I’m about to turn 31. I tell you that not as an important introduction to today’s blog post so much as a cheap way of reminding all you that my birthday is coming up. As in imminent. As in, you better look at your calendars because it is coming!!! I’ve been working on getting my birthday registered as a national holiday but until Congress gets their act together and their priorities straight, I’ll have to settle on sending out subtle reminders myself.
In my almost 31 years, I’ve learned quite a few lessons. I’ve made many more mistakes, but unfortunately, not all mistakes yielded a lesson. You know how it is…Thick headed and all that.
Fortunately, I’m starting to turn into quite a regular adult these days, and I’m proud to say that learning from my mistakes is becoming quite the habit. So, to celebrate said adultish behavior, I thought I’d share with you today my list of life lessons. I’ll call it, the His Girl Friday Secrets to Adulthood. (You’re welcome.)
- People think about you much less than you, think about you. So stop worrying about what everyone is thinking about you. They’re not.
- People are too worried about the same things you are worried about to notice the things that make you feel insecure. So again, stop worrying.
- When it doubt, say hi and start conversation. People are nicer/friendlier than you think. Most people, however, are not good at starting conversation (see Secret #2).
- When you are invited to dine in someone’s home take them something. Just do it. It’s classy and, again, you aren’t in college anymore. You can afford a vase of flowers, a bottle of wine, or a box of baked goods to show your appreciation for the invitation.
- Invite people over for dinner. Just do it. Thinking about others is a true trademark of adulthood. If you are in your thirties but rarely entertain then I hate to break it to you – you are living like a 20 year old. You are no longer a 20 year old. Stop it.
- When you entertain, use real dishes. Again, you are no longer a 20 year old. Stop it.
- Buy better, less often. This applies to everything: clothes, furniture, body products. The days of huge shopping sprees where you clean out a discount rack are over. Purchase things that you really love, that really work in your life, and that are really age appropriate. That list excludes a lot. Embrace it.
- Doing things just because that’s the way you’ve always done them, or who you’ve always done them with, is for babies. You are a grown up now. Now is the time to be you, with the people that reflect your you-ness. Again, less is more.
- It’s ok to have the occasional midnight pizza, or to load up on french fries at the local street fair, but you do this as a special occasion and not as a rule. Your fridge is full of good food that is good for you because, as I’ve mentioned before, you are now an adult.
- Be honest. There is no reason to agree when you don’t, or to say you like something when you don’t, or worse, to give people so many half truths about yourself that neither one of you ends up knowing who you are. Do yourself and everyone else a favor and just tell the truth. It is ten times better to be honest in the moment and have a few seconds of awkwardness then to have to go back weeks or month later to confess what you should have said from the start.
- Never, ever end said moments of truthfulness with the phrase, “I’m just being honest.” That is usually code for, “Don’t be made at me for being a rude jerk.” Secret #10 is about truthfulness, but as an adult, you should now be able to be both truthful and kind. Secret #10 is not about being rude, it’s about transparency. Which leads us to Secret #11. Be nice. You can do it. You are an adult now.
- As a nice, truth-telling adult, you also realize that just because someone doesn’t like what you say doesn’t mean they don’t like you. Or maybe it does. Either way, you’re going to be fine. Because you’re an adult.
- If you are a woman, wear less makeup. The day of the heavily lined eyes is over; it went out with Avril Livigne’s fame about five years ago. All you need is a little mascara, an eyebrow pencil, and a great lipstick to let your adult beauty shine through. In Lavigne’s famous wise words, “Why’d you have to go and make things so complicated?”
- Don’t forget that being adult doesn’t mean you lose what was great about being a kid. (ie Don’t be boring.) Laugh. Get your hands dirty from time to time. Be goofy. Break out of old routines. Try new things. The stable, predictable, mild mannered life isn’t the sign of an adult life, it’s the sign of a boring one. Adults should be the ones having the most fun because we’ve kicked our insecurities to the curb, found freedom in who we really are, and know a thing or two about this thing called life. The biggest secret to adulthood is that you are at a point in your life where you get to keep the spunk of childhood, with the wisdom of adulthood. Don’t forget the spunk.
- Life can be hard, but that doesn’t make it bad. You will make mistakes, but that doesn’t make you a failure. The grace to admit this and move forward, makes you an adult.