29 Things I Learned In 29 Years

29 Things I Learned In 29 Years

Last week, I turned 29.

After entering my 20s lacking focus and intent on living by Kate Moss’s old maxim “why the fuck can I not have fun all the time,” the whole idea of developing a sense of purpose grew on me by the time I was solidly in my mid-20s. Then Phi came along and suddenly I had plenty of it.

As I edged out of my mid-20s into my late 20s, things finally started coming together in ways that made sense. Now I’m getting a glimpse of what my 30s have in store, and I really really can’t wait. I’m going to enjoy every minute of being 29 while I look forward to what’s ahead.

Next year, I’ll have a good excuse to throw a party. This year I’m celebrating with a list of 29 takeaways I’ve picked up in the same number of years, written as notes to myself.

  1. If you don’t write it down, you might forget.

  2. Have a few go-to Seamless orders for those days when suddenly it’s like 2 pm and you haven’t even thought about lunch and you need it to get there before you get hangry and stupid.

  3. Your email inbox will never be clean. Don’t worry about it.

  4. Drink something with cayenne pepper in it every day.

  5. Don’t be afraid to leave New York (or wherever is home, or the place like you feel like you’re supposed to want to be but don’t). You’ll come back if/when the time is right, and just like your dad said, it will be on your own terms.

  6. Do more of what makes you happy.

  7. Pay attention to signs in nature, numbers, overheard conversations, street art, etc.  You’ll know them when you see them.

  8. Make eye contact with the people you meet throughout the day, even if your interactions are brief.

  9. Most of your career opportunities— and almost all the best ones— will come through other women and/or social media.

  10. Sometimes you’ll be having a bad day and act like an asshole because of it. Forgive yourself.

  11. Sometimes you’ll run into people who, like you, act like assholes when they have a bad day. Forgive them.

  12. Money doesn’t buy happiness, but it does buy a certain kind of freedom. It’s a start.

  13. If you stay up late reading the part of Curtis Sittenfeld’s American Wife where she writes about Princeton Reunions and how they use the plural form of “reunion” at length, then  the very next day pass a guy in the park who’s wearing a Princeton hat as he chats about Reunions, take it for what it is: proof there’s a link between what you put into your mind and the reality you experience. It might just be that you’re ready to notice whatever matches up with the ways you’ve been occupying your mind, but it’s reason enough to make sure your thoughts reflect the reality you hope to create.

  14. You’ll go into a yearlong project feeling like you’re in way over your head, but you’ll pull it off. At the end, you’ll wonder what else you can do. Then, you’ll go find out.

  15. You’ll disagree with your parents, but ultimately you appreciate them endlessly and feel lucky that you have parents who are actually so much easier to appreciate than your 12 (or 22, for that matter) year old self ever recognized.

  16. The day you realize you made the things you were hoping for happen you’ll be walking in the West Village wearing cool pants. You’ll realize cool pants and other things you thought you wanted are not and never will be enough to fulfill you.

  17. During a weekend retreat in Joshua Tree you’ll participate in a ceremony. It will be more beautiful than you can describe and you’ll be forever changed by what you learned in just an hour or two with a bunch of near-strangers and no psychedelics. Yet, when a man who’s been studying with your teacher longer than you’ve been alive says there’s still so much work to be done, he’ll be right.

  18. Nothing works as well as Sunday Riley Good Genes

  19. We can only see in each others what we see in ourselves.

  20. You don’t need to call one thing bad in order to call another thing good.

  21. Fear is processed in a different part of the brain than joy, love, etc., so it’s possible to feel both at the same time. The presence of fear doesn’t mean the absence of love.

  22. Whatever thing you hate about life right now is teaching you what you do want. Just wait, it’s going to be amazing.

  23. When you’re feeling out of alignment, the best medicine can be found in the following: laughter, sleep, exercise, and sitting around a table with people you love eating bagels. Just don’t drink too much coffee. It will make you a nervous wreck later.

  24. There’s zero shame in watching reality shows.

  25. If you want to read more, read the books you want to read rather than whatever you feel like you “should” read.

  26. Take baths as often as you can.

  27. When you feel stuck, move things— starting with your body and the stuff in your bedroom.

  28. Someday you’ll look back on this chapter of your life and wonder how you did it all. You don’t have to wait until then to be proud of yourself.

  29. Whenever the Trolls version of “Can’t Stop the Feeling” comes on, you have to dance.


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