27 Things I've Figured Out As A 27 Year Old

I turned twenty-seven four days ago, and I don't know why, but somehow the combination of being twenty-seven (plus four days) and having a blog gives me enough expertise to dole out life advice. And actually, this list is less life advice and more what's worked for me, because 1. I'm not qualified to give anyone advice on anything and 2. everyone's life is very different and my life advice would probably not work very well for my friends who are married and having kids, so there's really no point to giving advice anyway. We all just have to figure it out for ourselves, really, and do the best we can.

So without further ado: 27 Things I've Figured Out As A 27 Year Old

1. We all have to figure life out for ourselves, and do the best we can.

So maybe I cheated a little on this one, since I just said this. But it's true. Advice books, lists, columns, shows are all helpful (sometimes), but really - it's up to us to figure things out.

2. Life has patterns. Sometimes it sucks. Sometimes it's easy. It's always beautiful.

Sometimes we're sick and sometimes we're healthy and sometimes we're in love and sometimes we're heartbroken, but there are always constants. I can count my friends and family as my constants. Figure out what will always be true for you and be thankful for it no matter what phase you're in.

3. How to parallel park.

Every time I parallel park I think of this Austin Powers scene. Every. Single. Time. (Source)

Living in the city has taught me a few things: say thank you when the harmless yet slightly off man tells you you're pretty (he's human, too), feral cats are really horribly obnoxious, don't move your car on Sundays, and don't waste valuable street parking space. Because I've been forced to parallel park at least once a day, I've gotten really good at, and I've learned how to use my mirrors - especially the one on the right side of the car, which I've otherwise forgotten about.

4. How to break into my own apartment.

This only works if you don't have the deadbolt locked. Take a card, or some sort of scrap of plastic, and jimmy it between the door and the wall, sliding the plastic between the knob (ha ha) and the wall. Boom. Open. Then when you're inside, lock the deadbolt, because you just proved to yourself how easy it is to break into your apartment.

5. How to listen to my body.

This has happened, and I continued to date said person. That was dumb and I don't do it anymore. (Source)

If my knee hurts, I don't run. If my head hurts, I turn off my computer (for a few minutes - who are we kidding?) If I see a guy I'm dating and I want to vomit, I don't see that guy anymore.

6. How to enjoy running.

The first 2-3 miles suck. Like really suck. At 3.1 miles, I finally feel like I could do it forever. This is not great comfort in the first few miles, but it helps. The cute guys and dogs who run also help.

7. You can't make someone love you.

Duh, but we all seem to need to learn this. Trying to be the person they want only makes me feel horrible about myself, when really it's just a matter of us not being right for each other and that's okay.

8. When you wake up with someone and you want to get out as fast as possible, get out as fast as possible.

He's a guy who makes me want to vomit. (Source)

Andi did it with Juan Pablo. If she can do it on national television, we can do it in private. Call your friend, get out, and never see that person again. But if you do see that person at a bar, ignore them. Don't stir up that drama again.

9. How to break up with someone.

Sometimes it needs to be said. (Source)
After one date, it's really easy. After 2.5 years, it's rough, but easier when you realize the guy who's been stringing you along has a live-in girlfriend. Either way, rip the band-aid off and be honest. 

10. How to live alone.

This happens sometimes. It's okay, but clean it up. (Source)

Do you know how great it is to live alone? I mean, without roommates or anything? It's really really really really really awesome. Except that you have to do all the dishes and cleaning yourself. So do the dishes and clean your bathroom once a week.

11. Take a shower immediately after exercising.

Bacne = back + acne, as a result of not showering right after working out.

12. How to speak up at a doctor's appointment.

The worst doctor ever, and no one ever said anything. (Source)

So there's this one Golden Girl's episode where Dorothy is really sick but her doctor's keep insisting she's healthy, until she finally finds a doctor who can accurately diagnose her and she gets the treatment she needs. Be like Dorothy and speak up when there's a problem, and don't shut up until someone listens. I've seen friends get screwed over because they've been too nice and I've been screwed over because I've been too nice. Make sure you're not a hypochondriac, but be honest.

