Published in Branded Magazine
IT HAD COME TIME TO ATTEND MY 10 YEAR HIGH SCHOOL REUNION.
How did I get here? I still remember what I wore on my first day of university. And didn’t I just move out?
I have to remind myself that I’ve had, like, six boyfriends, seven roommates, and it’s already been five years since I finished university. On a sunny afternoon in June of 2005, everyone warned me, “Don’t wish time away; it’s going to fly.” I was in my gown with too much eyeliner on and too platinum of hair, thinking only about after-grad and not much else.
Well, as expected, they were right.
I wish I had a hilarious reunion story about running into an old crush that had rejected my 15-year-old self only to wind up being one of those guys who ‘used to be hot.’ We all know those people who peaked in high school.
But I don’t have a story like that because I didn’t go. I don’t even know when it was, but I decided I would be busy that night.
Nevertheless, having been free from the doors of my high school for an entire decade, I’ve been thinking about all of the things that I’ve done and haven’t done since. In reminiscing, I became aware of the lessons that I’m really happy I stumbled upon. Though some of them involved a lot of growing pains, they have been instrumental in shaping the pretend fully functioning adult I am today.
10 Things I Learned in the Last 10:
1. There are many unconventional ways to make money. For a long time I felt judged for not taking a traditional career path, knowing that trying to justify my choices was futile. Yet I spent the majority of this summer working from my cabin. Never had I thought that I could design a schedule and a life that allowed me so much flexibility. It doesn’t have to be 9-5.
2. I remember hearing these lyrics for the first time and knowing exactly who I would dedicate them to: “I‘ve got some friends,some that I hardly know, but we‘ve had some times I wouldn‘t trade for the world.” Swing Life Away – Rise Against
They reminded me of those restless souls that I stumbled upon while backpacking SE Asia, the standard twenty-two year old thing to do.
Traveling is a better teacher, self-discovery method, and roaring good time than you can imagine. Short trips or big trips, it’s worth every penny.
3. You’re going to offend people— it doesn’t make you a bad person. You are a good friend whether you say yes or no to going out for drinks. And anyone who is up to anything in this world is going to piss some people off.
There’s bound to be someone that thinks of you when “Bad Blood” comes on. Speaking of Taylor Swift lyrics…
4. a) Dating is hard.
4. b) The grass is never greener. All you want is a boyfriend/girlfriend until you’re fighting with them about their ex, or what Netflix series to start. When you’re finally single and free again, the hunt for your next mate commences and the cycle continues.
4. c) Don’t compare your relationship to other people’s. You never know what their relationship is really like – we only post the good stuff, and even the good stuff is filtered.
4. d) GIRLS: Ignore boys who text you after 10 p.m. BOYS: If she doesn’t text you when she’s drunk, she’s not that into you.
5. Write things down. I first started writing down my goals when I was 23. Five years later, I am living the exact life that I envisioned. It’s freaky. Now I write down ridiculous unlikely things just to test out my manifesting powers.
But in all seriousness, you really are a powerful creator. Just decide, write it down, and take a tiny step in the right direction.
6. Don’t drink on an empty stomach. I’ve learned this lesson about 7,345 times.
6 b) What classifies as binge drinking is really not that much, and you’re probably going to have to lie to your doctor.
7. McDonald’s will never fill you up.
8. You will finally understand why your mother always bitched at you to put your dirty dishes in the dishwasher—especially if you end up with a messy roommate.
9. At some point you will realize that you are either wearing, or have eaten, all of your money. You will then proceed to scribble down a ‘budget’ that you’ll follow for a day and a half. Nothing will change.
10. Dating will seem like the most complicated thing in the world, until you’ve met someone great. Then friendships will take the cake for the thing that drains energy out of you. That is, if you let them. Relationships are tricky, whether they are romantic or not. The best advice I’ve ever been given is to speak up when something is bothering you, and to say what you’re really trying to say—but say it now, not three days or three years down the road.
“One day, whether you are 14, 28 or 65 you will stumble upon someone who will start a fire in you that cannot die. However, the saddest, most awful truth you will ever come to find is they are not always with whom we spend our lives.” –Beau Taplin, The Awful Truth.
That good old saying, “People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime,” is true. And it’s okay. We play different roles in each other’s lives. Sometimes we are cheerleaders from afar as we watch one another conquer goals via social media. Sometimes we are not much more than drinking buddies, an occasional therapist, or a shoulder to sob on at 2:30 a.m. outside of a bar. And sometimes we even play the villain.
Overall, the last decade seems to have been a trial in learning to chase after what we want, while simultaneously learning to let things go. As much effort as this life requires, it needs to be matched with an acceptance and willingness to roll with the punches.
To the next 10.
I have to admit that the closer I get to 30, the less scary it seems. I imagine it to be a time where I’ll laugh at my twenty-something self and her petty problems, finally have a career figured out that seamlessly weaves together my passions that pays triple what I make now, and of course, eat salads every day.
I know, dream on.
I can only hope that the approaching dirty thirties have some great times in store. Until then, I will bask in the knowledge that the last 10 years have brought, and of course, continue to lie to my doctor about how many ounces of alcohol I consume on a weekly basis.