Growing up is fucking hard. Here are some things I’ve (somewhat reluctantly) learned along the way.
- Quality>Quantity : As I get older my number of friends seems to dwindle. It’s hard to keep in touch when everyone is in different parts of the country, in different chapters of their lives, and inevitably on different schedules. Back in highschool I had a giant heap of friends, so many that we were referred to as the “train” anytime we went somewhere (if one girl was invited, you better expect a stampede of 20 showing up). As time goes on, finding true long-lasting friends has proven more difficult. Sure that random chick that fixed my broken bra strap in the restroom was a fantastic friend for the 60 seconds I knew her, but we probably won’t talk again. As you get older you realize that relationships take work and sadly you don’t always get your efforts reciprocated. It’s a lot harder to keep in touch when you work 50 hour weeks and have a three hour time zone difference. But the friendships that I have worked for have turned out to be the best, and I cherish those friends who have done the same for me. My friend “H” from home has been my rock once I moved to California. Even when I am a shitty friend and forget to text back she is always calling, always fallowing up, always asking how I’m doing. The friends that understand the saying “it’s a two way street” and abide by it, are friends you will have for the rest of your life, standing by your side through thick and thin. A quality friend that will pick your ass up on the side of the road at 1 in the morning because your tire popped outweighs ten friends that won’t sacrifice one night of partying to help you out.
- Hangovers are REAL and they are FUCKING FRIGHTFUL. In your mid 20’s you regretfully realize your metabolism is starting to age in dog years. I used to be able to stay out dancing in a party bus until 3am-wake up at 7am to start pregaming for the CU Buffs football Tailgate. After 6 solid hours of jello shots, beer bongs, and true college day drinking I would return home only to eat enough processed garbage and pass out briefly before getting ready to go out for the evening. God our bodies were majestic beings back then. Things have seriously changed. There are times I will legit only have two glasses of wine with dinner and wake up mysteriously parched as hell, feeling like a dehydrated camel. Your metabolism is now functioning at a pathetic rate, making those hangovers last far into the next day. Plus everything you eat literally finds a home on your body. You can see the cheeseitz you regretfully ate last night growing on your thighs. My stepmom used to turn down dessert at restaurants and say that she would take a bite but she had a bite of dark chocolate three days ago. At the time, my brother and I were almost offended. YOU EAT THE DAMN CHOCOLATE WOMAN AND YOU LIKE IT! But now it makes sense, that bite of chocolate from three days ago is still lurking around her body, looking for a spot to permanently latch onto, making those pants a bit tighter and those feelings of regret a bit stronger. Fuck.
- Sleeping in late is now a myth: Before graduating college, I could sleep in. I’m talking SLEEP IN. Like until 1pm. Now, I don’t want to waste my free time and even when I reallllly want to waste my free time my biological clock tells me to get the fuck up and start my day. Even the nights when there is a some late partying, my roommates and I find ourselves awake around 7:30, tired and half asleep-but up regardless. Sleep is still cherished, but in a very different form. I try and get as much sleep during the week that way I’m available to play on weekends and not a haggard bitch at my office on the weekdays.
- When it comes to dating, brains>looks: The other day my friends and I were at one of our favorite bars by the beach. I ended up chatting with this guy for a while, and he started telling me about his family, siblings, nieces and nephews, etc. Now typical Katherine would be checking him out first and then listening to his entire life story second. But no, I thought “Aww he seems like he would be such a good family guy.” I almost had to bitch slap myself. But as I get older I’m starting to realize it’s more important to find someone that can hold a conversation and that has interests beyond drinking until they black out. A person that has similar values, work ethic, and humor as you outweighs that dime piece with the chiseled jaw structure who doesn’t know who our current president is. Obviously sexual attraction is still an essential part of a relationship, but physical features seem to be taking back seat for me these days.
