10 Things I Wish I Had Known Before I Turned 20

There are so many things I wish I had known before I grew up. I think most things that we learn throughout our early adulthood are universal {that is to say, everyone individually must learn them}.  But I think there are some things that need to be constantly reinforced by the people around us for them to really sink in. So, without further ado, here you go: the top 10 things I wish I had known before I turned 20.

 

  1. Many girls are inherently mean and catty. Nothing you do or say is going to change that. A lot of girls, especially in high school, I think, have a problem with other girls, regardless of whether or not they’ve actually done anything to deserve unkindness.  It took me a long time to realize {and, to be honest, I’m still realizing} that girls aren’t mean because of something I did, but rather because something is wrong with them. Maybe they’re jealous, or maybe they’re just confused about their lives. Either way, it doesn’t excuse their behavior, but it makes life so much easier when you let go of anger that other people feel towards you.
  2. Boys are boys. You deserve a man. You can’t change a person you’re dating, and I think we’re taught as young women today to chase after the boys who seem to need a strong female influence to make them “right” or “whole.” But come on—do you really need another person who needs you to do stuff for them? These are your formative years, and you don’t need some dude leaning on you to take care of him and make him whole.  Boys can’t help bugging you to let them copy your homework or asking to borrow a few bucks to pay for their movie tickets. And guess what the scariest part is?  Some guys never get much more mature than they are in high school {I’m looking at you, ex-boyfriend}.  But a lot grow up fast when they get to college, and become more interesting, kinder, and much better boyfriend material.  If I wish I’d had one piece of advice in my younger years, it would be: don’t bother dating anyone seriously in high school. Go out with a few guys just to experience dating and not be unprepared for a relationship someday, but focus on your friends. You don’t even know who you are yet.
  3. The mean girls really are just jealous. One of the hardest parts of my post-high school experiences with the people I had gone to high school with happened a couple years after I graduated. An ex-boyfriend texted to ask if a horrible rumor he had heard about me was true {it wasn’t}.  I told him that, but underneath my calm words, I was pissed. Who would say something like that? He wouldn’t tell me who said it {asshole}, but he did imply that it was one of the girls in high school we had always joked about for being jealous of me. I was nothing to be jealous of in high school. I was head-over-heels for a guy who treated me like crap, completely unaware of the fact that I deserved more. I was okay-looking, but going through the many awkward parts of growing up.  So I couldn’t understand why someone would envy me, especially not enough to make up some cruel lie about me.  But then I realized, people probably didn’t see all the hard parts of my life {because I choose not to display that on Facebook and Twitter, duh}, and maybe they thought my life was better than it really felt to me. To those “haters” I say: thanks for making me realize that I’m someone wonderful and special enough to make others jealous. But making up rumors {especially two years post-high school} is pathetic, and you need a life, come on.
  4. The first time you love someone will change your life, but might not last, and that’s okay. Your first love is going to feel big and earth-shattering. It’s probably going to change the way you look at every other man you ever date.  But it probably isn’t going to make you happy for the rest of your life, because you’re in such a formative, transitional period of your life.  You’re going to grow up and start to become interested in lots of other things, and people often grow apart as they get older. Maybe if you don’t start dating until you’re finishing up high school you’ve sort of figured out who you are {if you’re lucky—I still had a lot of growing up to do}. But if you start dating a person at fourteen or fifteen, you probably still have a lot of growing up and changing to do. Somehow, friendships withstand our personal changes better than relationships usually do.
  5. There are far better things ahead than any you leave behind. I wouldn’t say I had a particularly terrible high school experience, but I also can’t imagine wanting to go back to any of my reunions. Our generation doesn’t need that stuff: we see everyone on Facebook and we know what their college boyfriend looks like.  I don’t need to fly across the country to see them in ten years, because I honestly just don’t care that much. My college friends became my family to me. They saw me at my worst, and they loved me anyway. I met someone who made me forget all the losers I dated before him.  I fell in love like I was fifteen again, only this time, the guy treated me like a princess, and I didn’t want to break up.  If someone would have told me what was lying ahead for me when I was feeling my worst in high school, barely able to force myself to go to school because of the catty drama or the jerk I was dating, I would have felt so much better. But part of the beauty of life is the sheer mystery of what lies ahead, so just trust me when I say, there is always something better than whatever’s going on right now waiting for you, you just have to keep going and get to it.
  6. You won’t stay friends with everyone, and that’s a good thing. High school graduation is a great time to drop all the toxic friendships and relationships you’ve entered into.  Give yourself space for new friends. The person you are when you’re entering college is a lot more like the person you’re going to be for the rest of your life {although I assure you there will still be a lot of growth ahead for you}. You’re supposed to ditch the friends who talk behind your back. You’re supposed to let go of all the people who make you unhappy. You get to replace them with people who make you laugh and take you out for ice cream when you’ve had the worst day.
  7. Roommates are not the devil, and having one is not as difficult as everyone would have you believe. Some of my favorite friendships have been with roommates.  They are different than other relationships in some ways, but especially once you aren’t sharing a bedroom anymore {so basically any year after freshman year} having a roommate or two is really fun. They live with you, so you can ask them to hang out anytime, and if they’re people you’re genuinely friends with, you can ask them to watch a movie or go do something if you get lonely.  They’re just comforting to have around, and mine always provided entertainment and good conversation.  My college experience was unique because I had a serious relationship. My roommate also had a serious boyfriend, and our two boyfriends were roommates, so we spent a lot of time together, both at our place and at his. It honestly made us closer, and we’re still best friends.  She helped me get through all the tough parts of college, because she knew both me and my boyfriend so well.  And I was able to do the same for her.  Our third roommate hung out with us just as much, but got to bring along random guys. We both lived vicariously through her wild dating stories. I can’t imagine having any other two roommates, honestly.
  8. There will come a time when you have money troubles and you will have to ask your parents for help. I know, I know, nobody wants to ask their parents for money. For me, it was so stressful having to ask my dad for a check to help me eat and pay for my textbooks that I would practically make myself sick for it. But the more I talked to my friends, the more I realized that everyone had been through a similar time, and their parents had helped them as best they could. College is a transition period, you’re not financially independent, but you’re not living under your parents’ roof anymore, either {which means they aren’t paying your way}.  I recommend getting a part-time job. It’s not too hard juggling a job with school {I’m expected to do it in grad school}, and it makes a huge difference in being able to do fun things like go out to dinner or splurge on a dress for a fraternity formal or function. 
  9. You will make mistakes and regret them the next day, and later they will be the best stories you have from your youth. No real description needed here. Go places, meet people, have fun, and only regret things for a short amount of time before moving on and letting go.
  10. Never give up. There are going to be times {for the rest of our lives} where things feel difficult. There is probably never going to be a day from now until I die where I don’t feel a moment of fear or hesitation, or at least frustration with something I have to do.  That is called life.  Don’t give up, though, because there’s so much amazingness to experience if you’re willing to hang on, push through, and find it.  You can do it, and having a strong, supporting group of friends/family helps so much. 

