I remember when turning 25 was scary for me. Now I’m a year away from turning THIRTY. Ahhhhhhh!

You guys, I turn 29 today. I’m not sure how I feel about this, but I do know that I’ve done a lot of living, in what doesn’t feel like a whole lot of time.

For any of you lucky ducks who haven’t turned 29 yet, I’ve decided to put together a fun little list of things that I’ve learned in my short, 29 years, about life, love, careers, etc. Hopefully it helps you out, but really, I’m putting this out there to remind myself to be a little more fucking grateful because I’ve actually got it pretty good, despite the fact that my default setting is to complain.
1. Grades aren’t the most important thing in the world. I spend so much of my academic career freaking out about grades and how it would affect my future, but the honest truth is, you need grades to get by if you’re trying to pursue post-secondary education. After that, it’s all about how willing you are to learn and apply yourself. So, if you’re a wee baby reading this and you’ve gotten a shitty grade recently — relax. Your life isn’t over.
2. Your parents aren’t out to ruin your life. Hand to God, this is something I believed for a ridiculous amount of time (sorry mom). It’s so difficult to look at your parents choices with any sort of perspective when you’re young and just wanting to get your way all the time.
3. Working retail builds character. There are few experiences more humbling than working some sort of retail or service industry job, and I highly recommend that people do it at least once in their life.
4. Red lipstick is all the makeup you’ll ever need. Listen, if you like to wear the full face of makeup, do you boo. But I will say this: when you feel like shit, and think you look like shit — a little bit of lipstick makes such a huge difference in improving your appearance.
5. It’s okay to not be cool. What people don’t tell you, is that the not caring is what ultimately makes someone cool. When you’re young and peer pressure is a thing, not going with the pack can be seen as lame and uncool. However, you reach a certain age, and suddenly moving to the beat of your own drum becomes the coolest thing you could possibly do. Trust me.

6. Heartbreak will only eat you alive if you let it. Heartbreak is terrible, and everyone gets over it on their own time. However, it is so easy to wallow in heartbreak and let it take over your life, because you might feel like you’ll never find love again. There are billions of people on this planet — do you honestly think that there isn’t just one other person out there that you can love? Heartbreak will pass, you’ll find love again, and when you do, you’ll wonder why you let someone keep you down for so long, when there was a beautiful person just waiting around the corner. Or something to that effect.
7. When you read those, “Just buy the shoes/bag/etc” quotes — people aren’t being literal. Have some self control, save some $$$, and eventually, you’ll get to a point where this phrase can apply to you without putting you into crippling debt and causing you stress.
8. Make an effort. As per #5 on the list, trying doesn’t make you uncool. Trying means that you give a shit, and people actually really like that. Being aloof might seem appealing when you’re younger, but you’ll notice that people have less time for that kind of behaviour as you get older, so don’t let your relationships suffer for it.
9. Your friends are really the family that you choose. After a certain point, you start to reevaluate your friendships, and hopefully you’re lucky enough to have people who have been around for years, not because they have to be, but because they want to be. Friends are so important, whether you like to roll 100 deep, or have a few close buddies on your speed dial. Appreciate them!
10. There is no time like the present. For a long time, and even now, I get caught up in fear and anxiety about things that I want to do in life, so I tell myself that I’m not ready, and that I’ll do it soon/in a year/when other aspects of my life are more under control/etc. However, for a lot of things, the best time to start is now. It might seem scary at first — and for some time afterwards — but you will thank yourself for just getting started, because a lot of the time, that’s the hardest part.

11. Travel as much as you possibly can. Again, don’t go into crippling debt so you can flex on the ‘gram about all of your vacays. However, when finances and opportunities allow — go! Visit another part of your province/state or another country, or an unfamiliar neighbourhood. The world is too big to be in one place for the rest of your life.
12. (RE: #3) Don’t be a dick to people who work in the service industry. They already go through a lot of shit without you being rude/condescending to them, okay?
13. It’s okay to “become” like your mother.  I remember telling myself that I would never be as strict as my mom, or that I wouldn’t yell, or that I would take a mental note of all of my mother’s short-comings, so that I would never have the same ones when I became a mother. (I know, I’m an asshole, right?) However, as I got older, it occurred to me that my mom was strict because we were all alone in a new country, and as her only child, she wanted to make sure to keep me safe. I understood that it was probably hard not to get frustrated when the only person you have in your life is a literal child who may not be totally capable of being a source of emotional support. At the end of the day, for most of us, our parents are just trying their best, whether we think so or not, so cut them some slack.