- Spending time with your old man and family is actually valued, and becomes something you look forward to rather than avoid. As my parents were divorced, I split time between my mom and my dad. I didn’t necessarily agree with my dad all the time, because I was a bitter teenage brat that thought my friends and I were going to rule the world one day. Limiting my sleepovers to once a weekend and not letting me wear my unintentionally slutty green skirt to middle school were among the annoying things that he did. I put him through such hell. Like most degenerates, I turned 18 and got a tattoo of something meaningless on my foot. I ended up starting an argument for no reason because I thought he was mad. I packed a bag in the dead of winter with a swimsuit, glitter roll on gel, a pair of slippers and some other weird, useless shit that made it seem like I was running away to join a stripper ring or the circus. I was a complete asshole this decade of my life. If I would have settled down I would have realized he could give two shits less about my tattoo but was just upset with my attitude. Once I got over my self-righteous demeanor I realized how much I loved my dad and my family, and that my siblings are real friends and not just people I have to like because of relation. My brother B is one of my best friends, and I feel like I could talk to him about anything. I even ask him for advice about men. Gathering together for holidays with my family is truly my favorite time of the year and leaving Colorado was an incredibly difficult decision. If any of you know me you can attest to how excited I am to go home for the holidays and stay in on a Friday night, drinking whiskey and shooting up some noobs on Call of Duty with my old man.
- Travel is worth the investment: We all knew this would make my list, but it’s unbelievably true. Experiences are truly lasting in comparison to other purchases. Last year my brother and I surprised our stepmom and Dad for Father’s Day. It was one of the best experiences of my life. Granted the last minute plane ticket took a couple months to pay off, but it was worth every penny. Being able to explore and learn from other parts of the world facilitates growth in a way that I never had imagined. Whether it’s going to another country or visiting a small foreign city in your own hometown, being able to see the world and look back at your travels really is worth the investment.
- Reading is enjoyable: Back in highschool I would be getting ready to go meet friends on the weekend and catch my dad reading a book on the couch, a beer in hand, and a big grin on his face. At the time, I felt like that was the lamest shit I’d ever seen. But that’s because we are trained to read books for the purpose of learning rather than creatively exploring in school. Reading was a chore, not a privilege and certainly not something to do out of interest. And that’s kind of sad. As I got older, I realized that reading is a way to escape into another world and let your imagination be unleashed. One of the best books I have ever read in my 20’s was The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho. A very short read, Paulo shares the story of a traveling man who is never satisfied, and to avoid being too cliché, seeks to find the greatest treasure of all. “Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams.” I will leave you on that not-so-epic cliffhanger, but I highly recommend it.
- Don’t take anything for granted: Whether it’s a person, a job, a situation, etc. life is too damn short and it’s better to recognize this sooner than later. People in your life come and go, I learned that the hard way when I lost my mom. I didn’t realize all that she meant to me until it was too late. And it’s one of my biggest and only regrets I have in my life. I catch myself complaining sometimes -I’m exhausted, work is kicking my ass, I’m broke, I’m confused where my life is headed-but there is so much beauty in all of that, and if you truly dig into why all of these “complaints” exist, it provides a more positive perspective on everything. For example: I’m exhausted because I push myself to work my ass off during the week and go 100% on the weekends. I’m exhausted because I always have great friends coming to visit, or birthday parties to attend, or weekend getaways to experience. Work is kicking my ass because I had the opportunity to leave an easy job that didn’t recognize my value to start a new, challenging career, where my ideas are implemented and appreciated. I’m broke because I am young, and have a lot of room to grow in my career before I reach the level of wealth I desire. I’m broke because I spend my money on concerts, restaurants, traveling, hobbies, etc. I’m confused about my life path, because it’s not where I thought I would be at my age, and I’m not sure where I’m headed.
My friend D and I have deep discussions about where we should be in our lives…finding ourselves in the awkward limbo that is your mid 20’s. But we are too hard on ourselves. We live on our own, pay our own bills, have a stable job, we make necessary but seriously annoying purchases like fucking rugs and blinds for our kitchens. But these are few of many luxuries that sometimes disguise themselves as burdens. It’s a great thing to be confused, truly. To know that you don’t have to know what you want to be, where you want to be, and who you want to be, allows you the opportunity to truly discover yourself over time. Life is too short to take even our struggles for granted. K