Birthdays prompt introspection. And, sometimes, a dollop of regret. At least, that’s been the way of things for years, all throughout my twenties. Yes, I realize that turning 28 today is not a fundamental change in my life. Yes, 28 is still very young. Yes, I am grateful that I’ve even reached age 28 when there have been a few times when it looked like I wouldn’t make it this far. (Thanks, heart defect. Thanks, anorexia.) So I have mixed feelings about today.
I spent a few weeks dreading the day, more because I can’t help but compare myself to my friends and family members of a similar age who have achieved more than I: a college degree, a stable relationship, a steady career path. But self-pity gets me nowhere, so I’ll take the advice of Monty Python and try to always look on the bright side of life — or at least do so for today. In that spirit, I humbly present 28 things I’ve learned:
1. Having a huge scar from open heart surgery doesn’t mean you’re deformed or defective. It means you’re a survivor.
2. Weighing yourself 16 times a day is not a measure of self-worth but one of self-doubt and self-loathing.
3. Puns will win you friends. In moderation.
4. A certain Scottish actor can make your
day year by looking good in glitter.
5. Harpies make awesome friends.
6. Shaving your head is incredibly liberating.
7. Wearing flat shoes is perfectly fine,
even especially if it means you’ll stay under five feet tall.
8. Getting drunk may increase your tendency to snort while laughing.
9. Retail therapy is ultimately vacuous.
10. Pants are overrated.
11. Singledom is underrated.
12. 4 cups of coffee a day is not too much. 6 cups is pushing it.
13. Indulging in fanfic writing is a good way to get over writer’s block.
14. Do not sit near an aquarium at a Chinese restaurant if you are afraid of goldfish. The tiny orange fuckers will torment you for the entirety of your meal.
15. Detergent is not pronounced “detergerent”.
16. It’s totally okay to listen to Christmas music in July. Even if you’re an atheist.
17. It’s totally okay to blink back tears at the end of The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, even if you’ve seen it fifty times.
18. Happiness is a warm puppy.
19. It’s not a bad thing to flip your mom the bird when she insists you absolutely must wear lipstick every time you go to dinner.
20. If a guy stops hitting on you once he learns you’re not under 18, you just dodged a major bullet.
21. Being 15-years-old is no guarantee that you will not be threatened with sexual assault by drunken Red Sox fans if you happen to root for the Yankees at Fenway Park.
22. Celebrities are always shorter in person. Unless it’s Tom Selleck.
23. Don’t fall in love with a boy named Ralph.
24. You are never as cool as you think you are. You are never as uncool as you think you are. And there is a lot to be said for embracing your inner nerd/geek.
25. There is an appropriate Simpsons quote for every occasion.
26. Do not pick on your little sister once she is big enough to kick your ass with a wiffle bat.
27. A pitcher’s ERA is calculated by dividing the number of earned runs allowed by the number of innings pitched, and then multiplying by nine.
28. You are always stronger than you think you are.