 

“Celebrate we will, ‘cause life is short but sweet for certain”

Why Texting Sucks

My generation texts. We don’t call. When someone calls and leaves a voicemail, my mind immediately races to the worst-case-scenario and I call back freaking out about whatever catastrophe has undoubtedly gone wrong before even listening to the voicemail to hear that my mom or best friend just wanted to catch up or let me know that Anthropologie was having a sale. Because, if my best friend wanted to tell me that, why not just text me?

But texting sucks. There’s no room for humor in it, and everyone sounds sort of dry and ridiculous talking in letters instead of words, or using little faces and animations to convey their thoughts. As much as I love reading and writing, sometimes there’s nothing like hearing a person’s voice.

There are absolutely perks to texting. You can now talk about the really hot guy in the room with your best friend {who’s also in the room} without him overhearing you or having any idea that you’re checking him out blatantly. And you can text your parents that you need money to get your oil changed without having to pick up the phone and awkwardly stammer around, feeling way too old to still be asking your mom for a check.

But, when applied to dating, I think texting kind of sucks. I mean, here you are, already putting your emotions on the line, feeling all these things for a person, and now you’re just taking all the romance out of it by taking the sweet things that go along with falling in love and putting them on a tiny little pixelated screen, instead of straight into your ears {and from there into your heart}.

Before this new texting thing became so prevalent, people used to actually have to pick up the phone and call someone to let them know that they wanted to go out on a date. Ladies, can you imagine that? Instead of the ambiguous “Hey, wanna hang out sometime this week?” you’d get a phone call from that cute guy, asking if you wanted to go out to dinner with you on Tuesday night. There was no room for ambiguity, because a guy wouldn’t want to sit on the phone with you awkwardly waiting for you to come up with an idea for a date and making you plan out which night and time worked best for you. Instead, if Tuesday night didn’t work, he would just keep suggesting nights until you both found one that was agreeable for everyone.

Can you imagine??? I feel like about 50% of the “date” texts women get today are more for the sake of asking for a hookup than for an actual date. Not to say women don’t do the same thing. Calling requires you to think. It requires you to put real words out into the air, and you’re not going to pick up the phone and dial someone’s number until you’re pretty sure that you know what you want to say. Texting, on the other hand, can be confusing.

Like, if calling someone to break up with them is bad, how bad is texting someone to break up with them???? This happens! Like, you’re not only too much of a wimp to break up with someone face to face, but you can’t even handle hearing their voice. Because all women naturally are going to break down to teary messes just because you don’t want to go out with them anymore? Yeah, okay.

Texting also sucks because people do it at the most inappropriate times imaginable. During dinner, during movies, during live performances, etc. I know there are people {idiots?} who go as far as talking on the phone at restaurants and in movies, but the vast majority of people would draw the line at pulling out their phone and being on a call while in a place where it would disturb other people. However, texting is viewed as fine in most of these situations {I will say that movie theatres have done a good job of trying to eliminate this problem}. But have you ever been out to eat with someone who is texting or just generally using their smartphone the whole time? It’s so rude!

I’m not saying texting wasn’t a good invention.  My boyfriend and I have perfected the “Stopping for food on the way home, want anything?” text, and having the other person’s order physically in front of you when you get to the drive-up window is valuable for forgetful people like myself. But for all of you lovebirds out there who want to ask someone out, my challenge to you is this: look a little overeager. Call the hot guy, or the pretty girl, whatever floats your boat. Ask them out. I don’t care where {chances are neither will they, they’ll just be flattered you went to the trouble to call them}.

Texting the minute after you end your first date is weird. Wait a day or two, then call and see if they wanna go out again. Or, if you’re not ready to go out again, but you don’t want them to think you’ve lost interest, text them the day after your date just to tell them what a great time you had. That’s the proper way to use texting. But drunkenly sending “You’re suchhhhh a good kisser” to the dude you met at a frat party when you were eighteen just isn’t what texting was invented for {or maybe it was, who knows?}. I feel like most people are too proud or scared or just something to pick up their phone and call someone to say that, but somehow saying it over a text {which is more permanent and generally more embarrassing, by the way} is seen as just fine.

More soon.