As I get older and start to notice the little things I say and do that remind me of my mom, I’m grateful that her lessons stuck, because I don’t know many people who love as fiercely, or cares for people as she does. I’d be happy to grow to be even a fraction of the woman she is.

14. Tell people that you love them. It isn’t always easy to do, but even you think that surely someone knows how you feel, it’s very possible that they don’t.
15. Try a new sport. I tried ultimate frisbee last year. I hated it, but I’m glad I tried it.

16. Some things are worth paying for. For example: don’t cheap out on a dye job. You’ll probably regret it. TRUST ME.
17. Take care of your body. It’s the only one you have!!! Be kind to it — feed it some greens once in a while, take a weekend off to give your liver a rest, whatever.
18. Just get the tattoo or piercing (if that’s your style). The world has changed, and for the most part, people don’t really care all that much if you’ve got a tattoo. Just think long and hard about what you want to get/where you want to get it, before you take the leap.
19. Be with someone who makes you laugh.
20. Don’t be afraid to fail…at love, at work, at anything. Failure isn’t permanent.

21. When people say, “When you know, you know.” they’re absolutely right. Falling in love and deciding to be with someone for the rest of your lives is such a fucking strange concept, but as far as I’m concerned, there are no better words to describe what happens when you get to the point, except, “When you know, you know.”
22. Wait. I know I just said “there’s no time like the present,” but when I say, “wait,” I mean that in the context of growing up. If you’re a kid, enjoy being a kid. If you’re a teen, enjoy being a teen, and know that the shitty parts about being a teen will pass, and you’ll get through it. I remember wishing to be 25 when I was 17, and now that I’m almost 30, I kind of wish that I wasn’t in such a rush to be 25 when I was 17. Awkward stages and all, growing up isn’t all that bad, and it’s one of the few times in your life where you can truly be carefree. Savour those moments, kids. Take it from an old lady!
23. Being afraid doesn’t make you weak. Everyone’s afraid of something — getting past the fear is what counts.
24. Hair grows. They said it on Sabrina The Teenage Witch, and I never forgot it. Almost everyone I know has had at least one bad haircut, but all of those people have survived. It’s okay. Getting a haircut isn’t like going to affect you like that nose job affected Jennifer Grey’s career. Go for it.
25. Wear what you want to wear. At the end of the day, you’ll look back on those old photos of you wearing outfits that you once thought were so styling/trendy and think, “Why did I ever wear that?” No one is immune to a bad outfit, especially if you lived through the 80s/90s/early 2000s, so just wear what you want to wear and benefit from the humorous results later.

26. Never apologize for your womanhood. This should be self-explanatory, but perhaps I should elaborate. If you want to wear men’s shirts/short skirts (gold star if you get that reference), do it! If you want to be a career woman, do it! If you want to be a stay-at-home mom, do it! If you want to have it all, go for it! Don’t let society’s expectations pigeon-hole you into a cookie-cutter version of what a woman should/shouldn’t be. Do you, boo.
27. Don’t compare your life to other people’s. This is so dangerous, because at a certain point, it’s like you stop seeing all the good things in your life, because you’re too busy watching everyone else’s triumphs and success. Focus on yourself.
28. You can always be better. No one is perfect, and perhaps aspiring to perfection isn’t realistic. However, there is always room for improvement, so don’t let yourself get comfortable where you’re at. Dream, set goals, and aspire to be a better version of yourself every day.
29. Life is actually too short. Some of my earliest memories seem like they happened yesterday, but here I am, 29, and a far cry from those childhood memories that I feel like I lived through not too long ago. Take it all in, folks, because it all goes by so quickly!

Thanks for reading! Now I’m going to go and cry about how old I’m getting. Bye!

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