The 4 Biggest Lessons I Learned in the First Month of Being 24

On October 28th, I had lunch with my friend who unfortunately (for her) has to listen to basically every thought that comes to my head. I looked out the window like a dramatic 90s music video, and said, “I seriously just feel like I’m going to be 25 so soon.” 

Can anyone else smell a quarter life crisis coming on? 

She clicked her phone, stared at me and said, “It’s October 28th. Yesterday marked one month since your 24th birthday. You have some time.” 

I let out a deep laugh. Not like my normal grandpa cackle, and not like the laugh I did last weekend when I accidentally laughed straight into the host’s face when he told me the wait for the Indian restaurant was an hour and a half.

Seriously! It was a total brat moment.My laugh was like, “HA! You think your stupid little restaurant deserves an hour and half of my time? And you expect us all to wait outside?” It really didn’t deserve that time, so I like to think my laugh was half justified, but also, still so rude. He didn’t need that. Poor guy was just doing his job when a red headed American girl laughed straight in his face. Forgive me dear sir at Dishoom. He’ll never read this, but I feel better now. 

Anyway, it was a laugh of relief that was followed by me whispering, “Holy shit..” then screaming “WELL, IT’S BEEN THE LONGEST MONTH OF MY LIFE!” You know, just trying to add some flavor into our otherwise horribly bland lunch. 

I’ve realized the in the past month that I’ve been a total little B. So, with the impending doom of my 25th year… in 11 months … I realized I need to turn it back around. Here are the four most important things I've learned (or reminded myself) in the first month of being 24. 

P.S. But seriously, what’s special about 24? Is there a song? Can someone write me a song? I won’t laugh in your face. Okay. Thanks. 

1) If you’re counting down, make them count.

Counting down the days until something can be both beneficial, and extremely dangerous. It can help you to look forward to things, or add excitement into your days, but it can also distract you from the present, and make you slightly filled with dread. 

I’ve been reminded of this through my freak out about my birthday a year away, and also about my return to the US. As you may know, I’m living in London right now, and will be returning back to the US on December 18th. I recently googled “How many days until December 18th”, and on the day I did it said “50 days”. I was slightly pissed at myself for doing this, because even though I am having a really amazing time here it made me start to wish some of my days away. Literally the first thought in my head was “YES! 50 days until I can eat a New York City bagel. Thank God!” Following that foodgasm, thoughts started rushing in of all the other things that I cannot wait to do again once I get back to the US. It started to make me a little sad, anxious, and put a damper on my outlook for the rest of my time here. It also made me really miss my bed.

I realized though that it’s my nature to count down to things, and although I know I shouldn’t do it, I knew I was going to continue checking that number for the next 50 days. I decided as punishment, and as a way to make these days count I’m going to have to run every day until December 18th. Definitely not long runs every day, but runs that get me to go see parts of London that I need to keep soaking in. I figured if I’m counting down, I might as well make them count. 

Don’t wish away the days. Live in the present, and realize that the life you’re living now will not be the life you’ll be living in a year, or even 50 days time. 

(So now that it’s officially posted on the internet this makes me completely accountable to this whole running every day thing. Shit.)

2) Do whatever it is that makes you happy, OFTEN.

This is not a go do your passion rant, it’s a serious what makes you happy rant. 

I said OFTEN, because you can’t always do what makes you happy 24/7. If we could, I’m sure there would be a lot more people sitting on their couch “Netflix and Chilling”. Is it “Chillin” or “Chilling”? Just “Chill”? I read about it recently, and had a “I’m definitely old now" moment. Then downloaded Netflix. No, wait, let me clarify. Not because of “Netflix and Chill”, just because I don’t have TV right now, and I needed some background noise in my apartment. I swear. Bad example. 

Just Netflix. No chill. 

As someone who absolutely needs a sense of balance in their life, I have to remind myself of this during the times where it feels like I just let the teeter totter of life drop me really hard on my ass. If you can’t be doing what you love 24/7, then spend the time you do have available doing what makes you happy. If you don’t know what that is, think of a time when you felt like you hadn’t just let the teeter totter of life drop you on your ass. Maybe it’s a specific month that you can recall. What had you been doing several times a week? Where were you? What were you eating? How often were you drinking? Ask yourself anything to realize what made that time so great.

For me, if I don’t spend a significant amount of my “outside” time running, writing, or wandering around random parts of the city taking amateur photos, I feel my happiness levels plummet. 

If you’re having a little brat, or lazy moment where you think “No! Today, I do nothing!” then remind yourself that you can be filling that nothingness with happiness. 

3) The answers from others are not your final answer.

I believe in being who you are, doing what you want, wearing what you want, etc. I’m sure many of us do, but we still seek out other people’s opinions. It’s normal, but it also shouldn’t make your decision. 

Last year, I decided I needed to stop asking other people (and when I say other people I kind of mean my friends but I’m sure that’s inferred. Sorry guys) about their opinions on my outfits, how I wear my hair, if I should buy something I like. I stopped because I was realized if I liked it, and they said they didn’t, then I was either going to worry about it all night when I wore it anyway, or I was going to wear something that didn’t feel like me in that moment. Once I stopped asking, I felt like I could be a lot more free, and a lot more me (5 points for rhyming) with what I wear. 

If you like it, do it, buy it, wear it. It’s simple. 

I realized recently that I need to cut down (not completely stop) doing the same with bigger life decisions. Work, dating, moves, money, etc. Sure, it’s very different than not asking about clothes. One, these decisions have longer life consequences than a bad outfit. Two, sometimes people truly do see things that you are blind to. Three, people have experienced things that are different from you so their advice can actually be really helpful. Four, sometimes you need to just talk it out. 

All fair, but at the end of the day you live with your consequences not them. So choose the route with the consequences that you feel make the most sense for you. 

4) It’s the people who answer your calls at 7 AM that you should be the kindest to.

If anyone knows my sisters and I, then you know that we like to have really big fights. I get so confused when I see sisters who look like they’ve never thrown alarm clocks at each other (I swear it was only once). 

When you move far away, you start to realize that there are only a handful of people in this world who would answer your call when they were in the middle of sleeping (Time differences are hard, and I’m impatient). It’s these people who we should probably be the kindest to. 

Recognize the relationships that are actually built tough to last, but treat them with a bit more fragility. 

And here are some extras that I’ve learned that are far less deep, but still very important: 

Never try to put on a jumpsuit while wearing heels. 

Never try to take off a jumpsuit while wearing heels. 

Don’t jump on a train just because the doors are closing. It’s probably going the wrong way, and will cause you to be about an hour late to your final destination. (This could be a good life metaphor, actually).

The indigenous people of Australia are Aborigines. They invented the boomerang. 


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