I wish I could tell you that 22 is the new 21, but it just ain’t so. What I can tell you, though, is that 22 is infinitely better than anything you have ever experienced.
Here are 22 tid-bits of wisdom I have acquired over the last couple of months:
01. Never underestimate the importance of a good night’s sleep. In order to do this, skip the caffeine and carbonation after 4 o’clock – try green tea or water infused with lime instead. Shut-eye makes a world of difference to your productivity levels, bullshit tolerance and mood swings. Nothing sucks more than meeting Monday head-on with two hours of sleep. Trust me.
02. Keep your inbox clean. When you start working, seeing a flooded inbox can be a huge confidence boost. It makes you feel like you are oh-so-important. And trust me, you are. After a while, the shine wears off and your inbox becomes the bane of your existence. Allocate a time slot to clear your inbox each day, and do it. The last thing you want is to leave late on a Friday evening because you still have a hundred-and-something emails to reply to before the weekend.
03. Coconut oil is the next best thing since sliced bread. Use it in your hair, use it as a deep-nourishing moisturizer for your skin, use it to remove your eye makeup after a night out on the town, use it on chapped lips, apply it before you head out into the sun…whatever the problem is, coconut oil is the solution.
04. Find your creative outlet. I strongly believe that everybody has an innate creative streak, whether they know it or not. For some, it may be an obvious talent like writing, painting, photography and the likes. For others, it may not be palpable. Regardless of how much you enjoy your job, find something you can do only for yourself and dedicate at least ten minutes a day to it.
05. Love is not meant to hurt. Much of our generation is under the notion that there is such a thing as “bittersweet” love. There isn’t. Love is supposed to make you radiant. Love is supposed to make you stronger. Love is not supposed to diminish your confidence, make you cry or turn you into the worst version of yourself. You either love someone or you don’t. If you do, give them everything you have. When it comes to matters of the heart, it is all or nothing.
06. Learn to cook at least one indulgent meal. It will come in handy for the times that take out just doesn’t cut it and your mother isn’t at home to make you a snack. My current indulgence is fried ice cream. Cannot. Get. Enough.
07. You need to know what is going on in the world. Just pick up the bloody newspaper and skim through the headlines if you are not interested in adding value to yourself. If that still seems like too large a task, start following a few leading publications on Twitter. You do not want to be stuck in an awkward social conversation where you have no idea what people are talking about. I have seen it and trust me, it isn’t pretty.
08. You cannot wear flip flops everywhere. Gone are the easy-breezy days where you can just slip into these comfortable babies and head out. This one was hard for me to accept because I am a die-hard lover of flip-flops. Invest in a pair of appropriate sandals for the day-time. You will thank me later.
09. This one is for the ladies: Learn how to wear eyeliner properly. It is amazing how many ladies still end up with messy eye makeup and uneven wings. There is no shame is admitting that you cannot master the art of winged eyeliner (I can’t!) but you must educate yourself in drawing an even line on your upper lid at the very least. If you still can’t do it, perhaps it is time that you eliminate eyeliner from your makeup routine altogether?
10. People will disappoint you. It will happen at work and at home. Develop the strength to take it in your stride. I have had a lot of difficulty in manifesting this learning in my own life, but I think I have finally reached a stage where I can accept the disappointment, channel it into positive vibes and move forward.
11. If I could get back all the money I have blown on coffee and vodka in high school, I would be at least three Louis Vuitton bags richer. While I love spending money (often to the point of being wasteful), I have come to realize the importance of spending wisely and saving for a rainy day. There is no need to act like a miser and stow half your salary away – even 10% can make a world of difference. Spend the rest as you see fit and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. After all, you’ve got money to blow!
12. Working out may not be for everyone, but your body needs to sweat. Unless you have a field job, most of your day is spent sitting in front of a screen with little to no physical activity. Make it a point to get up and walk around. Stretch your legs. Take a walk by the sea on the weekend. Buy a skipping rope. Play football with children. Move.
13. The past only hurts for as long as you let it. Confront your demons and kill them with your strength of character. Let go and open up your heart again. It is easier said than done, I know. But it is the only way.
14. Tell the truth, always. Sometimes, we lie to protect people. Sometimes, we lie to save face. Sometimes, we tell a white lie to make someone happy. Sometimes, we lie to prevent confrontation. It isn’t worth it. Put on your big-girl shoes and be honest. Trust, once broken, cannot be fixed.
15. Wear a watch. Seriously.
16. If you want people to take you seriously, act the part. Make people listen to you. Command respect. Become a yardstick of quality. And never, ever, settle for less than you deserve.
17. Another one for the ladies: have you heard of lip liner? Use it. Nothing is more unattractive then messy, runny lipstick. Invest in a good liner and never leave the house without it. Not only does it help your lipstick last much, much longer; it also prevents that nasty colour run. You’re welcome.
18. Travel alone. I have said it before and I will say it again: one of my biggest regrets is that I have not spent enough time travelling on my own. This year, I plan to right my wrong and spend some quality time with myself in Dharamsala. Make sure that you fit at least a couple of solo vacations into your calendar before your 20′s are over. Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.
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19. Hold your drinks, or do not drink. At 22, you really cannot afford to be a hot mess. There is no doubt that chugging is a blast, but it is time that you learned to enjoy your drinks. Sip slowly. Appreciate the flavour. And for heaven’s sake, learn to keep your booze down and your grace intact. If you are one of the unlucky ones who simply cannot keep it together after four shots, then know when to stop.
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20. Plan B is always more important than Plan A. Why? Because life never, ever, works the way you want it to. For every major decision, it is crucial that you have a back-up plan, or five. Chances are that you will need to use them when things go awry.
You can always keep going, long after you think you can’t. “Just keep going. Go and do not stop.”
Know thy self.
Love, love, love,
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