I’m so tired of articles like this.
Give me one more list ranking “love yourself” and “keep a gratefulness journal” as the Top 10 Things You Should Learn in Your 20s, and I’ll hork all over my cat-lady caftan.
Now that I’ve turned 30 (and wear caftans) I’m done reading vapid click-bait offering prosaic advice.
This is not one of those articles.
Here is a bullshit-free list of actual lessons I’ve learned by trial and error over 30 years of bad sex, hapless wandering, and great therapists.
Read on if you dare:
1. Sex is good for you.
Your neurological reward systems are wired for pleasure.
You’re evolutionarily adapted for sex to feel good. It makes you happier, feel more confident, and more deeply connected to your body.
It’s not dirty. It’s not shameful.
If it’s something you want, stop denying yourself.
"It’s not dirty. It’s not shameful." Image via iStock.
2. Spend most of your money on travel.
You won’t remember the cashmere sweaters — you will remember ocean kayaking.
3. Do the shit that scares you.
For me it’s public speaking, jumping off high things, standardized tests, karaoke, and pitching articles to the New York Times.
I do these things despite the fear — it’s fucking terrifying and unendingly gratifying.
4. Buy the guided tour.
…at the museum, the zoo, the nature reserve…
Spring for the $5 headphones, because you know you’ll love it, and learn tons of rad shit. Never, ever stop learning.
5. Have the hard conversations.
Don’t put them off.
Assumptions, unmet expectations, miscommunications…
You don’t have time for that bullshit anymore.
Have the hard conversations. Image via Girls, HBO.
6. Stop hating your body.
Do things that empower you and make you stronger. Stop giving fucks about the flatness of your stomach.
This one is hard. Keep working on it. It’ll get easier. Read this in the meantime.
7. Eat food that makes you feel good.
Eat beautiful food to whatever extent you can afford it. Nourish your cells.
Being an adult means taking care of yourself, so seek out nutrients.
That said — eat the massive chocolate chip cookie sometimes, and don’t feel guilty about it.
8. Marriage is overrated. Singlehood isn’t pathetic.
You don’t have to get married to feel committed. And choosing to be single doesn’t condemn you to mothball-eating spinsterhood.
Chances are you’ll find some kind of middle ground, because you’re a goddamn modern woman.
Now listen to this rad podcast on single-by-choice sociology.
9. Not wanting kids is OK.
Changing your mind and wanting them later is OK, too.
You don’t have to explain yourself to anyone.
10. You probably need a therapist.
Oh wait, you thought you were well-adjusted?