, whether you believe it or not, who are going to -- and probably already do -- find both your specific looks and personality irresistible.

I'm serious. I believe this.

7. Comparing yourself to others is exhausting, mostly fruitless, and might kill me if I can't learn to curb it.

8. Spotting a roach in your apartment kind of makes you feel like a failure.

9. You are entitled to your emotions. If pop music makes you ridiculously happy, then it is happiness in your book. Done. If something breaks your heart, you don't have to explain why in order to verify it. You are allowed to feel grief for something that may not seem like a loss to another.

10. I still haven't decided if I'd prefer the next guy in my life to be The Guy or if I'd like to make up for lost kissing time and smooch on a handful more before I make a commitment.

11. It breaks my heart when I see beautiful women doubting their beauty and giving their energy reserves to calorie counting and obsessive exercise or any form of destructive treatment of their bodies, minds, and hearts.

I am grateful to possess what may seem a naturally positive body image, though I know nurture was involved. I largely credit my parents for this, by feeding me balanced meals yet not treating junk food as poison, and being explicit in letting me know they think I'm cute, while complimenting my character for balance.

I also generally don't mind eating tasty food with people I love -- and the tomato bisque at Jimmy's is so good I cannot hold a conversation while eating it.

And feeding each other and eating together is an ancient form of community, and it makes complete sense to me how it has stood the test of time.

All that said, very often I still view eating as a chore. It can be depressing to eat alone, I get tired of all the preparation, I fantasize about sending someone to the grocery store for me, and I find it annoying that my body nags at me several times a day to eat. yet. again. "Didn't we just do this???" is my thought much of the time.

12. Friendships can be restarted after several years of lying dormant, and this is fantastic. Try and remember this the next time you have to say goodbye.

13. If you put your sunscreen on while naked, you'll be less likely to miss spots, and, Bonus: you can quit worrying about smearing it on your clothes.

14. Laundry is maybe the best chore. You put dirty clothes in a machine, you walk away, you put wet clothes in another machine, you walk away, and then you can wear whatever you want and it all smells great. I don't understand why people hate doing it.

15. Joking about rape or suicide is always stupid because a)neither thing is funny and b)you never know who your audience is.

16. I am really not shy, and can chat it up with a stranger about any topic, but if you're an attractive male and I like you, I will be nervous and have a hard time looking at you.

I think I've lost some of you over the years because my inhibition was mistaken for lack of interest.

17. I am a (highly) sensitive individual. I also continue to be astounded by the reserves of strength that are inside us humans. I don't doubt that you reading this are built similarly -- strong and sensitive, sometimes beyond belief in both respects.

18. Routine is super helpful and important, and probably hardest to follow when unemployed and/or severely anxious or depressed. It is also extra super helpful and important in those contexts.

19. A man who puts on a zip-up hoodie becomes instantly adorable to me. It is one of the strangest and best surprises of fashion life.

20. Talking to strangers is one of the greatest highs I can experience. I. Love. It. (I am especially hyper and ready to initiate bonding with unsuspecting new friends in the wee hours prior to organized athletic events).

21. When I can cry with someone, it opens up a whole world of freedom.

22. I am believing more and more that prayer is less about piety and more about just opening up your mouth and directing your thoughts upward.

Start where you are. If we wait to be "worthy" of prayer, we'll never enter a dialogue that has the capacity for life-altering healing.

23. Being single at my age can be either crippling or liberating, depending on the moment. It sucks that the disparity has to exist.

24. It is a gift if, as a single person, you can keep relationships with friends who marry before you open and continuous.

That said, as more and more of your friends get married, and the singles among you continue to grow strong in your singleness together, those are some of the strongest bonds I have ever known and I cherish them.

These single people also make great travel buddies, and it is super fun to experience the community of crashing on each other's couches.

25. For as much as I think I couldn't possibly connect with married people because they're married and don't get me and my current state in life (especially if they married young), when I stop and look around I realize that I am super close with several married people. They are precious gifts all their own, and I'm grateful to have them in my present and to know I'll have them in my future to guide me through marriage (if and when I get there).

26. Fun, kind, funny coworkers can make all the difference in a job. And fun, kind, funny people make life in general a lot more livable.

27. It's really hard not to write your own imagined version of what others think of you, think of your relationships with them, think of your work ethic, etc. It's also really hard to convince yourself that this imagined version may be just that: only imagined.

It's also really hard to bring it up to people and ask them what they really think.

But I'm beginning to think that it's way harder to keep on believing your imagined version of a situation than it is to ask someone else to give you their take and in so doing let him or her possibly dispel the imagined version you're telling yourself.

28. Pride isn't just swallowed, it also has to digest.

29. And finally, in conclusion: Even though it scares the SH*T out of me sometimes when depression creeps back up in me AGAIN, I know that I am so, so, so, so, SO blessed to have friends who continue to listen to me -- and who maybe even see the task as a privilege -- and who cheer for me to feel good, and to succeed in both my dreams and in everyday, ordinary life.

Much love, my readers. Thanks for stopping by. Xo


  1. That was a good read, my friend.

    1. thanks, dave. thanks for the bday phone message too!