Turning 20 Takes Courage

While I’m always ecstatic whenever a loved one’s birthday rolls around (or mine…especially mine), this one feels significantly different than the others. I was talking to a friend the other day about my upcoming 20th birthday and the disturbing number of online articles I’ve seen listing all the things people wish they knew at 20.

It’s like for whatever reason, 30+ year-olds everywhere are picking up their special edition hindsight glasses, dusting them off and looking back to their 20s. Then simultaneously, or within a week of each other, they all submit their posts online—conveniently in time for me to start my one-week countdown to packing up my teenage years in my large, purple Rubbermaid memory box and throwing it in the storage room.

Although these insightful posts are, well, insightful, I can’t help but feel pressured from them. I know the secrets; I’m privy to all these things that people regret being blissfully unaware of at 20 and now feel obligated to share them with the newly-20-year-olds of the world. But because of the inability to evade these ubiquitous posts, I feel as though I hold the key to unlock up the trunk specifically made for 20 somethings to ensure the best decade of their lives.

So at this point I have two options: Run as fast as I can within the next two weeks to said secret-holding-trunk to ensure my 20’s end up “better” than the authors of these posts, or kindly thank them for the key, but toss it in the nearest lake next time I’m walking my dog.

I think I’ll take the latter and try it out for myself. Just as life, in its entirety, takes us on a convoluted path and often leads us down roads that seem like the farthest thing from what we actually want, lately I’ve been enjoying life’s confusing ride and where I’m ending up. Turning 20 takes courage to go on a new path without looking at where others have gone, but rather making it your own and being creative.

So here’s to turning 20 in 6 days and worrying not about what I can do to ensure a flawless couple of years, but rather focusing on how much fun I will be having and the path I will create for myself. Click read more to see a list of things I do and don’t want to continue when I turn super old in a week!

  1. DO: Changing my dietary lifestyle –
    I’ve been pescatarian, vegan, carnivore, vegetarian and now back to vegan again all within the last 5ish years. Challenging myself through dietary alterations is something I enjoy. I cannot diet to save my life, and I don’t change my lifestyle to lose weight, but challenging yourself by changing something as generally loved as food is really quite fun.
  2. DON’T: Get sucked into the media’s “self help” suggestions –
    Literally everyone and their moms are like, “Oh, do this to lose 1million pounds in just 3 days!” and “Tired of your love handles getting all the attention? Wear these Spanx with this shirt that is aesthetically designed to make you look skinnier! Wee!” Seriously. I just can’t. It’s like the world is given suggestions on how to either look skinnier by not doing much, or how to actually lose weight by restricting yourself and being unhappy. Life’s short; eat Oreos while you’re watching The Doctors and learning how to fix every physical problem you have with yourself.
  3. DON’T: Say no so easily –
    I need to stop saying no to things and/or talking myself out of doing things so often. I’m becoming a boring, old grandma lately and like I just said: LIFE’S SHORT. So maybe I’ll start taking the Oreos with me and stop eating them in front of the TV alone in my apartment.
  4. DO: Be creative –
    I used to be the first one to say I didn’t have a creative bone in my body. I think society somehow brainwashed me into thinking that creativity is something people are born with…Nonetheless, I now truly believe everyone in the world can be creative, but most people are just too fearful or ignorantly disinterested in actually creating something unique because stapling papers and typing monthly reports is just so easy when someone tells you what to do and there’s not much originality to input. Whether it’s blogging or attempting to make rando crafts I’ve seen on Pinterest, I will continue creating things with my creativity-filled-bones.
  5. DON’T: Continue choosing unhappiness –
    I realized recently that it’s really, really, REALLY simple to choose negativity. Whether it’s your annoying coworker, the gloomy weather, or that paper you have due Friday that you’re convinced is going to suck, it seems like the world gives us ample reason to be unhappy. The funny thing is, happiness and unhappiness are two simple choices to make. Lately I’ve actively chosen to ignore things that would usually annoy me and I have to admit, it feels really good to be happy more often. No one is perfect. Expectations are dumb. Do better and you’ll be better. Complaining is optional, so take the happy trail and forget the negativity in your life. I promise it’s as simple as it sounds.
  6. DO: Talk like Beaker from The Muppets –
    This one’s completely random and stupid, but I’m not joking it makes me laugh every time. This goes well with #5, so if you’re having a difficult time actively choosing happiness, talk like Beaker to your mom, your cat, yourself, anyone! I was playing the iPhone game HeadsUp the other night and Beaker was one of the flashcards on my category. After playing that game (which is super fun and you should download it!) and looking up a video of Beaker on YouTube, I honestly think I’ve talked like him at least once a day. My dog loves it…or at least that’s what I tell myself when he stares at me blankly.
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