As you live, you learn a lot of different things. You have regrets and you have wants and needs and bumper sticker philosophies that you wish to share “in your old age.”
So here we are: here are thirty things that I learned in my thirty years of being alive. Please learn from them because they are things no one told me and things that I’ve found to be quite valuable and, like Elizabeth Taylor’s White Diamonds, these always brought me luck.
1. Try to read at least a book a month. Whether by audio book or by a digital book or by a hard copy, read. Reading can save your life.
2. Be a little selfish. Only do things that please you. If you are not happy with something or someone, do something else.
3. You will probably maybe never get over your first love (but you definitely will look them up on social media and realize that it could never work now).
4. Dye your hair a different color. You will feel special and people will notice.
5. Relationships are hard. With friends or family or significant others, they are not easy—and they should never be.
6. Bisexuality is not a trend. It’s how people identify. Never adopt an identity “for fun” because you are twentysomething and confused about your sexuality and you read somewhere that being bisexual was trendy so you thought you’d jump on the trend and identify that way because it was cool. Identities are not clothing.
7. Some people will think that, because you are gay, you are also transgender—and that is nothing to be offended by. Moments where you find people do not understand the difference between gender identity and sexual identity is a learning moment, to explain the situation. They might be a bit ignorant on the subject but it’s flattering that people appreciate your gender fluidity.
8. Early in your life, add in exercise and healthy eating into your routine. Make it a habit because, the older you get, the harder it is to make that a part of your daily routine.
9. Dogs are very easy to own and operate.
10. When a pet dies, it is much more difficult than you think.
11. When a person dies, you will never forget them. No matter how close or not-close they are to you, their death will haunt you and you will see reminders of them everywhere. This is both a positive and negative thing.
12. Never say you wish someone “would die” because, one day, that person will die and you will feel like a huge asshole who willed their death. This happened to me in college, with a guy who annoyed the shit out of me, who I was jealous of, and then he literally died. Do you know how much guilt that caused? A lot.
13. Have a personal style. Whether it is wearing a bow in your hair everyday or winking at people when you meet them, do something that defines you, something that is memorable. It will make you feel special and set you apart from others, as “That Person Who Does ________.” You’ll feel good knowing you have a calling card.
14. Don’t spend over $70 on a t-shirt ever—even if it’s by Alexander Wang. Wait until it’s on sale.
15. Paint your nails. Do something that makes you feel pretty.
16. Continue going to school because it’s fun to be a student when you’re an adult. Night classes are chill.
17. Have as much weird sex as you can and don’t be ashamed of it. As John Waters says, “everyone’s sex life is funny except your own.” Embrace how ridiculous your sexual desires are and be open about it. No, you don’t need to wear leather every day but don’t be ashamed of your sexuality. Sex should be associated with pleasure: keep it that way.
18. Start a website. Make a place for yourself online, for people to come to you, to read Your Daily Times. You should have your own CNN: make that your website, be it a blog or YouTube page or something. Make a place for people to find the news on you.
20. Words of extreme wisdom from a former boss: “Try everything once to try it, try everything twice to see if you like it.” I live by these words, which explains so many rewards in my life (and drug usage in college).
21. Do drugs at least once. Any drug! Try it.
22. Cocaine is way overrated. It’s only good if you want your face to feel numb for a few hours to a few days and then want your father to suspect that you are ill when, really, there’s just a bunch of drugs lingering in your nose.
23. Never eat in bed. That can form a very bad habit of placing no boundaries around food, which means junk food and sleep commingle and you wake up with your face next to fried chicken at 7AM and then you feel really bad about yourself.
24. In no realm of intelligence is drinking and driving smart. You will do it once or twice and feel invincible that you accomplished the impossible, driving as if normal while under the influence—but you are an idiot for doing that. They invented Uber for a reason: you have no excuse for this in 2016.
25. Hangovers are real and they can last for days. Two days is probably the longest they last but, yes, there will come a time when you will go from drinking bottles of wine and waking up a bit buzzed but bedazzled and swell to feeling like Lucy and Ethel are sitting on your head and then galloping and then pouncing around, trying to squeeze your brain into a wine.
26. Find a cocktail or type of wine or beer that you like and stick to it. At a certain point, you just have to play it simple and stop fucking around with yourself, toying with other drinks and pretending that you want to “try different things.” Just stick with one thing.
27. Around your 27th year, your body commits to to not wanting to naturally be “lightweight” and you have to actually monitor what you eat and exercise and do things to be healthy.
28. Also around this age, you realize that drinking every day of the week is no longer cool but sad and taxing and exhausting and maybe the reason why you will die early so calm down with it.
30. Never drink sweet wine.