I’m 33 years old (at least for the next few months). The funny thing about being 33 is that I feel like I’m about 27. I’ve been told repeatedly by my mother that I’m currently in the prime of my life. Since I was a child, my mom told me that my 30s and 40s were gonna be awesome. I spent last weekend in my yoga pants watching the “Before” trilogy (Before Sunrise, Before Sunset and Before Midnight – if you haven’t watched it…what the hell are you waiting for?) after making pork belly and shaved brussel sprouts. This is apparently what “prime time” looks like. I’m being partially facetious but I’ve entered an interesting phase of my life. When I first got out of law school, I owned my own condo, lived in Indianapolis and had a serious boyfriend. Now at 33, I feel farther away from being “settled down” than at any time in my adult life. That said, I recently took a step back and surveyed what I’ve learned over the past three decades. And I’ve realized that, in fact, I may be gaining knowledge with age. So what have I learned?
1. If you mess up something professional, tell your boss ASAP. The conversation will not be easy but your boss will respect you more for coming clean immediately.
2. If you have bad personal news, tell people in the morning. Don’t screw up someone’s sleep if you have news that can wait until the morning.
3. In a related vein, if you want to break up with someone or “need to talk”, do it on the weekend. Don’t screw up someone’s work week because you’re not into them anymore. I prefer to listen to Taylor Swift and cry…alone at home. Not with my office door closed. That’s not a good look.
4. For a work week, err on the side of a longer skirt/dress. For a night out, err on the side of a shorter skirt/dress. If the sun is down, bring those legs out.
5. Never be afraid to eat alone. Just march past the hostess while announcing that you’ll sit at the bar and grab yourself a menu.
6. Similarly, “act like you’ve been there” — this works best in social situations but can be applicable in many different areas of life. If, for example, you end up at a bar with random members of Guns N Roses and Green Day or a VIP area of a club with professional athletes, just “BE COOL MAN” and act like you’ve been there before. Before you walk into a job interview, stand up straight, remember that THEY called you and go get it!
7. In the words of Soon-to-be President Kanye West: “My presence is a present, kiss my a**” Recently, I cut a line and didn’t have to pay cover because I sweet talked the bouncer. I walked up to the bouncer and simply asked “What’s going on in there that is so special and why would I want to go in?” (Not gonna lie — I was kinda surprised it worked.)
8. Don’t apologize for your emotions.
9. If someone says that you hurt them, do NOT question the validity of their feelings.
10. Brunch is life…but don’t brunch too hard (see below)
11. Find a workout you love — Look, I’m not a workout fanatic. Workout fanatics freak me out. I don’t want to talk to you about your workout or your diet. I’m looking at you crossfitters. But that being said, if you’re into your workout, you’ll stick with it. You’ll put it on your calendar, you’ll get up early for it and you’ll get it done.
12. You’re not as immature as you think you are.
13. You’re nowhere near mature as you think you are.
14. Life comes at you fast – I used to own a home. I used to live with a significant other. I used to live in a different city (Well — I’ve lived all over the country). None of these things are true anymore. And many of my life changes happened in an instant. And my life could look totally different a year from now. Life comes at you fast so strap in, fool.
15. Eat real food. Minimize the amount of things you eat that come out of a box or a bag.
16. Just embrace your weirdness. Don’t fight it. Fighting it is WAY too hard.
17. Even at 33 years old, you may brunch too hard, unfortunate Facebooking, Tweeting and/or texting may ensue, people may get unintentionally unfriended, you may slide into some random DMs, you may do some accidental right swiping, etc. Moral of the story? Don’t brunch too hard or, alternatively, remove all social media apps from your phone then proceed to get your brunch on…. (P.S. this is just an hypothetical example….)
18. Put on a nice outfit, do your hair, wash your face and pull yourself together. Essentially, be ready to run into your ex or your nemesis at all times. (Hey! That’s why cute workout clothes were invented, right?)
19. Be nice to your taxi driver
20. Always look at your seat before you sit down on public transportation
21. You like what you like and don’t fight it and don’t apologize — this one applies to clothes, music, food, guys, girls, or anything really…
22. Emotions and feelings are not a faucet — They just don’t end just because the other party isn’t down for the party that is your couple anymore (see what I did there). But here’s the thing? If someone doesn’t want you then you don’t want them. It may be hard to hear. It may be hard to get to that place. But if someone isn’t into me then why do I want to be with them? Be gentle with yourself. Don’t be angry with yourself. Respect and recognize your feelings. Allow them to flow out of your body. They will. Eventually.
23. Timing may be a “thing”- How do you know whether something is worth revisiting? Only time will tell. As my mother says, “Oh honey. If that guy really likes you, he’ll come back. So just go be awesome and stop worry about it.”
24. Respect everyone
25. Listen – No. Seriously. Listen to what other people say.
26. Know what you don’t know and never be afraid to ask questions
27. You’re never too old to make new friends
28. Also — MAKE NEW FRIENDS — new people change your world, your perspective and help you grow
29. Surround yourself with people you admire
30. Do not waste energy on people who do not expend any energy on you
31. Wear clothes you feel comfortable in — this rule especially applies to interviews and dates. Confidence comes with comfort.
32. Do not schedule a manicure, hair appointment, wax, etc. unless he actually plans a date. I’m too busy for wishful grooming.
33. You’re going to fall down. A lot. Just get up and keep going. And if you find that you can’t get up by yourself, ask for help. Then take that outstretched hand and GET UP.