Principles of Adulthood: 18 for 2018

We’re 12 days into this new year and I’m going to be honest here, I feel like I’m still playing catch-up from Christmas. This was the first year I actually couldn’t wait for Christmas to be over—I had to work the day before and after, I housesat the week prior, I couldn’t figure out what to give my friends and family that was simultaneously thoughtful and useful and not overly materialistic. (While I’m still being honest, I’ll cop to the fact that personally, my favorite Christmas presents are colorful socks and new electric toothbrush heads. If that was all anyone gave me for Christmas every year for the rest of my life I’d probably be fine with it. That probably qualifies me as an old person at 24 and that’s totally okay.)

As a consequence of a stressful Christmas experience, I’m a little behind on my scheduled posts. I definitely had five drafts ready to go at one point—has it really been so many weeks that my stockpile has been completely depleted? Guess time flies when you forget to give yourself time to breathe. And write.

So I’m cheating a little this week. This list is an excerpt from a longer, preexisting list that belongs to a series I started writing for myself a couple years ago. Every time my birthday rolls around I start a new one (23 for twenty-three, 24 for twenty-four, etc.) and write down life concepts that I learn and encounter throughout that year. It’s an exercise in mindfulness and self-reflection that I’ve found edifying and informative, and I hope it might serve as a pause for you in the midst of all the resolutions to be better and do better and make 2018 the most incredible year ever (not that I don’t support big goals, but good grief, it’s a lot of pressure. That’s not the spirit of these lists).

Without further ado, and in no particular order…

18 for 2018

  1. Happiness and uncertainty are not mutually exclusive. You can enjoy where you are without knowing where you’re going.
  2. You can have opinions, but you better be prepared to take responsibility for them.
  3. The people who matter to you should know that they matter to you.
  4. You’re allowed to ask for help.
  5. Writing is always a valuable endeavor. Make the effort to record your experiences.
  6. Money is the means to the ends, and not an end in itself. Deplete the adventure fund, fill the memory bank.
  7. You don’t need to wait around for someone to invite you on adventures. You are more than capable of creating your own.
  8. People who let your lifestyle make them feel insecure have their own issues to deal with. You don’t need to feel responsible.
  9. It ends, and sometimes that’s the best thing.
  10. Intentionally practice spontaneity.
  11. Knowing what you want is hot.
  12. Saying no doesn’t make you a bitch.
  13. Kindness doesn’t cost anything.
  14. The fact that you exist means that you have a right to do so.
  15. You don’t have to wait until you have a novel mapped out to start writing as if you have a novel mapped out.
  16. People are drawn to good listeners, but it’s okay to ask them to listen sometimes too.
  17. Time isn’t linear. The only thing that exists is the present, so pay attention to it.
  18. When you feel like you should be doing more things, you probably should be doing fewer. If you don’t feel like enough where you’re at, piling more things on your plate is only going to make you feel more inadequate.

I’ve felt oddly resistant to resolutions this year, but I think this persistent “behind on life” feeling is an indicator of my need to resolve to carve out space to just be, to clear my head and reorganize my life so that it doesn’t reach that point at which I feel that everything has devolved into utter chaos (this may or may not be descriptive of my current laundry situation, oops). So I’m going to sign off now, and go take a hot shower, and then find a book to read until I fall asleep (after I get all my dirty clothes into the washing machine, that is).

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