1. Trust your gut. Really.
If you think he likes you, you’re probably right. If you think he’s
cheating, you’re probably right. If you think she’s going to be your new
BFF, (this time with feeling!) you’re probably right.
2. Sunscreen. Always.
SPF 15 indoors, SPF 30 outdoors. I’ve been wearing sunscreen everyday
since I was 19 and I still get carded. I think this actually has more
to do with the bouncers hitting on me, but I’d like to share the credit
with my good friend Oil of Olay daily moisturizing lotion with SPF.
3. If you’re lying in bed worrying about it, get up and write it down.
If I don’t do this, my night will quickly devolve into cyclical
thoughts of doom and anxiety. Just get out of bed, write down the thing
that you’re worried about, write down a few ideas to deal with it and
then go the eff back to sleep.
4. Processed carbohydrates and sugars are yucky.
It’s not hard to switch to wholewheat bread and noodles or substitute
honey/maple syrup/raw sugar for the white stuff. It’s yummy and you’ll
feel heaps better!
5. Maintaining friendships (and making new friends) is an active process.
Stop waiting for them to call you! Think of something fun to do, call
your friends and go do it. Also, stop sitting in your apartment,
devotedly wishing that you knew more cool people. Surprisingly, this
will not get you any closer to making new friends. Go places where
like-minded people hang out, talk to new people at parties, initiate.
6. Uncomfortable underwear can ruin your day.
At least they can ruin mine. So don’t wear your sexy-times underwear on the day you have to walk ten blocks to work.
7. It really doesn’t matter what you major in.
What does matter? The internships you get, your work ethic, your
interpersonal skills, who you know. So go ahead and get a BA in Studio
Art! As long as you compliment that with work experience at a graphic
design studio, a museum and an ad agency.
8. Create an active life style.
I don’t go to the gym every day. Or, um, ever in the summer. But I
walk to work and to the market and just about everywhere within a 3 mile
radius. If you make daily activity a habit, you won’t have nearly as
many moments of “how did I inadvertently gain 30 pounds?!” or “why can’t
I walk up a flight of stairs?!”
9. Learn to enjoy your own company
There will be times in your life when you really want to see that
movie, check out that new boutique, go to Thailand and no one wants to
go with you. Bummer! But that doesn’t mean that you can’t go by yourself
and have a good time. Take baby steps and work up to doing the big
stuff on your own.
10. Don’t allow outside sources to determine your self-esteem
I’m still working on this one. But I think it’s important to realize
that just about everything in life is relative – depending on your
surroundings, you could be the hottest/smartest/highest paid girl in the
room. But if you walk next door? Maybe it’s different story. It’s
important to have faith in your abilities and strong suits – regardless
of how they compare to others.
11. Find out what colors and styles work (and don’t work) on you. Style accordingly.
I look good in gold and browns and corals. I look good with long, wavy
hair. I look good in boat-neck, three quarter length tops. It took many,
many unflattering photos to figure this out.
12. When in doubt, make the effort
You will never regret wearing that nice outfit, buying the thoughtful
gift for the friend you haven’t heard from in a while, over-tipping. If
it doesn’t work out, at least you’ll know you did your best.
13. Cook at home.
Seriously. You will save one million dollars. You will maintain a healthy weight. You will impress your friends.
14. There are 300 million people in America. And 6,000,000,000 in the world.
I promise you, you’ll love someone else. You’ll meet new friends.
You’ll find co-workers and neighbors that are awesome. If it’s too hard
(or if someone is making you feel bad) walk away. There are a million
other people out there who won’t make you feel bad!
15. It’s easier to make money than memories
Are you throwing up in your mouth right now? I am, a little bit. But
it’s true. Don’t take the extra shift at work and miss your friend’s
awesome end-of-the summer barbecue. If all your friends are springing
for a weekend at a cabin near the Canadian border, save up for a few
weeks and make it happen. You won’t remember the two weeks of eating in
and watching library dvds, but you’ll remember 3 days of fun with your
16. You can find common ground with just about anyone, any where
Regardless of a person’s gender, age, race or religion there are
common denominators to the human experience – falling in love, being
homesick, laughing at baby animals. You don’t even need to speak the
same language to share an appreciation for these things. You’d be amazed
how far you can get with most people just by smiling and asking them
17. Don’t buy the cheapest version. Buy the second cheapest.
This trick has saved me a lot of money. And many hang overs. Usually
the cheapest version of something (vodka, eye shadow, shoes) is
noticeably dicey. But the second-cheapest? Not so bad!
