a series of faint clicks
Jessie recently accused me of being cool without trying. HAAAAAAA. I've been trying for a long time.
A few things click on their own (which is a time function, and happens A LOT LATER THAN YOU THINK IT SHOULD), while a few others happen as a result of hard work. I don't think I'm cool, and I generally feel like I'm fooling people, but on the other hand, if 18-year old me looked at the me who's a few months from 29, yes, I'd think I was cool.
So here's a few things I wish I'd known at 18.
- probably better to get a smartphone sooner rather than later. you'll save money in other ways. yes, the trac-fone is costing you $4 a month. you also can't do anything with it, and all the payphones are going to disappear.
- you're going to work a series of terrible, awful, no-good, very bad part-time jobs, and worry about money ALL the time. the guy with the dead parrot in the freezer? quit on the first day, not the second. if any of these jobs make you cry repeatedly (and a lot of them do), quit. your parents won't let you starve.
- regarding cars: the ancient mercedes, while baller, is a money-pit. should have gone with a volkswagen or a subaru. you'll figure this out the hard way.
- ALWAYS carry cash. you get lost a lot (the flip phone doesn't help), and you're going to find a lot of yard sales. amazingly, as of this writing, you have not yet been lured down a dead-end dirt road by a murderer.
- your circle of friends will implode repeatedly. don't worry about finding new ones. the right ones will appear after you think there aren't any left.
- death will become a reality. you'll attend more funerals than weddings. don't run away from it, and get a nice dark dress. remember that being there is more important than having something to say.
- you're going to spend years freaking out about houses. the one you get is a nightmare, but it's your nightmare, and it's worth it. keep that credit score high.
- stop buying armchairs. no one needs twelve, even though you get kind of a big house.
- save your money, because in 5 years you're going to have your first beer and in 7 years you're going to buy a house and in 8 years you're going to get your first tattoo and these things take money
- TAKE ADVANTAGE OF YOUR PARENTS' INSURANCE. this is the time to floss, get checkups, and take those supplements.
- you get the clothing situation figured out! spoiler alert: the denim jumpers are gone. you find jeans that fit. the dresses are no longer floor-length, and you ban panty-hose. there's an awkward middle stage where everything is really colorful. unfortunately there are photographs of this, it can't be helped. do start cutting the necks out of t-shirts sooner, though, that feels great.
- stop feeling bad about disappearing at parties. it's called introversion, and in ten years, that's going to be mainstream.
- in ten years, it'll be way more kosher for you to be into 35 year old guys, so stop trying to make that happen at 21.
- life is short - don't watch the Notebook, no matter what people tell you. you can never get that time back.
- you were born to work, so stop worrying about not going to college.
- the church you feel stuck in will blow itself up. you're not going to be able to put roots down anywhere for a long time, so relax. also, maybe pay attention more at that Lutheran church you're visiting, there will be a quiz later.
- no, you're still not seeing anyone. it's difficult, and it makes you cry sometimes, but as it turns out, it actually IS better to be alone than to be with the wrong person.
- you're going to change your mind on a lot of things, so be gracious, and don't take such a hard-line approach. yes, you were raised that way, but cool it.
- you're busy and tired. There's more of that. You'll be awake a lot of nights worrying about things that are not your problem - stop doing this.
- remembering passwords chews up so much brain space. get a program for that.
- you're going to be "artsy" for a while, because that's the available outlet. later it'll be writing and cooking. don't beat yourself up about stopping one form of artistic expression if it no longer interests you.
- stop reading blogs with advice on how to live and just go live.
- send as many thank-you notes as you possible can, and send them promptly.
- invest in shoes. and I do mean invest. you want to get ahead? want to stand out in the right way? good shoes. a watch doesn't hurt.
- collect something. doesn't really matter what. but since making small talk is painful, it helps if you have something you're enthusiastic about. connecting with people is probably more important than you are comfortable admitting.
- trust your gut. trust your gut. trust your gut.