Monday, August 4, 2014

Notes To My Younger Self on the Eve of Turning 30

Yes and Yes's "Notes To My Younger Self" is helping spread the word about The Post College Survival Kit. We learned the hard way so you don’t have to! Don’t wait until your thirties for a better job, a nicer apartment, financial stability, & better relationships/friendships. Seize the day, kiddos.

I'm about to turn 30. Maybe you heard? That's happening tomorrow, & I'm pretty enthusiastic about it, despite the fact that my twenties have been a collectively phenomenal learning experience. Onto the next!

Still, like most people who enjoy the sound of their own voice (read: every blogger), I have some thoughts on the matter. Shocking, I know. As I reflect on the last decade & prepare to leave my twenties behind, I'm joining Sarah of Yes and Yes for her series “Notes to My Younger Self,” sharing a few small-but-valuable life lessons learned in my time as a twentysomething.
  1. Don’t be ashamed of what you like. For me, it’s bad TV dramas (long live Grey’s Anatomy), trashy magazines (I love you, People), &  cheap beer (gimme that PBR). I spent a long time trying to live up to other people’s expectations of good taste, hating it all the while – & I looking like a fraud. Push your limits, try new things, expand your horizons, etc., but when you find something you dig, own it.

  2. Do your chores. Nobody's giving you a gold star if you wash your dirty dishes or make your bed, but you'll feel a whole lot better if you do. Dedicating five minutes to basic household cleanliness goes a long way in making you feel like your living situation doesn't suck (even if it sort of does).

  3. Negotiate your salary. The first time you’re offered an amount of money that ends in “000,” you’re going to experience minor palpitations and daydreams of ballin’. But the salary you settle for now will impact your ability to ask for more down the road – which means you could find yourself struggling to pay rent at 30 (ahem) & kicking yourself for not being smarter at 22. But wait! Actually…

  4. Learn to ask for what you want, period. Whether it’s a higher salary or more foreplay or just a burger that’s cooked more to your liking, master the art of self-advocacy & become the kind of person who can eloquently articulate your wants & needs. The worst they can say is no – but they’ll respect you for asking.

  5. Save your damn money. Why wasn’t I saving bank during the three years in my twenties when I didn't have to pay rent? I have no idea. Don’t be me, OK? The future will come, and you’ll be pissed at your past self if you’re flat broke for it.

  6. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Go to parties. Do adventurous stuff. Date questionable characters. Spend some of your hard-earned money traveling or skydiving or getting tattoos. Have fun. In your twenties, you can get away with a lot – like occasionally being drunk, selfish, emotional, and/or an idiot – but still end up being taken seriously as a fledgling adult. It’s a lot tougher to pull off drunk, selfish, emotional, idiocy around 30, when you’re expected to be an actual adult, so get it out of the way while you can. You’ll be thankful for the stories later.

  7. Go on vacation. You think you’re going to be able to take a week at the beach when you’ve got two kids & a career? You have vacation days for a reason. No matter how busy you are at 23, you are not too busy to use them for their intended purpose.

  8. Be a friend a friend would like to have. Yes, this is a line from a Tim McGraw song. He's a smart dude. How are you going to hang on to the people you love if you’re not following the golden rule? The older you get, the more work it becomes to maintain friendships – so be somebody who’s worth making the effort for.

  9. Wear sunscreen. Because Baz Lurhmann said so, & because you’ll be giddy when a recent college grad tells you, two days before your 30th birthday, that they would’ve guessed you were 25.
PS: In celebration of making it to 30, I'm still fundraising for suicide prevention. I have more than $1,000 to go before I hit my goal. Will you consider donating to this worthy cause? Visit www.stayclassy.org/kateis30 to read my story & join me.

http://www.yesandyes.org/p/the-post-college-survival-kit.html
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