'Buy your own birthday cake.' The 28 life lessons I've learned by 28.

I recently turned 28-years-old. And before you start... I know, I know. I've barely done life, what lessons could I possibly have? Give me a break okay (please). 

Turning 28 has been the first age where I've felt old. Everyone around me is suddenly 25 and I don't know when that happened? I always used to be the 25-year-old teenage girl who had her whole life ahead of her. Now, I'm a good-for-nothing boring woman in her late 20s. 

It's fine, I knew my time would come. 

As I near the end of my 20s, I've decided to list all the things I would tell my younger self — and any other pre-28-year-olds out there. (Although, there are way more than just 28 lessons, that wouldn't have made a good article headline.)

Watch: 7 ways to cope with birthday depression. Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia.

1. Wipe front to back.

Surprisingly, you only learnt about this in your mid-20s. Luckily nothing has happened to you from wiping the wrong way around. Don't test that luck. 

2. Don't date your type.

Yes, I know you always say not to settle for anything less for the best. But bestie, just because you find someone you think you like doesn't mean they think of you as "the best". They will break your heart and you will forever wonder why. 


The best people you've dated are the people you met in person that you would never swipe right on in a dating app. They're also the people who you've swiped left on multiple times before finally giving in. They're not your type and that's a good thing. 

3. Apologise, even when you've done nothing wrong. 

There comes a point where you can't keep blaming your stubbornness on being a Taurus. Apolgising is a skill that will give you so much peace and tranquility. No one makes fun of someone who apologies. You're not weak, you're respectful.

4. There will be people in your life that aren't feminists....

There will be times where you remember that you live in a really fun and safe bubble. The times when your bubble pops are when you're walking home alone at night or when you're the only girl at "drinks with the boys" and you get an insight on what your boyfriend talks about with his friends... they're not good things and you will feel uncomfortable. Leave.

5. Don't eat past 10pm.

You will wake up at 2am with heartburn and it will forever ruin ramen for you.

6. ALWAYS eat breakfast. 

You know how you always feel dizzy and angry at 10am? It's because there's nothing in your body besides two oat milk flat whites. Get some toast down your gob.

7. If you're planning a first date and he suggests hanging out at his place... Run. 

Self explanatory.

8. That guy you're dating who's 15 years older than you isn't charming... he's just rich.

Yes, he takes you to really expensive restaurants and cooks you steak in his two-bedroom Bondi apartment... It doesn't mean he loves you and you don't love him either. He'll get a complex about how much better your career is than his and will dump you over text.


9.  6 espresso martinis are 4 espresso martinis too many.

You will be wide awake in bed till 6am even though you got home at 10.30pm. 

10. No, you don't need that doughnut, but you will be thinking about not eating it for the rest of your life. 

Just eat the bloody doughnut.

11. Running isn't for everyone and you're proof of that. 

That clicking sound you hear in your knees every time you run isn't... good. Stick to pilates. 

12. You're allowed to eat tuna on crackers for dinner for a week straight.

No, you don't need to post every single dinner on Instagram stories. And no, you don't have to cook up a meat, carb and salad every single night. Tuna is great, crackers are also great. You're not failing at life because you don't make a "proper" dinner.

13. If you come across your ex's profile on Hinge, don't swipe right. 

Okay, you will swipe right. Two things will happen. They'll never swipe right on you so you don't match with them (ouch) or they will swipe right and you both engage in an awkward "catch-up-esque" conversation before it peters out to absolutely nothing and then his profile remains stagnant in your messages, haunting you. 

14. Just because your friends are in relationships, doesn't mean that they don't need you.

The girls need the girls. Be there for them like they're always there for you.

15. Remove that $600 candle from your cart immediately. 

You will never light it and your mum will have a heart attack if she finds out. 

16. Your car registration is probably due right now.

Unfortunately, when you move out of home, your dad won't come over to take your car to the mechanic (rude). Your dad's done enough for you, the least you could do is remember to get your rego done. 

17. No one is looking at your body the same way you do. 

You have a stomach. Congrats. Stop being mean to her and wear the bodycon dress. 

18. The makeup your friends recommend won't work on your skin tone.

When it comes to beauty, you have to do some extra work in finding influencers, experts and products that focus on your skin tone. Do not add that pink lipstick to your cart because it will look crazy on you. Do your research, do your swatch tests and never gatekeep your holy grail products. The brown girls need your recs! 


19. If you forget to bring your glasses, go back home and get them.

Having to wear your prescription sunnies in the cinema is not a look (especially when it happens the second time). Not wearing any sort of prescription lenses at all in the cinema is worse — It'll give you a migraine. Just keep your glasses on you at all times. 

20. It's not a scam... you do need to floss every day.

Surprise! Your dentist actually wasn't trying to make you cut your gums so you could see them again. Flossing is a requirement and in the long run your dental bills won't be insane (still expensive but not insane). 

21. Visiting your grandparents won't make them stop aging.

Your grandparents are getting older much quicker now. They will look older every time you see them regardless of how often you visit. Don't let them see that fear and never stop visiting. 

22. Always choose being bloated over not eating the bread. 

Who the f*ck cares if you're bloated? Yes, your tummy might hurt a little but not as much as not eating that foccassia will hurt your heart.

23. Before you walk up on stage to present in-front of 150 people... check your fly. 

It's probably undone. Zip her up girl.

24. Your birthday will slowly become less important to the people around you so buy your own cake. 

It's fine, such is life. It doesn't mean they don't want to celebrate you — of course they do, you're great. 

You just have to do more things for yourself like making the booking, checking to see if everyone is free, buying your own cake and then going home to your empty apartment at 10pm because everyone has a "big day" tomorrow. (Okay maybe this is more of a complaint than a lesson, just prepare yourself for this). 

25. Don't let heartbreak stop you from telling people how much you love them. 

There will be that guy who tells you he doesn't like you enough to want to be with you. There will be that guy who tells you that he's found someone else. There will be many guys that tell you they didn't want to lead you on but they think that you're on different wavelengths. They will all still want to be friends with you because who wouldn't?


After every single one of these heartbreaks, you will become a little more reserved and protective over your feelings. Don't be. There's a reason why the most infamous breakup phrase is "It's not you, it's me." It is them bestie. It's always been them. There is nothing wrong with you. Your ability to express your emotions is a gift, don't put them in a box and return to sender. 

26. Stop checking his Instagram following count. It will hurt... A lot. 

I know you're going to check it. I'll have the tissues ready when you do. 

27. Don't save that TikTok about best pimple-popping techniques. You will scar.

 Worse than that, your Papa will compliment your "very very rosy cheeks." 

28. Be kind to your parents, it's their first time as well.

I sometimes forget that it's my parent's first time attempting life as well. It's their first time trying to parent a 28-year-old woman who blames her mood swings on the phases of the moon and asks if she can be picked up because she has anxiety over the possibility that she might need to parallel park on a busy road. 

Luckily for her, although they don't fully understand her, they will do whatever she needs, no questions asked. How good. 

If you want more culture opinions by Emily Vernem, you can follow her on Instagram @emilyvernem.

Feature Image: supplied. 

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