13. No one has it figured out and no one has it together.

It's okay, Andy. You're not alone. (Source)

The panic I feel at midnight about whether or not I'm wasting my life is not unique to only me. A friend told me the other day that I always look like I have my life together, which only underscores the idea that everything looks great from the outside, and that no one has it figured out. Probably not even Jennifer Lawrence.

14. Comparing myself to others doesn't make me smarter, funnier, more beautiful or more worthy.

Conversely, seeing someone who is smart, funny and beautiful doesn't make me less smart, funny or beautiful.

15. I'm going to read what I want to read and I don't care if you think it's dumb.

I like YA. I like YA. I like YA. I like YA.

16. How to speak up at meetings.

Meetings are like a cesspool of stupidity. Except for me and my friends. (Source

Don't just talk whenever. Don't ask questions that have to do only with yourself. But when I have something worthy to add, don't be afraid of just saying it. And ask the question you need to ask.

17. How to teach the way I want to teach.

I had to figure out who I am as a teacher, much like I've had to figure out who I am as a person. I can't stand listening to myself talk, so I don't lecture very much. I don't like doing all the work, so I like making my students do everything. It turns out I'm a lazy teacher.

18. Sleep is important.

No really. Sleep. Is. Important. I need at least seven hours of sleep, and I'm usually tucked in by 9:30 pm. And that's okay. I've got a tough job, I've got an active life; going to bed before 10 does not make me boring. It makes me responsible.

19. Hair grows back.

So just cut it already.

20. My body is fine just the way it is at this moment.

There's a line between taking care of yourself and being a narcissist, but I'm probably not even close to crossing it. (Source
Stop being so mean to yourself.

21. Spending a night wrapped up in a Snuggie and watching Golden Girls is fine.

The Snuggie makes me feel like I'm in the middle of this hug. (Source)

Just make sure it's not every night. (Maybe five nights a week, tops.)

22. How to end a friendship.

If you have a friend who is causing more distress than joy, it's time to end the friendship. If you spend the majority of the time arguing with your friend, it's probably time to end the friendship. If you tried to talk out your problems with your friend and it's just not working, it's time to end the friendship. If you leave a meeting with a friend feeling horrible about yourself, and spend time sitting in your car sobbing, it's definitely time to end the friendship.

Sometimes you can end it through the phase-out method, but really, I think honesty is the best policy. And then leave it be.

23. Saving money is more important than dressing fashionably or giving in to a craving for Chicken Tikka Masala or traveling the world. 

I'd rather live like a pauper now than still struggling with my finances in ten years.

Also, and I'm just going to say this as simply as possible: don't believe all those Pinterest quotes that tell you to travel when you're young no matter the cost. Don't get yourself into massive debt just because you feel like you have to travel. You have a long life ahead of you that doesn't end when you get to thirty/have kids/get married/get a job/etc. You're in control of your life, not the other way around.

24. Inappropriate jokes are hilarious.

Truth. (Source)

Especially when someone is sick.

And find your audience.

25. I don't understand religion.

I'm trying to ignore logic. But logically, that doesn't make sense. (Source)

There. I said it. This is not the time to discuss this, but really, I want to be religious, I want to believe in Jesus, I want to feel that kind of comfort that comes from being able to say to someone "I'm praying for you" but I'm just not there. It's one of those things I'm still trying to figure out.

26. Love comes in many forms.

This needs to be a thing. (Source)

Friendship love, family love, pet love, self-love, romantic love. And all of it is important and necessary.

And by the way, being love with someone does not necessarily mean you want to marry that person. It may be that you respect someone and hold them in high esteem. That still counts as love and you are as entitled to those feelings as anyone. Don't let anyone make you feel bad for being in love.

27. Finding romantic love is not the ending to a story, but just part of life.

It happens. But if you're nice and you do good things and you don't constantly sing a capella, you probably have a better chance at finding it. (Source

To be cliche, life is a journey, and romantic love is just part of those life phases. Sometimes it lasts, sometimes it doesn't, but don't let it be your only mission in life. Be your own person.

Other thoughts:

  • Don't be a jerk. (In other words, be the nicest person you can.)
  • This too shall pass.
  • Don't let a guy be a jerk by letting him justify it as "just being honest."
  • Read. Read a lot. Non-readers tend to be boring.
  • Facebook is not real. 

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