18. Make an extra copy
Of your keys, your lease, your birth certificate, your social security card. Then give said copy to someone trust worthy.
For realz. It’s pretty gratifying in a slightly disgusting way.
20. Consider second hand, for just about everything
98% of everything I own is second hand. My blow dryer, my picture
frames, my sheets (not as gross as you’re imagining). They cost a
fraction of what I’d pay for them new, and no one’s the wiser. At least
until I tell the internet that I sleep on used sheets.
21. Excuses are embarrassing
With the exception of excuses like “my grandma died” most excuses are
embarrassing for everyone involved – the person giving them and the
person listening to them. ‘I just don’t know where to start,’ ‘I’m
tired,’ ‘it’s too expensive’ really just translate to ‘I’m not making it
a priority’. See? Embarrassing, right?
22. Don’t ask a question if you’re not prepared to hear the answer
If you ask your friend “Do I look fat in this?” you best be prepared
to hear that it’s not a super flattering look on you. If you ask that
guy you’ve been seeing for five months “Where do you see this going?”
you need to know he might respond in stutters, back-pedaling and
comments about “keeping it light.” Don’t ask if you don’t really, really
want to know.
23. Engage in calculated risk taking
Dancing on the table, taking a spontaneous road trip by yourself to a
neighboring state, trying a new type of ethnic food – it is unlikely
that any of these things will kill you. But they will probably make you
24. Learn how to live well within your means
Make a budget and stick to it. Pay off your credit cards every month.
Learn to cook for yourself. Get a bike and use it (then you won’t need a
gym membership or all that gas for you car!) Cancel the cable. Split
internet with a neighbor. Consider second hand. You’d be amazed how
painless saving money can be!
25. Learn some basic photo editing skills
Because that photo from your vacation would make a great Facebook profile photo if you didn’t have that giant zit, right? Photoscape, Picnik and Gimp are all great options!
26. If you don’t know what you say, silence is always an option
I learned this from my friend Ellie, who used this approach to deal
with unruly patients during her years as a nurse in NYC. If someone says
something you don’t like (and don’t know how to respond to) just stare
at them and don’t say anything. Totally. terrifying. And totally
27. If you don’t know, ask
Because that thing that people say about assuming (it makes an ass out of you and me)? That’s true.
28. Do something different with your weekends
After a week in the cubicle farm, I know it’s tempting to spend your
weekend watching DVDs, running errands, going to house parties and
nursing hangovers. But doing the same thing every weekend gets old. And
you won’t return to work reinvigorated or inspired. You don’t have to do
anything earth shattering – have a sleep over with old friends, go
camping in a State Park, rent bikes and ride through your city, try a
new ethnic restaurant, look up the top tourist sights in your city and
check them out. Milk those two days off for all they’re worth!
29. Stay in touch
In the age of skype/facebook/texting there’s absolutely no reason
that you can’t maintain regular contact with your childhood bestie or
that cool girl from your freshman comp class. Maintaining and fostering
friendships is super important. Also, you’ll have more couches to crash
on when you go traveling!
30. Find a creative outlet
Most of us aren’t 100% creatively fulfilled by our day jobs. Even
those of us who work in creative fields! Engaging different parts of
your brain (and different parts of your personality) is hugely, hugely
gratifying. Seriously, you cannot overestimate how having a good hobby
can change your life. I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that after I
started blogging, I needed less sleep and was a much happier person.
31. Act like you know what you’re doing
You can pretty much conquer the world with a confident walk, a
well-thought-out outfit and confident demeanor. We teach people how to
treat us and when you show people that you’re a force to be reckoned
with, they’ll believe you.